Friday, May 28, 2010

A Little Studio Tour, and a Huge Confession

Doesn't this picture look almost magazine perfect?  Well, except for the old boots, don't I look just peachy in my parlor?  My son-in-law Asa Gilmore took this photo for a bio I needed for a trunkshow.....Truth of it is I used to sit here with piles of boxes and bags of stuff and stitch away, when I was focused on primitives and pincushion dolls.  In the front parlor for gosh sakes.  Then I gradually moved some stuff and became very industrious.....

In Here......This is what we call the "Rock Room."  I've been working in this part of the house for some time now, and it's great until we entertain a larger crowd, as in holidays or whenever said crowd presents themselves.  No matter how much space I have, it always seems to disintegrate into about 10 square inches of horizontal surface anyway.  This is a family dining room.  When I need to sew, the machine plops onto the kitchen table.  When I paint, it's outside or here in the rock room, jewelry happens here, papier mache...stained glass, this is where I've been.  Okay, so this is where the huge confession of a natural packrat comes in to play.  I do have another space.  Half of an historic barn.  The beginnings and endings of a lovely little and mostly restored bohemian apartment.  Tiny kitchen, a bathroom, next to my vegetable garden.  Vintage wallpaper....woodburner cookstove, nice old windows adorned with stained glass.  I don't use it.  Well, it's used for sure, but not to work.  The reason I am sharing this with those of you sweet and patient enough to actually read this, is to irrevocably shame myself into doing something about it. 

This is the glass on the upper portion of the door leading into my space.  Are you prepared to see what lies within??

I won't force you to endure any more of these painful photo's which clearly exhibit firm proof of my illness.  Acutely Disorganized Packratitis, and I'm not going to take medication for it either.  Instead, I am getting up off my sciatic behind and doing something about it.  Years and years of textiles, trinkets, things I just love and don't have room in the house for....inventory for my little shop on main street, and most probably inventory for my ArtFire vintage studio.  Ceiling to floor of my needful things, and what I most want is undoubtedly on the bottom of the pile.  I was supposed to be doing something about this as I write, but the entire building needs to be emptied outside and it won't stop raining or snowing or blowing.  I expect it will take 3 or 4 days to do it all, and I will keep you posted....Until then.....

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Yard Sale Treasure....

It snowed last night and I thought, "Oh boy!  Crummy weather so I'll sleep in and skip yardsaling!"  Wrong.  Ron made me feel guilty so I flounced my sorry self out of bed and we drove a couple of miles across the valley to a subdivision that was having a huge neighborhood sale.  About 70 houses or so were involved but I didn't make it past the third house.  In fact, I took Ron home, grabbed more money and went back.  Please forgive me for gloating, and I do intend to share some of it.....

Rolls and rolls of French wired rayon ribbon, some of it vintage, some not, but it's all very nice quality.....handmade crocheted trim from Turkey,  gorgeous bark cloth yardeage, I won't bore you with the rolls of rayon seam binding in various colors, or the box of vintage and antique linen fancy work.  I guess I didn't get a good picture of the two books I purchased, one of them is a speller from 1808, and a little German songbook.  The 1920's bead fringe was a very fun find, and the wool and silk handmade shawl from the 1920's in delicious ice cream colors. 

I feel extremely fortunate to have added to my stash in one fell swoop, and needed some fresh new things for my reproduction hats, costuming and accessories.  This was indeed a blessing and not a normal haul for a Saturday's work.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tale of a Lady Pirate, Anne Bonny

The image above is in the public domain.  A tinted and altered version has been copyrighted by someone, somewhere, but this one remains free......
Much of what is known about Anne Bonny is based on Captain Charles Johnson's "A General History of the Pyrates". Official records and contemporary letters dealing with her life are rare. It is widely accepted that she was born between 1697 and 1705 in Kinsale, Ireland; that she was a daughter of attorney William Cormac and his maidservant; William's wife was named Mary Brennan and her mother was named Peg; and that, when the affair became public, Cormac moved to Charles Town, South Carolina where he made a fortune and bought a large plantation. He also continued his legal career.

When Anne was 13, she supposedly stabbed a servant girl in the stomach with a table knife. She was a red-haired beauty and considered a "catch". She married a poor sailor and small-time pirate named James Bonny. According to legend, James Bonny hoped to win possession of his wife's family estate, but she was disowned by her father because of the marriage.

There is no evidence supporting the story that Anne Bonny started a fire on the plantation in retaliation, but it is known that sometime between 1714 and 1718 she and James Bonny moved to Nassau, on New Providence Island in the Bahamas, which was then a pirate hub and base for many pirate operations. It is also true that after the arrival of Governor Woodes Rogers in the summer of 1718, James Bonny became an informant for the governor.

While in the Bahamas, Anne Bonny began mingling with pirates at the local drinking establishments, and met the pirate John "Calico Jack" Rackham, with whom she had an affair. While Rackham and many other pirates were enjoying the King's pardon in the New Providence, James dragged Anne before Gov. Rogers to demand she be flogged for adultery and returned to him. There was even an offer for Rackham to buy her in a divorce-by-purchase, but Anne refused to be "bought and sold like cattle." She was sentenced to the flogging, but later Anne and Rackham escaped to live together as pirates.

Bonny did not disguise herself as a man in order to join Rackham's crew aboard the Revenge as is often claimed. In fact, she and Mary Read helped Rackham steal the sloop at anchor in Nassau harbour and set off to sea, putting together a crew and taking several prizes. She took part in combat alongside the men, and the accounts describing her exploits present her as competent, effective in combat, and someone who gained the respect of her fellow pirates. She and Mary Read's name and gender were, however, known to all from the start, including Gov. Rogers, who named them in a "pirates wanted" circular published in the continent's only newspaper, the Boston News-Letter.

Over the next several months, she and Rackham saw several successes as pirates, capturing many ships and bringing in an abundance of treasure.

In October 1720, Rackham and his crew were attacked by a sloop captained by Jonathan Barnet, who was working for the governor of Jamaica. Most of Rackham's pirates did not put up much resistance as many of them were too drunk to fight, other sources indicate it was at night and most of them were asleep. However, Read, Bonny, and an unknown man fought fiercely and managed to hold off Barnet's troops for a short time. After their capture, Rackham and his crew were sentenced by the Governor of Jamaica to be hanged. According to Johnson, Bonny's last words to the imprisoned Rackham were that she was "sorry to see him there, but if he had fought like a Man, he need not have been hang'd like a Dog."

After their arrest and trial, Read and Bonny both pleaded their bellies, announcing during the sentencing phase that they were both pregnant. In accordance with English common law, both women received a temporary stay of execution until they gave birth. Read died in prison, most likely from a fever, though it has been alleged that she died during childbirth.

There is no historical record of Bonny's release or of her execution. This has fed speculation that her father ransomed her; that she might have returned to her husband, or even that she resumed a life of piracy under a new identity. However, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography states that "Evidence provided by the descendants of Anne Bonny suggests that her father managed to secure her release from jail and bring her back to Charles Town, South Carolina, where she gave birth to Rackham's second child. On December 21, 1721 she married a local man, Joseph Burleigh, and they had eight children. She died in South Carolina, a respectable woman, at the age of eighty and was buried on April 25, 1782.

Do you suppose she would have perhaps worn something like this?  It is available for purchase here.

And that, my friends, is the story for today!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cowboy Up!

If you read my last post, I talked about the Genoa Cowboy and Music Festival briefly.  It was three days of art, music, food, poetry, workshops and fabulous weather to crown the first annual event.  Ron and I worked our respective shops for the duration of the weekend and weren't able to participate or view alot of the events, but there was a kickoff party held all over town so we got a good feel for what was happening then.  We met scores of interesting and talented people, our shops were packed for the duration, I don't know if the town made any money but I would call the event a smashing success.  No bar room fights, though the potential was certainly there with the influx of Cowboys, Indians, Bikers and whiskey.  I shot some pics of some of the interesting faces about town when I could.  This event kicked off Thursday afternoon, went through day and night of Friday and Saturday....ended with Cowboy Church (!) and a pancake breakfast at the Masonic Hall....My sorry little batch of pictures doesn't even begin to touch what was going gunfights in the middle of town while volunteers zip around in golf carts.  It was a very carnival like atmosphere, but truly different than the huge Arts and Crafts Fair we have every year.
Having a town full of interested, informed, zealous folk who love history, the old west, expressing themselves via their craft - be it sculpture, paint, textiles, jewelry, saving wild horses, leather tooling, re-enacting, music, poetry....was refreshing, invigorating, and sales weren't bad either! 

Simple pleasures, having your own picture taken with an adorable pony.  I wish I had gotten pictures of the blacksmith, the Indians weaving, beading and dancing, the wool spinners, there was so much going on and I had to miss much of it.  Next year, I'll get someone else to mind the store.