WARNING – Some May Find This To Be Too Gruesome

November 15, 2012


Experience exquisite masterpieces and dynamic objects from the vast and diverse Pacific Islands in this special exhibition guest curated by Chris Rainier.
Photographer Chris Rainier guest curates this exhibition of art from the South Pacific. Spanning the geographic region collectively referred to as Oceania, this comprehensive exhibition highlights masterworks from the three cultural regions of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. Particular focus is placed on New Guinea, land of the headhunter, and the rich artistic traditions infused into daily and ritual life. Submerge into a visually stunning world and come face to face with larger-than-life masks, finely crafted feast bowls, objects associated with the secretive Sepik River men’s house, beautiful shell and feather currency, magic figures and tools of the shaman, objects related to seagoing trade routes, gorgeous personal adornments, weapons of warfare and the most precious of human trophies taken in retribution.
 Watch this video taken by Bowers President Peter Keller on the island of New Britain, Papua New Guinea that features the Fire Dance Mask Festival. Several of the large spirit masks seen in this performance were collected on behalf of the museum and can be viewed in the Spirits and Headhunters exhibition.
So – YES – there was lots of gruesome stuff in this exhibit – if you have kids, they will LOVE it!   …I, of course, am concentrating on the Jewelry aspect because even Headhunters adorned themselves.
…the gorgeous marbled entrance

One really great aspect at the Bowers Museum is that they don’t crowd the exhibits.  There is a large open space between the two galleries and auditorium off the Garden Entrance that the Bowers uses for large pieces that can be touched.
This is an exhibit of tribal art and “spirit” boats…there is also an extremely long boat in the center of the room.

WARNING – Click to enlarge – Gruesome

Talk about a “bag of bones”

The details on these is amazing click on images to enlarge

2nd side of above display

This is MONEY!

Money – can you imagine having to cart that around!
Bark Belts 

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NatGeo’s “AMERICA’S LOST TREASURES” Unearths Fossilized Dolphin Skull

October 21, 2012


Extraordinary Scientific Discovery Confirmed at Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.  A fossilized dolphin skull approximately 15.5 million years old, found in an ocean-laid deposit near Bakersfield, Calif., by an amateur paleontologist, has been identified as likely belonging to a new dolphin species. 

The discovery was made during an episode of National Geographic Channel’s series “America’s Lost Treasures” and confirmed by Dr. Lawrence G. Barnes, a renowned curator emeritus of vertebrate paleontology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
“I have never before seen a dolphin skull like this.” 
– Paleontologist Lawrence Barnes

Unlike most dolphins we are familiar with today, this new species had relatively small eyes that were angled somewhat forward and small nostrils. 

The species was discovered in the Sharktooth Hill Bonebed near Bakersfield, Calif.,—one of the most prolific deposits of its age and kind in the North Pacific realm, making it the standard of comparison for other similar age fossil deposits from a time in Earth History called the Miocene. The area also includes the scientifically and culturally important Sharktooth Hill National Natural Landmark.

“This animal is globally significant to science,” says Barnes. He stressed that discovery of the new dolphin can help us to understand the relationships among other extinct and living dolphins in its group, to determine how many species of animals were living in the North Pacific when the Sharktooth Hill Bonebed formed, and has implications for modern species diversity and conservation.
In the series, hosts Curt Doussett and Kinga Philipps travel to 10 U.S. cities and invite locals to bring in their relics to find out what they’re really worth. 

Working with top museum curators, appraisers and other experts, Curt and Kinga each trace the history of three chosen items. When the investigation is complete, owners and their families learn the true story—and value—of their treasured objects. 

At the end of each one-hour episode, it’s down to two finalists, and a winner is awarded $10,000 as special recognition for the importance of the item in American history. 

Winning objects will be featured in a special exhibition at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C.
The species was found by amateur paleontologist Lisa Tohill prior to a taping of an episode for America’s Lost Treasures at the Autry National Center and the Natural History Museum, both in Los Angeles. The episode aired on August 22 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel. 

Tohill’s dolphin skull fossil is currently housed at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and it will be featured in the special exhibition at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C.

America’s Lost Treasures is produced by Original Productions, a FremantleMedia company, for the National Geographic Channel. 

National Geographic Channel
Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Cable Networks. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society’s commitment to exploration, conservation and education with smart, innovative programming and profits that directly support its mission. Launched in January 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) celebrated its fifth anniversary with the debut of NGC HD. In 2010, the wildlife and natural history cable channel Nat Geo WILD was launched, and in 2011, the Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation’s major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with NGC currently available in 84 million U.S. homes. Globally, National Geographic Channel is available in 440 million homes in 171 countries and 38 languages. 
For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com

Original Productions 
…a FremantleMedia Company
Founded by Thom Beers, Original Productions produces authentic nonfiction programming featuring everyday heroes in extraordinary situations, including the Emmy® Award-winning “Deadliest Catch,” “Bering Sea Gold,” “Ice Road Truckers,” “Ax Men,” “Wild Justice,” “Storage Wars,” “Storage Wars: Texas” and “Black Gold.” Beers’ steadfast focus on top-notch storytelling with engaging personalities in high-risk circumstances has produced more than 1,400 hours of original programming. 
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October Blog-O-Sphere Think Tank – “Where would I like to travel to?“

October 20, 2012

October’s Topic: “Where would I like to travel to?”

1.  Sri Lanka’s Gem Mines (Sapphire)

     One of the world’s most beautiful and exotic islands, Sri Lanka, (formerly Ceylon) lies just below the southern tip of India. This pear-shaped bit of tropical paradise, about the size of Sicily, is a tourist’s delight offering British teahouses, rubber plantations, and gem mines.

Marco Polo wrote of his visit in 1292: “I want you to understand that the island of Ceylon is, for its size, the finest island in the world, and from its streams comes rubies, sapphires, topazes, amethyst and garnet.” Little has changed since Marco Polo’s time except that Sri Lanka faces overpopulation and a faltering economy.

Its gemstones, however, seem to occur in endless supply. Known as the “Jewel Box of the Indian Ocean,” Sri Lanka, like possibly no other locality on earth, has yielded precious stones and fine gems in a great profusion of gem species and varieties.

…from Peter Bancroft’s “Ceylon’s Gem Mines”  via Pala Gems http://www.palagems.com/ceylon_sapphire_bancroft.htm

2. The Taj Mahal – India

In 1631, Shah Jahan, emperor during the Mughal empire‘s period of greatest prosperity, was grief-stricken when his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, died during the birth of their 14th child, Gauhara Begum. Construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1632. The court chronicles of Shah Jahan’s grief illustrate the love story traditionally held as an inspiration for Taj Mahal. The principal mausoleum was completed in 1648 and the surrounding buildings and garden were finished five years later. Emperor Shah Jahan himself described the Taj in these words:
Like one pardoned, he becomes free from sin.
Should a sinner make his way to this mansion,
All his past sins are to be washed away.
The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs;
And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes.
In this world this edifice has been made;
To display thereby the creator’s glory.

3. …last but not least a Fishing Trip to Costa Rica!

Please stop by and visit this month’s other participants:
It’s a small group – but please stop by and say hello on their posts as well!

pencilfox : http://www.pencilfox.com

Christine: http://sistinachapel.blogspot.ca/

Andes Cruz: http://andescruz.wordpress.com/

A Short Note from Our Fearless Leader – Andes Cruz:

What is this new “Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank” thing?  Andes and several friends formed a group of bloggers…named “Blog-O-Sphere Think Tank”…we come together from different areas of life, ‘once a month’, to do a blog circle on a new but specific topic.  So, check back in once a month, or join us as we all write about the same topic, and hopefully we all post at approximately the same time , on the 20th of each month.  

We get a new and different topic each month which keeps it refreshing, and it is always  interesting, to read everyone’s unique take on a new idea or topic. It’s fun, light, and gets your mind going. Everyone has  different thoughts; so you might learn something, or open your eyes to new ideas . In any case, I hope you’ll visit all the blogs and have a read!

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REVIEW: Jill Wiseman’s Beautiful Beaded Ropes

October 8, 2012

Cleaning up to move back home – my parents are doing much better Thank You…and I found this!

Jill Wiseman’s Beautiful Beaded Ropes: 24 Wearable Jewelry Projects in Multiple Stitches

4.75 of 5 stars 4.75  ·  rating details  ·  4 ratings  ·  2 reviews
Join popular teacher and designer Jill Wiseman as she presents 24 beaded rope designs in this wonderful entry in Lark Jewelry & Beading’s popular Beadweaving Master Class series. From dainty to heavy, and from simple to outrageously textured, these beautiful and wearable necklace, lariat, bangle, and bracelet projects (plus a few earrings!) utilize such popular stitch techniques as spiral rope, peyote, netting, herringbone, right angle weave, chevron, polygon weave, and oglala.

Beginning and experienced beaders alike will love these high-quality projects from one of the most fun and innovative beaders on the scene today!

Thought I would check it out and add it to the stack of books for the giveaway!!!
The most important thing to remember is that these are all part of the Beadweaving Masters Class Series from Lark Books.  What that means is that this isn’t the Big Book of Beginning Ropes – you have to have your basics down.  
With that in mind Lark provides a great refresher chapter that walks you through all the stitches used in these projects.  Then it dives right into the deep-end!  The first patterns are Spiral Ropes…I tried a couple and the directions are clear enough that a persistent beginner could grasp the ideas – that is not to say that the project would be wearable.  
But I am going to try a couple of these ropes because I was inspired to forge some endcaps and clasps while perusing my copy (Thanks Lark Books). 
Want an idea of what to expect?  Lark offered  2 Free projects on their blog – you DO follow their blog RIGHT?   Here is the link:   http://www.larkcrafts.com/jewelry-beading/jill-wiseman-beading/
This would be a great gift for the Beader in your life this Holiday Season….
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HUGE! Beadweaving Book #Giveaway

October 3, 2012

I am feeling a giant #FAIL here – I have been so busy with an annual project (in my “spare” time I book authors for a Teen & YA Stage at the largest Children’s Book Fair in the country) and the subsequent much needed vacation…that I have been a s…

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Fossil Theft – Denver Merchandise Mart

September 18, 2012

There has been a THEFT ALERT Issued RE: Fossils Stolen at the Denver Merchandise Mart!PLEASE HELP US GET THE WORD OUT!Denver Fossil TheftPlease see email below and attached pictures. These items were stolen from Dave Anderson’s trailer at the Denv…

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Save-The-Date SoCal! Sept. 9th Is MASSC Demo Day!

August 27, 2012

This event is always great – even if it is only for catching up with friends you haven’t seen in a while…Demo Day 2012 Sunday, September 9that Long Beach City College Check in at 9:30 AM – Demos begin 10 AMYou do not have to be a MASSC memb…

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Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank – “My Favorite Things About Summer”

August 20, 2012
My favorite fisherman, Bobby!

The Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank topic for August is…(drumroll please)… “My Favorite Things About Summer” 

If you have been following my BOSTT posts and have clicked through the links at the bottom of each post to read my fellow BOSTT Bloggers’ posts (and I really hope you have), then you know that it is rare that we have a single favorite anything!  😉

First and foremost – Summer means all of the great outdoor activities are added to the schedule.  
Amber, Mia and Rollo

Now being a California Girl, the fabulous things like flowers and weather are pretty much year round (I hear the “haters” groaning now) so I am thinking Activities.  By know you “get” that there are so many things that we do all year round (too much?) that most would think of as “Summer” activities, but I am doing my best to only post the things that actually happen during the summer months.

Now, for the sake of space, I present my Top Five Favorite Things About Summer”! 

My #1 Favorite Thing about Summer is Camping and Fishing trips with my partner, my favorite fisherman and the love of my life!
#2 would have to be those fabulous photos of kids playing in the sun!  …these happen to be just one of Bobby’s gorgeous daughters (he has three) and amazing grandbabies (there are four, so far)!

I chose this photo to represent our Rockhunting Trips because I LOVE staying in the TeePee at the Spectrum Mine in the high desert of Oregon.  You will get your best night sleep after a day of digging for gemstones!

#3 – Summer means time for Rockhounding Adventures at some of our favorite spots!  Tourmaline at – the Himalaya Dig (CA) and the Oceanview (CA) also Spodumene; Virgin Valley Opal  at – Rainbow Ridge (NV) and The Royal Peacock (NV); Sunstone at The Spectrum Sunstone Mine (OR)…and this year we are adding Fire Opal at Juniper Ridge (OR)!

#4 – Gem Shows move outside!  nothing better than viewing gems and specimen under natural light!  …this photo is from the AFMS/CFMS Convention and Show, hosted by the North Orange County Gem & Mineral Society!

#5 – the BEST West Coast opportunity to connect with International Gem Dealers, Artisans , Luxury Lines and Jewelers – Jewelry Week in Las Vegas!   if you want to see more photos from Las Vegas check out the photo albums on The Daily Jewel’s Facebook page!

OK – I am heading out to see what my fellow BOSTT Bloggers posted, Join Me?
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Review: The Gem Merchant – NEW 3rd Edition

August 19, 2012

The Gem Merchant: How to be one; How to deal with oneThe Manual On How to Buy & Sell GemstonesThird Editionby David Stanley EpsteinIn this the third edition of Epstein’s manual for gem dealers and buyers alike, he tackles the changes in the Ge…

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July 22, 2012

As most of you already know I am back in the OC (that is Orange County, CA) to help out my parents. My adorable Mom (her way of saying thanks) recently purchased tickets for a fabulous event at the Bowers Museum – if you aren’t familiar, it is definitely worth a drive in from surrounding communities.

So, the Bowers does this great program series called Bowers After Hours – which features a lecturer or some type of program that compliments one of it’s current exhibits – in itself is reason attend. But what drew me to this one in particular is that it spotlights the incredible art and goldsmith’s of the design house of Faberge!
“Fabergé is one of those iconic names – just the name Fabergé connotes elegance and fine workmanship,” said Peter Keller, president of the Bowers. “What he focused on was not the gems, believe it or not, but the workmanship and the piece itself. He didn’t want any one part of the piece to overwhelm the rest of the piece.” 

Tim Adams joined the patrons and
answered questions in the Gallery

Bowers After Hours, starts at 5 PM, Distinguished Lecture, 7 – 8 PM, exclusive discount in the Gift Shop and they extended the exhibit hall hours until 9pm.

Distinguished Lecture Presenter: 

Tim Adams
art historian 
and guest scholar for the Fabergé exhibition. 
At the end of the nineteenth century, Russia had one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Out of this economic boom was born one of the greatest jewelry houses in the world, the House of Fabergé. Carl Fabergé set the standard for taste and elegance in the daily living of the not only the Imperial Court, but of the new wealthy upper class created by the industrial revolution. Fashion was synonymous with Fabergé, and he influenced the way society lived and socialized.

This exhibition is stunning on it’s own but after hearing Adams informative and exciting talk it really came to life!   He relayed the politics, class structure and mood of Russians during this time in history.  Bringing to light reasons for the increased interest by the upper classes for the great design houses that came into their own during this time…like Cartier, Bulgari and the house started by Carl Faberge. 

“Many of the pieces have imperial provenance,” said Timothy B. Adams, a San Diego art historian and Fabergé scholar. The McFerrin collection, while only six-and-a-half years old, he said, is “one of the largest Fabergé collections in the United States right now.”

Very familiar with this particular collection because he is an Art Advisor to the McFerrin family, Tim Adams did his thesis on Faberge.  One of the things that really stood out to me was his point that Faberge was so much more that Imperial Eggs…they worked in stone and presentation pieces and some of the finest jewelry of the time.   

“We really enjoy collecting, and we try to collect the more historical things,” said Dorothy McFerrin, who acquired the collection with husband Arthur, president of KMCO Group of Houston, a chemical company.

St. Petersburg location
The one statement that stayed with me is that their were approximately 150,000 pieces produced by the design house of Faberge before it was forced to close, and they were all one-of-a-kind pieces.  In it’s heyday Faberge employed over 500 artists, designers and goldsmiths.  It is said the Faberge paid extremely well and most of his staff stayed throughout their career.  In what Adams described as the first “Artist Co-op”  the grand St. Petersburg shop was massive -a bottom level that was retail – a large workshop and the family had living space on the top level.

Faberge was a trained goldsmith but as the firm grew he became more of a stylist – setting the tone and personally detailing the customer’s needs.  But he very much influenced the style and look that we all have come to expect from the design house of Faberge

Moscow Shop
Faberge counted his sons among the 500+ staff as well as several “Workmasters” – most of Finnish decent…but of the most famous, Michael Perchin, designed the Imperial Eggs from 1885 to 1903, was Russian;  Henrik Wigstrom, a Finn, assumed Perchin’s position following his death in 1903 and was responsible for the Imperial Eggs through 1917.  Another Finn, August Holstrom was a Senior member of the firm and head Jewelry Designer. 

For a more extensive list of the design team at Faberge see “The Faberge Workmasters”

Interesting Fact:  Faberge was one of the first to employ a woman in what was and to this day still is predominantly a man’s world.   Hired to record in watercolors all of the items being produced in the Moscow shop at a mere 20 years old,  Alma Pihl was granddaughter of August Holmstrom and daughter of Oscar Pihl who was the head jeweler of the Moscow branch.  At just 25, Alma became an integral part of the firm assuming a prestigious position and later entrusted with the Nobel commission, creating some of Faberge’s most famous pieces, the quartz with diamond “Frost” collection.

“When her uncle August Holmstrom took over her grandfather’s workshop she was invited to come on as an artist who would keep detailed watercolor drawings of all the items being produced in the shop.  She was a mere twenty years old when she joined him in 1909.  It did not take long for her talent to be recognized and she was promoted to assistant designer and entrusted with the commission from Dr. Emanuel Nobel for a number of small brooches that would remind the recipient of a Russian winter.  Alma was inspired while looking out the window at icicles suspended from the windowpane.  She immediately began drawing designs for what would become Fabergé’s line of “frost flowers” – jewelry made of quartz and diamonds.  This winter theme would lead to an even grander design – that of the Winter Egg that was presented to the Dowager Empress in 1913, but even this as not the end of Pihl creative genius.  The following year she was put in charge of the design for the Tsarina Easter egg.  For this she chose a mosaic design that emulated the petit point design which she watched her mother executing one winter’s eve.”
…from the Workmasters link referenced above.
Alma Phil’s Imperial Egg – The Winter Egg
via  http://www.uppslagsverket.fi/bin/view/Uppslagsverket/PihlAlma 
There is a very detailed timeline of Faberge and the Romanoffs HERE

The Exhibition
Saturday, June 23 – Sunday, January 06, 2013
Discover the spectacular designs of Peter Carl Fabergé.  the master goldsmith and legendary jeweler still celebrated for his inventive designs and meticulous craftsmanship, through a special exhibition, Fabergé: Imperial Jeweler to the Tsars.

The House of Fabergé has a reputation for turning the everyday into the extraordinary. Perhaps best known for Imperial Easter Eggs created for the Russian Royal family, the House of Fabergé also fashioned jewelry and luxurious gifts for many ruling families of Europe, as well as other wealthy patrons.  From elegantly simple to breathtakingly ornate, the jewelry, clocks, picture frames, boxes and eggs in this collection have been thoughtfully selected to exemplify extraordinary materials and workmanship.

In recent years, the McFerrin Collection has become one of the world’s most important private collections of Fabergé. While many of the pieces in this collection have been featured individually in other exhibitions and publications over the past 60 years, this is a rare opportunity to see this magnificent collection.
Fabergé created this diamond tiara around 1890. The stunning briolette diamonds were a gift from Tsar Alexander I to the Empress Josephine after her divorce from Napoleon Bonaparte. This piece is one of only a few tiaras ever made by Fabergé.

Tsar Alexander III commissioned the first egg ever created by the House of Fabergé in 1885 as an Easter present for his wife, Tsarina Maria Feodorovna. His son Nicholas II later commissioned such treasures for his wife Alexandra and for his mother, continuing a tradition that would last more than 30 years. Fabergé made eggs for only a small number of other clients; one of those was Swedish industrialist Dr. Emanuel Nobel, who commissioned this treasure between 1913 and 1914. This piece, a jeweled, enameled presentation egg, is also referred to as the “Snowflake Egg,” its shell ingeniously enameled and engraved to simulate the tracery of frost against a misted ground. It opens to reveal a “surprise”—a rock crystal and diamond pendant watch. The unique watch design was created specifically for Dr. Nobel and interpreted in other jewelry pieces by Fabergé, some of which Dr. Nobel gave as favors at his dinner parties. Several examples of these “ice jewels” are included in the exhibition.

This intricately decorated picture frame (made between 1908-1917) of gold, platinum and enamel is meant to be viewed from both sides and is arguably one of the finest examples of gold work ever produced by Fabergé. One side features a photograph of Tsar Nicholas II, and the other his wife, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. This was probably a gift from the Tsar to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna. The form was most likely inspired by a fire screen, created by George Jacob that was in her apartment.

The Imperial Russian court was renowned for the lavish gifts presented to foreign dignitaries visiting Russia. Fabergé made hundreds of presentation boxes, but many connoisseurs consider this his finest. Made of gold and decorated with enamel and diamonds, the box features the cipher of Tsar Nicholas II on the cover. The Emperor presented the box to Leon Bourgeois, a French politician and statesman in 1902. Bourgeois was one of 90 foreigners to receive a snuffbox with the Emperor’s initials.
Gathered around the display of Faberge Eggs at the Bowers Museum
More than just eggs…the house of Faberge was kept busy by a popular and social Romanoff family.  Dignified guests of the royalty expected a memento of their visit and Faberge stocked a room filled with tables of “presentation pieces”  from boxes and cigarette cases to frames, clocks and snuff boxes.

I want to end with some of the really whimsical pieces from the collection clocks, bell pushes and hand carved in gem material…most functioned as cane or parasol handles.


For more photos from the exhibit see my Facebook page at:   http://www.facebook.com/aflyonthewallblogs
Descriptions, Quotes & Photo Sources:  
The Bowers Museum
Review for The Register by Richard Chang
…some photos are my own
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