Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lala's Fleamas Necklaces - A Very Special Custom Order

Custom orders give me a unique opportunity to connect with family artifacts and histories. Earlier this winter my friend Dorna, the Library Media Specialist at my school, asked for my help with a special project. Her family has a much-loved holiday tradition that was started about 30 years ago by Thor Persson, Dorna's father-in-law. This talented man of Swedish descent was known for his fine woodwork and pieces created out of repurposed wooden crates. His handcrafted furniture was always the most coveted gift of the holiday season by the Persson clan. In the spirit of repurposing and Thor's love of flea markets, the holiday of "Fleamas" was born. 

This annual Persson family tradition pulls together Thor's passion for turning the old into new and traditional Swedish food and song. Though Thor passed several years back, his tradition continues strong with the Perssons. Each year, family members bring a handmade gift for an assigned family member. Gifts range from silly songs, poems, and stories to beautifully made gifts with meaningful family connections. When a gorgeous bag of costume jewelry from Thor's sister Lala was recently handed down to her, Dorna thought that Fleamas would be the perfect opportunity to turn Lala's gems into new necklaces for her family members. When Dorna shared with me two large bags of colorful beaded necklaces and vintage brooches, I knew this was going to be an exciting project!
Lala's lovely brooches
Lala's beaded necklaces
My eyes were first drawn to three beaded glass necklaces made in different shades of blue. I removed the beads from their strings and rewired them to make a triple strand bead chain necklace. To complete the gift, I mounted the necklace atop a collage with a children's picture book image and Swedish stamps. The stamps came from my college semester abroad in Sweden (over 15 years ago!). I picked them up at a flea market in Stockholm so I knew they just had to be used with this Fleamas gift. I called the final piece, "Scandinavian Blue."
Scandinavian Blue
custom made collage for Scandinavian Blue - including Swedish stamps
Scandinavian Blue by Twitch and Whiskers
The second necklace was made out of three gold-tone brooches. I carefully removed their pins, sanded down rough spots, and fixed them together in a bib-style necklace. This piece was also mounted on a collage. The faded pink letters came from a vintage board game. I named this piece "Lala's Laurel" because of it's garland-like shape.
Lala's Laurel
custom made collage for Lala's Laurel
Lala's Laurel by Twitch and Whiskers
I presented the final necklaces to Dorna and she wrapped them in the Sunday comics (the traditional Flea wrapping paper, of course!). According to Dorna, the necklaces and presentation cards were a big hit with the family. I was proud to be a part of Dorna's Fleamas this year and adored every moment of creating a new family heirloom out of Lala's old treasures.

I am always up for designing custom pieces out of family keepsakes. Contact me if you're interested. Want to see a few more Twitch and Whiskers custom designs? Check out these past blog posts.

There are two more chances to catch Twitch and Whiskers in person this winter. You can find me at the SoWa Winter Market in Boston on March 1st and April 12th. There's always a great line up of designers and vintage vendors.

As always, you can pop by my Etsy shop and Facebook page to check out new creations. My spring and summer show schedule show will be coming soon!

1 comment:

  1. you are so talented! I love both of these pieces--so beautiful how you put different pieces together.