Sunday, August 17, 2014

Interview with Nancy Caten of NCbis

Nancy Caten is the designer and jeweler behind NCbis. A bay area native, Nancy creates her unique pieces in her San Francisco studio. Known for combining precious metals, rare and semi-precious stones, her work is influenced by the Arts & Crafts movement of the late 19th century, marked as “a reaction against the industrial revolution and the mass production of goods”.  Her work is unconventional - incorporating vintage materials with a decisively modern edge.

1. In college, an Art professor once told me “the creative part of being an Artist is making a living”. As a professional artist, what has been your recipe for success?

I consider myself a craftsperson, rather than an artist. What interests me most is the process of creation. The journey one takes to make the piece is what drives me, not always the end product. To be successful it’s necessary to take note of the ever changing fashion trends but not allow yourself to be overwhelmed by those constant shifts. You still need to find a place where your ideas and passions fit into the market.

2. Take us through your design process. Where do you find your inspiration when approaching a new design or collection?

I’m inspired by many diverse things. travel, music, nature and I also spend a lot of time in museums which are spiritual places for me. When it comes to designing a new collection I don’t do drawings. Instead I use more of a collage method, assembling different elements like a puzzle and discovering what fits organically.

3. On your website it says your designs are influenced by the “Arts & Crafts movement of the early 20th century”, can you elaborate?

The arts & crafts movement began in the late nineteenth century as a reaction against the industrial revolution and the mass production of goods. It honored quality craftsmanship of everyday products. My own goal is that each individual piece be designed and well crafted by hand. A personal touch invests the work with a human spirit that’s pleasing to me and hopefully to the wearer as well.

"The journey one takes to make the piece is what drives me, not always the end product."

4. Many of your pieces include vintage materials while maintaining a modern edge. How do the vintage materials tie into your designs? What do they signify?

Sometimes I use vintage french metal stampings from the late 1800’s or vintage Japanese and Czech beads but I assemble them using a contemporary silhouette and color palate. Repurposing and recycling materials is important to me. Each piece should have character and a life, and not be throw away adornment.

5. What has been your biggest obstacle and boon as a designer?

When you have a small design business the multitude of daily responsibilities can sometimes get in the way of the creative process. That’s when I know it’s time to visit an art gallery or take a trip to a new destination to refresh my vision.

Images courtesy of Nancy Caten. Article by Elizabeth Aley 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

James and Jezebelle Jewelry by Kathleen Doyle Murphy

My girlfriend, Kathleen Doyle Murphy, has been designing gorgeous jewelry for some time. Her line is James and Jezebelle and she resides in Boulder, CO. She has recently expanded her collection and was finally ready to branch outside of the Rockies (lucky us!). We are so excited to have her gorgeous pieces in the store soon. 

She uses unique semi precious stones that I have never seen. Her pieces are so one of a kind we are even building a special jewelry table to fit the entire collection. But don't worry! We are not going to wait for the table to be built, we are bringing these lovelies in next week. To see whats to come click the image below to be taken to our blog. 

Kathleen, thank you for thinking of Parallel first! :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Style in the Pearl Fashion Show 2014

Day two of Style in the Pearl promised to be the hottest in town and it delivered! In the middle of a summer heat wave, Style in the Pearl showcased fall trends just around the corner. 

Leanna NYC, Folly, Rachelle M, Mabel & Zora, Parallel with Pinkham Millinery and Physical Element all put on their best wares for the event. 

Parallel with Pinkham Millinery Hats: 

After the show participants shopped the runway looks and enjoyed the hot summer night - no doubt dreaming of cooler fall nights to come. 

Thanks to everyone that came to the event!

Images and Article by Elizabeth Aley.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How to get a 'stale' smell out of vintage clothing

I love vintage clothing, but hate that all too common moth smell that plagues some of the finest vintage clothes. I have passed on some amazing gowns, because I couldn't get over the smell.

My sister told me the following trick to get rid of the smell and I was elated to discover that it actually works.  It very simple and safe. Here is what you do:

  1. Grind a cup or two of coffee beans. 
  2. Add the fresh grounds into an open plastic bag. 
  3. Hang the item in a garment bag with the the open coffee bag and let it sit for at least a week. 

The smell will be gone! Thanks Coffee for being even more amazing than I thought possible.

Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons Article by Elizabeth Aley

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Weekend in Astoria

My daughter had a swim meet in Astoria so we decided to make a weekend of it.
It is such a lovely Nautical town that has frozen in time. Romantic and pure. I cannot wait to return.

 The movie 'Goonies' pretty much sums up my Junior High Years. I was obsessed with Cyndi Lauper and the rebellious spirit the kids possessed in the movie. So visiting the Goonie house was an absolute must for me (event though this would be my second time).

 The County Jail used in the film Goonies has been converted into the Film Museum. 
It's cheesy and kitschy and right up my alley.

Me having too much fun at the Oregon Film Museum.

Just a building across the Fort George Brewery that I thought was just lovely. 

Maritime Museum

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Style in the Pearl Fashion Show, August 2014

Parallel is joining forces with Dayna Pinkham Millinery for Style in the Pearl Fashion Show. This two day affair will showcase all the hottest summer & fall trends. Including raffles, pop-up shopping and a chance to party with Portland trend-makers. The festivities begins on Friday, August 1st; Doors open at 7pm & the show begins at 8pm, both days. Parallel will be modeling the latest looks on Saturday, August 2nd, 2014.
"A fantastic preview of what to expect this Fall from Portland's fashion scene." -  Carolyn Ciolkosz, Pearl District Business Association Executive Director 

Don’t miss this Portland fashion event featuring:

Friday, August 1st:
EG Page
Lexi Dog

Saturday, August 2nd:
Mabel and Zora
Leanna NYC
Rustic House of Fashion
Physical Element.

Really Big Video Studios
525 NW 10th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209

Tickets: $25
Purchase tickets: Explore the Pearl
Find out more: Style in the Pearl's Facebook

All images courtesy of Style in the Pearl Fashion Week. Photography: Jessica Keaveny

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Laundress & Le Labo Detergent - Santal 33

The Laundress & Le Labo have joined forces to create the most luxurious laundry detergent the world has ever seen. Combining the Le Labo aroma Santal 33 with the environmentally conscious Laundress detergent, the result is soft & "woody" scented garment. Santal 33 is a "delicate scent with notes of cardamom, iris, violet, ambrox, sandalwood, papyrus, cedar and leather."

Le Labo Santal 33 Signature Detergent by The Laundress, 16 oz 

While you might have sticker shock at the price (I certainly did), the results speak for themselves. If you decide to try this one of kind laundry soap, be prepared to be utterly spoiled by the experience and field the occasional "you smell amazing" - "what are you wearing" questions. Consider yourself warned.