Above you will find the same subject depicted by both of these artists illustrating both of their different
styles using a common material "copper" in which both choose as their medium of choice. Copper was very
much in vogue as the metal of the time. Frank (Francisco) Rebajes migrated to New York City during
"The Depression" when life was very hard. He was very influenced by his Caribbean heritage and from Africa.
He won the ship lottery as he sailed to New York and a new life enabling him to live for a
couple of months. By then he made friends with other Bohemian artists in the city joining them in sleeping
on roof tops and wherever they could to survive. He met a lady and fell in love. Being little more than a street bum
her family totally rejected the romance but love prevailed, although their wedding night, for lack of funds,
was spent riding the mass transit system. Friends took them in and with the encouragement of his new wife he
took some of the animals he had been creating out of tin he found on the streets armed with an ironing board for a
display table, he hit the local street market to try to sell his wares. Luck would work its charm and a patron from the
Whitney Museum of Art discovered him that day, and bought all of his creations for an amazing (at the time) sum
of $30 launching a long and successful career.
Although I love the history and work of Frank Rebajes my favorite jewelry designer from that time
was Jerry Fels and his shinier more glitzzy copper designs. His work was always signed "Renoir" for the
exclusively copper designs like the top necklace or "Matisse" which signified that it included copper enameled
colors in the design like the pink "Seine" necklace. Jerry Fels, a New York City resident, whose art studies
were interrupted by a historic event which also interrupted most lives of the time, -called World War II.
Fels went to sunny California to learn to be a pilot and like his predecessor, Rebajes, he met
a woman with which, like California, he fell deeply in love. After the war he married his love and lived
in her beloved Los Angeles in a day of glamorous movie stars and as with Rebajes he enjoyed the
freedom of the advent of "Modern Art". The artists who created these new jewelry designs were
called Modernists. Fels was a prolific designer and along with two other men he founded his company,
Renoir of California. He loved and was influenced by anything California--the movies, theatre, nature, and
architecture of the period. He gave names to his creations and produced more designs than his small company
of skilled craftsmen was ever able to produce. The necklace above is one of his most popular designs and was
called "Peter Pan Fringe" and was produced in both the Matisse and Renoir lines with plain copper and also
the many colors of the enameled pieces. He hired the best enameling artists in the L. A. area
to do the enameling. He developed an electro plating process to seal in the luster of the copper to
Just a sampling of the beautiful designs he created and some of the pieces which I have collected
in my gallery. Everything he made had matching broaches, earrings
(clip on or screw backs of course), bracelets, and pendants or necklaces.
All kinds of beautiful bracelets can be had in a variety of styles from bangles, clampers, chains, and cuffs. If you are
searching for clip on earrings please check by for the fantastic collection I have. I have also taken vintage
copper screw backs (not the signed ones) and converted them into modern wire earrings for pierced earrings.
With the success of these artists there were many other skilled artisans who also took up
the copper art jewelry designing. Some wonderful pieces which are not even signed but are often
recognizable as belonging to various individual artists. This unusual piece however outshines most any of the
others with a chain so finely crafted it absolutely mimics a real snake's movements and it is feels like a velvet
ribbon around your neck as it moves with you. Take the time when you are in to just
look through the book written about these great artists from our past and to appreciate the wonderful craftsmanship
in their work. Fels closed his company down in 1964 so nothing has been made since that time with his
signature. It has been a labor of love collecting these pieces and they would make some of the most
unique gifts you could ever find. I can see a very lovely movie being made about the lives and work of these men.
...and now to current times here on the island...
It has been in our parallel universe a time of celebrating the Christmas season and as usual
we are just now also getting a taste of Fall color. The city's downtown tree has been lit for a
week or so. I missed the festivities, arriving just as it was breaking up. I am not sure what to make
of the pregnant looking elf but she seemed to be enjoying the lights also.
|This very handsome squirrel is one of the larger squirrels who likes to try to take Shelly's nuts
away and he does not have a great deal of fear of me. He sometimes chases her almost down to
me. You can see that he is quite a bit bulker than she is but since she has moved her home base
a bit further away they don't seem to bother her as much. As you can tell he was
quite interested in what I had to offer and when Shelly takes off to hide nuts and I leave, he knows
that there will be extra goodies for his taking. Not really sure this is a guy...may not be.
This is our very graceful girl. For a few days Shelly found it easier to meet me nearer her home base on the picket
fence but then after a few days she came back to the main feeding area. I put out food for her both places.
Although she if filling out she is not as heavy and bulky as "Hulk" the Squirrel is.
She does still come about once a day to hang out, sometimes especially if it is cold she is primarily interested in
getting whole nuts to put in her storage vault, but this morning it was a balmy warm tropical morning and she
hung out for a good while getting her back rubbed near the base of her tail, as well as her tummy, wrestling with my
hand, and just being the old Shelly.
Sorry, I am working so many hours now trying to get new glass finished for Christmas that home, gallery, and
the squirrel are about all I get done. So for now it will be squirrel reports and gallery reports. She is looking
in the tub to see if there are any more pecans.
Not finding any it is time to socialize as she bounds up my leg body for a bit of communing. I have learned
...long pants and sleeves for squirreling. Toe nails sharpened to a fine point do not feel good on bare skin.
I have noticed several Monarchs in their migration stopping by to check out my Butterfly Weed. I keep
planting the milkweeds every year trying to attract some willing to lay eggs but don't get much co-operation.
Fall/Winter is always time for an oyster roast. Great burgers and wieners for
those who don't like oysters. My oldest friend here on the island, Frances, makes herself useful.
We were young mothers raising our children in the same neighborhood so we go back a looonnnggg way.
The fires were very hot, the oysters plump and juicy, and the beer cold. Roasting them until the juice just
starts to ooze out is my favorite way, making them easier to open, all you need then is a cracker and some
red cocktail sauce.
|Everyone has their own technique. This one with a spoon and a side dish of chili cooling in the wings.|
I hope to get some more Fall color if I get time but with Second Saturday, Christmas Land and also Sea
Parades this weekend then it may not be possible.
My old standby weed, Virginia Creeper, is the prettiest and brightest of our color with Crepe Myrtle
probably moving up a close second. There are lots of Red Maples around but it seems they are
most visible along side the Interstate and since I avoid it at all costs I don't see much there.
A final shot of my little Shelly as her coat thickens to protect her from the onslaught of winter. It isvery warm today but
tomorrow it will be turning cold once again and as you guys up north dig out of snow drifts we will be bracing for a frigid high of only 54 degrees (don't you feel sorry for us?) It does give us that feeling of Winter though to get us past feeling like it is just now turning into Fall.