Tangles, Twists and Treasures

Romantic Jewelry and Fine Things

Vintage Inspired….Romance Acquired


When I started this class, I was really excited. I knew I was going to learn a lot, because Brenda Sue Lansdowne has a lot of practical experience to impart. Being something of a perpetual student, my studies have been primarily from formal education, although I’ve supplemented a great deal through reading books, watching YouTube videos and experimentation. I’ve never before had the pleasure of learning directly from someone who has “lived the life”, so to speak, and I knew this class would take me in directions I’d never expected.

I did not expect that I was also going to learn so much about myself.

Who am I?


One of the things I’ve struggled with for years, in all forms of expression, has been trying to find my own unique style. As an artist, I want to have a voice through my work. I want my work to not only tell a story, but also to be uniquely recognizable as MINE. I’ve fought for years trying to make my work distinctive. I can’t even explain the frustration I’ve felt – it’s almost been enough to cause me to quit art altogether!

Within the first week, Brenda taught me to look backwards – not forwards. Instead of predicting what I wanted to do or trying to force myself in a particular direction, she had me examine my previous work. It was one of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned. She had the entire class take pictures of previous work, and create collages of those pieces. Then she had us examine those collages to determine if there were any similarities. I was sure there were none. I was sure that I didn’t have a style, nothing was similar in what I did, and it was all experimentation. Boy was I wrong!

I discovered trends that pervade not only my jewelry work, but paintings I did in college thirty years ago, as well as the objects I like to surround myself with, and the style I’ve been trying to develop for my company image and show booth. I never saw these trends. I was doing these things subconsciously. Brenda made me SEE them.

My Design Style and Influences

Examining my work made me see the common elements. My artwork and jewelry are full of flowers, vines, leaves, pearly colors, bright metals, graceful wires, soft curves and spiraling shapes and ribbons. I have a love of dangles, and hand-painting. I like to cast resin into shapes or cameos and paint them in various ways – sometimes in abstract styles, others in realistic styles which appear heavily influenced by Classical Greece and Rome. I always believed that my love of abstract styles, graphic art, and natural elements, were at odds with one another. Studying these things together, made me realize that nothing could be further from the truth. The curved lines I prefer in my abstracts, mimic the literal curves of vines, flowers and the human form. I travel back and forth between these style influences because they ARE related: there is no need for me to choose.


Left, hand-painted cameo focal on “Fall Goddess” necklace. Right, hand-painted abstract focals in delicate pendants.

When we shifted our attention to design eras, and various design styles, my eyes really opened. I didn’t know the terms for the things I liked – I only knew that I liked them. I didn’t realize that my love of strong graphic design had similarities with my love of Oriental deco, or why they were related. They are.

Design Influences 6Design Influences 2Design Influences 3Design Influences1Design Influences 5Design Influences 4

When we hit Art Nouveau, I realized all of my jewelry incorporates the graceful elements of the Art Nouveau style, and that over the years, much of my collected jewelry is in that style, as well. When we hit Art Deco, I came to understand why I love strong colors, bold graphics, and yet, I could still love Art Nouveau so much. The transitional period between Art Nouveau and Art Deco, is all about strong graphics combined with graceful lines and floral motifs. This is also when Oriental artwork began to have a heavy influence again, explaining where my love of Oriental style derived.

Design Influences OrientalIn a seemingly-unrelated design shift, I’m also very influenced by Classical Greek and Roman art, by way of the Renaissance. Renaissance (Latin renฤscฤซ – which means “to be born again”) was a revival of interest in Classical Greek and Roman art. Again, I had to see with new eyes, or I would’ve missed the elements in common. Sculpture from both periods share a lot in common with Art Nouveau – graceful lines, focus on the human form, leaves and vines. The paintings share something with Art Deco, in its use of rich color and vivid imagery.

Design Influences Classical

All of these design influences are clear in my life, but only in retrospect. My living area is full of Oriental influences, and I love Sumi drawing and Japanese painting. The costumes for my costuming groups are based off organic, flowing Indian garb, with it’s motifs of luminescent colors, flowers and geometrics. For months, when people asked, I told them I wanted my business to evoke Victorian boudoirs. Things you’d find in a high class ladies’ bedroom. Lace, vintage pieces, jewelry, silver, trinkets, candleholders, jewel boxes – these are the things I wanted to incorporate as sales, and also as part of the style of my show booth. At first, none of these things seemed to be related, but they are. All of these styles and items have similar elements, natural subjects, organic lines and epitomize romance.


The author, dressed as a Meridian from the Star Trek universe.

This exercise made me realize that my style is romantic, with a little bit of an edge – a little of the unexpected. I tread a line that crosses back and forth between Art Nouveau and Art Deco, and often combines both. It’s right up my alley to mix simple shapes – such as circles and squares – with flowers, leaves and lace. The contrast appeals to me. Early in my artistic career, I painted brilliant ribbons gracefully floating in space, and I attempted mixed-media work which incorporated pieces of lace and flowers into my paintings.


Left, “Universal Ribbon”. Right, “A Monument to Diversity”. – Gina-Marie Hammer.

The Pastโ€ฆ Going Forward

How does all of this translate into my new line? Well, my theme of fairies is quite romantic, and the wings, vines, leaves and flowers are all consistent with the voice I never realized I had. I’ve decided to call my line, “Fashion Fairies”, and each fairy will have a specific story to tell, which should be fairly obvious from these mockups.


Pink “Pocket Fairy”, Option 1


Pink “Pocket Fairy”, Option 2


“Maple Bedtime Fairy”, Blue (Possibly a watch fob)


“Gayle Goth” Fairy (She’s so big, she’ll probably be a necklace)


“Geisha Fairy”, very early-stage concept








I love what I’m doing. There’s a continuum between hobbyist, maker and production designer, and I’m still trying to figure out where I fit. I don’t want to be just a hobbyist. I want this to be a life. I love making things, but I’m not interested in the marketing and listing of products, or keeping up with the website. Does that make me solely a designer? I’m not certain if I want to design pieces and have others make them, or if the joy for me is “in the doing”. I may have to try things different ways to find out.

Regardless, I intend to make a living at this, someday; and perhaps even a name for myself. Like Gabrielle Chanel, I’d like to leave a legacy.

Thanks for visiting, and have a look at the other blogs on this hop – everyone is working so hard on their lines!

Brenda Sue Lansdowne Jewelry Making Outside the Box


Diana Buynak Butterfly Emporium Ceramic Studio


Irene Hoffman, Heart’s Dezire by Irene


Clare Wells Nemeth, Creative Magick


Mary Reckmeyer, Afrayed Not


Marcia Tuzzolino, Aurora Designs


Elizabeth Wilks, Wearable Art by Lizzie


Jeanette Rose Belmont, One Canvas At A Time


Lyn Joy Reeve, A Journey From Jewels To Jubilation


Belinda Reed-Ingle, Vogue Rocks


Beth Trubman, The Journey of Jewelry


Carole Carlson, Bead Sophisticate


Jann Tague, Clever Designs by Jann


Shari Gardner, SLG Jewelry Designs


Susan Bolton, Fern’s Place


Chris Kemp, Noodle Pie Bracelets


Barbara Kelley, Angels’ Keep


Susan Bowerman, Woodside Wireworks


Pamela Anger, Novegatti Designs


Joan Donovan, Hailey’s Cottage


Alison Huie, Ally’s Baubles


Sharon Palac, Sharon’s Jewelry Garden


Erica Olmos, Beeb’s Closet


Erin Whitacre, Shattered Time Jewelry


Fran Sitton, Sitton Up Front


Ginger Hammond, Lynn Leigh Designs


Paula Gaskill, Lovely LaylaBug Jewels


Mary Deis, The Rose Sword


Renee Webb Allen, Small Stuff Design


Valerie Tilghman, ArtJewelsandGifts


Chris Cravens, Vintage Cravens


Leslie Carver, Adorn Divine Designs


Donna Parry, JewelryDonna


Kelly Wymer, Winged Wisdom Enchantments



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33 thoughts on “Vintage Inspired….Romance Acquired

  1. Wonderful post, Gina! I love how you laid out your thought processes and the photo you chose at the beginning is stunning. Thank you for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Girl, I think you nailed this. Very nice read. I enjoyed every moment of it. Can’t wait to see your reveal.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely insight into your design process and inspiration. A thoroughly enjoyable read โ™ฅ Looking forward to the launch of your fairy-inspired line!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed reading your blog, and your pictures are great, especially of you in the Star Trek costume.My son would die for that opportunity!LOL! He’s a die hard Trekki! Sorry if misspelled. I love your theme with the fairies. I’m a kindred spirit when it comes to them. ;D Can’t wait to see your line in April.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow I really like what you are making , love the little doll and how you have painted it in so many ways , you can take this in to so many directions. love it !
    love your blog..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well done, Gina. You are an excellent writer and have quite a skill of making your point with elegant, well-spoken words. I felt quite gratified by your pointing out how the nuances of the class work. It truly is about opening ourselves up to find what is inside and then, determine a starting point. I do see a conflict, however, that you will need to resolve…..and we can discuss this in class. You mention being a company, wanting a company image, wanting this to be a life. But then you mention you don’t want to get too involved with the BUSINESS of it all! Believe me, I get ya! I don’t like all the time I have to spend on the business end, it does indeed keep me away from my creativity. Maybe we can talk about a balance via a class discussion. In the long run, as I often say, you’ll have to jiggle it….or JUGGLE it! LOL THANK YOU very much for your confidence in me as an instructor and for your participation in the class.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sharon P on said:

    Great post, I love your thought process and self-discovery. Can’t wait to see your enchanting fairies!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you, everyone, for such kind comments! I’m really looking-forward to getting these fairies done. I think they’re finally “speaking to me”, and letting me know what they want to be!


  9. Beth Trubman on said:

    Very wonderful blog Gina-Marie. You are an excellent writer. I wish I could have the insight that you do, and then be able to put my thoughts in writing. And your line is truly very imaginative. Good luck, and here’s to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t fret about it Beth, you’ll get there. Like everything else, it takes practice. And reading the blogs REALLY helps. It forces you to look at your own writing and compare it, which can sometimes be really ugly. During the first blog hop, I was having all kinds of issues. I kept thinking everyone’s blog was so much better than mine, and I tried to rewrite mine four or five times to get it to sound more pithy, engaging and less-wordy. Every time I did it, I felt like I was cutting my own heart out, until I was practically in tears over the whole thing.

      I just had to learn: I will never be a short-winded person. So, I had to go with it. I had to find a way to make *myself* witty and engaging, and not try to be anyone else. Once I started doing that, things started to come together. Just be you. Everything will turn out fine!


  10. I love the fairy theme. I loved reading your blog, very insightful. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Gina, what a beautifully written blog! You have captured the essence of every learning experience in class and made it your own. I am really looking forward to seeing your “fashion fairies” come to life. Well done, Miss Gina! Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Val Tilghman on said:

    Well Gabrielle Chanel, I think that you are headed the right way ๐Ÿ™‚ Faeries do have voices…we just have to learn to listen to them !

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Love your post! I also learned that I design with an air for the romantic, but also get a little edgy now and then. That’s always good for us. Looking forward to seeing your line.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Very well written blog post Gina. You are going to have such a sweet line. Can’t wait to see your final reveal on April 1st.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. You ladies are so kind! Thank you so much for the kudos, bravos and applause. Hopefully you’ll be very excited by what I manage for the new line!


  16. Very thoughtful post, I look forward to see your fairies strut their stuff in April.


  17. fernsplace on said:

    Gina, well done. I am looking forward to seeing your reveal.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Beautiful blog Gina. Professionally written, and lovely wording. The pictures are all really interesting and beautiful.
    I’m charmed by your fairies, and can’t wait to meet them all!
    Thank you for inviting us in, and for sharing so many of your dreams…

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Charlotte on said:

    You had me with your post title and the first photo. This is a great read about a couple of steps on your journey.


  20. Nice post, Gina, and you explained perfectly what you’ve gotten from the class so far. I can’t wait to see your pretty fairy line!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Even though our current design directions are different, I find you such a kindred spirit in influences, business struggles, and dreams…must have known you in a past life! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I look forward to seeing your reveal, and as always…Live long and Prosper. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  22. mockinyc on said:

    I really enjoyed your blog post! Can’t wait to see the finished fairies!


  23. Thank you for sharing finally finding your style great post. Love the dress up with the fairies. Looking forward to seeing the line.


  24. Elisabeth Wilks on said:

    A very nice introspective blog post. You have some great pics for your design ideas of your line. Look forward to seeing all your finished pieces.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Love your blog post and I love the way your line is going!


  26. trendyjewelrydwesigns on said:

    Oh I adore ypour line your doing just wonderful, and I can’t wait to see the rest. XOXO


  27. Gina .. what a great blog .. im so looking forward to your reveal on April 1 ..


  28. JewelryDonna on said:

    I thought I left a comment but it seems as though I did not. I think you have a beautiful blog. I have enjoyed reading all the blogs and I am excited to be reading them again April 1st. You have a lot of wonderful ideas and make beautiful things. My Best to You!


  29. Shari Lynn Gardner on said:

    Hi Gina, your fairies are going to be adorable. I can’t wait to see them finished. Just take some deep breaths and think, only one more month of thinking this hard..lol


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