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L.C. Van Houten

Automatons - Mechanical Wonders and Horological Artists

Automatons - Mechanical Wonders and Horological Artists

The story of automatons is one of engineering, politics and artistry. These mechanical creatures, made to emulate the movement of living things, were at their high point in the late 1700s, a time when Europe was full of automatons entertaining royalty, teaching moral lessons to citizens, raising philosophical questions and even fomenting revolution.  Automatons were masterpieces of engineering and art. Mechanical wonders that conjured up something bigger than the sum of moving parts. These spectacular creations were made possible by innovations in precision engineering. In the Middle Ages, mechanical clockwork was invented - it was a technology was formed that allowed...

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L.C. Van Houten

Art Deco, Women's Liberation through Fashion, Paris 1925

Art Deco, Women's Liberation through Fashion, Paris 1925

Art Deco style, with symmetrical lines and geometric pattens, is a modern look that emerged from the Jazz Age. This Modern style combined bright colors with metallic chrome, first popularized Paris International Exposition of Decorative Arts in 1925. The event signaled a move away from soft flowery Victorian and Edwardian fashion into strong, angular, modern wear for women. The fair took place in 1925 in Paris from April to October, with designer Jeanne Lanvin as a major artistic contributor.  We tend to think about Women's liberation as political and economic. Fashion is intimately involved. Art Deco fashion came without the physical...

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L.C. Van Houten

Jewelry for Bee Keepers, Farmers and Gardeners

Jewelry for Bee Keepers, Farmers and Gardeners

We get great feedback from beekeepers, farmers and gardeners about our silver and bronze bee jewelry. The Victorians LOVED botanical scenes and insect adornments. Honey bees and beehives, beetles and dragonflies, flowers and butterflies of all sorts were the subject of many buttons in the 1860s.  Here are a few of bee and insects from our button collection. Bees and insect are also the subject of several plates in our 1941 book, Button Classics, an encyclopedia and pricing guide. We have cast several of our most treasured bee and garden buttons in sterling silver - check out our bee and flower jewelry made...

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L.C. Van Houten

Women Entrepreneurs: The Creative Pursuit Collective

Women Entrepreneurs: The Creative Pursuit Collective

I'm part of a collective of women artisan business owners in the San Francisco Bay Area. We help motivate each other and share resources over a monthly shared meal. I think of Compass Rose Design as a family business more than a woman-owned business, since Johnny and I are equal partners in our work (and parenting.)  Connecting with these spectacular women has been powerful for my business and identity as a woman entrepreneur. We've just launched a Creative Pursuit Collective website if you'd like to check out six other handmade collections from bay area painters and jewelry designers.    You can...

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