Found Object recently embarked on a buying trip to Turkey, traveling by car, bus, plane and boat to uncover a trove of goods. Luggage was lost twice en route, but the many rewards the country has on offer – colorful markets, beautiful bazaars, hidden gardens and restaurants, intoxicating aromas, delicious food, quaint towns, turquoise coves and, of course, warm, welcoming locals – made up for any inconveniences.
Even before she started the business, Jude was already an avid collector of “found objects” she would discover during her day-to-day excursions and overseas jaunts. Many of these exotic trinkets – wart hog tusks, antique rings, rattan pearls, colorful stones, silk tassels, African glass and bone beads, Ethiopian crosses – all of which desperately needed a home, have wound up in handmade necklaces.
An interesting, global story often lies behind Jude’s discoveries, rendering her jewelry all the more alluring and appealing.
Take wart hog tusks for instance. Jude found the first one on a key chain at a mall in Cape Town. She scoured the city and soon had access to as many raw, hollow pieces as she wanted. However, they needed to be trimmed, filled and capped if they were to be fashioned for a necklace. She tapped a jewelry artisan in Turkey, who was excited to take on this handmade project.
Buddhist sandalwood beads soon became one of the primary vehicles for many “found objects”. Likewise, colorful glass trade beads from Africa. In Turkey, Jude found hand painted silk tassels, which she now has custom made to combine with the glass and sandalwood beads.
Ethiopian crosses made from low grade silver have also made their way onto many necklaces. Jude found Coptic crosses available in all sizes, from tiny pendants to enormous table tops.
A dealer in Turkey sold her enough vintage African bone beads for three necklaces. To incorporate them into a necklace each bead had to be knotted in between, like pearls, so they wouldn’t rub against each other. That same dealer then cast six replicas of Ottoman seals, which were added to the pieces.
Other great discoveries include vintage and replica Ottoman rings from Turkey. Many are made from oxidized silver and polished brass and inlaid with low grade gems, such as rubies. Wooden Indian Bodhi beads inlaid with brass, as well as sandalwood beads, are often used to display the rings.
Many of Jude’s pieces are available for purchase.
To see a calendar of all Found Object upcoming sales, please click here.
The Silk Road was once the source for much of the world’s luxury goods, from precious stones and jewels, to spices, gold and ivory. Not to mention, textiles. The stunning ikat fabrics awash in bold colors and vibrant patterns simply awed traders back in the day. From the moment material traveled west, ikat became a major influence on the design world and still does today.
The textiles from Uzbekistan are especially alluring. Thousands of individual threads are tie-dyed in intricate patterns, then untied and woven into fabric on very narrow looms. The finished material is so elaborate that designs are often mistaken for prints. The dazzling patterns have since woven their way into many facets of design and fashion, such as bedding, linens, curtains, porcelain, clothing and upholstered furniture.
Jude has long been awed by these Uzbeki gems, especially ikats made from silk and silk/velvet. Through Found Object, she has created pieces that take full advantage of the wonderful colors and patterns.
Jude and Salvo typically purchase fabric in Turkey from suitcase wielding couriers who they encounter by way of their vast connections. The material is then shipped to the Bronx where workers sew the patterns together to make pillows, cube ottomans and totes. The process is not simple due to width limitations, especially when crafting larger pieces.
On one family visit to Turkey, the luxurious fabrics were even a hit with Indi, Salvo and Leslie’s two-year old daughter. The trio plus Jude were brought to buyers on the outskirts of Istanbul. In a small building, they passed through room after room until finally they hit on the mother lode – a space full of material exploding in color. Intoxicated by the visual overload, Indi jumped from pile to pile, beaming with delight.
Revel in the world of ikat at our upcoming sales:
ikat and leather bags on Fab.com, starting June 11th
ikat silk and velvet pillows on RueLaLa.com, starting June 20th
ikat silk pillow collection on Fab.com, starting June 30th
ikat silk pillows on Gilt.com, starting June 30th
Our recent vintage ikat porcelain sale was a huge hit and pieces sold out quickly!