Sarah Coffin

One Woman’s Fancy is another’s Necessaire.

This charming little object-an étui or case, is also called a necessaire.
étui, necessaire, scissors, rococo, Diana, accessory, enamel

Horsehair jewelry

The custom of keeping a locket of hair as a token of love, or as a relic of a holy figure, has existed for centuries. The idea of using hair for the structural part of jewelry became fashionable in the eighteenth century. By the 1830s, especially in England and the United States, all sorts of pendants, brooches, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets were made using human as well as horsehair. Commercial catalogues of the 1850s to 1870s mass-marketed these delicate designs. It is inspiring how a banal material can be reinvented into something precious.
jewelry, horsehair, necklace, bracelet

A Blenko vase with applied decoration

Blenko glass represents the combination of technological advances in glassmaking with the original designs created by designers, with a focus on color, a key part of it impact. First producing flat glass for windows, including stained glass for the windows of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, the company earned national recognition especially for the creation of a strong red glass that could be double fired. Red is a notoriously fugitive color in glass, and the ability for it to be double fired and not lose color enabled enamel painters to paint on it.
Blenko, Glass

Flute song in silver

silver, fluting, Paul Revere, neo-classicism, teapots, bowl, josef hoffmann, Wiener Werkstätte

Reforming Play time -a Chair for Men

I have always found the designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh to be among the most subtly inspiring and innovative works that I have seen.  Before I experienced the take-your-breath-away effect of seeing the whole of a Willow Tea room installed in a Mackintosh exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in 1996, I was already drawn to individual elongated chairs, textiles and other design objects.
chair, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Mary MacDonald, May MacDonald, Miss Cranston, Argyle Street, Tea rooms, billiards, smoking, oak

The Lure of the Peacock: Iridescence and Immortality

Objects have many stories but this vase connects different cultures and different periods in more ways than most.  When it appeared in Rococo: The Continuing Curve 1730-2008 at CHNDM, the Peacock Vase represented with its organic, sinuous forms the re-emergence of a curvilinear aesthetic in the Art Nouveau era of the Rococo style created in the 18th century.
Louis Comfort Tiffany, Tiffany glass, iridescence, peacock, Loetz, India, Iran, aesthetic, William de Morgan

Flute song in silver

This elegant piece of silver is both modern and ancient. Not only does it connect to designs by Hoffmann in other media, such the glass vase with fluted base he designed for Lobmeyr and a fluted sidewall paper created by his follower Dagobert Peche, but it also relates to the classic designs of ancient Greece and Rome. Look at the flutes!
silver, fluting, Paul Revere, neoclassicism, teapots, bowl, josef hoffmann, Wiener Werkstätte

Tiffany and Carnegie

I love the fact that this Tiffany lamp was purchased by the Carnegies, and that Cooper-Hewitt is located in their former house—a Fifth Avenue mansion completed in 1902.
Tiffany glass, Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie mansion, lamps, Skibo Castle

Tender Mourning in Style

This touching object, made of hair cut into patterns, is a tribute to a lost sister. It expresses the neoclassical style of its day with the Greek-style tomb, but also references the sister’s Christianity by the presence of a cross that has been created from bands of hair. The tree is a weeping willow, an appropriately obvious reference typical of this style of picture.
hair designs, mourning, sentimental design, Thomas Hope, england

Delicate Buttons for Delicate Lives

For centuries before Velcro and zippers came along, there were buttons! These charming scenes, carved from ivory and placed on colored foil, reflect tremendous care and skill and highlight the importance of buttons as fashion accessories. Even today, the choice of buttons can greatly impact the overall impression of a garment.
buttons, fashionable, ivory, fashion, accessories, France