The 70s' souvenir reborn

When delivering an order to a customer she wanted to show me some old souvenir necklaces  from the 1970s. "Listen, the clasp is a wreck and I can't operate it anymore with my stiffening fingers, could you replace the clasp?"

Since it is not my ideology to just reproduce the piece, I suggested to refresh the necklace with some new sparkling beads. She agreed with my idea. This is what I then did to a couple of her southern souvenirs and when returning them ready, she suddenly asked, what I could do with the extra pieces that were now left over.
The lady had some ideas. She wanted these left-overs to be placed in front and then gave me instructions on the other beads.

A couple of days passed and suddenly she called me again and said she had watched French TV and the anchor had had a marvellous necklace with bright green and red in it. She said she wanted these colors to be added to the necklace since it had looked so energetic on TV.

First it seemed like an odd color combination. The shell pieces were delicate and light, salmon like bits. The green and red such a powerful contrast. I was also worried that the shell would look cheap. This is why I had to spend time figuring out what would be the best way to arrange the focal point in front.

What an adventure it was to start beading these together. Little by little the shell shreds were turning into fragile rose buds and the screaming red was like blood drops on the vibrant green stem.

What first seemed like an extra job in between other orders now turned out to be one of the most inspiring processes for a long time. Not only the visual experience but the dialogue and meeting with the customer really made my day.

So, next time you are about to toss an old piece of jewelry, think twice. What if you gave it another chance for life!


Want or Need Jewelry?

You can argue whether we need jewelry at all. You are even told that only vein people like to decorate themselves. It is, of course, true that you cannot eat your jewelry and housing bills always come first when deciding about spending your money. 

But when the basic needs are fulfilled, how do we decide what is the extra we want?

In a traditional way of thinking we only need jewelry as an accessory to a special occasion or as a symbol of a life's highlight moment. For some it is total waste of money.

Indeed, some of my customers used to say that they never wore any jewelry before wearing Lady R or they never thought they might NEED jewelry, and even more,  in a totally new way 
- as a means of self-expression
- supporting mental well-being.
- fulfilling their need for beauty
- feeling special

The human need for beauty around us is very deep rooted in our minds. For one it is a calm and familiar landscape, a painting, a music piece, for another it is dressing up in a personal way and enjoying beautiful and unique things. I remember my daughter who can't walk, buying an absolutely beautiful pair of high-heel shoes and displaying them on a shelf and enjoying the sight of them every single day. 
One of my customers also bought a piece of jewelry to put it on the living-room table, to remind her of positive and beautiful things in life.

Whose rule it is you always have to wear things in their original way?

When my sister wants bling, she also needs bling! Luckily she has this close connection to a person who can realize even her wildest needs. :) 
She first WANTED the crystal bracelet but soon after it was around her wrist, she NEEDED a pair of ear rings and a neckace to make the set complete.

So, then it is, when sister wants bling, she gets bling!
The same set looks totally different at day or night or when worn with different colors.
Without this bling my sister wouldn't be the person she now is.

When you can design the piece of jewelry together with the one who will realize it for you, the piece will definitely have a deeper meaning to you than when buying a trendy bulk product.
This way you can ask the jewelry maker to weave in your own personality and a specific story you want to tell. 

This is what Lady Renaissance is all about !


Remember - Friendship is like soap bubbles

Once upon a time there was a green field swarming with butterflies. Nearby there lived a little blond girl in a tiny, cozy cottage. The girl’s favorite pastime was blowing soap bubbles in her yard. 

Following these bubbles was also a passion for a Pink Lady butterfly. She had developed following and playing with the bubbles into a kind of art since, while doing that, she was able to forget how alone she was. 

The pink butterfly was not taken into the swarm+ of others since she had a peculiar color, different for the ones living in the green field. Others had a camouflage color and were scared that the pink color would attract the ever bullying magpie after them.

The charm of the soap bubbles was in the way they formed in different sizes and colors, their lightness and ease with which they sailed across the field. It was absolutely intoxicating. But then, in less than a twinkling of an eye the prism of colors and shiny surfaces disappeared, leaving behind only the memory of the past moment.

The Pink Lady had chased hundreds of balls, trying to catch them with the fragile wings, but time after time the balls popped into thousands of droplets and disappeared in air. Even so, she noticed that sometimes the balls were left whole, even on exceedingly sharp surfaces, and then it was possible to examine the beauty of this bubble for a moment before it disappeared. 

Because of this, the butterfly was thinking that there must be a way to gently catch a ball and why not, even collect the balls together and make a chain with them. So she decided to focus all of her energy on finding the way to do it and while doing that, she found her life to have yet one purpose. She didn’t mind being alone anymore because she was so busy. 

Having studied the art of catching the soap bubbles for the whole summer she finally was able to catch them with ease. She managed to make long chains with the bubbles and fly with them. First she had been on top of the world doing it but day by day it didn’t feel so special anymore. She didn’t have anyone to share her joy with.  How much more fun it would have been if only she could have raced the bubbles with friends!

She decided that she had to do something to overcome the loneliness and so one day she flew to the other butterflies and told them how much fun they could have together. First they weren’t anxious to try catching the bubbles because their leader said that it was impossible. After a long persuation the butterflies promised that the next time the girl would be blowing the bubbles they would give it a try. While waiting for the day to come the Pink Lady told them all she had learned about catching and chaining the bubbles. 

When the time came to put all this information into practice, the butterflies forgot all about the vicious magpie, the impossibility of catching the bubbles and even the fear of losing precious time from feeding themselves. 

Day by day they got almost as good as their new friend the Pink Lady and finally they were able to put the bubbles together and fly the chain that had a silvery glow in it. They played together whenever the bubbles were flying, no matter if the sun was coloring the sky red just before dropping close to the horizon. 

At this magic moment the chain became heavy turning into silver and agate… and the butterflies decided to fly it around a special girl’s neck to remind everyone that saw it of the power of friendship and how fragile friendship is, just like the soap bubbles, unless it is cherished together.


Nightless night at Midsummer

The symbol of Midsummer in Finland has always been the birch tree, at least to me. The old tradition is that on Midsummer Eve you go to the woods and take a couple of young birches and fix them standing on both sides of your porch. They look so new and fresh at that time of the year and the scent is absolutely beautiful. 

You also make a bundle of the fresh twigs to use them in the Midsummer night sauna to sofly slap your skin with it in the heat. It revives your circulation and relieves you of all the stress in the muscles. 
If you are not a Finn you might abhor even the idea of this ritual. 
But imagine, a clear light night in the countryside, the sun doesnt't set, at a crystal clear lake. Bathing in the silent sauna, only listening the the hiss of the hot rocks on the stove, the scent of the young birch and the relaxing heat that washes away all the worries from your mind... then dipping into the soft and cool lake water. 

I can assure you, this is the moment on my mind when I see a leaf of a birch tree...

When I first saw these agate leaves in a bead store, this is why I just had to buy them. I knew at the same time that I would use them together with the mountain crystals that I had.

The sand polished crystals were like dew drops and the shining silver chain as bright as the light summer night. Looking at the finished necklace, I can feel the scent and the coolness of the tiny drops in my mind. 


Black isn't all black - for me

I sometimes feel as if everything around me is just blurred,
pure disappointment, no hope for tomorrow.
When that happens it's impossible to believe the people around me
saying how many beautiful things there are to be seen.
Everything just seems out of focus.

Even all the great things that there were, are now in ashes, gone for ever.

No matter if you look forward or back,
 you only see your life  as scattered, black beads on rugged, crevassed stone.
Bigger and smaller failures, all of them.
When you try to catch the beads to put them back in a string,
they keep slipping away.

But if you are willing to take the effort,
you can see something else in the same picture.
Look again and you will see the shapes and hues,
the glitter in the ash.
When you surrender and free your mind
from the chains of sorrow and self-pity you are able to see...

...what is it, that you see now?...

 I saw the shapes and shades that were similar to the burnt waste 
but the message was different. Is it different for you too?
Try to put the black beads of your life on a different background 
and you will see something extraordinary...
even colors may appear!

Then take still another angle and you never know, you could even see a whole new perspective!

Someone once said: "Life is hard and then you die". 
Does it really have to be that way? 
For, someone else said "The happiest people can be found in clay cottages"...
I think we can choose our attitude to the black beads of life. 
I can't change the fact that the wonderful, white pieces of smoking wood are now burnt to ashes but I can choose what I see in the ash. 
What do you choose?


You never know where inpiration hides!

...and how it can hit you so suddenly...

The other day I spotted these 'flowers on the green hay'. 
Examining the shirt more closely... I got even more surprised...

In the days gone by, Finnish textile industry was thriving. Now it has almost disappeared.That's why coming across with this piece wasn't self-evident.
My size always was 36... Even though I'm not from Lahti, I certainly am from Finland and my name IS Tiina. The sizes have changed since the 1970s, and could't fit in this cute shirt. What a pity. So, I had to figure out something else.

The small size didn't stop me from buying this garment from its hiding place, the flea market, and when looking at the flowers, the color, the shape...I got a heureka. I remembered the glass flowers I had in my drawer. Just as if they had been sitting there, waiting for this blouse to appear.

Sometimes, the busy material needs a calm contrast. With this shirt I couldn't resist making the flowers of the blouse three-dimensional and mixing the colors even more. 

 Now I think the blouse and the necklace are inseparable! One can't be without the other!

They will be friends forever!

 Just look at them. Could you separate these two?

I sure can pose them beautifully and display them but now that you have seen them with the blouse: 'Don't they look barren and alone?' Sweet and juicy as candy, but still...Just a necklace without 
a story...


Sky is my inspiration

I look up in the sky and I will never be bored.


The colors and shapes vary every moment.

The blinding sun makes me see everything in dark shades. The moving figures make my imagination race.

Suddenly the migrating white birds appear in the sky.


The birds have spread their wings and glide free in the wind, just like my imagination. They start looking for the best place to settle down and nest, just like my jewelry - finding the best person to carry each piece.

 This piece was inspired by the gentle birds and the tiny sweet water pearls, as clouds and gleaming, faceted glass in shades of water and sky.

Where will this flight of birds nest? Tell me!


The apple of my eye

To say to your dearest: ”You are the apple of my eye”, is sweet. But to make your words and feelings visible every day is an another story. Words, thoughts and goals are easily forgotten in the rush of the everyday bustle, but when you give your words and promises a concrete form, readily seen and touched as a symbol, they aren’t so easily forgotten. One simple glance at this symbol brings a whole story to your consciousness filling you with the words pronounced earlier.

The ideology of Lady Renaissance is based on the belief that all our life is full of stories to be told and shared with other people. This jewelry enables you to tell the stories you want to tell and the messages you want o convey to your dearest ones, or to yourself and people around you. The value of jewelry for me it isn’t always a question of precious stones, the weight of precious metals or representation of widely recognized brands. If we want to be individual and unique, why would we like to express these qualities in ourselves with bulk products then? Do we want to be considered one of the kind in the same way as others?

With jewelry you can challenge the viewers’ imagination and mind. The message doesn’t have to be obvious. Would you read a book, the cover of which would make the contents predictable? Wouldn’t you like to think for yourself and find out the underlying message? Wouldn’t you like to have several different interpretations?
I have an interpretation for this necklace but I’d like to hear yours.
Is there someone you know that this piece would fit perfectly?


Sound of Summer on my Sister's neck

Who says that jewelry should only give a visual experience? Creating this necklace as a present for my twin sister was also an auditive process. 
Thinking of my gorgeously tall, dark haired sister, my fingers kept fondling the shapes of these beautifully shimmering pieces of natural sea shell. I wanted them to stay in close contact with each other, while still moving apart on their own, just as me and my sis. I aimed at making this a statement piece proudly saying: "Look at me and my graceful posture!
The small, transparent seed beads give an easily and loosely moving and almost invisible thread for the pieces while ressembling water drops at the same time. 
The nice rustling sound the necklace makes on her neck reminds her of me and summer and her love for water and underwater world.

What would be your favorite sound on your neck?

Why Lady Renaissance?

When my daughter was on sixth grade and studied Renaissance in her history class, suddenly at the dinner table she said: "Mom, you are a real Renaissance person." I was astonished and couldn't figure out what she meant and she continued: "See, you can do just anything." She was putting into practice the knowledge she had obtained in class and realized that it was exactly the same with the time of renaissance as what mom was doing when she did everything possible by herself.

Hand work and doing things by hand has been an essential part of my life since childhood. During the busy years of life all that was left behind while all the energy had to be put to the survival in everyday life. Two decades later I was totally exhausted with the heavy life and working as "a combined nurse and an assistant" to my handicapped children at the same time as I had a full time job. It was simply too much to handle. I felt that I didn't exist anymore, there was just Mama. I was absolutely positive that I would never be able to smile again.

However, beauty and hand work saved me. I noticed that a perfect counterbalance for the  absolutely black exhaustion was a strong longing for beauty in me. I looked for beautiful things in flea markets, I started to knit and finally I found stones and pearls shining in shimmering colors. I found out that there are exceptional resources inside ourselves and the best medicine for mental and emotional well-being is the time used in doing things with our own hands.

For me the starting point for making the jewelry is a kind of stream of consciousness. Each one of them represent my feelings and moods with their colors and shapes. I try to avoid symmetry, because I think it's boring. I want things happening in my necklaces and bracelets. I want that the eye can stop at different elements. The person carrying my jewelry can be sure that there is no exact copy of the one she has.

I soon noticed that my friends got interested in my jewelry and one after another wanted to have a personal and unique piece made by hand. That is how the business name Lady Renaissance was born.

Very often people say that beauty and even talking about it, is just superficial. For me it is a life saving focus in life and I believe it can be that for many others as well. This is why I like so much the following comment I found in an old book representing Louvre:
 "In the midst of all material conveniences we must preserve interest in anything beautiful and appealing to emotions. No matter if it is a question of master pieces, not decayed by time, modest tools of craftsmen or defective products of simple machines.

- Jean Chatelain, the director of French museums in the 1960s -

What does beauty mean to you?