Tag Archives: jewelry

MerriWeather on Etsy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Three cheers for the red, white, and blue!

Craftspeople offering wonderful reproduction Bakelite/Lucite-esque reproductions in modern plastics have been popping up with shops on Etsy in the past few years and the offerings are fantastic.  MerriWeather is another of these shops, honing in on some signature WWII costume jewelry items, such as the V for Victory and the MacArthur heart design.

From the shop’s About page: “Specifically with the MacArthur Heart Brooch, with prices continuing to climb it became harder and harder to collect bakelite. So, one day I thought – I should try to make one myself, I can’t be the only one that would like to have a MacArthur heart. So I started to carve from clay the original pieces that would be the foundation of my collection.

I carve all of my pieces from scratch, and then create my own molds of my original parts. This is the only way to have a truly unique piece. Each piece is poured and cast by hand. Each piece is then sanded for hours to get a polished finish. Then each is assembled with great care to give them an original and authentic vintage look. My first MacArthur Heart was finished in September 2013.”

MerriWeather is based in Austin, Texas, which begs the question as to whether MerriWeather is a swing dancer.  If anyone knows, please chime in!  In the meantime, here are some of my favorites from the shop.

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The elusive MacArthur heart.

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Good luck!

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Queen of Hearts necklace

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Lindy Focus 2015 Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Get your LF merch on day 1 or they will sell out on day 2!

In many ways I am still recovering from Lindy Focus 2015, the swing village that camps out at the Crowne Plaza in Asheville, with all manner of dancing and services that pop up to cater to a population that would prefer not to leave the hotel, lest they miss too much dancing, live music, performances, and classes.  To help with our self-containment of joy, 2015 saw service providers such as massage therapists, shoe repair, tailors, the Jack and Jill Salon for hair cuts and styles, a caricature artist in the lobby, and two hotel room pop-up restaurants (Midnight Di-Noshery and Taco Focus) to serve food after the main dance that were, after two nights, axed by the hotel administration and replaced with food trucks, arranged by Lindy Focus to fill the void and the empty bellies of the masses.

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I love the smell of retail in the morning….errr, afternoon.

There were retail vendors, as well!  Let’s start with the Savoy Shop, a mix of consigned clothing from campers, vintage and thrifted duds with dancers in mind, and the home of the shoe repair service at Lindy Focus.  Michelle Morrison has run the shop for the past several years and has this down to a science.  I love seeing things in the Savoy Shop one day, then seeing them on the dance floor the next!  I even spotted one of my own consigned dresses in the crowd one night and it made my heart soar to know it had found a wonderful new home.  Of particular note this year, the Savoy Shop offered the largest selection of tie clips I have ever seen in one place – surely something for everyone!

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Artist in residence Ryan Calloway.

Dance instructor and artist Ryan Calloway was on hand this year, not only throwing down in the Superheroes of Swing finals, but also selling his wonderful jazz dance and music prints, offering giant, colorful books of his prints to flip through while you chat with the artist himself.  Rather than having to worry about crushing your brand new artwork on the flight home, Ryan offered to ship the prints you purchase for free to your home starting on December 28 and ran the special through January 4 in case you decided you wanted a print after all.  If you missed out on decorating your walls with his signature style, you can order his glorious prints online from his Etsy page.

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A gorgeous feathered headpiece from Forties Forward

I’m going to give a shoutout to Forties Forward, making another appearance on this blog as my most prolific vendor – perhaps it’s because we are both from the Southeast and travel to the same events, or perhaps it’s because they have a great product and the get-up-and-go to make it to some of the best events in the USA.  I imagine they do a great business at Lindy Focus, particularly around New Year’s Eve, for the perfect fishing touch to an ensemble.  This year feathers were a trend at Lindy Focus and they offered some great feather options with sparkly jewels as the attachment piece, in addition to their signature blooms.

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Zoe’s hands at work.

Revive Fashions made, I believe, its debut this year at Lindy Focus, with the crafty Zoe Lechucita creating “custom made hair pieces, feather corsages, and tie pins” on site, while you wait or while you dance and come back to check on it later. 🙂  It was so great to see Zoe picking up the custom torch from Sharon Crawford, ensuring that you can have something custom made to match your ensemble for New Year’s Eve.

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This is the cutest, right?

Another newcomer to the vendor program this year was Juniper Jewelry Designs, the work of Maddie FitzGerald, who was interviewed this year for the Lindy Focus blog about her jewelry designs, so I’ll direct you to the blog post for everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Maddie and her jewelry.  Maddie’s sense of humor is evident in her notes left on the vendor table (see photo at left) and her collection is serious, with an extensive line of bracelets, necklaces, earrings, small and large, simple and intricate, a little something for everyone (as I like  it!). You can check out her work on her Etsy page, which is really only a small sampling of the large display she had at Lindy Focus.

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Mary Jane wingtip in a new color combo!

Last, but certainly not least, I was so happy to see Dancestore.com return to Lindy Focus, thanks to the efforts of Laurie Gilkenson (aka Nina’s mom).  At any event there are shoe casualties, and Lindy Focus is, perhaps, well-equipped to deal with some repairs, but sometimes there are catastrophic shoe failures that only a new pair will fix and you only have so much room in your suitcase.  At an event with 1,000+ dancers, it is critical to have a vendor like Dancestore.com present and on site, not just to fulfill wishlists and fill out shoe basics, but to turn a tragedy into a happy ending!

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I’m also going to insert a shameless plug for Beastly Beauties, who was not a vendor this year at Lindy Focus, but who made my feathered headdress that I wore on Ellington night – I am in awe of and eternally grateful for the efforts of this wonderful Raleigh-based designer.

And there you have it!  I hope I have not missed anyone, as I didn’t have as much time this year to shop and hobnob with all the sellers.  If I have missed anything, please let me know and I will amend this post.  Happy hopping and shopping, everyone!

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The mannequin display never held anything for long before it was snatched up from the Savoy Shop!

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A tailcoat and trousers ready for New Year’s Eve, at the Savoy Shop.

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This isn’t even all of them!  SO MANY TIE CLIPS

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Vintage and gently used shoes as the Savoy Shop.

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A color print for the burgeoning clarinetist in your life?  Artwork by Ryan Calloway.

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Who can resist a good Billie Holiday print?   Artwork by Ryan Calloway.

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Dancestore maximized their space!

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A luscious bloom from Forties Forward.

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Ties, hats, and blooms at Forties Forward.

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Feathers, fans, lights, and a screen at Revive Fashions.

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Ready-made blooms with sparkle at Revive Fashions.

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A necklace fit for a New Year’s Eve ensemble, at Juniper Jewelry Designs.

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Tree of Life pendants and clusters of beads and pearls, at Juniper Jewelry Designs.

Downton Abbey Jewelry Collection

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I realized tonight that I haven’t written about the Downton Abbey Jewelry Collection, even after purchasing a pair of earrings, but it took me wearing them last night to realize that you might also want to know, with Lindy Focus and other New Year’s Eve swing dance events coming up! So here it is, in all of its ornate Edwardian-moving-toward-Art-Deco glory. As far as costume jewelry goes, the pieces are intricate and are at a reasonable price point, in my opinion, for what you are getting. The earrings I purchased mix very well with the vintage Art Deco costume jewelry I own and I only wish I needed more excuses to buy all this fancy jewelry. There are bracelets, earrings, necklaces, barrettes, brooches, and the line is EXTENSIVE, almost overwhelming how many lovely pieces there are. Begin the drooling in 5, 4, 3…

This "starburst" necklace (which looks like a lovely snowflake to me) is part of a lovely collection-within-a-collection - I love a jewelry set!

This “starburst” necklace (which looks like a lovely snowflake to me) is part of a lovely collection-within-a-collection – I love a jewelry set!

I bought these drop earrings to clear the end of my bob near my jawline - they got the job done with style!

I bought these drop earrings to clear the end of my bob near my jawline – they got the job done with style!

Good gold tone jewelry is so hard to find, and there's a lot of goodness in the collection!

Good gold tone jewelry is so hard to find, and there’s a lot of goodness in the collection!

A gorgeous barrette

A gorgeous barrette

ADSVA Gatsby Afternoon Picnic 2014 Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Swing dancers Brittany and Brian enjoy some gourmet popsicles at the Gatsby Picnic

Swing dancers Brittany Darst and Brian Fennessy enjoy some gourmet popsicles at the Gatsby Picnic

A few weeks ago I attended the third annual Art Deco Society of Virginia Gatsby Afternoon Picnic in Richmond, Virginia. I have seen this event grow from “let’s all meet in a park at the same time” to an organized event at the historic Wilton House Museum, with live music, vintage vendors, an on-site barber, food trucks, photo booth, contests, media coverage, shuttles, parking attendants, an MC, and even an alcohol sponsor. I was happy to see some familiar faces amongst the vendors and pleasantly surprised to find vintage vendors that were new to me.

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Let’s start on one end of the line and move to the other – first in the lineup was Chatterblossom, who has become my own personal vintage millinery Philip Treacy. The gorgeous millinery was on display, as well as lovely jewels, flapper headbands, and a nice selection of menswear accessories. If only women’s dress shirts didn’t button from the opposite side, a tie clip with vintage microphone would have certainly left with me!

Another standby for me, Raleigh Vintage, was present with a drool-worthy display of Art Deco era goods and jewels. This display was on the heels of another festival in Raleigh the previous day, but the busy bees at Raleigh Vintage persevered and were present in force. I am seriously in love with all of the jewelry in their display, can I just take the silver tray full of necklaces home with me? Also, lots of event-appropriate cotton frocks in lovely prints, embroidery, and all things just-so.

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Machine Dance Vintage and Brooksy shared a lovely space together, complimenting a rack of MDV vintage dresses and goods with Brooksy’s hand-crafted 1920’s hats and headbands. I have long been a fan of MDV’s Etsy shop and it was good to see some of these great vintage pieces in person. I have also been following and eagerly anticipating the soon-to-be-launched Brooksy line of hats, created by ADSVA president Olivia Lloyd. The construction of these hats and the attention to detail is as impeccable as Ms. Lloyd’s vintage wardrobe. I am holding out for Myrna Loy’s pixie hat!

My husband’s family lives in Virginia Beach, which has many great thrift stores, but I was unaware of VB Vintage – no brick and mortar shop, but certainly an impressive enough of a display that I was kicking myself for not knowing about them before now. Their Etsy shop doesn’t even come close to displaying the number of goods they had on hand at the Gatsby picnic, which means there’s even more to come – also, the benefit of being on location for these trunk shows! Lots of great accessories, knick knacks, and a few stellar pieces of clothing from the era.

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Monkey Shynes was up next, with a small selection of 78 rpm records and assorted vintage memorabilia and crafts.

Finally, on the other end of vendor’s row was MA’s Mad House of Adornment, another Etsy vendor with great feathered headpieces and eclectic jewelry. I am particularly fond of feathered headpieces made from feathers with curled ends – the effect is really stunning and the result is that they tend to lay so nicely in whatever configuration I have seen them in. I was also amused by the Scarlett O’Hara necklace – the movie came out in 1939, so we’ll humor the reference.

Check out the photos below – enjoy!

Assorted flapper headbands from Chatterblossom

Assorted flapper headbands from Chatterblossom

A selection of tie clips from Chatterblossom

A selection of tie clips from Chatterblossom

The lovely Jaye Ferrone shows off an adorable dress from Raleigh Vintage

The lovely Jaye Ferrone shows off an adorable dress from Raleigh Vintage

Art Deco jewels and things at Raleigh Vintage

Art Deco jewels and things at Raleigh Vintage

An adorable 1920's sailor top from Raleigh Vintage

An adorable 1920’s sailor top from Raleigh Vintage

A gorgeous green cape from Machine Dance Vintage

A gorgeous green cape from Machine Dance Vintage

An ice blue confection at Machine Dance Vintage

An ice blue confection at Machine Dance Vintage

I love a novelty print!  This rayon beauty is still available in the Machine Dance Vintage Etsy shop!

I love a novelty print! This rayon beauty is still available in the Machine Dance Vintage Etsy shop!

1920's goodness from Machine Dance Vintage, with Brooksy hats peeking out from behind

1920’s goodness from Machine Dance Vintage, with Brooksy hats peeking out from behind

Dual cloches from Brooksy

Dual cloches from Brooksy

Flapper headbands for your sporty 20's looks, at Brooksy

Flapper headbands for your sporty 20’s looks, at Brooksy

VB Vintage selection of bangles

VB Vintage selection of bangles

Pretty vintage accessories from VB Vintage

Pretty vintage accessories from VB Vintage

A lovely vintage robe from VB Vintage

A lovely vintage robe from VB Vintage

78s at Monkey Shynes

78s at Monkey Shynes

Feather curls at MA's Mad House of Adornment

Feather curls at MA’s Mad House of Adornment

Jewelry by MA's Mad House of Adornment - don't you want a Scarlett O'Hara pendant to smirk at everyone for you?

Jewelry by MA’s Mad House of Adornment – don’t you want a Scarlett O’Hara pendant to smirk at everyone for you?

Lindy Focus 2013 – Vendor Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Al and Leon, as illustrated by Ryan Calloway

Al and Leon, as illustrated by Ryan Calloway

I’ve waited long enough to post, but I have largely been in denial about Lindy Focus ending – watching the myriad videos posted daily and attending in my local dances with the tidal wave of positive energy remaining and commiserating about the days that we don’t get to dance now that Lindy Focus is over. I’m still on LF sleep schedule, which means I have started this blog post at 2:15 a.m., as if in anticipation of a 3:00 a.m. DJ shift. But I must move on, and I’ve got to get these vendors posted if I’m going to remember anything about them – on with the post!

I’ll start off with this year’s Lindy Focus feature artist, Ryan Calloway, who not only had fabulous jazz dance and jazz music prints available for purchase, but whose artwork was also featured in a limited edition Lindy Focus tee shirt. I particularly love his style and the way in which he depicts the movement in his prints – a feast for the eyes on the walls of any Lindy Hopper home.

A custom bridal piece by Creations by Crawford

A custom bridal piece by Creations by Crawford

Next, we have what I believe to be my most frequent topic on Lindy Shopper, which would be Miss Sharon Crawford and her Creations by Crawford – her prolific event attendance as a vendor is unparalleled in the Southeast and her custom creations a work of art inspired by each wearer who contracts for her creative services. She works during the entire event, often so that a purchaser can wear their custom pieces to the dance THAT NIGHT. Her women’s pieces are stellar, but I think she really shines with menswear and her use of feathers to create custom lapel pieces.

Sharon also vended jewelry pieces from Plain Jane, a local to Asheville designer, and shared a table with Zoe Lechucita, who was also making custom hair pieces during the event, with accents of sequins and jewels.

Glitter taps...so close, yet so far away...

Glitter taps…so close, yet so far away…

The Lindy Focus consignment shop was in full swing, with everything from madras plaid pants to beaded gowns to glitter tap shoes. I was dying for a pair of the glitter tap shoes, but the sizes were just out of reach. I made a little money consigning a few things, which is great, and I overheard several people on New Year’s Eve saying that they had purchased their dress at the consignment shop. What a great idea to recycle dancer clothing and, as far as I know, this is unique to Lindy Focus.

A Forties Forward display!

A Forties Forward display!

Forties Forward, another consistent southeast swing event vendor, was set up with their glorious blooms and has also added some feathered pieces to the lineup. Bejeweled centers decked the blossoms, as well as the feathers – the overall feeling from the booth was opulence. Right on, ladies!

Nestled in the consignment shop I saw a small display for JitterButtons, featuring a selection of 8 buttons with clever, swing dance-related designs and slogans, such as “Friends Don’t Let Friends Clap on One” and an anti-pretzel sign. You can purchase one of their stock buttons from their website and you can also order custom buttons for your own event, as well!

Seriously...about the clapping...

Seriously…about the clapping…

Last, but certainly not least, Nicole Lenzen dazzled us with another fashion show during one of the camp meetings, highlighting her new collection and using instructors to expertly show off the movement of her garments. I’m sad that I didn’t get a chance to look at the garments more closely due to schedule constraints, but I am sure, after speaking with her last year, that the fabrics are of excellent quality and texture, and there were some repeat details that I loved, such as the lovely belt on the Mariposa dress (now in more colors!). Take a look at the entire fashion show and collection on the Lindy Focus YouTube channel:

A selection of Ryan Calloway's jazz prints

A selection of Ryan Calloway’s jazz prints

Plain Jane's baubles

Plain Jane’s baubles

Zoe hard at work on a feathered piece.

Zoe hard at work on a feathered piece.

Sharon shows off a custom hair piece.

Sharon shows off a custom hair piece.

An array of men's footwear at the Lindy Focus consignment shop.

An array of men’s footwear at the Lindy Focus consignment shop.

The consignment shop comprised most of the vendor area square footage.

The consignment shop comprised most of the vendor area square footage.

All the feathers!  This lovely piece is by Forties Forward.

All the feathers! This lovely piece is by Forties Forward.

Nicole Lenzen's display served as a teaser for the fashion show earlier in the week.

Nicole Lenzen’s display served as a teaser for the fashion show earlier in the week.

EBC 2013 Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The Eastern Balboa Championships, in its final year, brought out the best in everyone who attended – there was so much positive energy at this event, plus the usual shenanigans, that it was radiant with awesome. Way to go out with a bang!

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The vendors added to the shine, as the vendor area showcase several local businesses with a serious fan base. Creations by Crawford has become a staple of swing dance events in the southeast and beyond, known for her custom hair pieces, but perhaps most brilliantly for her lapel art, which elevates and distinguishes the lapels of men’s jackets, with metal, feathers, fabric, and touches that are elegant without being femme. Sharon had a truly delicious selection of jewels to choose from, as the basis for her designs.

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Raleigh Vintage, whose online fan base has reached international proportions, returned, with a large vendor space filled with 1930’s and 40’s dresses, separates, menswear, accessories, shoes, and a 1933 World’s Fair tie clip for everyone. They always curate a superbly appropriate collection to bring to EBC, with an eye for durable vintage to withstand the tests of the dance floor. Of particular note was a collection of men’s socks with fantastic colors and details. This year’s display also featured a sale rack of items with minor flaws and majorly discounted prices. And there was much rejoicing.

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Chatterblossom made its EBC debut this year, with a collection of hand crafted hair accessories and jewelry, with a vintage-inspired aesthetic. With a welcoming and eye-catching display, it was hard to resist the rings, necklaces, blooms, and flapper head bands in the collection. Already a successful blog and Etsy shop, I hope to see Chatterblossom at future swing dance events, well stocked with tons of goodies, especially red flowers (there are never enough in red!).

Here’s a glimpse of what you missed:

Part of Chatterblossom's vendor area

Part of Chatterblossom’s vendor area

If your name is George, this is your lucky day - at Chatterblossom

If your name is George, this is your lucky day – at Chatterblossom

Earrings made from cute buttons, by Chatterblossom

Earrings made from cute buttons, by Chatterblossom

Ridiculous socks at Raleigh Vintage

Ridiculous socks at Raleigh Vintage

Adorable dress at Raleigh Vintage

Adorable dress at Raleigh Vintage

Ties at Raleigh Vintage

Ties at Raleigh Vintage

Raleigh Vintage always has a few good sweater vests!

Raleigh Vintage always has a few good sweater vests!

This neckline!  At Raleigh Vintage

This neckline! At Raleigh Vintage

Yellow men's shirt with top stitching, at Raleigh Vintage

Yellow men’s shirt with top stitching, at Raleigh Vintage

Miss Sharon Crawford, busy with a custom piece.

Miss Sharon Crawford, busy with a custom piece.

A box of jewels, which can become the basis for a Creation by Crawford.

A box of jewels, which can become the basis for a Creation by Crawford.

EBC 2012 Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Merch upgrade: the Mint Julep Jazz Band was selling logo shoe bags and buttons at EBC and Creations by Crawford decided to take the buttons to the next level – available as a pin or hair flower.

The 9th annual Eastern Balboa Championships was another rousing success, with perhaps even more shenanigans, planned and unplanned, than usual. A highlight of the weekend was dressing in tweeds for the mock English hunt, led by Bobby White, where the tweeded and costumed EBC gentry gave organizer Chris Owens a sporting head start before we unleashed the Nerf guns on him. Perhaps the best part of the weekend for me was performing with my band, the Mint Julep Jazz Band, for the Friday night dance, receiving rave reviews for our performance, and launching a Kickstarter for our first CD. 🙂

Molly McGowan picked up the wonderful 1940’s dress on the right from Raleigh Vintage, and I had ideas that Adam Speen might like this sweater vest.

The vendors were out again this year, but in spite of not having a shoe vendor, the vendor area certainly looked full. Raleigh Vintage was back with their fabulous trunk show of 1920’s, 1930’s, and 1940’s clothing, as well as a full rack of tweed for some last-minute-pre-hunt shopping. Some of my favorite pieces from the collection are shown below, and I managed to do some Christmas shopping for my husband, as well. My favorite purchase for him was a 1933 World’s Fair tie clip and Raleigh Vintage had a set of three of them, in blue, white, and black. They also had some excellent ladies’ jewelry this time, bakelite, Art Deco necklaces, and clever pins. There was a hilarious pin with maracas and a plaque that said “Hasta Manana” that I loved – but what do you wear with this? I am pondering…

Red beauties from The Cleveland Shop

Following the success of their booth at All Balboa Weekend, The Cleveland Shop made the long journey to North Carolina with an impressive display of vintage dresses, separates, menswear, shoes, hats, and other vintage sundries. I especially appreciate that they brought books on vintage make-up and hair, which can be a chore to figure out without a tutorial. Favorites included the red shoes pictured at left, tons of wonderful rayon floral 30’s and 40’s dresses, and a plaid suit that I would wear loud and proud if I were a dude. I do hope their trip down here was fruitful and that they will return to us next year from the land of vintage with even more goodies.

Last, but certainly not least, Sharon Crawford of Creations by Crawford is the hardest working vendor at these events – most of her creations are custom made for you, during the weekend, and are sometimes being made for a dance that night. Sharon’s vendor table is also a social hub, so you can enjoy the warm, friendly conversation as she creates wonderful pieces made from vintage jewelry, feathers, ribbon, and other tiny pretty things. I’m willing to say that Sharon gets a lot of business from men, as well, and can create the perfect boutonniere to go with any jacket or ensemble.

Don’t miss out on the 10th anniversary party next year, the celebration is going to be huge and full of pranks, I’m sure!

Usually, one of Sharon’s creations begins with a piece of jewelry…

Ms. Crawford and her workstation

One of the books on vintage makeup at The Cleveland Shop’s table

I love the smocking on this dress from The Cleveland Shop

Plaid!

My GAWD the shoes – at Raleigh Vintage

Raleigh Vintage’s table of gentlemanly accoutrements

The jewelry case at Raleigh Vintage’s ladies’ table

This dead stock tie came with a matching pocket square!

Beautiful beading on this 1940’s dress

I do love a Peter Pan collar – at Raleigh Vintage

I REALLY wanted this dress, and it really didn’t have a zipper, snaps, or any way to get into the dress other than over the head – someone smaller than me should come crawl in and enjoy. 🙂

Another lovely green item, this time for the gents, from Raleigh Vintage.

Dress with matching necklace – how often does that happen? At Raleigh Vintage.

Cheap Bakelite

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Ah, bakelite…beads, bangles, earrings and many other items made from “the world’s first synthetic plastic” are a hallmark of the swing era, and rose to popularity during the 1930’s because of bakelite’s affordability (as compared to fine jewelry). If only this were the case today – when I encounter bakelite in most antique or vintage stores, the price is usually heavily inflated, with bangles selling for over $100 each. Why do these sellers think they’ve found a gold mine? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t pay that much for any piece of plastic. It’s not THAT rare.

I began to grow frustrated with the prices in these stores, wanting some bakelite pieces to complete certain outfits, then I remembered my old friend eBay. eBay has sellers offering bakelite in abundance, at all price points, including some really great and affordable bakelite pieces. Here’s a sampling of what you may find in bakelite for under $15.00 on eBay:

Carved ivory bakelite bracelet, starting price $0.25!

This little bakelite horseshoe pendant just needs a chain - starting bid $0.99

Set of three bakelite bangles, bidding at $5.50

Swirled bakelite ring, starting bid $6.00

Interesting red bakelite brooch, starting bid $9.99

Green bakelite earrings, starting bid $9.50

Black Art Deco bakelite clamp bracelet, bidding at $12.50

Orange carved bakelite bracelet, starting bid $9.99

EBC 2011 Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

EBC beach clip swag

It’s already wonderful that the Eastern Balboa Championships is just a short drive away, but this year EBC really had the feel of a top notch swing dance event, brimming with a level of excitement and enthusiasm that is almost unrivaled. EBC already felt like a Balboa family reunion, bridging the gap between All Balboa Weekends, but this year it felt like EBC really came into its own as an event. The new hotel for this year’s EBC, the North Raleigh Hilton, provided a lovely ballroom space, a big hallway with chairs and tables for vendors, registration, and for hanging out, and there were no shortage of extra rooms for practice space. There were competitions for everyone and I am proud of the newer Raleigh/Durham Balboa dancers, some of them only dancing Balboa for a few weeks prior to the event, taking the challenge head on and entering their first amateur competitions.

Some of the Vintage Collective spread

This year, EBC grew from one vendor to four vendors. The solo repeat vendor, and one that is near and dear to my heart, is the Vintage Collective (Andi Shelton, Claire Villa, and Laura Churchill Pemberton), who paid attention to what was bought and who purchased it last year, then went out to their sources to find even more of these vintage goods that swing dancers wear. The result was four large racks of clothing from the 1920’s through the 1940’s, both men’s and women’s apparel, three tables of accessories, and a giant shoe rack. The Vintage Collective was only set up for one day, Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and I was there with my fellow vintage poachers at 9:00 sharp, freshly rolled out of bed and ready to commence with the hunt.

I intended to go grab the goodies I wanted, then go back to bed, but it was so exciting trying on clothes with my friends and choosing outfits for people that it was lunchtime before I knew it. I think Rita Shiang got my two favorite dresses of the day – a 1930’s sailor dress with red trim and a 1940’s brown floral rayon dress with amazing draping and a fishtail attachment in the back, you know, for sass. Again, I forgot to take photos of all this good stuff until the end of my shopping visit, I got so wrapped up in the experience…

So many shoes!

Next, we have Dancestore, the anchor vendor of any major swing dance event and one that is continuously welcome, as they continue to provide reasonably priced, reproduction dance shoes that are essential to any swing dancer’s wardrobe. At one point, Frankie Hagan stopped dancing and came up to me to show me that his heel had come off his shoe. About 10 minutes later he came back up to me to show off his new pair of Aris Allen cap toes. THIS is only one of the great reasons to have a shoe vendor at your event. Another is to be able to actually try on the shoes to ensure a good fit. Then, at the dance on Sunday night, Kara Fabina announced that Dancestore would be selling their entire inventory at the event for 40% off for the next 15 minutes. YES!!! There was a rush to purchase the discounted shoes and even I decided to replace my pair of white mesh oxfords that I had danced a hole through the toe – at 40% off, how could you not?

Creations by Crawford is Sharon Crawford’s name for the hair flowers, fascinators, boutonnieres, and other clothing ornamentations she makes. I was a bit confused when I saw Sharon’s vendor space, as there were a few items for sale, but it mostly looked like a craft studio, with supplies everywhere. Then Bill Speidel showed me his boutonniere and explained that Sharon had made it custom to go with his outfit. I looked over and Sharon confirmed, as she furiously sewed together one of her creations for a customer. This is a new approach and one that can work at a weekend event – you have a bit of a captive audience if the shopper is there for the weekend, why not make something to go with what they are wearing if they have the time to wait? By the end of the dance you can have a custom piece that you know will work with something you have.

Finally, we have Vintage Visage, the brainchild of Kathryn Meyer, who had a fantastic display of vintage-inspired hats and accessories for sale, including hair flowers, fancy gloves, hats for ladies and gents, and the ever essential fan. Whoever has the foresight to sell fans at dances is always tops in my book. If you are looking for Kathryn and her wares after EBC, she is a regular vendor at Richmond’s Second Saturday dances.

And that about wraps it up for another great year at EBC! Here are some supplemental photos of the vendors:

My favorite Dancestore wedge in brown

Nelle Cherry models a Dancestore limited edition two tone mesh and leather heeled oxford

Sharon shows off her handiwork

Kathryn and Meghan with the Vintage Visage spread

Hats and purses - even a 1920's cloche! From the Vintage Collective

Adorable socks and ties from the Vintage Collective

The Vintage Collective's shoe rack

Elizabeth getting ready to hit the dressing room

Lovely fabrics from the Vintage Collective dresses

Happy shoppers!

Jazz Age Lawn Party Vendors 2011

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The Jazz Age Lawn Party never ceases to amaze me, with its charm, beauty, number of well-dressed people, and even its power over mother nature. It is such a rare opportunity to dance entirely to 1920’s music and the quality of music was superb, thanks to Michael Arenella’s Dreamland Orchestra, the Gelber and Manning Band, and the twin Victrola turntables operated by DJ MAC. It was a beautiful weekend under the trees on Governor’s Island – the storms that threatened New York were held at bay until Sunday afternoon, when Michael Arenella commented from the bandstand that the rain couldn’t stop the festivities and called a tune with “rain” in the title to mock the threatening weather; it was then that the sky opened up, with only a few warning drops before the downpour sent everyone scurrying for cover.

This event has grown every year and this year it seemed to double in size from last year’s impressive turnout. I also noticed that the event organizers take note of how they can improve the event from year to year; for example, in an attempt to combat bystanders loitering on the dance floor and eventually taking it over, they roped off the dance floor area (which was someone effective, but there will always be chattel who don’t understand that a dance floor is for DANCING, not for standing or ogling). There were also more vendors this year, so let’s get to the list!

There simply couldn’t be a JALP without the classic and delicious cocktails made with St. Germain Liqueur, a cocktail confection made from elderflowers picked in the Alps. There was a rush on the cocktails, primarily due to an online coupon deal that offered all you can drink St. Germain for the day, and by the end of day one they were sold out of liqueur. Never fear, they replenished the supply for day two and the delicious festivities continued.

Kreamland Ice Cream was on hand with scoops of ice cream in classic flavors, the perfect treat on a hot August day. In the photograph at right you can see an example of the signs the JALP crew added to distinguish the different administrative and vendor tables, which were especially helpful with the throngs of people in attendance.

The table of necessaries.

Another improvement I noticed was a table set up with helpful items to get you through the day. Forgot your parasol? Need sunscreen or a tissue? Wishing you had a fan to escape the heat? Making these items available for purchase was a great idea! And isn’t the display lovely?

It was interesting to see a modern vendor, such as Yelp, have a table at JALP, but then Yelp is a very useful resource. Yelp sponsored a vintage photo booth at the event, with photographs taken by Tsirkus Fotografika, “an ongoing non-profit, public arts project based in Philadelphia, PA, designed to bring the creative process directly to communities and document populations at their most lively. Employing a mobile portrait studio and trailing-edge technologies such as analog film, old-fashioned “hot” lighting, and large format equipment, Tsirkus follows in the footsteps of itinerant photographers who would travel from town to town making portraits on-the-spot.” I now wish I had waited in line to get my photograph taken – perhaps next year. :/

Next in the line of vendors was Odd Twin, a Brooklyn-based vintage store with wares available from the jazz age and beyond. I will display more photographs below of the vendors’ wares, but I will note that I was particularly smitten with a two tone brown 1940’s suit that was displayed on the end of their hanging rack. Drool…

Sharing a vendor table were Necks Tuesday and hyc Creative letterpress. Necks Tuesday might be the most creative name for a bow tie company I’ve ever encountered. This Brooklyn-based company asserts that bow ties are a “facet of traditional menswear,” but are now “often an element of a forward, contemporary look.” What’s old is new again, eh? I can get behind this philosophy. Their ties are available in a number of wonderful muted tones and patterns that are sure to go with much of a man’s wardrobe and make a stylish statement without being too loud.

hyc Creative letterpress displayed an endearing collection of thoughtful printed cards, stationery, bookmarks and prints. From their website: “hyc Creative is the creation of Dawn Hylon Lucas-Carlson. A small private press founded in 2006. We print Letterpress greeting cards, bookmarks, coasters, prints, and invitations using a mix of found vintage blocks and fonts, hand carved linoleum blocks and newly created designs. Everything is hand-printed on a Kelsey 6 x 10 Excelsior Press.”

Do you see these pleats?!

Next in the lineup is The Original Prohibition Clothing Company, a company specializing in custom menswear. What I like about TOPCC is the wear-ability of the garments and the attention to detail. These clothes could be in a fine menswear store just about anywhere, you could wear the clothes anywhere, but they would be that piece that stands out as superb amongst the modern suits, with just enough nod to vintage to appear authentic. Details like fan pleating out of a belt back Norfolk jacket or a black and white Bette Davis printed on the inside of a newsboy cap make these items truly stand out against the competition. Their website is still under development, but I look forward to this company making their products available to the masses. Until then, you can browse some of their accessories available in TOPCC eBay store.

The Fine and Dandy Shop.com had a wonderful showing of men’s accessories – ties, pocket squares, handkerchiefs, cufflinks and other man jewelry, flasks, pocket watches, and even a vintage Boy Scout’s guide. Fine and Dandy has a fairly comprehensive website and I’d recommend that you gents check out their fantastic selection, including their ties, which are made in New York. See photographs below.

Lovely 1920's shoes peeking out from behind the sign!

After all this menswear, I arrived at my favorite vendor of the weekend, Noble Savage Vintage, who displayed exclusively pre-1940’s clothing and accessories for women. This table and rack were a dream come true, with beautiful beading, gauzy dresses, satin 1920’s shoes, and vintage lace galore. My friend Elizabeth picked up a wonderful 1930’s dress in a gauzy chiffon floral that was perfect for Day 2 of the lawn party.

I’ll end this tour-de-vendors with The Village Scandal, one of last year’s wonderful vendors who had amazing cloches and the must-have fascinator of the event. This year, their entire inventory must have been must-have because, by the time I made it out to their table, it had been ransacked. Their positioning near the entrance may have helped add to the chaos of what happened to their table, but I am pleased to see that they did so much business.

There were other vendors, but they did not have signs and I was unable to speak with the vendor representative (so many people!). I hope to return to this event next year and make it a priority to get to the event earlier to scope out the vendors’ wares. Until then, I leave you with these photos:

Amazing two tone suit from Odd Twin

Odds and ends from the Odd Twin table

Bow ties from Necks Tuesday

Close up of a plaid bow tie from Necks Tuesday

Hanging goodies from hyc Creative

hyc Creative's spread

Meet and greet with the Original Prohibition Clothing Company

A rack of jackets, vests, and shirts worthy of Jay Gatsby from TOPCC

Starlets peek out of your newsboy cap, courtesy of TOPCC

Man jewelry from the Fine and Dandy Shop

An array of collars and ties from the Fine and Dandy Shop

Beautiful beaded 1920's bags from Noble Savage Vintage

A wonderful cape in a jazz age print, courtesy of Noble Savage Vintage

What was left of The Village Scandal when I got to their table

I'll leave you with two turntables and two microphones - see you next year!

Classic Hardware

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Classic rose pin

With the price of bakelite jewelry in the astronomical range, reproductions of this classic early plastic jewelry are a welcome commodity. I’ve found a few “fakelite” pieces via Forever 21 a few years ago and apparently Avon did some reproductions in the 1980’s, but both have been found in limited quantities. Classic Hardware was a sight for sore eyes, with a line of classic bakelite-style (called “Retrolite” on the website) pins, bracelets, necklaces, and rings that will give your vintage or reproduction dress the perfect finishing touch.

According to the website, “Karyn Cantor is the originator and driving force behind Classic Hardware and it is her personal vision that is reflected in every handcrafted piece. Her love of vintage fashions mixed with a strong post-industrial aesthetic is further influenced by art nouveau and dadaism. This striking amalgam of sensibilities, coupled with Karyn’s sense of humor has developed into her current line of accessories that reflect today’s sense of individuality, sophistication and spunk…Karyn’s tastes are eclectic and varied, running the gamut between rock ‘n’roll, punk rock, rockabilly and old timey music. She loves swing dancing, live music, travel, flea markets and playing the ukelele.”

She loves swing dancing! One can’t help but wonder if Karyn noticed all the unadorned lapels and necklines at dances and wanted to do something about it…

Here are some of my favorite “Retrolite” pieces from the Classic Hardware website:

Kissing swallows necklace

Butterscotch pin

Penguin pin

Scotty dog pin

Swan pin

Carved bangle in black, also available in brown

Strawberries bracelet, matching necklace and earrings also available

Deco ring, available in 7 colors

Raspberry bow barette

All Balboa Weekend 2011 Vendors

Get your ABW t-shirts while they're hot!

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The presence of vendors seems to be growing at larger Lindy Hop and Balboa events, presenting sellers with a unique opportunity to reach a targeted (and sometimes captive) audience. It can be difficult to fly into an event and not have the time to experience local vintage stores, or order online without trying something on, or maybe your dance shoes choose that weekend to fall apart. When the vendors come to you, the event becomes even more accommodating, convenient, and special.

As far as vendor lineups go, All Balboa Weekend this year has had the most vendors I have seen at any single event. Does this surprise the swing dance community at large, with Balboa dancers having a reputation for dressing up? Probably not. 🙂 There were three shoe vendors (four if you count the vintage store that brought some choice 1940’s pumps), a ton of dresses, hair accessories, bloomers, and a smattering of vintage goodies. Here’s a list of the vendors, in the order in which you would approach them entering the hallway of the event:

The My Heinies shoe spread

MY HEINIES

I’ve been singing Carol Fraser’s praises for months, but she has seriously outdone herself again. I don’t think I’ve seen that many bloomers in one place, with dozens of patterns in the My Heinies signature styles. Carol’s exclusive line of footwear from Worldtone, developed for swing dancers, is even more developed at this point and it was apparent that the styles available at ABW are targeted to be good colors and styles for dancers. I found the new shoes VERY appealing and was pleased to see that some of the focus group shoes had made the final cut. She also carried a number of one-of-a-kind styles – featuring more colors, patterns, and detailing – that were just breathtaking. I also noticed a number of follows sporting fancy hosiery from this vendor, both on the social dance floor and in competitions. Top it all off with one of the lovely hair flowers Carol sells and you’ve got a winner.

Now available in pink and blue!

REMIX VINTAGE SHOES

What can I say? Remix Vintage Shoes makes the most drool-worthy reproduction shoes out there, with dance-friendly heel heights and soft leather galore. There are always a few new models and colors, as well as some shoes that may not be made anymore (i.e. Remix is looking for a new manufacturer for the Balboa t-strap, so if you’ve been on the fence get them NOW because we don’t know when they will be available again!). I had the high honor of having my vintage two-tone oxfords photographed by Philip Heath, the owner of Remix – perhaps there will be a reproduction made and named after Lindy Shopper? *swoon*

Just add Shannon, feathers, and a little sparkle from Vegas 😉

BOMBSHELL BAUBLES

Shannon Sheldon is the mastermind behind both the execution of a flawless 1930’s fashion show and the line of adorable hair flowers known as Bombshell Baubles. Shannon personally tests each flower to make sure that, no matter how much your head shakes, the flower will not fall out. As someone who has abandoned flowers mid-dance because they simply could not stay in place, I salute you! Etsy store coming soon…

Oh, the cuteness!

FLAPPERFLY

Flapperfly makes cute, crafty, and recycled items, such as earrings, hair accessories, fabric bags, charm necklaces, and has some vintage finds worthy of the cuteness of this vendor. I only wish I had seen Flapperfly’s wares out more often at the event, I feel that I am lacking in accurate commentary. Please check out her Etsy site for goodies, especially the sequin sparrow barrette, which is my favorite.

This print caught my eye as particularly vintage looking

LOCO LINDO

Loco Lindo
saw some heavy traffic at ABW, and for good reason – their line of dresses and skirts are flirty and practical, made from an infinite number of crepe prints, both modern and vintage reminiscent. The best parts about this kind of crepe are the nod to vintage crepe fabrics (common in swing era clothing), the comfort and wearability of the fabric, and the washability – no dry cleaning necessary, just throw it in the washer and hang it up to dry. The crepe travels well, being somewhat wrinkle-resistant, which is good news for traveling swing dancers. I would also file these dresses under dance and work-appropriate, so there’s double duty potential. I picked up a lovely gray and white polka dot dress with smocking detail at the shoulders – it is so rare to find dresses with smocking – superb!

A wall of shoe boxes from Dancestore

DANCESTORE

The staple of almost every swing dancer’s wardrobe, Dancestore‘s shoes are always well received at dance events and tend to be the anchor vendor with their vast inventory. I think I spent most of the weekend in their white mesh oxford. They were not at ABW the entire time, so I am afraid I am remiss of additional tidbits relating to the event or new products. I will use this opportunity to reiterate Teni Lopez-Cardenas‘ plea to make the trumpet skirt available in more colors (and sizes) – please! I’ve been waiting for years for the black trumpet skirt to be in stock in my size.

Lisa and her lovelies

FOLLOW FASHIONS

More hair accessory cuteness, this time from Follow Fashions‘ Ohio based designer, Lisa Curry. As you can see from the photo, there are wonderful flowers and feather fascinators, in lots of color options, shapes, and sizes. I am particularly grateful to see the smaller flower options, for short haired follows, for embellishing up-do’s, and perhaps for use as a boutonniere. Special thanks to Follow Fashions for outfitting some of our 1930’s fashion show participants with hair accessories!

The shopping here was so good! I hope Valerie and Heidi (pictured) got something awesome.

FLOWER CHILD

The token actual vintage vendor at ABW was Flower Child, who looked like they had been hoarding swing era goodies for us for a while, as there were some really choice items available for purchase. Things that stuck out in my mind were some great 1940’s cocktail dresses, pumps and wedges, bakelite jewelry at not outrageous prices, vintage sewing notions, a fairly substantial menswear and accessories section, gorgeous hats, and the 6 yards of 1930’s printed cotton the ladies brought for me to look at after I told them about some of my dresses being handmade. These ladies were diligent and stuck it out all weekend, into the wee hours of the nightly dances. Special thanks also goes out to Flower Child for letting the 1930’s fashion show borrow some of their accessories – such lovely things!

And those are the vendors! Stayed tuned for more possible future ABW-related blog posts.

The highlight of my weekend!

Pink Satin 1920’s Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I love vintage with a story – these pink satin 1920’s shoes were an adventure to find. If you’d like to own these beauties (approximately a size 5N, 9 inches long inside, 2.5 inches wide), they are yours for the cost of shipping.

So here’s the story: Raleigh/Durham dancer and advertising whiz kid Jamie Foehl invited the local dancers to be in a commercial set in the 1920’s for her job. On a very cold morning this past March we set out in cloches and derby hats for a farm in Chapel Hill, which would be the site of the commercial. I can’t reveal too many details about the commercial, but the farm itself was an interesting backdrop, with beautiful scenery, a lake, a giant catapult, a miniature horse, and enough horse poop to make walking around in Remix shoes very challenging. The owner of the farm came over to a group of us in vintage clothing and said “I’ve got some old clothes and jewelry from my husband’s aunt in the house that we’ve been trying to get rid of. Would you be interested?”

The answer is always YES, even if it turns out to be a bust.

This time, yes meant coming inside to a fire in the fireplace and a downstairs closet with hidden treasures. She pulled out the jewelry first, which was mostly 1960’s and 70’s stuff, but I did snag some MCM cufflinks for the Boy. I think the pink shoes were next and they were carefully boxed and preserved, in all their pink glossy glory. Next came the fur muffs (there were two), so Jamie and I each got one of those to take home. Finally, a WWII army nurse’s cape made its way out of the closet and into my arms. Now, I just have to find the rest of the uniform. 😉 There were also hats, but apparently the hats were in a closet in a bedroom where someone was sleeping (Jamie, any follow up on that?). Needless to say, it was a very successful day that ended with pizza for lunch and a bowling ball being catapulted across the field.

And that’s how we got these pink shoes…but what to do with them? They need a very special home, so I’m hoping someone reading this blog has tiny feet.

Lindy Focus IX Vendors

A Forties Forward hair flower display at the Expo Center, Lindy Focus

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Lindy Focus continues to amaze me. This intimate regional event has turned into one of the largest Lindy Hop events, if not the largest, in the country. Michael and Jaya Gamble turn out a flawless event every year, with each passing Lindy Focus growing in attendance, quality, attention to detail, and sheer awesomeness. In spite of this year’s severe weather disasters and subsequent travel delays, attendees persevered, going by train, bus, delayed plane, or automobile, from far and wide, determined to make it to this Lindy Hop holiday Mecca or bust.

I was a bit disappointed when I walked into the lobby and saw that Dancestore was not selling their staple dance shoes. This left Lindy Focus with no anchor vendor and dancers without that valuable opportunity to try on dance shoes in person or replace any missing, forgotten, or destroyed shoes at the event. Dancestore, we miss you! Please come back next year!

Forties Forward table at Lindy Focus

My disappointment was quickly dispelled when Forties Forward began setting up a gorgeous display table at one of the dances. Forties Forward is the brainchild of dancers and designers Erica DeBlasio and Michelle Postles, offering vintage inspired hair flowers and pins, jewelry, hats, and handbags. It was all I could do not to hover and snatch up the goodies while they were setting out the hair flowers – just containers upon containers of colorful and beautiful blooms! The prices are great, at $5 or $7 a pop, and I can attest to the quality of the hair flowers, having purchased a white lily hair flower from Erica few years ago. Needless to say, I stocked up on flowers and anticipate clusters of flowers in my hair now that the supplies are plentiful.

Lindy Hop prints on display at Lindy Focus

In the lobby area I noticed that there were some very nicely framed prints of jazz dance and Lindy Hop illustrations and photographs. I didn’t figure out they were on sale until later in the event when I was standing next to them and the vendor, Mike Thibault, introduced himself and began telling me about the prints. Mike has set out to obtain the reproduction rights to these prints and others yet to be obtained and reprinted, researching their origins and the best way to reproduce these works. This is immensely important work in preserving Lindy Hop culture and I commend him for this great endeavor. Mike is currently offering two illustrations (“The Lindy Hop” and “The Big Apple”) and one photograph (“The Breakaway”). He is also working on locating a complete, original illustrated map of Harlem nightclubs from 1932, which I am most excited about purchasing. Best of luck to you, Mike – I’ll be waiting in line, cash in hand, when you find it and get it printed!

That’s all for today…still recovering from last night. Stay tuned for another Lindy Focus post on Asheville’s vintage clothing stores!