Thursday, March 24, 2011

Corn Husks and Fur Stoles

One pastime I cherish is shopping for treasures! Finding a special piece at a incredible price gives me a great sense of accomplishment. Doing this with my sister or with friends makes this pastime all the more sweeter. I love to refinish old furniture, create one of a kind gift items or repurpose my treasures for my home or to sell in my space at Melange, a unique vintage store in Historic Folsom, California.

Out by myself one day, I ventured into the back room of a furniture store and spied this bust. Dress forms and busts are a hot commodity at Melange and whenever we get them in, they fly out the door, especially unusual or vintage ones. But my heartstrings were tugging at me to get this even though at the time I didn't know why - there was something about this one that I did not want to give up! A past season accessory, it was on sale!

This bust was covered with corn husks, and me being a farmer's wife, the raw earthiness of it appealed to me. Unfortunately, there was black mold growing underneath the husks so I decided to strip them off. Armed with a spray bottle of water, I attacked it for days, peeling and scraping.
After three days I only got about half off! So I decided to soak the whole bust in my laundry tub!
After two days of soaking, I managed to get off all the husks, but now the bust was filled with water - there were hairline cracks in the fiberglass form so I maneuvered the bust into position in the sink to drain the water. If someone had peeked in my laundry room window they would have wondered what kind of sick experiment I must have been doing with this body in my sink! Every time I walked into the laundry room, the bust surprised me, just as if there was someone in a room that you didn't expect!
With so much time invested now, this bust had to take a special place in my home - but where?

There was a knock on the door - it was my friend returning my grandmother's black stole she had borrowed for a costume party. The glamorous accessory popular in the 1930s and 40's, is not one which can be worn often and it's scale looked about perfect. I draped it around the bust's shoulders and tied a square knot in the front, then draped a set of pearls around the neck. As I looked at the assemblage, I thought of my grandmother and all the places she must have worn this stole. Its funny how things work out sometimes - there could not have been a better match! Destiny brought that bust to me. As I gaze at it all dressed, my mind races thinking of my stylish grandmother in that stole - cherish memories.
Dress Form and Stole - Brought together by destiny!


  1. What a great story!!! So where does she sit? And I love your shop, Melange! I wish we had something like that down here in the Bay Area! What a great idea...and such beautiful pieces :)

  2. Amazing transformation ... your dress form looks lovely! Thank you for sharing at Voila!


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