ANNUAL FALL TRUNK SHOW
Granville Island Hotel
Friday, Oct. 25, 11 – 7
Saturday, Oct. 26, 10 – 5
Black silver and with a pair of creamy, iridescent baroque pearl pendants
ANNUAL FALL TRUNK SHOW
Granville Island Hotel
Friday, Oct. 25, 11 – 7
Saturday, Oct. 26, 10 – 5
Black silver and with a pair of creamy, iridescent baroque pearl pendants
I’m on vacation until Oct 2, and I’m sorry to report that my project of training Theodora to fill orders has been a fiasco. She’s a lovely model, but a lousy assistant.
So no website orders will be filled until I return. But if you’re in Vancouver you may want to wait a few weeks, until my big fall show, which is loaded with one-of-a-kind pieces.
FALL TRUNK SHOW OCT. 25 & 26
My biggest trunk show of the year is happening this year on Granville Island
GRANVILLE ISLAND HOTEL
Friday Oct. 25 — 11 a.m. to 7 p.m
Saturday, Oct. 26 — 10 a.m to 5 p.m.
My pop-up coincides with the Vancouver Writers Festival and I think we book-lovers should stick together. So I’m offering anyone who brings a ticket from an event 10 per cent off the items they buy at my show.
As always, Theodora will be present, and yes, she does pose for selfies. Just don’t let her try and charge you.
Excuse me: do you happen to know who decides when we are “too old” to do something?
I was reading articles about middle-aged Madonna, being “too old” to make pop music and it occurred to me that if I had listened to that ageist nonsense, I’d have never had a career as a jewellery designer.
Witty Fiona Sturges in the Guardian expressed my outrage over the unvarnished sexism aimed at Madonna, and by extension, all Baby Boomers and GenXers who refuse to be invisible: “In the minds of her most vicious detractors… she would be better off binning the fishnets, putting on a nice cardie and waiting for death.”
I thought of all the male pop musicians who were before my time, and yet still seem to make it to the stage. No one comments on Mick Jagger’s age, 75, unless it’s to give him a fist-bump for having another child. His hard-partying bandmate Keith Richards, also 75, has long been celebrated for rocking-on another year. What’s the old joke about nuclear war? The only things that will survive are cockroaches and Keith Richards.
They are saluted, as they should be, for their long careers and their big influence on our culture.
WHEN DID “GRANDMA” BECOME AN INSULT?
So why is it that Madonna, a mere 60, is being dismissed as “grandma”? And while we’re on the subject, when did “grandma” become an insult?
In short: when, exactly, did it become a sin for a woman to be creative, while aging?
I was never a particular Madonna fan (my tastes run to R&B) but I think the Material Girl has earned a right to the spotlight. If she still has something to say, why wouldn’t we be inclined to listen?
Well, we all know the reason.
GOT LEMONS? MAKE LEMONADE!
That’s the reason I became a jewellery designer, by the way: ageism in fashion. There wasn’t much out there for adult women who wanted to look like grown-ups, not frumps. It was either stiff, boring “fine jewellery” that reminded me of 1950s matrons. Or fast-fashion glass and plastic, aimed at teenagers. I was on the hunt for a statement necklace that would do much the same job in my wardrobe that a power tie does for a man’s suit.
Where was the stylish jewellery for grown-ups who were looking to elevate a basic capsule wardrobe, featuring a lot of T-shirts and jeans, I wondered? Frustrated, I started making necklaces for myself. And, well, you know the rest.
On the bright side, that sexism-in-fashion has led to a lot of designers like me running small businesses producing long-lasting clothes and accessories for women who want to avoid the fast-fashion junk.
But make no mistake, my foray into jewellery design began as a private solution to a growing public problem: women-of-a-certain-age are belittled or ignored in the market square, while their male counterparts are considered to be in the prime of life.
It’s particularly annoying when the discriminatory drivel is printed in a place like the New York Times where Madonna’s new album, Madame X, earned a shade-casting profile, “Madonna at Sixty.” It focuses on her age and her looks and dismisses her in an off-handed way you can’t imagine them applying to any man who had achieved half as much.
And then, as they alienate women, they wonder why advertisers don’t flock to their doors?
WHO CARES WHAT THE BEST CUSTOMERS THINK?
Toronto marketing consultant Joanne Thomas Yaccato could explain their little advertising problem to them. In 2003, she wrote a book called The 80% Minority: Reaching the Real World of Women Consumers, in which she discussed how the business world’s bone-headed insistence on ignoring and insulting women undermines their own businesses.
You see, women make most of the buying decisions. They buy about 80 per cent of all the things there are to buy (which explains the book’s ironic title). And any product, including a newspaper that sneers at women, might just find itself having some troubles in the sales department.
Not that the Times was the only paper to slag Madonna for having the nerve to be creative, while aging. But somehow it’s worse in a newspaper that often brags about its own importance to democracy.
I was particularly baffled that the writer, a woman, went on and on about how surprising it was that Madonna was beautiful. Why? She was always beautiful. And she’s healthy, wealthy and fit. So why wouldn’t she still be beautiful?
Oh. Wait. Could it be that the writer thinks “aging” and “ugly” are synonyms?
SINCE WHEN DOES AGING = UGLY?
I’m not going to speculate on why she thinks such sexist thoughts. I don’t have to. The Times told us why in a 2017 article about the declining fortunes of women at the paper, which is dominated by men who claim the majority of the most senior and influential jobs.
But with the age-bashing I wonder if they think Millennials (who shun their paper) will suddenly race to subscribe if they find articles dissing artists from the Baby Boom and GenX?
In short: what are they thinking? Well, my guess is they’re not thinking at all. So why should I continue reading their paper?
PROUD TO BE #CREATIVEWHILEAGING
But I may write them to pass on a little tip I picked-up in all those business workshops I’ve done. While insulting women may look like a swell sales strategy when they’re sitting in their boys’ club meetings, they may want to consider the numbers. Together, Baby Boomers (the largest generation ever, born 1946-1964) and Gen-Xers (1965-1983) are a huge market. And we’ve lived long enough to have a little cash.
So here’s my question for the purveyors of misogyny: Do you really want to be alienating millions of women with your lousy products and ignorant, insulting journalism?
In the meantime, I need to get back to being #creativewhileaging before someone informs me that I, too, am done. I figure that if someone as accomplished as Madonna is not safe from that kind of ageist attack then no woman over 50 is.
If you feel an urge to respond, you can find me at info(at)annecarsondesign.com
Perhaps that ageist criticism of Madonna rankled so much because I have been hard at work preparing for the LeslieJane fashion show on Saturday, June 15, which includes my jewellery. I was just thinking about how lucky I was to have found work I love to do, although I found it relatively late in life. (Designing jewellery is my third career).
You can learn more about the West Vancouver shop that has become an institution, here. And reserve tickets.
LeslieJane’s Fashion on the Pier
Saturday June 15, 3 p.m.
Ambleside Pier, at the foot of 14th St.
RSVP for free tickets
They’ve been in business for more than 40 years and I have a theory as to why they’ve lasted so long. They provide superb customer service in every sense of that phrase. They carry high quality garments by a range of designers, many of whom are women-of-a-certain-age. And their shop is a welcoming spot for women of any age.
I’m thrilled to be part of their annual fashion show for the first time. Not least because no one there would ever think to ask how I have the nerve to be #creativewhileaging
anne carson design, Book Warehouse, Carson Books, Coco et Olive, Esi Edugyan, French Table, Giller Prize, Little Mountain Shop, pearls, pop-up shop, Pulp Fiction Books, Regional Assembly of Text, silver, statement necklaces, trunk show, Vancouver jewellery designer
Part of the fun for me in doing a trunk show on Main Street is that it gives me a good excuse to visit shops and restaurants outside of my neighbourhood. And if you’re visiting my pop-up shop this week, I recommend you visit them too.
I open at 11 a.m. on Thursday and Friday, so if you’re dropping by midday, may I suggest you have lunch at Coco et Olive at Main & 22nd — the hot chicken sandwich is worth driving across town for. If you’re arriving later in the day — I’m open until 7 p.m. — the French Table is just four blocks north of my trunk show at Little Mountain Shop.
I know many of you have a thing for beautiful stationery with clever sayings on it, so don’t miss The Regional Assembly of Text, near 24th. The shop has a vintage feel, not least because of all the typewriters decorating it. And who doesn’t need a tea towel with a map of Vancouver on it?
I can never get enough of independent bookshops and there are two near my trunk show. Book Warehouse on Main is just three blocks away from me, and is also dog friendly. And then there’s Carson Books, a secondhand bookstore just a few doors down. No relation, but obviously a kindred spirit.
Pulp Fiction on Main, is farther north, near Broadway, but since you’re already on Main, why not go a few extra blocks? (Yes, this is my rationale for hitting every independent bookstore on the street: when will I get over to Main next?)
At the top of my reading list: Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black, which just won the Giller Prize.
Need to supply yourself with greenery and flowers for parties, stocking stuffers for the green-of-thumb, or maybe sign-up up for a wreath-making workshop? The Flower Factory is just a block away and they have a lovely Instagram.
And I’m sure I’ll have a few more Christmas shopping recommendations by the time my show is done. Hope to see you there:
4386 Main Street (near 28th)
Little Mountain Shop
Wednesday, 4 pm – 7 pm
Thursday and Friday, 11 am to 7 pm
It’s fair to say that I would rather nosh on glass than discuss my health with anyone but a doctor, so you can imagine my horror when I learned I was going to have to wear a MedicAlert bracelet.
“It’s bad enough I have to advertise my personal info in public, but now I have to display it on jewellery I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing…,” my inner 20-year-old was wailing. I know; bad joke. But really: medical jewellery. When did it come to this?
MAKE ESSENTIAL THINGS BEAUTIFUL
I tolerated the ranting of my inner brat for a moment or two before grown-up me returned and I remembered: this actually fits my philosophy. I’ve always believed that the things we wear every day should be beautiful and longwearing, and contribute to our quality of life.
So I’ve been experimenting with bracelets and necklaces for myself, attaching the medical medallions where I would normally add a crown or a feather or some other charm with charm.
And I can do it for you too, if you happen to need such a thing.
When it comes to medical medallions, there’s a silver lining (and a gold one). You can buy them in sterling silver or other precious metals and I can incorporate them into the design of any necklace or bracelet you like.
And I’ve been thinking about how to weave the different shapes of medallions into bangles and gemstone bracelets.
We can come up with something that lets the family member or friend who will inherit the piece — someday! a long, long time from now! — remove it easily.
JEWELLERY IS FOR GENERATIONS
Yes, there’s another thing I don’t like talking about, except when I’m talking to brides. They’re delighted by the idea that someday their children and grandchildren will inherit a signature necklace that carries so many memories. And while it’s true that, ideally, all our good jewellery will be worn long after we’re gone, I just hate thinking about the “gone” part.
So that’s how I’ve dealt with my resistance to wearing my medical history in public. I’m trying to make it as beautiful as possible now, so that whoever inherits it will be delighted to wear it later. Much, much later.
My first creation is a simple charm bracelet in a big link silver chain, with a stylish lobster clasp and some decorative silver beads. It’s ideal for layering with other pieces, like my watch, and a simple leather-and-silver-bead bracelet that has been in my wardrobe for years.
But my next life-saving piece could be anything that delights my senses. Or yours.
Which is all to say that while I’m not up for talking about my health, I’m always happy to discuss medical jewellery from the aesthetic point of view.
I’m popping up again at Designers Collective in Kerrisdale. The shop is located at snacks central: kitty corner from Butter Baked Goods and around the corner from Bigsby the Bakehouse. Lots of pastry and parking.
Friday Dec. 8 — 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday Dec. 9 — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday Dec. 10 — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
My pal Donna Tangye, the painter, is joining me. Photos don’t do her brushwork justice, but here’s an idea of what she’s up to.
Hope to see you there,
Big, bold green amethysts are perfect grey-green shade that goes with everything
London blue topaz topped by a leaf of delicate sterling silver
Garnets accented with decorative sterling silver beads
Baroque pink pearls topped with decorate silver beads
Raindrops of white baroque pearls
Faceted rutilated quartz topped with pyrite
Rutilated quartz on a sterling silver chain
A pink kunzite necklace, layered with a rope of blush pearls with a marcasite toggle clasp
Welcome to Anne Carson Design online. The virtual shop is new, although I’m not. I’ve been in business for more than nine years, but I am what my friends have jokingly referred to as, “the reluctant entrepreneur.”
Although I love designing jewellery, the evolution of my business has been slow because I’m not comfortable being a self-promoter. So my clientele has grown entirely by word of mouth and largely due to the kindness of my friends and their friends who wear my work and hand out my business cards.
I never planned to go into business. I just began designing necklaces because I could never find quite what I wanted in the marketplace. I wanted real stones, not glass or crystal. I prefer silver to gold. I’m influenced by vintage jewellery, particularly from the Edwardian era, but I don’t want to wear a costume. I wanted my jewellery to have a fresh, modern feel.
Eventually I decided to make my own. As the results got better, friends began requesting I make them pieces. Then their friends asked if I could make up another one like that in chocolate pearls? Or did I have anything in aquamarine? Or peridot?
They told me people tried to buy the jewellery right off their necks, which I didn’t quite believe until it happened to me. Eventually one pal decided to throw a party and invite her friends and colleagues to see some of my creations. That happy event became the main method for marketing my work. These days, I often fly to visit friends in other cities and call it a business trip because I show my work over wine and appies.
MEDIEVAL ARTISAN SYNDROME
About four years ago one of my bracelets found its way onto the arm of a morning TV fashionista and an investor approached me about expanding my business. She just shook her head when she heard about my sales techniques.
“It’s like you’re some medieval artisan dragging a cart from town to town,” she said. She was a skilled businesswoman and told me there were more efficient ways to do this. She proposed a plan that would involve offshore factories and wider profit margins, for jewellery of reduced quality.
I suddenly realized that she wanted to me to start making exactly the sort of necklace I had rejected more than a decade ago.
“But I make these for my friends,” I protested. “I make every necklace as if I were going to wear it myself.”
“You realize that friends-of-Anne is not actually a demographic,” she replied. “Well, at least not one that’s big enough to expand your business.”
And that’s when I realized I was never going to be any sort of mass producer. So I planned another party.
GEMS FOR MY FRIENDS
While my customers are not all my friends in the true sense of the word, they are women like me who wear a lot of classic clothes and want jewellery to give the outfit some interest. They don’t want to see carbon copies of what they’re wearing on everyone else in the office or at a party.
With that in mind, I make all the pieces myself because I need to see how the stones work together. That’s what my customers value about these pieces: they’re handcrafted with care, and with an eye to pleasing the wearer.
Which brings me to why I’ve launched a website. The same friends who pushed me to go into business in the first place, also convinced me that having an online shop was a matter of good customer service. Many of my pieces are limited designs and some are one-of-a-kind, so customers who couldn’t always make time for showings felt they were missing out. The website just makes it easier for people to find what they’re looking for.
LIMITED EDITION JEWELLERY
If you’re interested in hearing about the new pieces first, we have an occasional newsletter and you can sign up here. New pieces will make their public debut a week or two later in the “Featured Products” part of the shop. The necklaces, earrings, and bracelets currently in stock are found in the obvious categories. And I have a wing of the store devoted to my portfolio of previous designs, for anyone looking for inspiration.
The nature of designing with natural stones is that when they’re gone, they’re gone. But if you like something you see, or would like it in a different coloured gem, I can check with my suppliers and see if there’s something comparable that might work for you.
Thanks for visiting Anne Carson Design. I hope you enjoy browsing.