Send Me a Postcard…

…from Black Rock City.

See, I won’t be going this year. I know. It stinks.

This is me on the playa circa 2008. Or 2007. I wore that thing both years, so... The "bathing costume" is vintage, bubble gum pink. The boots have fringe and a cowboy heel and silver bling you can't see. Those glasses started out NEON pink and they folded up into a tiny, easy-to-tote cube. I miss them so! PS How is Tacate is like sex in a canoe?1

But! There is always next year. Next year, and vicarious living.

Speaking of things I can’t afford right now–tiniest violin, I know— here are some local artisans selling Burn-appropriate attire and accessories. My favorite. You should feel free–nay! feel encouraged–to treat yourself. Then, tell me all about it.

Light up LED hair clips by Blue Moon Designs in Oakland. $20. Battery included. Yes, I said "included."

Blue Moon Designs is Oaklander Katherine Becvar. She made those rad flowers for your hair. She also makes these uber-cool and -useful utility or pocket belts.

I think this one is my favorite. Black courderoy and tapestry pocket belt with bustle. $125.

Seriously, though. There are light-up clothes for christssake. It’s Burning Man-designed.

Because sometimes the real-world logic of a clock's geography is lost (no pun intended). Just know, say, your camp is SOUTH of the Man. Isn't that easier? Wait it's just me? Oh. Well. "Sail Away" compass necklace by Brash Lady Inc. $25.

Then there’s Brash Lady Inc. out of Berkeley who’s got the kind of jewelry that others are always grabbing and groping with lust and covet in their eyes.

By way of additional proof: this "Darkness Fades" (working) hourglass necklace. $20 ON SALE. So I kind of love how most everyone only has the vaguest idea what time it is on the playa. But, be dead honest, how awesome would it be to time shit Dark Ages style?

Millionaire Kream (again out of Bezerkeley) sells these blinged out sunglasses that are almost too cool to bring to BRC and actually too cool not to bring. What? What do you mean that makes no sense? You make no sense. No, you’re stupid. These glasses are stupid!!

See what I mean? Classic Pearl Millionaire Kreamsters. $45.

I love the far out fashion of the Burn and may have to dress like an extra from the most-stylized, post-apocalyptic, I-dream-of-Utopia movie never made anyway, because between August 30 and September 6 that’s where I would be if I could.

Other requisite wear includes: Kick-ass boots that are easy to hoof it all over and dance in, FUR, more lighty-up stuff for when the sun goes down, more and omnipresent bandanas for their utility and versitality, whatever the hell crazy ass thing you want.

See, for example, here I'm wearing an amazing black and white, graphic ballgown. We're at a Denny's in Reno, on our way back from the Burn. What of it?


1. Answer: It’s fucking close to water. (Thanks Heidikins!)
2. Or better yet, send me pictures.


Interview with Sasha Tierney

Sasha Tierney is a San Francisco-based jewelry designer who makes gorgeous, covetous one-of-a-kind, repurposed vintage, costume jewelry.

I recently contacted her to tell her how wowed I am by her work, and she was gracious enough to allow me an interview.

Quick Said the Bird: “Repurposed vintage” is a neologism that we’re seeing more and more among fashion blogs and the like. It’s something that appeals to both a green living and a DIY mentality. What appeals to you most about using pre-existing and antique pieces in your work?

Sasha Tierney: Yes, it’s certainly a buzz word these days, and while I’m all about being green and eco-conscious–my husband and I eat mostly local and organic and do what we can in general—for me, repurposing vintage jewelry is just about using what I love. It’s what I’m drawn to. I don’t particularly care for super shiny modern pieces.

Seashell and Pearl Charm Necklace, $76

QB: Tell me a little about how you got into the jewelry making biz.

ST: My mom is a clothing designer. She started her own business when I was a kid–a local children’s clothing line called Mousefeathers that some of [you] may remember. I really grew up in the fashion business. I was one of their models and spent my afternoons after school watching my mother work: designing fabrics, picking trim, and really putting a cohesive line together.

I’ve always dabbled in creative processes, but I never really found my stride until I turned to jewelry design. I guess I just couldn’t compete with her sense of fashion in terms of clothing. I’ve been doing this for quite some time but I only recently started selling my pieces.

Think Pink Necklace, $68

QB: What do you look for when shopping for materials? Do you have an idea in mind when you go in—for example, maybe you’re on a pearl kick–or do you let what you find inspire you?

ST: It’s funny that you should mention pearls: I just love them. There is such a huge range of hue and sheen in them and I seem to want to collect them all these days. But the irony is that I have spent most of my life hating pearls. I always thought they were too traditional and drab for me. I don’t know what suddenly opened my eyes, but now I can’t seem to get enough of them. When I’m designing a piece and can’t figure out what to insert, I grab a pearl and usually it works.

Flea markets have always been one of my favorite places to shop for just about anything, and I’ve always been drawn to colorful, vintage, rhinestone brooches. But how many of those can a person own? Plus, I really don’t wear brooches. I wear a necklace almost everyday but a brooch just never seems as practical. So one of my favorite things about shopping for jewelry supplies is that I get to buy the things that I have always wanted. Making new things is a great justification for buying.

I should add that while I do a lot of my own shopping for materials, I have also received several jewelry donations from friends and clients. These donations are always fun because they usually contain some items that I would never buy myself. But then I’ll find the perfect use for them in a piece. It’s always a pleasant surprise and really does add a new dimension to the work.

Turquoise and 1922 Peace Silver Dollar Necklace, $68

QB: Tell me a little about your process.

ST: Sometimes I have something in mind before I start–you know, an image will just come to me and I need to create it–but most of the time, I am just experimenting and I don’t have a goal in mind when I begin. The majority of my necklaces are not only unique from one another in terms of materials used but are also unique in terms of style and design. I don’t have a formula that I follow, and I don’t ever want to have one. I like that my pieces are cohesive [as a collection] while still being different and unique from one another.

Vintage Brass Copper and Silver Grapes and Leaves Necklace, $60

QB: Do you have a clientele in mind? Do you cater to a particular kind of women? Do you aim for a certain aesthetic?

ST: [I believe that] my pieces really do appeal to a broad spectrum of women.  I make some real statement pieces, which not everyone can wear every day. [But] I also make more understated elegant designs, such as my “Sweet Whimsical Charm Necklace”—it’s the type of piece that you could wear almost every day, just to add a little something to your look.

Plus, I design both long and short necklaces. I think this array of styles is what makes my pieces appeal to so many. Like I said before, there is variety within the cohesion of my designs.

Sparkly Rhinestone and Pearl Statement Necklace, $88

QB: What inspires you?

ST: I think that Anthropologie has really broadened the market of women’s fashion and accessories. Their success in bringing what used to be on the fringe into every day fashion is really inspiring. I credit them with a lot of the success of repurposing vintage both in clothing and accessories.

Also, Etsy is a fantastic marketplace. It’s really inspiring that someone with a passion for creation can so easily get their products out there to the world.

Repurposed Tour Eiffel Charm Necklace, $68

QB: Do you sell anywhere besides Etsy?

ST: I’ll be selling at the Alameda Flea Market this coming weekend, Sunday June 6th at Booth C7, near the entrance. I’ve got a bunch of brand new pieces that haven’t been posted online yet. I sell through word of mouth locally as well and use my Etsy site and my Facebook fan page for an online presence. I’m hoping to place my jewelry in a few local stores in the near future.

Note: Sasha will be closing her Etsy store on Sunday, as she’s taking these pieces to the Alameda Flea Market. So if there’s anything you have to have, do it now. Or swing by the flea market to see what else she brings to the table (har!). And of course she’ll continue to stock the Etsy store, so it pays to keep checking back.

No Susanna, Friday Is My Funday

In case you need some something to do on Friday:

Alphonse Berber Projects is pleased to announce it's inaugural exhibition: Kamau Amu Patton. The exhibition will bring together new site-specific light works, sculptures, prints and a single painting to create an immersive perceptual experience for visitors.

My friends over at Alphonse Berber have been busy, busy bees lately. They and their fellows have three galleries opening Friday, June 4 in San Francisco.

Maya Kabat, Cities and Signs 3, 16" x 16", Oil on canvas

Also, in conjunction with the Oakland Art Murmur–which is awesome and if you’ve never been, well, what the hell?!? it happens every month and it’s obscenely BARTable and RAD and, really, if you say you’ve never been because it’s in Oakland I’m going to slap you–

my friend Maya Kabat is one of two artist featured at the Mercury 20, which is one of the 21 galleries with a voice in Murmur. Seriously, I told you, Art Murmur’s really kick ass.

But if you’re not moved to hang East Bay, if you must or would like to or want to be in the city on Friday night, Cameron and Jessica would be pleased as pie to see you all at 575 Sutter St.

If you haven’t noticed, I like promoting my friends. So tell me if you’re throwing/hosting/debuting/playing/showing at some whatever event [here in the Bay] and I’ll totally talk it up. That’s how I roll.

Best Buys in the Bay: Hot Vintage from Huzzah!Vintage

Based out of Oakland, Huzzah!Vintage offers an impressively diverse (and adorable!) selection of vintage dresses, hats, blouses, accessories, and housewares for “everything from your 80s themed prom to your 50s style cocktail party.” Oh, and lots of retro 1960s mod too! For some crazy reason, everything is super affordable too. Love it.

You can shop via Gina’s website,, or via her store.

THIS JUST IN: Gina has been sweet enough to offer all my readers 10% off their first purchase from with the code QSB10 now through June 15, 2010. So you’ve got no excuse not to pick up something pretty.

Here, I’ve pulled my five favorite pieces from her current etsy line-up of fab and rad pieces. It was nearly impossible to choose only five, but–somehow–I did. I highly recommend checking out the complete Huzzah! collection, because my top 5 don’t necessarily include your own Must Purchase Now and Make Mine pieces, you know?

1. This first one is by far my favorite. I think it’s incredible. The batik-style fabric is accented with heavy, shimmering Carolina blue paint and is fully lined in dark blue polyester. Click here for the listing, and a more in-depth description along with exact measurements (a must-have for buying online).

Described as being in excellent condition and a size Medium, this batik print, drop waist dress will run you a paltry $68. Huzzah! indeed!

2. How rad are these 1970s Corning glass tumblers? Can’t you just picture yourself with your lover, tangled up on a bearskin rug, in front of a fire, drinking hot toddies from these babies? Just me? Ah well then.

Only $10! Is it actually 1975? (That'd be kind of cool.)

3. Though I’m a smidge worried about the hand on this one–polyester being what it was–I lovelovelove the space-dyed material and cut too much to really let it bother me. It’s a classic 1960s shift dress. It is unlined, with a nylon zipper at the back-center. It is machine washable and in excellent vintage condition. Click here for the detailed listing and measurements.

It's described as a large (but, again, check the measurements for a more accurate sense of fit), this mod little number will set you back only $32. You spent more than that last weekend on drinks, and you'd look smashing holding a martini glass in this.

4. Yes, yes, yes! There is nothing I love more than a bag that goes with everything but still manages to NOT be boring. (Okay, there are a lot of things I love more than that, but, still.) Every woman needs a cool black clutch. This one is real leather, fully lined, and in excellent condition.

And it's only $24. Worth it!

5. Last but not least, this black lacy number is described as a large, but I actually think it would look awesome all boxy and oversized on someone tiny. But this 1960s piece with scalloped edging and feminine darting might just be one of those things that looks swell and swinging hip on everyone. Click here for more details.

$26. Share with your five best girlies and pay less than $5 each.

Happy shopping!

It’s a Mixed Up, Mismatched, Hodge Podge, Humble Jumble, Helter Skelter, Wide, Wide, Wild World

Collages may be my favorite art form.


Berkeley-based, Etsy seller Elkemay makes original collages and prints. This one is called Fierce Spring and it costs $20.


Collage is certainly the only visual art in which I participate.1 (Well, that and maybe Getting Dressed. After all, I do try to throw a little artistry into that daily grind.)

And that is definitely one strong appeal for the art form: its accessibility in regard to participation (if not appreciation). It is, by definition, cutting and pasting. And unlike with painting, sculpture, et al., collage is an easy(ish) visual art for anyone creative. You don’t really need a good hand if you have a good eye.2


Oakland-based Etsy artist Hansart makes handmade, one-of-a-kind collage-style cards and prints from found materials. This one is from a set of three titled Fashion Guide to Finnish Aviation, and all three collage pieces will run you $75.


Really though, ease is not the point. I am constantly and consistently compelled by art and fashion that incorporates collage because there is something  so exemplary of the Zeitgeist about collage. It’s so indicative of Our Times. (It’s also, I think, a really strong metaphor for identity, but that’s a whole other conversation.)


This is not to say that collage as an art form is something new. An exhibit showing now at the Met in New York, which I am so pissed to miss, is titled Playing With Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage. Aparently this is how bored housewives used to bide their time and feed their creative spirits. Pretty damn cool.


After all, mes amis, this is the Information Age. We are context laden, lousy with allusions and inspirations. And Collages as a species (and with the capital C) seem to be manifestations of this awareness. The images and text used in a single piece can come from anywhere and are almost necessarily anachronistic. They absolutely, by necessity come from multiple sources.

As a concept collages are very Of the Now, is what I mean.

Other Players in the Zeitgeist that are similarly reference-heavy include:

  • Vampire Weekend (who I want to be annoyed by but instead, lately, I can’t stop listening to them).
  • The whole idea of Steam Punk anything.
  • “That’s so meta.”

So what does this have to do with fashion?


For the April 2010 issue of W Magazine, Bruce Weber photographed fashion icon Iris Apfel with models Dree Hemingway (granddaughter of Earnest), Guinevere Van Seenus, and Kirsten Owen. Styled by Camilla Nickerson.


Well, several things I think. One, fashion in general, and Getting Dressed specifically, can be thought of in similar terms as collage art: the layering of disparate elements, the assumed diversity of source materials, the varied references, all different one from the other, or evocatively similar.


Here the stunning Alex Wek mixes and matches for the Financial Times luxury mag, How to Spend It. It is ridiculous that such a thing exists but great photos.


Think about this: In only the last ten years, major and minor lines have explicitly referenced looks from the last 200 years. To say nothing of more subtle or oblique references. To say nothing of influences that come from art or film (or whathaveyou).


Sasha Pivovarova lounges for photog Craig McDean for the February issue of Interview.


And right now, specifically, the move to mix and match prints is pervasive. I mean, check out all this nonsense on the Glamourai blog.


We can thank designer Dries Van Noten, in large part, for this Mix It Up trend. Here Frida Gustavsson models a look for Spring/Summer 2010. Dries is stupendous. I love pretty much every single thing he does.


What this all means–the mishmash of prints and patterns and pieces, the amalgamation of cues and clues to any number of historical periods, physical locations, political movements, and/or specific peoples–is that our wardrobes are similarly chock-full of content, context, and connotations.


The editorial, titled Global Gathering, was styled by Damian Foxe and photographed by Andrew Yee.


It also means that, despite the fact that it sometimes seems there isn’t a creative idea left in the universe (the movie based off the musical based off the TV show named after the song, the endless stream of remakes), we have nothing but abundance to inspire us and no boundaries to hedge in how we play them off of each other. Regardless of the mediums in which we work.

And now, for a little added inspiration, see every painting at the MOMA in 2 minutes.

  1. Par exemple, I turned the big, North-facing wall of my small Bordeaux apartment into a collage/mural. It had to be ripped (and I do mean ripped) down before I moved out of that apartment (and kicked the “ex” from my expat life).
  2. I go to this Visionary Collage party every new year (early January) where everyone brings old magazines (and so on) and scissors and creates a piece about what they want for the coming 12 months. It’s awesome.


See, how awesome is Karlie in this drool-worthy Dries look?


Hansart wrote an amazing little story to go along with “Fashion Guide to Finnish Aviation.” You should totally check it out.

You also need to read the New York Times review of the Playing with Pictures exhibit and check out the accompanying slide show.

For more information on the inimitable Iris Apfel, check out this article from the Peabody Essex Museum or this one from The Boston Globe.

Finally, I urge you too to take a look at the awesomeness that is Dries Van Noten.

All runway images taken from All editorial images taken from

Clothes for Social Folk

Remember when I bragged of my love for army/olive green and red?

Well, here’s the proof.

Here I am at the Shop Social mixer at the posh W Hotel. Hosted by and DNA (designers + artists), this event gave me the chance to chat with fellow bloggers and touch base with some great local designers.

I’m wearing:

  1. vintage Levi Strauss canvas work pants from the nineteen-teens. Seriously. I purchased them at last spring’s Vintage Clothing Expo. The vendors had acquired them from an estate sale, and these Most Favored of Trousers came with two photographs dated 1921 that showed the original owner chilling serenely by an untouched creek wearing my new pants. They put me back, if memory serves, $75, which seems like a steal considering that they’ve already held up well for nearly or more than 100 years. Legit. Their color is much more green in real life.
  2. a red, v-neck cardigan worn backwards, acquired last week from a street-side free pile. People throw away the best stuff. Yes, I washed it.
  3. black leather bondage heels from Nine West, purchased probably two years ago. I love these shoes. I spent almost $100 on them–which I never do, I very rarely spend that much on anything, though I know that’s not that much for shoes–but I had had had to have them.
  4. black leather, studded belt, borrowed from Hannah. Tee hee, thanks Hannah! (I’m house- and cat-sitting for Hannah Banana right now so this borrowing-of-belts is news to her*wink*.)
  5. Coincidentally, Hannah B also hand-made that rad, red necklace. Hannha, hannah, hannah.
After I took this get-up to a vaudeville-like, circusy, carnivalesque revue called Hello Folly! at Amnesia in SF. Highly enjoyable, it was a mix of performance art, folk opera, and music. It was also awesome.

It was awesome touching face-to-face base with Alex and Amy and Jenny, seeing Liz again, meeting Jen Jennings of Serial Cultura and Alyssa Nicole, who were all sweet as pie and oh-so talented. These photos come courtesy of Kristine Kirong over at Chictopia. Thank you again Kristine for the wonderful pics.

It was awesome as always to see the Folk Opera. I love you all madly.

Inspiration Sunday

“I am a woman who enjoys herself very much; sometimes I lose, sometimes I win.”–Mata Hari

Bug Under Glass monarch with vintage map of California, $48

Here are a few interrelated images to provide additional inspiration for your quickly encroaching week. I will attempt to make “Inspiration Sunday” a weekly thing. Which leads into… What else would you guys like to see from me? What should I be writing about that I haven’t yet?

I appreciate everyone who reads and want to keep y’all interested. Send me your thoughts, ideas, and so on in the comments section please.

Utilitarian Franchise human lung and heart growing wild flowers and orchids with butterflies, silk screened wall hanging, $35

My own inspiration for this post? Bodies, butterflies, and wanderlust.

I’ve been working lately on getting my body strong again, walking and wondering thru town, enjoying the beauty of spring in the Bay. The monarchs are rolling through town. I’ve seen three perfect specimens in Berkeley in as many days.

Who else has spotted the colorful fluttering of warm weather butterflies around town?

I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about travel and camping. “Camping,” specifically, keeps coming up in conversation so this may be a good cue that I need to get out of dodge for a few days and put some dirt under my feet.

Selflesh, hand embroidered archival print of a rare vintage star map in the form of an anatomical heart, with red thread that radiates from the North Star, $30
  1. The Bug Under Glass studio is located in San Francisco and here you can find beautiful specimens, butterflies and beetles, in amazing color and richly detailed. The Bug Under Glass studio offers museum quality specimens and museum quality frames and framing practices. Furthermore, this is a Green Certified business and all of the insects are farm raised, not wild caught, from forest conservation programs around the world. Biologist Kevin Clarke will also gladly work with customers for tailored home displays or one-of-a-kind gifts. I love how unique and well-crafted his displays are. These go beyond your typical bug-in-a-box presentations. This one is my favorite. Y’all already know how I have a thing for beetles.
  2. I’m a little bit obsessed with The Utilitarian Franchise. Based in San Francisco, they make compelling and strangely beautiful screen printed pillows and canvases that feature animal-human hybrids and more traditional nature imagery. I love the Professor Tucan and Lion Baby pillows, but I think this Jellyfish in Armor is my favorite. I love the one I featured above as well. Honestly, again, I’m kind of obsessed with their stuff. I’d buy out the whole stock if such a thing were doable.
  3. Okay, so Selflesh isn’t actually a Bay Area artist. I just realized this. Somehow, because I love her stuff obviously, her etsy shop was put in the list of my (Bay Area) favorites. But, whatever, I do what I want. Maine-based artist Shannon Rankin makes fine art, embellished, and limited edition prints. A lot of her collage work includes maps, which I love; I love maps. Images of the body (hands, heads, anatomical hearts) and images of birds are also big themes in her work. Again: love, love, love. So what if she lives in Maine? One of my best friends is from Maine.