What Is Past Is Prologue: Five Years of Violet Folklore

Today is Violet Folklore's 5th anniversary! It was on September 19th, 2008 that Sasha and I, after weeks of talking about how we'd work it all out, plunged forward and set up our Etsy account. We had met at a local herb class the previous year; I remember noticing Sasha right away on the first day of class because of the beautiful prairie dress she was wearing. What a sweet sign of what was to come! Violet Folklore

This was our first attempt at taking an Official Marketing Photo. It was a very serious endeavor. (And apparently we were twelve years old).

Sasha went on to found her own Etsy vintage shop called Astral Boutique. She has carried her wild-eyed, golden-hued, flowers-in-her-hair vision forward with her and has been very successful with her shop, even being Etsy's Featured Seller back in July! Sasha is responsible for many of the early photos featured below.

I thought I'd celebrate today by posting a retrospective of some of my favorite vintage pieces, shot on a dozen different cameras over the years in some of the most beautiful locations in and around Nevada City and worn by (almost) every model Violet Folklore has ever featured. **I have deleted tens of thousands of photos off my computer over the years, so I know there are a few girls missing from this post. I'm sorry ladies, and I love ye dearly and thank ye endlessly!**

Carabeth

Carabeth modeled the first piece we ever sold. We felt triumphant!

Sarah

Sarah has been killing it with every pose all throughout these five years.

Cynthia

Cynthia is now Sasha's bandmate in Mt. Whateverest. CHECK THEM AND THEIR AMAZING OUTFITS OUT.

Sethy

Sethicus was VF's one and only male model. All the ladies swooned.

Alela

 Alela wore a Daughter of the Sun necklace on the Winter Solstice.

Maria

Maria was red hot.

Lucia

Lucia channeled Eve.

Bette

Bette channelled Little Red Riding Hood.

Candace

Candace modelled one of the prettiest Gunnies ever.

Sasha

Along with the one Sasha modeled in this self-photographed moment of crystalline sweet pea reverie.

Toni

Toni (of Moonchild Vintage) struck a pose at one of the many local Gold Rush historical sites- Empire Mine State Park in Grass Valley.

Amber

I breathed in the big sky in Nevada (the actual state).

Lily

Lily managed to remain earthbound.

Suuzi

Suuzi looked down, smiled, and created one of my favorite photos ever.

JenJen

Jen offered her beauty & grace to the world.

Mycelia

Mycelia brought the kid's vintage to adorable new heights.

Annie

Annie's playfulness was perfectly captured by Simon Weller's photographs in the Little Town of Washington (he took the following five pictures as well...)

Ariella

Ariella didn't even have to pretend to be a magical woodland nymph.

Kate

Kate embodied a ghostly miner's widow at Malakoff Diggins.

Alli

Alli lounged in between rounds of Bloody Mary's at the famous Willo Steakhouse.

Chia

Chia (of Out of the Mystic) was the Golden Queen of the Summer Solstice.

Erin

And Erin radiated her calm beauty out into the sunlit pines of the Sierra foothills...

LadyPower

I'll leave you with yet another early Official Marketing Photo attempt. I'm pretty sure we were going for a Lady Power! vibe with this shoot- you can use power tools, be a mother, and rock out all while wearing pretty vintage! And you know I've learned in these past five years- IT'S TRUE.

A Prairie Dress a Day: Four ♥ Candi Jones Easter Dress

Candi Jones Floral Lace Sun Dress

You know, Easter or ANY OTHER OCCASION EVER WHERE YOU WANT TO LOOK STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL IN VINTAGE.

Floral, lace, smocking... Candi Jones strikes again!

Vintage Candi Jones Lace Sun Dress

Okay, today's off-topic topic is Instagram! Who has it, who loves it, who wants to follow me on it!? It's one of my most used apps on my new (and beloved) iPhone, and I don't know how I ever lived without it ;-)

...For moments like this would not be captured, filtered in a retro hip fashion, and instantly shared with friends & family without it. We were eating snacks at the park yesterday when Mycelia suddenly got into this position. I asked her where she learned it and she said she saw it in a book about India. So sweet.

Let's connect y'all. I'll be putting an Instagram plug-in here on my blog soon, but in the meanwhile search for violetfolklore within the app itself. Good times.

The Hawaiian Collection: 70s, Peasant, Lovely

At some point in Violet Folklore's past I have posted something somewhere online about my love for 70s Hawaiian peasant dresses.

I'm thinking you feel the same way about these carefree relics of simpler days gone by.

And, like me, picture a dark-skinned earth mama puttering barefoot around her yard in a dress just like these gathering coconuts and mangoes and grinding taro and kava kava roots for an upcoming celebration.

When I came across these dresses in another Etsy shop recently I quickly hearted all of them.

And a few days later received a message from the shop owner. She had gotten all of the dresses from the estate of a friend who had recently passed on. But she and her husband were leaving Hawaii to move to the Middle East soon (I know, really?) and she needed to liquidate her stock. Would I be interested in purchasing them?

Her asking price was a little high, and it was hard to fully ascertain the quality of the dresses as they hung lifelessly on mannequins in the glaring mid-day sun. But I saw the potential. Oh yes, I saw the potential. So we haggled for a bit (I'm getting pretty good at that) and before long they arrived at my door step, all packaged up with pretty tropical leaves.

The ending of this epic tale has now passed into legend, as I begin to list these gorgeous dresses in my shop tonight...

Thanks to Suuzi's hella awesome husband Spencer Seim for taking these photos!

The Cuckoo's Dress

Once upon a time I posted a blog entitled The Cuckoo's Nest: A History of Portland's Original Bohemian Boutique in which I presented stories and images from the glory days of what was undoubtedly the hippest little shop ever to produce unique handmade clothing.

As I reported there, the owner and visionary behind the boutique, Julie Safley, and I developed a cherished camaraderie through our communication concerning The Cuckoo's Nest. Julie now runs an Alpaca farm just outside of Portland where she produces fabulously luxuriant alpaca fibers.
Of the many wonderful and unexpected gifts to come out of this friendship was a package of eight glorious alpaca fiber and Pima cotton dresses...
Four of them are monochromatic (pink, blue, light olive green, and nude), very fitted and flattering, mermaid cut beauties...
And the other four are absolutely gorgeous and utterly unique dresses made of a perfectly blended synthesis of colors, materials, and patterns, each in its own special cut. These dresses were based on original Cuckoo's Nest patterns from the 70s (!), and their bohemian spirit shines brightly through.
Each of the garments is a sensual delight to wear. They are all lined in silky satin and are made of spectacularly well woven material from truly luscious natural materials.
These pieces were made in 1990 for a fashion show and have been awaiting their chance to reappear in public and find a loving home ever since...
And now their time has come. By the end of the week, quite likely sooner, each of these pieces will be listed in the shop.
Thank you Julie, thank you original Cuckoo's Nest designers and seamstresses, and thank you alpacas for giving me the opportunity to present these very, very special dresses to the world.

Inside The Cuckoo's Nest

As promised, the follow up to my most popular blog ever- The Cuckoo's Nest: Portland's Original Bohemian Boutique. These shots were taken in the early 70s and feature different spaces inside the shop as well as some more of the folks involved.

Oh, and awesome news! Julie's friend James Kiehle is now working on a book about The Cuckoo's Nest :-)

The famous men's Western shirts handmade by Georgia Drummond.

I'll take that one and that one and that one and that one...

Susie Carlson pretties up the racks.

The entrance.

The home of Bill & Sam (named after the Naito brothers- see original post).

John Stockert arranging flowers.

Four of the shop's seamstresses.

Georgia Drummond, head seamstress.

Jody Sterne, Marilyn Thompson, and Susie Carlton have fun with Raggedy Ann.

Jody behind the register.

Ric Young sketching a design. He is now, as Julie says, "designing costumes and directing Storefront Theatre productions for angels".

Ric and Jody being fabulous.

Robin Chilstrom, personal seamstress to Ric.

Leather craftsman Rik Ehmann.

The Native American jewelry booth.

The shop stocked a large inventory of jewelry made by the Hopi, Zuni, and Navajo tribes.

All the rest of the jewelry was handcrafted by local artists, one of whom was Dyke Vandenburgh who now owns a beautiful jewelry store in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Handmade pottery by the late Joel Cotett of Portland and Michael Zametkin of Astoria.

The natural foods cafe, managed by Susie Carlton. As with the other hand carved signs, this one (missing the "i" in juice!) was made by Roger McKay.

The menu. Julie recalls that the most expensive item was an avocado, sharp cheddar cheese, tomato and sprout sandwich on wholegrain bread for 85 cents.

There were private dining booths which were wallpapered in antique sheet music. Julie says that customers would spend hours inside.

The natural cosmetic and body bar where customers would bring their own containers and buy in bulk (Julie was so ahead of her time!).

Nooks and crannies in the natural body care section.

Okay and I still have one more Cuckoo's Nest blog to post, all about the musician associated with the shop and some of the AMAZING posters and marketing images they created!