Love, Pamela

Top: Refinery 29, unknown, Vanessa Jackman

So, as many bloggers have probably already stated (and many a post has undoubtedly began): 

I love Pamela Love

Her jewelry is just...astounding. Homegirl has that rough-hewn free-spirited badass aesthetic dialed in. She does mystic crystals, and that's officially a meme, Internet, you'd better take note. If she does feathers or claws or skulls or Bozo the Clown, you'd better listen up, world, because the Urban Outfitters of this great nation of ours are just waiting to pounce all over that. 

That said, she's fantastic, she's amazing, blah blah blah - but I'm a fan from afar, because like her as much as I do (and oh, I DO), I can't afford her talons or spikes or mystic triangular whatchamacallits to save my life. Sure, I could save up. But I'm a photographer. Let's just shoot straight here: I work in an exorbitantly expensive profession. If I have extra cash (you know, above and beyond the occasional H&M spree, that is), it's going toward some sort of techno gadget that will make my art more arty and my life more lively and my wallet a bit fatter. Let's just call a spade a spade. I'm a hired gun, and mama's gotta pay her rent somehow. (You can't start a fire, you can't start a fire without a spark...)

So I love Pamela Love from a distance. The pieces I've loved the most in the past few seasons are, of course, her bird skulls and talons. Whether ring, bracelet, or necklace, I've been completely enamored by her avian wares and I'm in constant search for an equivalent. If there's something I've learned from the designers I know, it's that many of them are inspired by thrifted wares, antique bobbles, and any number of vintage finds. That said, there are times when I'll run across something and I'll know that particular item served as an inspiration for whatever designer re-appropriated it and sent it en masse to the clutches of today's style mavens. Sure, there's room for original ideas, but I've always felt that some of the best mid-level designers are really tastemakers in disguise. They see a shape or a cut or a print, a pattern, a piece of jewelry, a type of belt, a shape of hat or what have you, and they recycle that idea, reshape it, re-appropriate it, make it unexpected, re-contextualize it, and make it seem new. In other words, they've got the ability to see something with fresh eyes, and then present it as such. It's a talent, to be sure.

What this means for the rest of us, of course, is that sometimes for every muuuusssst haaaaave item that crosses our visual path, there could be a vintage or thrifty equivalent hiding off the beaten path just waiting to be discovered. Such is the case with my latest purchase.

Obsessed as I've been with bird skulls and talons, I was able to replicate a reasonable facsimile of Love's talon necklace using my own materials and a found charm from LA's fabric district. 

I've been wearing (and loving) this necklace for a couple of years now, but I'd yet to find a cranium-tastic equivalent. Until yesterday, that is. Hidden in a pile of brassy junk at an antique store in Yucca Valley (more on that later), there it was: My avian ideal. And instead of costing me $400, it cost a mere $20. Sometimes diverting from the beaten path pays off. 

Oh, and please appreciate that these photos were taken with my iPhone while I was wearing said necklace. You can't even being to appreciate the difficulty in getting these shots. 

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