Gay Ann Rogers  Needlework

Christmas 2021 Deco Influence

Ninth Day of Christmas

Four little pincushions with black etched designs dying

to become blackwork on a sampler.

For Christmas Eve, a Bonus

A short Lesson in Pretty Faces

The question I am asked the most often: how do you make a pretty face in needlepoint? One answer: study pretty faces.  Here is a short lesson in the evolution of beauty. Cameos are arranged by age, from oldest to newest. Look what happens to the idea of beauty.

Victorian Cameos.

Look at the fleshy faces and pronounced straight noses and look at the hairstyles.

Edwardian Cameos

Do you see a slight change?


After World War I style changed to pert little

faces with turned up noses. Check out the chin lines as well as the hairstyles.

1940's --50's.  Above Sweetheart cameos.

Below a small brooch and earrings in the original box.

Simpler, mostly the same face repeated, almost like a universal face takes over.

These were small cameos sold in dime stores as costume jewelry, everywoman's cameo. What fascinates me: costume jewelry had geunine

hand carved cameos. No nasty plastic here.

What I notice is that the faces evolve from stately to sweet.

Some time when I was immersed in cameo-obsession, I corresponded with a wonderful cameo dealer.

Here's what he told me: buy a cameo not by gold in her setting, not because she is 'the best, most intricate, most in demand,' buy her because you love her, because you want her to be a part of your life.

He continued to say, people who just start collecting cameos always think that the best cameos are set in gold, the middle level in silver, the lesser in brass. He said 'no, doesn't work that way for it depends on what the original owner orders. He told me the best cameo he had ever seen was set in brass

Why cameos?

The single most common question I am asked is, 'show me how to make a pretty face in needlepoint.'

To make a pretty face in needlework, it helps to study the evolution of standards of beauty and here's a little lesson right on this page.

Over the years I indeed learned a lot from cameos.

I haven't looked on eBay for cameos for a very long time. If I have a chance, I'll see if I find any, particularly small ones for ornaments.  Nice ones that are tiny enough for ornaments.

If I find any, I will post a photo and a link to the listing.

If you are drawn to cameos, you are not alone, there were very very famous people who collected cameos. To mention two: Catherine the Great had an extensive collection of cameos -- her collection is still together.

The cameo collector who surprised me the most was Napoleon.

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