About Joyatri

Avid thrifter and vintage clothes wearer. Love 1960s and early 1970s styles. Partial to Art Nouveau, Pre-Raphaelite, Victorian, Renaissance and Medieval art. Former art historian. Current packrat. On a continual quest for good-looking, comfortable vegan shoes. Bhangra dancer since 2002. Fascinated by all things Indian. Vegan and animal advocate. 

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Words I like:

"She was dressed, as usual, in an odd assortment of clothes, most of which had belonged to other people." 

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (1913-1980)



“I said "Somebody should do something about that." Then I realized I am somebody.”

 Lily Tomlin




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Entries in Art Nouveau (3)


Nuts in May

After being cooped up in the flat with a nasty cold, my boyfriend and I decided to get into nature and combine a visit to the Watts Chapel and Gallery in Compton, Surrey, with a walk along the North Downs of the Surrey Heathlands.

A pretty start to the walk.With the Time Out Country Walks, Vol. 2 guidebook in hand, it was a short train ride to Guildford.

With my boyfriend striding along down the trail, and me dawdling yards behind, looking for ‘fairy doors’ and peering into rabbit burrows, I had visions of Keith from the 1975 Mike Leigh film, "Nuts in May" (link to film below), bellowing “Come along, Candice Marie” to his straggling wife who, like me, delights in small natural wonders.

Natural bark formation or fairy door? All of the woodland creatures must have been hibernating since we didn't see a single one.The Watts Chapel and Gallery is along the way.

Interior of Watts Gallery. The Watts Gallery opened in 1904 to display the works of the Victorian painter, philanthropist and social reformer G. F. Watts (1817-1904). The Gallery houses paintings, sculpture, drawings, and memorabilia and was built near the winter home of Watts and his wife Mary (1849-1938), also an artist.

The much-reproduced "Hope" of 1886

The original, gigantic plaster model of Lord Alfred Tennyson (and his dog) by G. F. Watts. The War of the Mushrooms, watercolor by Elena Polenova ©Vasily Polenov Fine Art Museum and Fine Art and National Park There was an exhibition of the Russian Arts & Crafts artist and designer Elena Polenova, whose fairy-tale paintings and folkloric furniture I had never seen before.

Down the road is the Watts Cemetery Chapel. It is a little gem with an odd combination of Byzantine, Art Nouveau and Celtic elements. Around 1900, Mary Watts founded The Potters’ Arts Guild in Compton. Prior to that, she held Terracotta Home Arts Classes for local villagers in Compoton. Following her designs, they created the reliefs for the Chapel.

Metalwork on doors by George Tunstal Redmayne (1840-1912).The interior is encrusted with angels on a background of sinuous vines and trees. I couldn’t photograph the Chapel to do it justice, but you can watch a 2-minute video to see the incredible detail.

We didn’t have time to explore the cemetery around the chapel. I would have loved to see more of the tombstones, like this one, made by the Compton pottery.

We had to hurry if we didn’t want to be finding our way in the dark. Fortunately the last leg of the trail was straightforward.

By then, it was 4pm and the moon was already shining in the sky (and being reflected in the canal). At the end of the trail, we sat at a picnic table in the dark and ate our better-late-than-never packed lunch before catching the train home.

It was great to learn more about G. F. Watts. He commissioned a memorial to everyday men and women who had lost their lives helping others.

The memorial, built in 1900, is located in Postman’s Park, just down the street from my boyfriend’s flat.

Doulton tile panels tell tragic tales of Victorian heros and heroines.

Not great quality, but you can watch the entire "Nuts in May" film on YouTube. It was also on UK television recently.


Stepping through the wonderwall

What a fun, vintage-filled weekend! On Saturday, I re-visited the Hippie Chic exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (closing Nov. 11) with my friend Lauren (the curator of the exhibition) and Ms. Hippie Chic herself, the fashion designer Anna Sui, who came to Boston to see the show with a mutual friend of ours.

Her enthusiasm for fashions of the '60s and '70s has filtered into her collections of the past couple decades and she has been one of the few (only?) contemporary designers I have paid attention to. In the early 1990s, I often made the rounds of galleries in Soho (New York) for my job and always stopped for a gander around the Anna Sui boutique. With its dark red floor, purple walls and ornate furnishings, I admired the look of the store as much as the clothes. I remember racks full of panne velvet, leg o' mutton sleeves, stripes in primary colors, dandy hats, floaty fabrics and all the other fashion elements I've loved pretty much my whole life. I have a shiny, dark red Anna Sui jacket from that period. Then and now, it is my go-to jacket when I want to feel like a rock star.

Jan Toorop (1858-1928), Delft Salad Oil Poster, lithograph, 1894After visiting the Hippie Chic show, we took in a small Dutch Art Nouveau works on paper exhibit. Can you believe this is an advertisement for salad oil? 

I finally got to wear the vaguely medieval maxi dress I purchased at Second to None when I visited Vix in Walsall last year.

The label is still a mystery. Anyone know anything about a boutique in Hampstead (London) called Aurium?

Rayon dress made in India, Second to None, Walsall, UK. Contemporary denim vest, thrifted, Goodwill. Mid-century Norwegian brooch I've had for decades (I'll post more about this brooch later). Moon face pendant and silver and amethyst moon face necklace, purchased in the 1970s. Indian brass and glass necklace, purchased from Frocktasia. Strands of 'love beads' made by me in the 1970s.Vintage embroidered velvet and corduroy bag, Made in Pakistan, thrifted, Boomerang. Contemporary shoes, thrifted, Goodwill, painted by me. Vintage stockings with stars, thrifted, Goodwill. Vintage hat from Frocktasia. 1970s Butte Knit black velvet jacket, thrifted, Goodwill. Late 1960s/early 1970s Patty O'Neil polyester mini-dress, thrifted, Goodwill. Hand-crocheted vest, thrifted, Goodwill. Blue tights, thrifted, Goodwill. 1960s chain belt and 1930s Bakelite brooch, both owned for decades. Clogs, thrifted, Goodwill, painted by me. 1990s black nylon bag, painted by me.Can I get away with wearing a micro-mini? I went out in public and I wasn't arrested, so I guess so.

The next best thing to fabric-covered buttons? Giant ball-shaped buttons.

Patty O'Neil Jr. Petites label. This dress once belonged to Anita L. Nichols. Thanks for the dress, Anita. Sunday morning, over home-made baked goods (including those banana muffins I inflict on everyone), Anna, our friend, and I met to pour over a selection of my horde of vintage clothing and Indian textiles. It's so much fun to hang out with like-minded folk who get excited by bits of schmata, especially ones who are as knowledgeable as Anna is about textiles and fashion. I only wish we'd more time to chat!

You know how much I enjoyed the exhibition, "Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde" that was at the Tate Britain last year. So to see a fashion collection inspired by that exhibition makes me too giddy for words. I keep watching the video of Anna Sui's Spring 2014 Collection over and over. It's a veritable bounty of Art Nouveau motifs, peacock blues, diaphanous tops and frocks, gladiator sandals, purples, Glasgow-School-style roses, panne velvet trousers, and glorious pattern mixing.


Linking up with Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday party.


Frock on Friday

I’m actually doing a blog post on a Friday and I’m wearing a frock. What are the chances? So, this is my very first Frock on Friday post!

I had curled my hair again, so I was looking to wear something floaty and romantic to go with the curls.

I bought this not-vintage dress at TRAID in Camden when I was in London in the spring. I liked the color and the art nouveau-ish type design. Even though the skirt was too poofy on me, I thought I could make it work.

Uttam London dress, £2, TRAID, London. Black cotton tunic from a clothing swap 20 years ago, free. 1970s purse from the Rock and Roll Yard Sale, $7. Silver necklace purchased in Turkey in 1999. Silver and carnelian (?) necklace from Cultural Survival bazaar. Bangles from India. Vegan sandals purchased new from MooShoes, New York.The skirt still sticks out too much, even with a lightweight cotton sleeveless tunic over it, so I may alter it someday.

Swapped the jewelry for earrings purchased at Cultural Survival Bazaar and a couple thrifted beaded necklace In other news, I am still taking care of my friend’s cat Tigro, who likes to sleep with his face pressed into the side of his bed.

I don’t know how he breathes. Is it just me, or does he look like a garden slug?

So as not to leave you with an image of a slug, I’ll post my latest thrift find -- a stunning panné velvet maxi skirt. It has the most vibrant fuchsia, purple, green and orange flowers on a black background.

late 1960s-early 1970s F.A. Chatta skirt, Goodwill, $3.75 Panné velvet is impossible to photograph –neither photo does it justice. The skirt has a 24-inch waist, and I don’t, so it will go into the pile of clothes purchased for their fabric, to be made into something. I now realize that the print and colors are similar to the chenille velvet of the purse in the photo above.

I am going on a daytrip tomorrow to a town where I hear there is a great vintage clothing store with reasonable prices. Not that I need to buy anything. I'll just look...