Twitch and Whiskers: Vintage Thimbles and Upcycled Treasures
Mei-Ling Uliasz of Twitch and Whiskers creates truly unique, one-of-a-kind designs using upcycled materials. Based in Connecticut, Mei-Ling scours the northeastern region’s markets, often in the company of fellow designer Grace Napoleon of Folk Couture, where she finds vintage jewelry and other unusual items, which she combines to create wonderful new designs.
I met Mei-Ling at the Prospect Heights Craft Fair in early April, where I got to admire her work firsthand. The Twitch and Whiskers Thimbalism Collection features vintage thimbles combined with sweet charms. They resemble colorful, whimsical bells to me, and it’s fun to look at all the great thimbles, which are tiny bits of history. They were used to advertise everything from fabric stores, household appliances, and savings and loans, to Eveready batteries, utility companies, and even funeral homes. Mei-Ling combines each thimble with a fun and surprising variety of charms, including whale tails, hearts, astronauts, hula girls and many many more. So you can find a piece that symbolizes something very special for you or a friend.
Mei-Ling is also a school teacher, and her classroom is a design inspiration. For some mysterious reason, she finds numerous magic marker pen caps on her classroom floor at the end of the day. Where the pens themselves end up is anybody’s guess, but their lids could end up on your wrist as a REcap bracelet.
At the craft fair, Twitch and Whiskers had a statement necklace with a large cameo of a little girl, with pretty pink flower accents. It made me think of Alice in Wonderland. However, Mei-Ling told me that the design was actually inspired by outsider artist Henry Darger, whose work I find extremely disturbing. So I’m sticking with Alice. But that’s what makes Twitch and Whiskers so wonderful: the fact that it is so creative and evocative that it can mean many different things to many different people.
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