Apr 12, 2019
Avery Applegate is a jewelry artist who loves hunting for forgotten treasures with a dark twist. She mixes these findings into assemblage art jewelry. Avery explores nature, sidewalks, and thrift/antique shops to collect treasures such as photographs, vintage jewelry, bones, and typewriter keys.
Her original jewelry line, Just My Type Jewelry, features vintage typewriter keys. After attending the Ghoultide Gathering Halloween art show, she was inspired to add a darker, more serious line. She named it Mourning Glory Jewelry.
Avery taught art for three decades.
As a child, Avery’s mother needed to check Avery’s pockets before doing her laundry. Avery would bring home shells, bones, nightcrawlers, and more from her explorations of the small family farm. Avery’s mother nurtured her collecting habit. She taught her how to make a ring out of a bone, which Avery still has. Avery’s mother sparked her love of Halloween, reading her bedtime stories that spun-up her imagination.
She loved coloring in a book of Brothers Grimms tales. Avery was drawn to creepy and weird shows like the Addams Family, Dark Shadows, The Twilight Zone, and more.
Avery enjoys working on jewelry because it enables her to tell stories with all the small things she’s collected over the years. For example, an old belt buckle can become a frame for a photograph.
Avery shared her sources. When she is out in nature, she looks for things that call to her. She is often found hunting in thrift and antique shops. She got her job at Rusty’s Antiques because she shopped there so much. People will drop off things to her. Once she came home and found an old typewriter on her doorstep.
The rarest and most valuable items in her collection are pieces of Victorian mourning jewelry. Victorians would take hair from a deceased loved-one and have it made into jewelry.
The weirdest place Avery has ever searched for antiques was an old privy (outhouse). People used to throw trash down their privy like bottles and crocks. To clarify -all the nasty bits were fully decomposed by the time Avery dug around in them.
Abandoned houses call to Avery. She gets permission to explore them now after being arrested for entering one without permission back in her college days.
Avery connects with the people in old photographs. She is especially drawn to the eyes. She collects photographs, tin types, and daguerreotypes. She passes by a lot of pictures – she doesn’t connect to them all. She thinks the people from the past would be appalled to know their photographs are now being cut-up for art. Avery met Wes Cowan from the TV show, Antiques Roadshow. She was wearing a tin type she had made into a necklace. She asked Wes what he thought about it. He said old photographs should be kept out and enjoyed. Avery has a sense of humor about couples. If they don’t look happy, she has no issues using them in separate art pieces.
The first Halloween art show Avery attended was Ghoultide Gathering. As a diehard, she would get in line at 3:00 a.m. In 2016, she showed the organizer, Scott Smith, some of her work. The next year the show transitioned to Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween and Avery was invited to be a participating artist.
One of her favorite pieces is a hand-blown eyeball from a German doll. She set it in the center of a 1940’s circle pin. The collector who purchased it wore it on his black tuxedo.
The name Mourning Glory is a nod to Victorian mourning, which has always fascinated her. She likes the ritual of that period, but she’s thankful she lives in our time. Some Victorian death rituals are reemerging, like green burials, post-mortem photography, and family involvement.
Follow Avery on her Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/mourninggloryjewelry/. She also sells through Indigenous Craft in Cincinnati. She will also be a Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween artist this year.