My Dear Readers,
The new year is only a few days away and the holidays are coming to a close. Your proprietor hopes that, whichever holiday you celebrate, yours was one of joy and merriment accompanied by the love of friends and family. There are those of course who either find themselves alone, or oppressed by the unrelenting, often superficial, joviality of the season. I offer you my deepest sympathy and the comforting suggestion that it is almost over and you have indeed survived another year.
I am fortunate to be able to take great pleasure in the holidays. Christmas was the holiday of choice in my youth. My dear mother started cooking a few days before Thanksgiving and did not stop until New Years day dinner was served. My heart is filled with memories of parties and music, homemade cookies and bourbon laced egg nog. Since I detest the cold dark days of winter, such as we can claim to have it in the southern United States, I don’t like to put away the lights and fun. If you so choose, and I do, the Victorian tradition of Twelfth Night is an excuse to postpone taking down the decorations for another week. Now a days there is a misconception that the Twelve Days of Christmas lead up to the holiday. In fact, Christmas is the first day and the days count up to Twelfth Night on January 6, which Catholics and Anglicans celebrate as the day the three Magi brought their gifts to the baby. Whether you celebrate that symbolism or not, it’s a good excuse to keep the decorations up and have another smashing party. It also marks the beginning of Mardi Gras, but that is for another post.
New Years marks new beginnings for all of us every year. Here at the Emporium this particular New Year is, and will always remain, the most important one ever, for January 2018 is the year that we throw open the virtual doors of our web shop and invite you into our world of Beautiful Things. Your proprietor begs your patience, however. Unique handcrafted things do not come into being at the snap of one’s fingers. As devoted as I am to the handcrafted world of the Belle Epoque, I would eagerly embrace the technology that would allow me to transfer brilliant ideas from my brain to my cutting table like plugging a printer into a computer.
Alas, this is work that truly must be done the old fashioned way. It takes many hours of pattern drafting and trial and error to make each prototype so our opening will be as a rose unfurling it’s petals rather than a gas lamp bursting into flame. Items will begin going on sale within a few days and you can expect more and more in the coming weeks. We are still awaiting the brown leather for the Adventurer Collection so, until then, items will debut in the black leather Traveler’s collection. As soon as brown leather is available, versions will be made for the Adventurer collection and the brown leather trimmed cotton canvas Vagabond collection. Titles and brief descriptions are already posted and so please let me know if there are things you would particularly like to see. I can move things of interest to the top of the list. As always, I am in your service. May 2018 find you in good health, good spirits, and blessed by all of the joy this world can offer.
Your proprietor, Grandison Trowbridge
P.S. I know many of you received gift cards from friends and loved ones and humbly remind you that, in addition to our own gift cards, we can take any card with a Visa or Mastercard logo. G.T.
Dear readers, As many of you know, Steampunk began as a fairly obscure sub genre of science fiction. It grew into a small fandom subculture. In the past ten years it has blossomed into a pop culture phenomenon. Your proprietor doesn’t think it is a mere fad because it literally spans all ages from teens to retirees. People spend large amounts of their spare money on it, a vast group of hobbyists and craftsmen are pouring their hearts into it. Businesses (yes, such as mine) are being built in its domain. However, it is not necessary to go full on Top Hats, Goggles, and Ray Guns to join in the fun. You can buy in at what ever level you choose. Oh, my, those corporate buzzwords. I understand that contemporary people relate to them, though. My partner, Mr. Peter uses them often. The point is, be a tiny bit steampunk because it’s trendy, or over the top steampunk because it’s who you are. Just have fun.
My own fascination with the Victorian/Edwardian era began as a wee boy. My dear great grandmother was born in 1883 and lived for 106 years. She was a vibrant formidable women well into my adulthood, driving her own car at 100. She taught me to be a gentleman and appreciate the pleasures of graceful living and “going to the trouble” to make that happen. My mother introduced me to the world of antiques and only owning things you love, whatever they may be. By some accident, I started reading those cheap paperback “bodice ripper” romances in the late 70’s and swooned over their depiction of beauty, glamour, and romance. Thus a closeted Edwardian gentleman was born.
Someone ( I don’t remember who) said that Steampunk, as a subculture, was born from people’s disaffection with magic plastic boxes. Now, your proprietor hates plastic with a passionate distaste reserved for few things in life but the point is not so much the boxes but what they represent. In our modern era we push a button and miracles happen. Wonderful miracles, indeed, by any measure! But it is a cold, practical, utilitarian life that too often his done for us rather than by us. The attraction of steampunk is that, in fantasy at least, it adds a veneer and often the substance of a world that is real, organic, and human. A life with at least a dream of beauty, romance and adventure. At the Emporium we invite you to add as much of that as you dare to your home, your wardrobe, your life. Every tie looks better with a stick pin just be warned...they are rather like chocolate biscuits. Once you’ve had one, you’ll want to have more. But whatever you do, never settle for less than the amazing life you were born to live! It is our goal, and joy, to help make that happen.
Ever in Your Service, Grandison Trowbridge, proprietor
Welcome to the Trowbridge Emporium blog! I, Grandison Trowbridge, your proprietor and host, have been informed by my business partner, Mr. Peter, that I must record my thoughts and the high jinks and goings on at the Emporium for posterity and the delectation (that’s Victorian for enjoyment) of our fans and customers. Perhaps there will be a book deal in the future, or a Masterpiece theater series. Mr. Selfridge got one, after all. But, for now, I write for you, dear reader.
Our grand adventure moves apace. This whole thing began when Mr. Peter approached me at a brunch party on Columbus Day and asked what I thought about designing a line of luxury leather goods. Not being the kind of artistic genius to turn down a challenge, I said it sounds interesting. Being a here to for starving artist, I asked how are we going to sell them. Mr. Peter said “Not to worry, I’ll build you a store... or at least a website.”
I’m not sure what Mr. Peter had in mind when we got together a week later but I hit that croquet ball right off of the lawn and into the rose garden. Not just a store… a handcrafted, small batch, Locavor, Neo Edwardian, Hipster, Steampunk Emporium full of equipage, artifacts, and wonderful things. To be fair, it was very much a team effort and Mr. Peter was right there with me the whole way. Our great minds think very much alike. Mr. Peter says we are not selling merchandise, we are creating a “shopping experience.” Why stop there? When our on ground store opens, I hope it will be more than just a shop. I want a Steampunk community center, Victorian salon, playground for Edwardian Dandies and Dandiettes, a general source of fun and amusement for all of us, and, of course, a shop where you can buy all sorts of wonderful Beautiful Things. So, like us on Facebook, follow this blog or our twitter, join our mailing list. Stay in touch. Share your thoughts and desires with me for I am ever at your service.
Your proprietor, Grandison Trowbridge
As we work hard to bring the website online we invite everyone to sign up for our mailing list located at the bottom of the page. Everyone who joins the mailing list before our opening in January will receive a special grand opening gift. Please spread the word.
The Trowbridge Emporium is the convergence of many of my life long passions. It is a showcase for my love of leather and skill as a leathercrafter, an opportunity to buy and sell the antiques and collectibles that I love, and a gallery in which to share things of beauty and quality with the world, presented with the style, elegance, and impeccable service of days gone by.”