Time flies! Your proprietor has decided to only add journal entries every two weeks, for now. When our actual store opens, I hope there will be much more to share but I don't want to bore you by just scraping around for things to fill space. The new products did not get finished as soon as I had hoped. My last few weekends and early evenings have been taken up cat sitting for a friend, Mr. B, who has been flitting about adventuring. I'm quite envious of his trip to New York City, truly the center of civilization. I have many fascinating friends there and there is never a shortage of adventure to be found.
Mr. B's other trip, however, was west to Las Vegas which your proprietor finds much to plastic and flashy to be of interest. Even when it's expensive and trying to be luxurious it sometimes comes off as down market. However, the light show is impressive, at least some of the shows are good, and of course, there is gambling. Mr. B apparently won several hundred dollars dueling with one armed bandits. I'm most glad for him but not sure the risk is worth it. My understanding is that the bandits usually win. Anyway, his cat Boots, gets desperately lonely when Mr. B is gone and will pout until it almost dies. That is not a metaphor. Once, before your proprietor was recruited to keep it company, it stopped eating or drinking for three days and ended up at the vet on an IV for 48 hours. The cat is quite sweet, though, and the compensation for lounging on the sofa with a cat on one's lap is generous, but the time required comes at the expense of other things like making new things for the shop. Fortunately, that is over, for a while, at least and it’s back to work.
Friday evening Mr. Peter and myself are off to another party at the Heretic, where we went last month. This a Valentines party with a Moulin Rouge theme. Now Paris in 1900 is one of your proprietor’s favorite times and places ever, although Paris is pretty spiffing most any when. The Baz Lurhman movie with Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman is at least among my top five favorite movies, if not top three. What Moulin Rouge has to do with Valentine’s day is beyond me. Red Windmill… red hearts… holiday for love… tragic musical romance where the heroine dies at the end. It’s a stretch but I’ve no doubt the party will be as fun as the last one, as long Mr. Peter doesn’t come down with a sudden flu and collapse in the back bar again like last time. Not to worry! A few days rest and he was right as rain. Why do people say that? I must look it up on the Google. Anyway, we will give it a try and then Saturday morning we are off to an art festival at the Ponce City Market. Whether we will dress down to not cause a stir, or dress like proper gentlemen has yet to be decided. Either way, you can read all the details here next time. As always, I am ever in your service.
Things move apace at the Emporium. We’ll have new products coming soon and today I photographed a dozen or so Beautiful Things for our Artifacts collection.
Things move apace at the Emporium. We’ll have new products coming soon and today I photographed a dozen or so Beautiful Things for our Artifacts collection. I have to confess that I find myself a bit at a loss as to what you all might like to buy in the way of home decor. Once we get them online, feedback would be greatly appreciated and suggestions, as well.
We did get some great news this week. Mr. Peter had told me awhile back that there are 20,000 Steampunks in the Atlanta area. That seems like a breathtaking number to me but Mr. Peter has his ways with these things. He practices the arcane arts of consumer marketing on an international corporate scale so I believe what his internet crystal ball tells him. We are the home of Dragon Con, after all. That international Si fi/Fantasy weekend draws more than 80,000 guests and a lot of them are Steampunks but they also come from around the world, not just here at home.
This week however Mr. Peter discovered the Motovoto Blog (“The lighter side of Real estate”) Big Deal Steampunk List which claims, through their own arcane statistics, that Atlanta is the Steampunk Capital of America, coming in at number one on their list of Steampunk cities. For those outside of our fair city, the other top five, in descending order, are Winston-Salem, NC, Orlando, FL, and Las Vegas, NV tied with San Francisco, CA.
I’m not familiar with Winston-Salem but the rest have a notable acquaintance with fantasy and whimsy far outside of their steampunk connection. I don’t really think of Atlanta as fantastical or whimsical but we do have Dragon Con and one of the larger Renaissance Festivals in the nation. Motovoto has also declared us the top Gamer City and the top city for Live Action Role Playing, which is a lot like Steampunk except they have different outfits, scripts, and monsters. I’m rather glad Steampunk doesn’t include any notable quantity of monsters because one must run from them. Your proprietor generally indulges in that sort of activity as rarely as possible. However, maybe we are a fantastical bunch after all. Whenever I hear “Winston-Salem” I just think of a small low-key city devoted to tobacco and technology but if it’s the second steamiest city in the U.S. perhaps it deserves a visit. One day. When I run out of new things to make for the Emporium.
Ever in your service,
Your Proprietor, Grandison Trowbridge
PS. It is late news but I didn’t hear about it until yesterday. Mr Peter and your Proprietor will be venturing out to The Heretic nightclub, here in town, for a Steampunk party on Friday night (1/19). We would love to make your acquaintance there!
The year has turned! I fear 2017 was a year that will be remembered fondly by very few. Hurricanes ravaged the east and gulf coasts while wild fires torched the west and a general malaise seemed to settle over everything. Borrowing a phrase from dear Queen Elizabeth, there was one stellar event in this “annus horribilis,” that in future mayhaps cause some to recall this year with a smile, though. That is, Mr. Peter and your Proprietor hatched our plan for the Trowbridge Emporium! I jest of course. Well, maybe not. However, the one thing about time is that, for better or worse, it moves on. We at the Emporium deeply hope that time is moving towards better days you and yours in this New Year.
Things have been very busy at the Emporium these past few weeks but we now have equipage to share! There are two leather bound diaries, pocket sized and desk sized. The larger one has a brushed nickle swing lock on it, while the smaller one snaps, the better to slip into pockets messenger bags, etc. We have a set of six square leather coasters in a matching caddy. Six because at least three out of four living rooms hold more than four people and it doesn’t help much if only two of them set damp glasses on the coffee table. We also have a beautiful wine bottle holder and a security card key ring. The key ring has a leather holder with pockets for two security cards for your door card and transit card, as well as a heavy split ring for your old school keys, as well.
By the time you read this, the brown leather for our Adventurer collection will be in the shop and we will have all of the above items in brown leather as well. The next item on the drawing board is a leather trimmed canvas gym bag for the vagabond collection. Like the Wright Brothers plane lifting of the sands at Kitty Hawke, your proprietor and the Emporium are ready to fly! Yes, it will be a very good year indeed.
Ever in your service,
Your Proprietor, Grandison Trowbridge
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.”