Lockets and Keepsakes in Jane Austen


My project is a locket filled with Regency-style silhouettes of my mother, Donna Blanco, and my sister, Amanda Blanco. The final image of the locket was made digitally using Adobe illustrator and Photoshop. Originally the final product was supposed to be made in my grandmother's locket; however, after not being able to find it, my project became fully digital. When I find it, I will print out the silhouettes and insert them into the locket. My case discusses how the longstanding tradition of carrying images of a loved one lives on in the modern form of smart phone lock screens.  Some people carry tangible photographs in their wallets, but the majority of people have transitioned to a digital form. 

Portrait Miniatures of  Donna and Amanda Blanco for Antique Locket, Crafted by Josephine Blanco, 2023. This is an image of my final product. I chose the locket because my grandmother wore a locket for most of her life. It held two images , one of her mother and one of her father. It was a gift from her mother when she moved to America at 19, so she had images to remember her family by.  Lockets have a long history dating back to the 16th century. Originally, lockets held pieces of fabric, hair, or perfume soaked cloth to ward off bad smells. The locket was popularized by Queen Elizabeth in the 17th century when she sent out ring lockets of her portrait to those close to her. Nowadays, the locket is used mostly to hold photographs, but that has varied throughout the years. For example, in the Regency era it was most common to hold someone's hair in either a necklace or ring locket. We see this in Sense and Sensibility in the hair ring that Edward Ferrars wears.  My project is a modern take on the locket; it is filled with digital illustrations of my sister and mother instead of photographs or hand made prints. 

Complete Portrait Diptych of Donna and Amanda Blanco, Crafted by Josephine Blanco, 2023. This image is a diptych of the final portrait miniatures of my mom and sister. I used Illustrator to personalize both portraits.  For my mother's portrait, I chose the color green because it is her favorite color. I chose the background because it reminds me of Celtic knot patterns that my mom has around the house. The one of my sister uses the color purple because it is her favorite color. I chose to use a darker purple over a light background, so the silhouette stands out. For the background I selected a flower pattern because my sister always has fresh cut flowers in her room.

Process Image of my Workspace in Adobe Illustrator, 2023. This image shows the process of placing the portraits into the locket image. Because I could not find my grandmother's physical locket, I selected an image of a locket very similar to hers and fit the images into the locket. To make the silhouettes, I began by asking my mother and sister to send me reference images of their profiles. After procuring the images, I sent them to my laptop and opened them in Adobe Illustrator. From there I began working on my sister's silhouette first. To get her profile, I image-traced the jpeg.  Because I asked them to pick a plain background, this made it easier for the software to separate the outline from the background. I then expanded the trace, so I could adjust the path points to perfect any errors or jumps. Once I had my figure, I placed an ellipse behind it to mimic a Regency-era oval plaque hanging. I then played around with the color of the piece. I played around with hues, texture, and patterns until I came across a combination I preferred. Finally, I increased the stroke of the ellipse to add a border. I then repeated the same process with my mother's portrait. Once I had the portraits complete, I photoshopped them into an image that resembled my grandmother's locket to complete the vision. 

Photograph of a Hair Ring, Reminiscent of Edward Ferrars's Ring in Sense and Sensibility, 2023. This image shows a hair ring like the one that Edward Ferrars wears in Sense and Sensibility (1811). Edward's ring is a huge point of conflict in the novel. It is because of this ring that we discover that he is engaged to Lucy Steele. Lucy tells Elinor that Edward and she have been engaged for years. She proves this by stating that he wears a ring of her hair as a token of their attachment. Wearing hair in a ring is a way of showing affection and interest in someone in this era. This comes as a devastating shock to Elinor as the hair looks similar to hers.  Both Marianne and Elinor are misled and believe that the hair in the locket is Elinor's. A hair locket is a discrete way of showing affection because unlike with a portrait of a lover, the hair in a ring can get mistaken for someone else's locks. 

Diptych of my smart-phone Lock and Home screen, 2023. This image shows my modern day form of the locket. Smartphone locks and home screens have become our modern day form of carrying our loved ones with us. Nowadays many use it as a way to carry images of their family and romantic partners when they are in a relationship. Similarly to how one would wear the hair of a loved one in a locket in the Regency era, it has become common to have a photograph of one's romantic partner on a lockscreen.  Like an engagement ring or a wedding band, the lock screen is a nonverbal way of communicating that people are in a relationship. The photographs in a lock screen can be swapped out the same way photos in a locket can be. 


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