If you said that Treacle evolved over a lifetime, or you said that it was born last summer while visiting London’s Portobello Market, you’d be correct.

We were a mother-daughter team, American expatriates in London for the summer, seeking distance from some amatory problems and eager to experience a different style of life.  After we were sated with scones and heartened by many cups of strong tea, we determined that some retail therapy might cure our woes.  Thus, we headed off to the Market, unsure both of what we were looking for and what we might find.

A romantic by nature, I had studied history, intending to teach–not wars and dates and names, but the odd yet paradigmatic ideas, events, and objects that define a people at a certain moment in time. But an unhappy confluence of events caused me to shelf this undertaking for the more practical vocations of business, law, and child-rearing; although, my desire to document the past still held sway in my subconscious.

Isabella is an aesthete, who loves color, form, and movement. She is a trendsetter with many followers. Most of all, however, she loves a good hunt. In fact, to her, the hunt is more exciting than the find, the anticipation lovelier than the discovery itself. So, it should have come as no surprise to us that a foray, first, to Portobello Market, and, later, to similar antique markets and stalls across London, was the perfect balm to soothe our broken hearts.

Portobello RoadUnder the canopy of The Good Fairy, Isabella found a treasure trove of vintage charms; the weirder they were, the more she loved them.  Knowing that someone else had loved them, too, added to their allure. The patina of age spoke to her of their storied past. She especially prized a dirty, holey shoe that displayed some wiggling toes.  “Air conditioning,” she said.

I discovered the sentimental jewelry of the Victorians. With death a frequent visitor to every Victorian home, their adornments glorified the memories of the departed and celebrated the virtues of those that remained. Rings, bracelets, brooches, and necklaces bore embellishments attesting to qualities and aspirations like fidelity, hope, courage, love, friendship, and peace. I loved the honesty and earnestness of these pieces..

Yet, while these ornaments spoke to us, we feared that others might find their form archaic. We decided to upcycle this jewelry or, as authors William McDonough and Michael Braungart suggested in their groundbreaking book, Cradle to Cradle, use these pieces as components of derivative products that improve upon or are more relevant than the originals while still maintaining their integrity.

So, we returned home renewed and with a stash and a plan. It’s a busy world; you have many responsibilities and concerns.   Yet, you don’t want to be a fashion victim or a clone. You crave adventure and the exotic, but you can’t dash off to find the perfect treasure in some remote bazaar. What’s more, even if you found the most unique and beautiful artifact or vintage piece, you wouldn’t know how or feel like adapting it for use today–too many things compete for your precious time.   And, no one wants to look weird, right?

Enter Treacle. We’ve started small, but you have to start somewhere. We hope to travel the globe to find lots of cool stuff:  jewelry, textiles, clothing, home goods, and other odd bits, to upcycle for you and your life. Visit us often, and read our blog; we plan to have a changing array of unique vintage and antique items that tell a story and delight.


Nan and Isabella