Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Different Planet

People who collect really are from a different planet.

Start Your Own Collection: Leave The Driving to Us

While curating my collections around the studio, I happened upon a couple of Greyhound bus collectibles. Curiosity made me do a search in vintage items on Etsy just to see what other types of Greyhound items might be available. In addition to mine,  I offer a couple of links to listings by other Etsy sellers, so you can jump start your own Greyhound Bus memorabilia collection.

Of course, you are going to start with my items.


Then you can add this great bus-meets-grasshopper-head-on vintage card from  Etsy seller, PostsfromthePast. Wish they had a better photo, but it's very kitchy in a good way.

Or,  kickoff your collection with this vintage Greyhound Bus ad from Etsy seller, thebabykitties

Or go the serious route with this copy of a vintage Farm security Administration photo from Etsy seller, HistoryPrintShop.

Now that I've done the driving for you, see how easy it is to start a collection?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Collections 4: Architecture, Airplanes and Insight

Looking around my studio lately, I've noticed that we have three of a lot of things. Possibly because we'd half-heartedly start a collection, then get distracted and just abandon it at three. Or, in the case of the following two sets of items, we'd come to our senses quickly and realize that collections of large items would consume far too much space.

First, today, we have three architectural structures: a log cabin, a two-car  garage, and a church made of matchsticks.

 I would classify all of these as primitives. I purchased the log cabin at the Jazz Fest in New Orleans back in the 80s when we were there participating in a craft fair. I've forgotten who the artisan was, but at the time the person was apparently well known around those parts for making these log cabins.

We found the home made two-car garage in a garage sale, and we just liked the primitive quality of it.

The church, made entirely from matchsticks glued together, was sold to us at a  house sale by someone who said that it was an example of prison art. While it is true that this was a craft popular in prisons for a while,  it was also a technique used in some tramp art. Making matchstick structures may have also been a popular Boy Scout activity at one time. Regardless of it's origin, it is just impressive that someone would have the patience and time to make this sort of thing.

All three of these were housed, as it were, in my family room for years. But when we downsized, we had to move them to the studio, and after I do a little conservation work on some of them, they will be off to the mall and hopefully to new homes.

As we move into the next room and look upwards, we see the next collection of three. Airplanes (and a fugitive windsock from the California Raisins series) hanging from the ceiling in the center of our studio. I do not actually remember when or why we acquired these bi-planes, or where they came from. We hung one up, and each was added in turn as we happened on them.

The crowning touch to this collection came one day when, in a moment of pure inspiration, we added the two wooden mannequins to one of the planes, and it instantly transitioned from being a random collection to becoming a commentary expressing exactly how we feel about our crazy precarious lives as artists and collectors...
...always just barely hanging on for dear life.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Collection of a Different Sort

Today's Offering
My cat often likes perch to perch in this old collection plate which sits on my coffee table.

Ahem, correction made.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Collections 3: Accidental Frogs and Stars

Looking around the studio the other day, I noticed that we have several totally unintentional or accidental small collections. How do they happen?

These metal flower frogs and many others have been around for a while. Although they were actually intended to be a collection, I was never sure how or where I was going to display them. At some point in their life, these four leapt into this perfect little found wooden box and became a tiny collection all on their own. Still, I had never hung them because I couldn't find just the right place for them.

We  just recently acquired the three metal stars. We found two at a house sale a few weeks ago and didn't give too much thought to them at all, planning to sell them right away at the mall. Serendipitously, we happened across another one at a mall a few days later. If we did not already have the two, we would have just passed it up, I'm sure, but, apparently, they occupied a little space in our minds, causing us to zero right in on the third. It was priced so low that we could not resist it. Once you have three, I think you already have a collection. So up they went on the side of one of the studio bookshelves.

 Last week I came across the metal flower frogs again and something about them, either the fact that they were metal or their industrial quality, or maybe both, just told me they would be right at home with the stars. And there they will remain for the time being, complementing each other.

I have a feeling that this could be the beginning of an collection of small industrial metal items.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Edgewater Antique Mall Spring Sale

Just a heads up for Chicago people to let you know that The Edgewater Antique Mall, 6314 N Broadway, is having its Spring sale this weekend, the 19th, 20th and 21st. Business hours are 11 am to 6 pm every day.
 About 55 dealers are offering a large variety of collectibles, antiques, and vintage clothing, jewelry and books. Items range from the extremely eclectic and esoteric to many examples of the current trendy mid-century modern and beyond.

Not to mention that the people there are the best! Plus Nate Berkus shops there, and even gave it a mention in the current Chicago Home magazine!

These few photos I took yesterday are a very, very small sample representative of what you might find there. So if you are looking to expand your collections, go to the sale. I know you will find something great!  Especially since most dealers are offering discounts from 10%  - 30% off regularly priced items. A lot of the discounts will be extended throughout the week.At a minimum it's worth a look just to get some good decorating ideas.

Esoteric and Eclectic


Variety of Interesting Collectibles

Very interesting decorating ideas!

Toys and more

 And it's spring! 
Don't you need a baseball?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Collections 2: Naive Pet Paintings

Some of you may have already read this one when I posted it elsewhere, but I think it really belongs in the collections series, too. Enjoy!

On one wall in my studio there are four naive pet paintings. Paintings painted by amateurs who loved their pets enough to want to immortalize them in pet portraits.

The first I found  at a garage sale — a little black and white cat sitting on a pink pillow against a purple background with orange flowers. Although it is not a very good painting, I think I bought it because I could see that it was done with love, and I just didn't want it to end up in the trash.

The second is another of a striped cat  lying on a quilt, found in a thrift store. After all, I already had one pet portrait, and I needed to add to my new collection.

The third one, also from a thrift store, was purchased sometime in 2007. It's a scary little dog, but there there is an amazing story attached to this painting.
In January of 2008 a woman bookbinder from Ireland, who found my book clasp site on the web through a Google search, contacted me and wanted to come by my studio to look at the book clasps, and the set up and talk. She was in Chicago visiting family. Her brother in Chicago drove her to my studio, and came in and with her. He was a little odd and kind of edgy.

As I was showing her around he started to get agitated and she asked him what was wrong. He had noticed the painting and was nearly freaking out. I was a little afraid he was going to have a psychotic break or something. However, It turned out that he was the artist who had painted this portrait as a commission for one of his neighbors. He was shocked to see the picture in my studio out of it's original context, especially since I was a complete stranger to him, and we were located far from their neighborhood. I was also absolutely stunned by the coincidence. In fact, I didn't  even believe him until I looked on the back of the painting and there was his signature. I took a photo to document the event.
A very strange circumstance indeed. I can't imagine the probability against such a convergence of circumstances.

I nearly died laughing when I found the last painting, acquired just this year, at another thrift store. It is my very favorite, though. These two dancing chihuahuas must have been much loved, and you can see that they loved each other as well. I give you, Missie and Samba, immortalized by Lula M. Galbraith, Jefferson City, TN., 1983.

I just love these guys! How can I ever stop looking for these paintings and adopting them? Or are they looking for me?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Collections 1: Multiples

I'm gathering together a series of photos documenting various collections. Some we own and some I happen across in daily life.

First, a group of some bench pins saved over the last 20 years. Some were mine and some were those of the various people who worked for me over the years when I had employees. What prompted this collection was that one day I noticed that while we were all making basically the same items, each of us left a different "hand print" on our individual pins. They hang together over the door of the studio. I love them and I will never part with them.  Multiples of the most mundane things can be wonderful.

Since we started with the jewelry theme I'll include a photo of the gas tanks in the lot of the gas supply company. Not a collection I live with, but a collection I came across in everyday life when we went to pick up a new acetylene tank the other day.

I'll guess I'll end up with a collection of photos of collections when I get done with this.

Friday, March 12, 2010

new etsy listings

I listed several new items today, among them, some little vintage metal toy irons from long ago. These are certainly not suitable for children and are collectibles only. They could never be made today because they would be too dangerous to use as playthings. It’s a wonder I survived my childhood considering the toys we were allowed to play with. 

For a long time, I had a little collection of these irons in my kitchen, along with some toy toasters but I am tired of them, so now someone else needs to own them. Toasters will be coming soon, i think.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

bowl me over

Another item from the Saturday sales, proving that there is a lot more left on half price day than just basement detritus. I found these really nice green Depression glass bowls for half price.

In general Depression glass is kind of out of favor with current collectors, and I would usually leave it behind. In fact, I did leave a lot of nice glass behind at this particular sale as did others, obviously, since there was so much left the second day. But this set is a very simple design which could be right at home just about anywhere. I got the whole set, plus another duplicate of the small bowl for $25. If I don't keep them, I will probably sell these at the mall.

The bottoms have this nice squared base.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

cameo appearance

On Saturday we actually got up early and went out to a couple of estate sales for the first time in a very long time. Three of them were second day of the sale. Depending on what you are looking for, you can sometimes find some good bargains especially since they will often discount prices on the second day.

While we didn't find anything spectacular, we did find several interesting items which will go in the mall or in our Etsy shop eventually.

One was this set of three Cameo cleanser holders. They are covers meant to beautify containers of bathroom or kitchen cleanser and to coordinate them with your decor.
The colors and the shape are what prompted us to buy them. Originally, I thought they were from the 50s, however, I found out that they were actually around in the late 1930s, and they are apparently Bakelite, at least according to this ad. I suppose that makes them more of Deco item, but I still think they have a bit of an Atomic look. Or, maybe it's just me getting a big 50s vibe from them. In any case, I am sure they were probably around for a number of years. These are missing the cameo, but I actually like them more this way.

One did have an original cameo cleanser insert.

 They are certainly still useable today. I'm sure there are cleanser packages which could be modified to fit nicely. I have some ideas about other possible uses as well.

On the second day of a sale you feel more relaxed and less pressured to hurry through and there's more time to spend digging through basement detritus to find the odd overlooked item. It's really easy to dismiss these common household items, but I find some of them to be interesting and curious representatives of the design sensibilities of an era, and often a real bargain.

Friday, March 5, 2010

accumulata on etsy

I opened another shop on Etsy a while ago where I could sell some of vintage items,  collectibles, curiosities, including  supplies and various objects which might be of interest to other artists.

We've always been collectors, so I have lots of little stuff  I need to cull out of my collections. And, as an artist, I am also drawn to the collect all sorts of strange objects. I tell myself I will use them in art pieces someday.  But what really happens is that  they end up in drawers with other things, waiting for the moment when they will be released out into the world again.

That moment has come.

St. Patrick's Day good luck charms. You know you need these.

Ten rolls of EKG paper tape. Got to be good for something arty.

I think this little silver sombrero pin is really cute.

Doesn't everyone need a dozen of these chrome mirror reflector cups?

I'll be listing things every day all week so keep checking the shop, I know I have something to fill your needs!

vintage bazaar redux (last time, I promise!)

The vintage bazaar is old news, now, but I still have to link to these two blog posts.

 That chair  she's sitting on, she bought it from me!

And this blogger does a great job of capturing what the vintage bazaar was like. Photo essay here.  Be sure to scroll down and play the little video of the crowd.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

another ring in the circus

As soon as the show was over, I had to don another hat and get busy with an annual mailing that I have to do for Midwest Antiquarian Booksellers Association (MWABA).
I freelance for them on a very, very part time basis  and I had to get that out because it is time to update their online directory of dealers  and arrange to print a new one.

MWABA has been around for a long time and they have held book fairs in Chicago and the Twin Cities area where sell collectible, antiquarian and used books. They are currently looking for a new location for the show, and once we find it, we’ll post the info on the calendar.   If you are interested in book collecting and vintage and antiquarian books, check out their website and sign up for the mailing list so we can send you a postcard announcing the next show.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Knee Jerk Response?

What did we purchase at the weekend bazaar?

We already have one of these wooden factory pulleys...

So I couldn't resist a similar one (below), which I bought from my neighbor's booth.

STUDY  had some neurological reflex hammers displayed in a vase like container which looked to me like a bouquet of flowers. I loved them that way and bought all of them. After all, collecting does depend, in a way, on a knee jerk response, don't you think?

I put them together and I'm thinking this might look good as a centerpiece on my coffee table. 
They should be right at home, fitting in nicely with the other objects in our wacky decor scheme.

I should take you on a tour.