Florenz pottery

Florenz pottery [1950s]Florenz mug, made in Sydney Australia, c.1955
Florenz vase, made in Sydney Australia, c.1956

Two Florenz slip cast pottery pieces- both with unmistakably kitsch aboriginal motifs. This was Australia in the 50s when Post-war arts and crafts saw a rise in the popularity of Australiana – replacing traditional English motifs with ‘Australian’ themes; invariably Aboriginal motif works were black, tan and white.

I have featured Florenz on this blog before- salt and pepper shakers, jugs, ashtrays- all with these stylised indigenous motifs- the items were for the modern new kitchen but also sold as touristware.

Pottery decorated with Aboriginal designs is becoming increasingly collectible. The mug comes complete with its original foil sticker- noting that it is hand painted; and the vase is incised with a hand written ‘Florenz’ on the underside; it too is hand painted.

Florenz pottery at its best: these pieces are for sale: $AUD90

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60s kitchenalia

Pyrex coffee server & Smiths Ringer kitchen timerPyrex coffee serving flask, made in Britain c. 1960s
Smiths Ringer kitchen timber, made in Britain c.1960s

Pyrex made coffee percolators- and as see here- coffee serving flasks in Britain, America and Australia in the 60s. Every household had a percolator- which were quite functional in form and styling- and it was only the fancy-pants households that had the more decorative serving flask.

This serving flask is such a product of the 60s- the handle and knob and bakelite, the large chrome band is off-set by the fake timber laminate on the lid. The glass is decorated with a subtle white abstract design: this is a flask that is straddling early and later mid-century modern design ideals.

The kitchen timer [a Smiths Ringer, British made 1960s] is also made of bakelite. This ringer is all precise functionality- two toned- and the bell still works a treat [have not tested it for timing accuracy- may be slightly less than accurate since it’s over fifty years old.] I have featured Smiths Ringers on the blog before- I am somewhat partial to them.

For the retro kitchen- the Pyrex serving flask and kitchen timer are for sale: $AUD75

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Gempo egg cups

Gempo Nan & Gramps egg cupsGempo Pottery egg cups
made in Japan, 1972-1974

Here are two egg cups made by Gempo Pottery in the early 70s. The egg cups feature the abstract, large –faced form that marks all Gempo pottery. They are also particular to their period; with stylised features, and the stoneware pottery glazed in rustic creams and browns.

Since taking the image for this post, I’ve found another set of egg cups: this time it’s a boy and a girl. Collect the whole family! Avid readers will remember the Leo-the-lion Gempo moneybox posted previously.

This set of eggcups is for sale: $AUD40- but let me know if you’d like to discuss the boy & girl eggcup set also.

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70s dinner plates

Mikasa 'Indian Feast_Rising Sun' dinner platesMikasa ‘Indian Feast_Rising Sun’ dinner plates
made in Japan c. 1970s

I have featured a lot of Mikasa ceramics on my blog : not SO many from the 1970s. But I was really taken with this ‘Indian Feast_Rising Sun’ motif- so quintessentially- [in a good way]-70s.

The abstract forms, the colours- the fact that the plates are : “Oven to table to dishwasher”- it’s the best of the 70s for me. Form and function- and dishwasher proof- the triumberant. I have teamed the Mikasa plate with a recent acquisition- a West Germany Fat Lava jug in similar colourings also made in the 70s.

I have a set of six, unused Mikasa Indian Feast_Rising Sun dinner plates for all you 70s afficiandos and hipsters- for sale: $AUD80

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Bondi Beach in the 30s

Bondi Beach 30s teapotBondi Beach teapot
made by Victoria China, Czecho-Slovakia c.1930

What a beauty- an unused 30s teapot with a transfer print of “The Beach, Bondi, N.S.W.”

The teapot has a gilt edge to the knob, lid, handle and spout. The scene is of the iconic Australian beach in the 30s. The teapot is fully marked on the base, with an incised number ‘355’ indicating the pattern number.

For Bondi Beach lovers/dwellers/visitors- this teapot is for sale: $AUD95

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Upcycled telephone table

Upcycled telephone tableUpcycled 50s telephone table

My partner and I had a dilemma faced by many inner-city dwellers: nice couches in the sitting room- BUT no nice side tables. Where to put the martini glass? On what to perch the canapé plate? Am I right? – everybody faces this dilemma.

Space is tight. The couches are expensive and there is NO way that guests are encouraged to rest their drink or antipasto plate on the arms. So- what to do?

Enter- the upcycled telephone table. Long in length and thin in width- the perfect dimensions. Having an upper and a lower level [once for the telephone and padded seat, respectively]- and with an added grill for the old telephone books – these tubular metal telephone tables are just the thing.

Trish stripped back the chrome plating, attended to the rust, and repainted in matt black. Recycled timber was sanded, oiled & finished and screwed to the upper and lower sections and voila- the perfect side table was born.

The table ticks all the boxes: upcycling, recycling and retro styling. Totally loving it!

Travel pennants from the 50s & 60s

Travel pennants from the 50s & 60sFrom my friend Maisie’s collection again; these are original 50s and 60s pennants collected by her globe-trotting parents. In the 50s, Australian travel to a European or North American city was considered an unbelievable luxury – so surely visiting ten cities would have been viewed as excessive; in monetary terms as well as in time.

Travelling in the 50s meant ocean liner- it took six weeks to land in London. By the 60s with the advent of aeroplanes the trip was shortened to three days, with stop overs while the plane refueled. Australians would be required to land in London before proceeding to other capitals- as passport control was centred there.

So Maisie’s parents collected a pennant from every city they visited- souvenirware that could be displayed on a wall. There is other memorabilia from these trips that Maisie has kept- but the pennants with their wonderful graphics and 50s and 60s fonts look so fantastic massed together that she has decided to let them go.

Madrid, Firenze, Capri; and Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, New York City, Philippines, Paris and the Trade Fair. A potted travel history for sale: $AUD120

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Coasters, 60s Coasters

Kitsch coaster setsCoasters
made in Australia, c.1960s

Three fabulously kitsch coaster sets. What’s not to love?

  1. Bakelite coasters with built in ashtray. Four beautiful colours, never been used [phew! am I right?]

De Luxe, says so right on the box. Lighted cigarette not included.

  1. Tuckerbox dog souvenir coasters. Australians will be familiar with this famous monument in Gundagai, an important part of New South Wales folklore.
  2. Fish-shaped coasters with Sydney vistas [circa 1963] – two different views of the Opera House, and two of the Harbour Bridge. The fish motif seems strangely apt.

You – and three friends – can enjoy a nostalgic trip down memory lane. A must for your next [small- shall we say intimate?] cocktail party!

For sale: $AUD55

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Kangaroo bookends

Kangaroo bookends & Aboriginal motif placematsKangaroo bookends
Aboriginal motif placemats; made in Australia c.1940s

These bookends are so of their time: the kangaroos are pewter, and have adopted that typical Skippy looking-over-the-shoulder stance. They stand on traditional Mulga wood- which has been cut and arranged to show off its famous bi-colouring. Mulga wood was used in 1940s souvenir works like these as it is a hardwood –unusual in a native from the wattle family – and was considered ‘export quality’. A transfer sticker on the base of the bookends, in the shape of Australia, proudly proclaims “Genuine Australian Mulga” in case one confuses it for fake Mulga, or worse still, a non-Australian Mulga.

The woven placemats are also genuine…a proud Aboriginal spear and shield-holder walks in front of a map of Australia- in case you mistake him for a proud Aboriginal spear and shield-holder from say, Austria. There are four placemats in the set…and the motif is arranged on the left side of the mat, so that plates, cutlery etc. don’t obscure the motif.

My collection contains a fair few Aboriginal motifs…once considered to be in very poor taste they are now retro enough to enjoyed in an ironic, post-modernist way.

This set is for sale: $AUD65

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Aboriginal motif pottery – hello 1950s

Studio Anna & Florenz potteryStudio Anna ‘crab’ plate, made in Sydney Australia 1956
Florenz Pottery dish and ashtray, made in Sydney Australia 1950s

Both Studio Anna and Florenz Pottery had their pottery studios in Marrickville, Sydney – very near when I now live. The potteries lasted until the 70s- when gentrification and housing pressures saw them close. Marrickville is still a gritty inner-city place with an industrial/suburban mix.

Florenz started producing studio pottery in the 1930s and Studio Anna in 1953. These slip cast pottery items were made as souvenirware – the appropriated [and westernised] indigenous motifs were hugely popular. Post war arts and crafts saw a rise in the popularity of Australiana – replacing traditional English motifs with ‘Australian’ themes; and invariably Aboriginal motif works were black, tan and white.

The crab plate has some very minor chips on its edge [click on the image for zoom view] – and is marked Studio Anna on the underside. I am particularly drawn to the funky rounded-triangle shape of this piece. The dish and ashtray are unmarked, but presumed Florenz Pottery due to the quality/typology of the images and glazes. The three pieces make a nice ensemble with the rich ochres, and black and white patternings.

The three pieces are for sale: $AUD75 [price reflects the condition of the Studio Anna ‘crab’ plate]

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