Retro planters

Pates planters [pair]Pates planters
made in Sydney Australia 1940s

This fantastic planters was made by Pates Pottery, which operated out of Belmore, Sydney from 1946 -1990. As you may have noticed, given the tenor of the posts of this blog, being a Sydneyite I have an affinity for the potteries that were producing domestic ware in the 40s, 50s and 60s.

Pates’ designs and colours were influenced by the 1940s art and interior design trends; and produced work with this ‘Australiana’ colour glaze- brown and green – apparently reminiscent of the Australian bush. This nationalistic colour combination was very popular, and since I am a landscape architect, and quite fond of the Australian bush, I have tended to collect both Pates pieces in this colour range.

These large planters look fantastic supporting a range of succulent plants: I have kept them in their pots inside the planters and styled them more like cut flowers. I love the colour combinations.

The two large planters are for sale: $AUD110

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Retro games

Pin the Tail on the Donkey [vintage game 1960s]Pin the Tail on the Donkey
John Sands, made in Australia 1960s

Ah nostalgia! I remember playing this game at birthday parties – and I remember the graphics on the box so clearly. ‘Party Fun for 2-12 Players!’

The game is in good vintage condition- the game has been played before and the donkey exhibits several pin holes in various parts of his anatomy. [Oh how we laughed when some child, filled with lollies and cake was spun round and round until vertigo set in, only to pin the tail on the donkeys head. Hilarious!]

Relive your childhood parties – or host a vintage children’s party with this game; it is for sale: $AUD25

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Studio Frank Meisler Max paper reelStudio Frank Meisler, Max messenger
made in NY 1960s

This is Max- a timber sculpture and stationery item from Studio Frank Meisler. Frank Meisler is an architect and artist who used his considerable skills to produce iconic stationery items in the 60s. All his stationery items [frogs, camels, dogs] were made of timber and have large whimsical features. And featured springs- Max has a spring neck so he looks like one of those nodding dogs you used to see in the backs of cars.

Max has a reel of unused message paper to take your messages, wrapped around his midrif. He is missing his pencil- which formed his ‘tail’- but any small pencil can replace this. Max is in fine fettle- given his age!

Frank Meisler has a webpage dedicated to his sculptor and Ebay is replete with his very collectible stationery items. Add Max to your Frank Meisler collection today!

Max is for sale: $AUD35

Kitschy cats [sold]

Kitschy cat salt & pepper shakersKitschy cat salt and pepper shakers
made in Japan 1960s

Cats rule the internet [have you seen ‘Cats of Instagram’?] and what better than kitschy cats? These Siamese cat salt and pepper shakers have it all : kitsch, 60s styling, made in Japan- and did I mention?     Cats.

The cats’ faces presage anime- large heads, disproportionately large eyes [with eyelashes no less, whiskers don’t seem to exist] and they are both in ‘movement’ stances – these guys aren’t static animals- they are full of life. And the final coup de grace – the pair of figurines are in different poses.

The kitschy cats are for sale: $AUD25

70s egg cups & mug

Gempo egg cups and spotted hippo mugGempo egg cups & mug
made in Japan 1972-1974

Here are two egg cups made by Gempo Pottery in the early 70s; this is grandma and grandpa. I now have collected the entire family [see previous post] of all six family members, but this pair of ‘ma and ‘pa are different to my others: it seems each family member came in a few different designs.

The hippo mug also hails from the same time – he is quite stylised and quite spotted! Since collecting this hippo mug I found a koala mug, and talking to another Gempo mug collector there seems to be a large range of Gempo animal mugs [cat, dog, bear, pig.] I also have a Gempo lion money box.

The egg cups and the mug 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. Gempo is very collectible at the moment- as is anything from the 70s, and all Gempo pieces are in excellent condition [as new.]

The egg cups & the mug are for sale: $AUD65

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Upcycled vintage linen cushions [sold]

Vintage Australian linen upcycled cushionsUpcycled cushions
made from vintage Australian linen

My partner recently found a batch of vintage Australian tea towels, all Irish linen and all unused. I love the graphic qualities of the images- and the strong colours – and decided to make square cushion covers from them.

The backs of the cushions are either upcycled linen or new linen, in plain colours to suit the images. I salvaged the upcycled linen from 50s and 60s tablecloths- and finished the openings with vintage bindings. It was nice to be able to use some of my vintage sewing stash…so it can be considered less a collection and more a necessity!

The cushions are sized to take a 400 x 400mm insert [15.7 x 15.7 inches.] They are fully washable and would make a great gift- especially if the state or flora & fauna featured has a particular association for someone. I have thirty cushions made- and they can be grouped in 2s or 4s- email me if you’d like to peruse the ‘collection’.

The cushion covers are for sale: $AUD40

Kangaroo lighter

Mulga wood napkin rings & kangaroo lighterMulga wood napkin rings and
Kangaroo lighter, made in Australia 1950s

Mulga wood was used in the 40s and 50s for souvenir works like these napkin rings and lighter as it is a hardwood –unusual in a native from the wattle family – and was considered ‘export quality’. The mulga wood has been cut and polished to show off its famous bi-colouring.

A transfer sticker on the base of the napkin rings, 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.

I do love the kangaroo lighter- it is probably handmade, as it has a wonderful naive charm. The whole lighter comes out from the kangaroos back in order that fuel be added; the wick is intact and the lighter looks never to have been used. Keen-eyed readers will wonder- as I did- whether it is such a great idea making a lighter out such a traditionally flammable material.

There is a world of lighter collectors out there – if they collect napkin rings made in rustic-style timber – then this collection is for them. It is for sale: $AUD125

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Bambi night-light

Bambi night-light, 1959Bambi night-light
made in Melbourne, Australia 1959

This fantastic nursery night-light- featuring Bambi, his mother and bluebirds -was made by Pan Pacific Plastics in Melbourne in the late 50s. Pan Pacific Plastic originally made dolls but in the 50s moved to making night- lights with themes drawing from Walt Disney or nursery rhymes. Night-lights are trending right now, and are very collectible; and Bambis even more so.

The night-light is in excellent working order, and uses a 15 watt lamp and AC/DC power. The bulb is the same one used for pilot lights in fridges – so readily available.

The Bambi night-light is for sale: $AUD75

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Kitschy cats

Cat s&p shakers, Japan 1960sCat salt & pepper shakers
made in Japan, 1960s

I love kitsch. And right now, the internet loves cats. Hence – kitschy cats. These are large figurine pieces – unusual for salt and pepper shakers, with the wild eye anime aesthetic that began in Japan in the 60s. Also unusual for the 60s, the pair have quite different forms but are the same size– ignoring the convention of the larger salt shaker. The salt and pepper exit through holes in the poor cats heads- although they are discrete enough not to be viewed from the front. Both shakers have intact cork stoppers, important for some shaker collectors.

Naturally, being of the 60s and made in Japan, the cats are Siamese. They are in great condition, just need to be re-housed.

The cat salt and pepper shakers are for sale: $AUD35

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Campbell planter

Campbell planter, c1960sJohn Campbell planter
made in Tasmania, Australia c 1940s

John Campbell is a renowned name in vintage Australian pottery. I recently visited Tasmania and found this fantastic planter there; it is quite large. The colours and form are so typical of Campbell’s work. It’s hand inscribed ‘Campbell’ on the base – quite an early piece.

John Campbell started pottery productions in the 30s- making industrial pottery [pipes, sanitary ware] but in the 30s – like the neighbouring McHughs pottery- turned to art ware. The fashion had changed and so the potteries changed with the times – making vases, sculptural pieces and domestic wares. Colours and forms evoking the Australian bush evolved and so this delightful drip glazed planter in browns and greens.

The planter is for sale: price upon application [] – or click the link below.

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