60s kitschiness [is my kinda kitschiness]

60s kitschinessMelbourne tray, made in Hong Kong, 1960s
Hornsea sugar bowl, made in England, 1960s
Diana ramekins, made in Australia, 1960s.

An ode to 60s kitschiness – a bar tray featuring the beautiful city of Melbourne in the 60s- terrible image, much touched-up and with an explanatory label; a green ‘Heirloom’ sugar bowl, stoneware designed and produced by John Clappison in 1966 for Hornsea; and a pair of Diana ramekins, made in Marrickville, Sydney in the late 60s.

A range of 60s aesthetics: the tacky, the patterned and the late-modernist. All now very desirable and collectable. People collect bar-themed paraphenalia [‘barphenalia’] – Hornsea is oh-so collectable now, and Diana pottery [and ramekins especially] is becoming very desirable.

All these items are in good vintage condition, and are for sale: Melbourne bar tray: $AU20, Hornsea Heirloom sugar bowl: $AU25, and the Diana ramekins: $AU20.

Sewing Paraphernalia

DF Tayler & Co pins, made in England 1940s
Southern Cross pins, made in Australia 1940s

Being a sew-er [rather than a sewer] and a vintage collector, I am quite partial to vintage sewing paraphernalia. I make clothes for myself from vintage fabric, using vintage patterns, threads, buttons, trims, etc. So I have collected [but not used] these vintage pins.

I love the graphics on the boxes- so of the times- and the pins from the 40s are both described as ‘short whites’. Short whites are steel, with thick heads, and fine points- made for most sewing occasions. The term ‘short’ was used to indicated they were made for use in dressmaking- longer pins in the 40s were still used to hold garments together when worn.

For collectors of sewing paraphernalia- or vintage dressmakers who enjoy the total vintage experience, the pins are for sale: $AU20

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Vintage pudding bowls

Fowler Ware pudding bowls,
made in Sydney, Australia 1940s

Fowler Ware pudding bowls are now quite collectable: and this crimson colour is the most sought colour. Vintage pudding bowls do double duty in the kitchen: they make excellent puddings- and when not being pressed into pudding work, they make great fruit bowls.

The monochrome shade of the pudding bowl looks great in a contemporary kitchen. The bowls originally came in a set of five –nested- bowls in the very 50s colours of grey, yellow, baby blue, green and crimson. I recently found a complete set of nested bowls – which is now unfortunately very rare.

These two bowls are from different sets- you can see this is the subtle differences in the rim patterning. However, they are the same fantastic crimson- and would look great holding apples or lemons- or – in the making of puddings!

The pudding bowls are for sale: $AU60/pair
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Xylonite collection #2

Australian xylonite
made in 1910-1920s

Following my last post where the origin of xylonite was [briefly] explained : here’s my second collection.

Here we see hinged boxes: the top, ‘piano’ box would have housed jewellery, as would the lower two boxes [the ring box still contains it’s beige velvet interior and closing mechanism.]

The brush and penknife have jumped in from the last post; but are now shown with a cut-throat razor and hand-held mirror.

As noted in the last post, xylonite deteriorates with time and exposure to direct sunlight. These pieces are in fantastic condition for their age [and careful storage away from the Australian sun.] The piano box is particularly pristine.

This set is for sale: $AU275

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Xylonite collection #1

Australian Xylonite 1910-1930sXylonite collection
made in Australia 1910-1920s

Xylonite was first produced in 1875 – to imitate ivory. It was the first thermoplastic made – as an ivory substitute it was first used for knife handles and jewellery, then all manner of domestic products. Xylonite has tiny parallel striations of yellow and bone- which gives it a faux ivory look- although, interestingly- this was an accident. The manufacturers were attempting to create a timber-look-alike, so named the new celluloid product xylonite – ‘xylon’ being Greek for wood.

Whatever, the production of xylonite saved much real ivory being used. I first became interested in xylonite when I was researching bakelite [after first becoming interested in resin.] So I now have an abiding interest/affection for all types of vintage plastics.

This set of xylonite illustrates how- over time [and exposure to direct sunlight] the normally off-white plastic colour starts to yellow. And this is in excellent condition!- it is of course a hundred years old. The set comprises four lidded ladies boudoir containers, a boudoir tray, hair brush and pen knife and a gentleman’s stud container sans lid.

For the Xylonite collectors, this set is for sale: $AU325

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Beehive bookends

Beehive bookends,
made in Australia 1950s

I have a ‘thing’ for Mulga wood- I’ve featured quite a bit of it on the blog. Mulga wood was used in 1940-50s for souvenir works as it is a hardwood –unusual in a native from the wattle family – and was considered ‘export quality’. The timber is cut and arranged to show off its famous bi-colouring, as seen in these ‘beehive’ bookends.

These are ‘beehive’ bookends in the classic shape: it was a popular form in the 50s and seen in everything from knitting guages to car manufactures logos- to –of course- hairstyles.

The hardwood was first turned on a lathe, then cut in half to form bookends with a straight edge; then polished to a gloss. Often example of the bark was retained- as seen in these bookends- to contrast with the high glass finish. And the weight of the hardwood makes for excellent book ends; nothing is going to push these babies over.

The bookends are for sale: $AU65

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Here’s Humphrey!!!

Humphrey B. Bear porridge bowl,
made in Australia 1983

This is a porridge bowl: featuring Humphrey B. Bear; star of the Here’s Humphrey! television show since 1965.

Humphrey is a partially clothed bear [famously- he wears a hat, waistcoat, collar and tie, but no pants] – who cannot speak. So- each show in the Magic Forest is narrated. Humphrey just has to gesticulate and wildly nod his head to enact his part. But- again- famously- the costume is so heavy that the actor playing Humphrey is actually a trained dancer.

Humphrey is now ‘heritage listed’ and a ‘national icon’. He has won a couple of Logies.

All without speaking a word. Maybe- just maybe- that is the secret to his success. There are many Humphrey B Bear collectors out there.

This porridge bowl, by Thomas Trent [backstamp c.1983] is in great vintage condition, and is for sale: $AU15

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Upcycled toothpick holder

Toothpick holder, and Tasmanian pins
made in Australia, 1960s

Don’t you love a good toothpick holder? Obviously no one uses toothpicks any more- but they make such a good vintage receptacle for pins, hatpins, badges- anything on a stick!

This is a stylised bird toothpick holder that I found in Tasmania. Elsewhere on that same trip I found these fantastic Tasmanian pins- and so put two and two together.

I would love to see this birdy put to use displaying hat pins- so collectable right now. The holder is in terrific vintage condition, never having actually held anything before today- so would make a great receptacle for your pin collection. And- if you are into vintage/Tasmanian pins- so much the better!

This guy holds twelve pins: and is for sale: $AU25 [including pins]

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Coffee collection

Ceramic coffee canister
made in Japan, 1960s

Further to my life-long quest to collect every known coffee canister – here is one posing as a coffee house. I’ve styled it with a Nally plastic coffee canister – Australian – of the same vintage. It’s interesting [to me anyway] that coffee wasn’t a big deal in the 60s – so that the canisters were smaller usually than tea- the bigger sized canisters in nested sets always belonged to sugar, rice and flour. Nowadays- I expect- sugar would be the smallest canister and coffee the largest!

Anyhoo- I like the idea of putting all my various single origin and coffee blends in different, miss-matched vintage coffee canisters. So far, all canisters- both plastic and ceramic- are roughly the same size – and just so happen to fit a bag of 250g coffee. So maybe those 60s canister makers did know what they were doing!

The ceramic ‘coffee house’ canister is in excellent vintage condition, and is for sale; $AU25

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Studio Anna style

Studio Anna wall plates & salt and pepper shakers
made in Australia 1950s

Studio Anna started their art pottery in 1953, in Marrickville [just near where I now live.] Unlike many other potteries in the area, Studio Anna commenced with making art pieces; rather than converting from industrial/commercial products as part of the cultural changes that the 50s ushered in.

Like Martin Boyd pottery- examples of which have been previously posted- Studio Anna specialised in hand-painted ‘Australiana’ themes. Flora and fauna and local iconic sites were depicted – I have several Studio Anna pieces that feature local hotels [oh! the 50s glamour!] as they were sold as souvenirware.

Here we have wall plates – featuring the lovely cities of Adelaide and Albury. And Moree is featured on the salt and pepper shakers. Wall plates are definetly a lost art form- you don’t find ceramic artists making them any more. These two are made with specialist hanging apparatus built into the backplate.

For Studio Anna collectors- or those considering collection- this would make a nice gift. The set of wall plates and s&p shakers are for sale: $AU80

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