Basic Soft Toys by Sister Mary Bertrand, published by Reed, 1974, Wellington NZ
So – Sister Bertrand – shows you how to make golliwogs in 1974. I love this book! The goofiness, the un-PC quality, the terrible shot of St. Bertrand on the cover.
And I confess, I got her name mixed up with the flying nun – who was Sister Betrille.
Nineteen soft toy patterns : “every pattern is actual size”! Wow and hurray! if only I had the time/emotional energy to make every pattern in this book. I would. If only to realise the 1974 kitschiness / Sister Betrand factor.
I am asking you, dear reader, and dear soft toy maker, to do this on my behalf. Go on – I know you want to.
Plus – soft toy makers in NZ – I have thrown down the gauntlet. The soft toy gauntlet.
‘Fish’ placemats by Donald Clark,
made in Australia 1960s
The Australian artist – cum graphic designer- Donald Clark is having a resurgence right now. The pattern on these linen placemats is [unsurprisingly] ‘Fish’ and the limes and greys and very funky 60s-ness reminded me of this 60s ashtray. There are four placemats in the set, all with Donald’s signature.
Yes- that’s an ironic 60s ashtray that features cigarettes on a painters easel. Surrounded by abstract art forms, in a funky 60s shape, that’s an astray that I can enjoy. [Plus it’s never been used and would make a great pin dish.]
As an ode to the funky 60s, this set is for sale: $60
made from vintage Australian linen
My partner recently found a batch of vintage Australian tea towels, all 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 calendar date 1976 or 1985 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’.
This yarn winder- new in box- was manufactured by Silver, and made in the 60s. It comes with a table-fixing clamp, and yarn guide and the original operating instructions. The winder has a pink metal base [powder pink] and the internal winding mechanism and winder are all metal. For all your yarn winding needs!
Okay, so few of us wind yarn now-a-days; but there are lots of sewing/knitting paraphernalia collectors who would love this winder. It’s never been used and it’s rare to find one in its original box. The box has some wear [see image] but the winder itself is as new.
Fuzzy Felt Ballet & Play Farm
made in England 1964
One of my earliest memories is seeing Fuzzy Felt Bible Stories at Scripture class. I would have been 3 or 4. Even then I wanted to mix all the stories up and see what would happen if Jesus and Lazarus meet on Noah’s Ark. And what if the disciples and all the animals suddenly found themselves in King Solomon’s temple? Alas, it never happened as any attempts I made were neatly thwarted by the teacher.
And so- how I coveted Fuzzy Felt Bible Stories! I repeatedly asked Santa to bring it to me for Christmas [but apparently it was too expensive for Santa- the cheapskate!] Then for my 8th birthday- I was given Fuzzy Felt Ballet, and my younger sister got Fuzzy Felt Play Farm. I was very disappointed…it was too girly for me, although the black fuzzy felt board was kind of sophisticated. The Play Farm at least had heavy machinery, albeit picked out in two-dimensional felt.
So imagine my delight when I came across these two Fuzzy Felt sets! Oh the nostalgia! The memories of putting ballerinas on tractors and putting tutus on pigs! It all came flooding back. As did the blurb on the box:
“Gaily coloured felt shapes to make pictures! They cling like magic on the fuzzy board!”
Totally magical. The two sets are complete, with only a little minor wear to the black fuzzy felt board. For sale: $AU60
Hipster Christmas decorations
made in Sydney, Australia 2013
How cool are these Christmas baubles? Hand-knitted – in pure Australian wool- these decorations will lend your Christmas tree some real hipster cred.
Made by a lovely Nanna using a 1970 knitting pattern, this set of 20 baubles is both environmentally sustainable and – quite hilarious. Environmentally sustainable because she used her left over wool pieces, and hilarious because she used her left over wool pieces [~not so much the red and green or tinselly colours.]
You’ve seen the urban art of knitted wraps around trees and poles – now see the knitted Christmas decorations! Christmas just got 1970 crafty!
The set of 20 [all different] Christmas baubles is for sale: $AUD40
Donald Clark upcycled cushion covers
made in Australia 1960s
I recently celebrated two Donald Clark wall hangings – ‘Lotus’ and ‘Paddington Terraces’. I had only just posted the images when both hangings were snapped up.
These are a pair of cushion covers I upcycled from another Donald Clark hanging. Clark’s signature is on the bottom right of the right hand cushion. You can see the left cushion once sat above the top of the right cushion- forming a 60s flower posy.
Donald Clark was really two brothers, Robert and Bruce Clark who started producing screen-printed linen items in 1952 in Sydney. The company is still in production, now managed by Liz Clark [Robert’s daughter] and mostly involved with re-issuing original designs.
Clark’s work- usually on linen, and always featuring bold, abstract images in great 50s and 60s colours- is now very collectable. A lot of the works were on linen teatowels, which makes me think that people were influenced by great art in the household context – and now grew nostalgic for the art they remember when drying up!
I love the graphic quality of the images – really very bold for Australia in the 50s and 60s. I used vintage linen for the backs of the covers – in a green that complements the brilliant colours of the design.
This is an unused- as new- tea towel from 1975. That’s right- it’s fourty-one years old! Older than most of my readers. And it’s French, made in Paris.
Two sage horses look over at a mare and her foal. How very 1975! I note that on Instagram, people post tea towels on ‘Tea Towel Tuesday’ – that’s a thing apparently. I don’t think this tea towel would look out of place.
Ideas for vintage linens – like this tea towel: frame and hang between two dowels. Make a cushion cover [see my own attempts, blogs below] or – give as a gift to a friend who is French, loves horses and happens to be born in 1975. Or give as a gift to someone who is not French and born at some other time- who appreciates irony.
Donald Clark wall-hanging,
made in Sydney, Australia 1957
Following on from the Rodriguez wall-hanging- here is another seminal Australian artist : Donald Clark.
This wall-hanging is also a hand-printed image on linen, and hung with Australian timber- and Donald Clark was also well known for his linen tea towels with Australian themes in the 50s and 60s.
Donald Clark was really two brothers, Robert and Bruce Clark who started production of screen-printed linen items in 1952 in Sydney. The company is still in production, now managed by Liz Clark [Robert’s daughter] and it’s mostly involved with re-issuing original designs.
The wall-hanging is a rare example of Donald Clark’s interest in retail- depicting Paddington ‘terrace’ shops Pastry, Fish and Green Grocer – each with its respective merchant. This hanging is in ‘blue’ colourway – the design was also produced in green and purple. The hanging is signed.
The wall-hanging is in excellent condition and is for sale: $AUD55
made in Melbourne, Australia 1964
This wall-hanging; a hand-printed image on linen, and hung with Australian timber, was produced by John Rodriguez – famous in Australia for his Australiana tea towels. In the 50s and 60s everyone came back from holiday with Rodriguez souvenir tea towels for friends and family.
John Rodriguez [1928-2000] studied art and design at RMIT and started a company printing on linens in 1952. By the 60s he was producing screen-printed wall hangings. His work is now shown at Museum Victoria, and is in the collection of the Powerhouse Museum and Museum of Canberra.
The company John started is still in production, managed by second generation Rodriguezes; some of John’s original designs are still made, albeit using contemporary printing processes.
The plant image on the hanging depicts a lotus – very stylised as was the custom in the 60s. The brown and orange colourings are also typical of the 60s. The hanging is signed in Rodriguez’s usual manner.
The lotus wall-hanging is in excellent condition and is for sale: $AUD55