70s brutalism

Diana salt & pepper shakers
made in Australia, 1970s

Further to the Diana pottery from the 40s and 50s recently discussed- meet some Diana from the 70s! This range is called ‘Safari’.

Earthen tones [tick] brutalist, oversize shape [tick] chunky form devoid of decoration [tick.] This is the 70s alright!

I have also collected the teapot, and creamer in Safari: but like a lot of 70s ware, I find less is less. It is possible to have too much of a good thing. However- if you are a big fan of the 70s [ie: you didn’t actually have to live through that time] you may like to consider the teapot and creamer.

The brutalist salt and pepper shakers are for sale: $AU25

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20s toast racks

20s silver plated toast racks
made in England

A lovely pair of silver plated toast racks- great for toast [obviously] but they also make terrific letter/card holders. Some people still get snail-mail, right? Even bills look great in these beauties!

The rack on the left is in fine fettle- silver plate intact; the second is down to the base metal. Both exhibit fine 20s shapes and handles, and have their silver plate hallmarks. The repetition of the racks is beautiful, and the two of the racks together makes a lovely ensemble.

Currently these do service for my partner and I – hers is of course the full plate rack; it houses mail, protest march pamphlets and tradesman business cards, whilst mine [the humbler of the two] houses bills, trades magazines and council newsletters. And the odd vintage book or picture to keep things interesting.

I once saw a BBC ‘Antiques Roadshow’ program which featured a toast rack collector. She said they were cheap, small, easy to display and came in infinite varieties. Here’s to you – toast rack collector!

The two racks are for sale: $AU45 / $AU20 [or $AU55 for the two- I don’t think I can bear for them to be parted.]

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Terra Ceramics lazy susan

Terra Ceramics ‘Daisy’ lazy susan
made in Australia, c.1965

The ubiquitous daisy- symbol of the 60s- is stylised and showcased on these Terra Ceramics pieces. Terra Ceramics was proudly Australian, and they have imbued their daisies with the colours of the bush-  olive greens, tans and browns. This set is a lazy susan: four segmented ceramic pieces lift out from around the central circular piece, with the whole lot on a burnished anodised aluminium tray. Which turns around – hence ‘lazy susan’.

The pieces are stamped “Terra Ceramics Australia, Terama hand painted”. It’s now unusual to find hand painted ceramics- and if you look at the five individual pieces you can see subtle differences in the hand-painters work.

I have also collected a matching Daisy ramekin, and Daisy salt and pepper shakers. The Daisy collection continues!

The lazy susan is in excellent vintage condition and is for sale: $AU75

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Shalom! and a Christmas story

Shalom ceramic wall tile, c.1960s
a Christmas story, by Richard Burton, 1966

Shalom and Merry Christmas! These two pieces have a lovely synchronicity, in shape, colour and form. The funky symbol of Shalom- Hebrew for peace- has a handwritten message on its timber back – ‘Jerusalem’ which I take to be its place of manufacture. The deep blue and orange of the ceramic tile are so very 60s. As is the simple timber framing.

Meanwhile Richard Burton- THE Richard Burton has written a story about his [impoverished] Welsh childhood and Christmases. He also provided the illustrations. It’s a bit of a turgid read, but this book was continually republished until the late 80s. Must have been doing something right. I bought it mainly for the lovely graphics on the hardback cover.

Wishing all my readers Shalom, and Merry Christmas! And I am sure Richard Burton would want to send his wishes also.

Dog on the Tuckerbox, #50sstyle

Royal Stafford cup and saucer, made in England 1950s
Glass ashtray, made in Australia 1950s

More of my ‘Dog on the Tuckerbox’ collection – a transfer printed cup and saucer and a glass ashtray with 50s photo of said dog on the base.

The cup and saucer are bone china, with gilt edging to both cup and saucer, and marked 3395 to base. Meanwhile, the glass ashtray- a souvenir item, made in Australia, has a rather crudely hand-coloured 50s photograph in the moulded glass. But if nothing else, that photograph shows how accurate the transfer prints on the cup and saucer are- and they were made in England.

Both are kitschy, one more refined kitsch than the other!

Start your Dog on the Tuckerbox collection today: the cup and saucer is for sale: $AU25 as is the ashtray: $AU10 [or $AU30 for both.]

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60s Pyrex

Pyrex canistersPyrex ‘Stack & See’ canisters
made in USA, c.1968

I use these canisters- with their funky 60s colours – to store my retro sewing collection. Any sort of see-through canister is great for re-use – as is stackability – a great 60s invention. These Pyrex canisters came in 4 different sizes- the largest is shown here.

You can collect the canisters in the colour-ways; green, yellow, orange, red or blue. Check the Pyrex motif is on the base- there are a few fake imitations around. They don’t make them like they used to.

Of course, you can still use the canisters in the kitchen for their original purpose: just make sure the sealing ring is intact. I have only collected canisters with the original rings, even if they are only storing buttons. Email me if you’d like to buy!

Guy Boyd goblets

Guy Boyd goblet set
made in Sydney, Australia 1950s

This is a really, really rare set of Guy Boyd goblets. The form of the vessel- the goblet- was only produced in very limited quantities. To find an original set [rather than re-create a set, one piece at a time] is also rare.

The Boyds are a famous Australian family of artists. Martin Boyd pottery started in Cremorne, Sydney in 1946- but Martin doesn’t exist, instead it was Guy [Martin] Boyd who was the chief ceramicist. The pottery was in operation from 1946-1964, with 1957-58 being the peak production period.

All Guy Boyd pottery is made [and signed] by hand so there is a slight variation between any pieces in a set. The pottery is instantly recognisable from the edge band of unglazed pottery that always separates the two toned pieces. The colours are quintessentially 50s.

This fabulous goblet set would be great for Christmas drinks! It is for sale: $AU75
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Retro milk bottle holders [sold]

vintage millk bottle holdersRetro milk bottle holders
made in Australia c.1950s

Who doesn’t remember the nightly ritual of putting out the milk bottle holder, with a note for the milkman as to the number of milk bottles required? Okay, that was in the olden days…but I can just remember.

These two milk bottle holders are lovely examples of the then ’new’ technology of PVC coated steel. The PVC coating was ‘kinder on the hands’ than the raw metal and it had the added benefit of delaying the corrosion of the metal. And all kinds of colour were possible!

Both these holders could carry four pint-sized [glass] milk bottles. Nowadays, the holders are good for all sorts of repurposing – I have seen them used as mobile vase holders, or mobile herb gardens.  Four terracotta pots fit snuggly into the spaces and the holder sits on the window sill in the sun to grow various herbs. When it’s time for harvesting, the holder is moved to the kitchen. Funky and practical!

The milk bottle holders are in excellent condition – even the white holder shows no sign of wear and tear. I haven’t been able to ascertain the manufacturer, but the person from whom I bought the holders assured me they were Australian in origin.  From prosaic functional item of yesteryear, milk bottle holders are now quite sought after and highly collectible. That’s nostalgia for you!          For sale: $AUD65

Aboriginal motif kitsch

50s Aboriginal motif s&p, jugAboriginal motif salt & pepper shaker sets, and small jug
made in Australia c.1950s

While none of these items has a maker’s mark, the salt and pepper shakers at the back are possibly by Terra Ceramics, and the round shakers to the left are possibly Florenz Pottery. The small jug is probably Studio Anna. All these potteries were making tourist and souvenir pottery by the 1950s, and these 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; invariably Aboriginal motif works were black, tan and white.

This group works well as a set, or could form the basis of a larger collection. The items on their own are very kitsch…but somehow when grouped the kitschness is subverted into a subtler aesthetic.

This set is for sale: $AU125

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50s Australiana kitsch

Gambit Ware 'Ceramique' Australiana leaf platesGambit Ware ‘Australiana’ leaf plates
made in Australia 1950s

Here is another part of my collection: anything botanically themed always gets me in. Add to that these plates were designed and made in Australia- celebrating our unique flora in the post war period. AND this is ‘Ceramique’ – an early melamine material that was developed to revolutionise ceramic – it would ‘never chip or break.’

The stylised plates came in simple pastel colours, but were quite botanically detailed- they include wattle, banksia, kurrajong, mulga leaves- to name a few. The simple colouring meant that each leaf shape was reproduced in six colours- so one could buy a set of six ‘for display OR kitchen purposes’!

This image shows another part of my collection- at last count I had 50 plates. Plates with their labels intact are worth significantly more. The Ceramique has certainly lived up to its name- there isn’t a chip or a crack on any of the plates, although colour fading has occurred on a few.

Kitschy – yes. But 50s Australian kitsch- I love it!

This selection of Gambit Ware is for sale: $125 [13 pieces]

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