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

Buy Now

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]

Buy Now

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]

Buy Now

Pates posey vase

Pates posey vasePates posey vase
made in Sydney, c 1940s

This posey vase was made by Pates Pottery, which operated out of Belmore, Sydney from 1946 -1990. The deco styling of the vase is deliberate, although it was made much after that period; it seems nostalgia for things past [and styles familiar and remembered] has always influenced pottery makers.

The drip glazes used by Pates were applied by hand, and the vases came in mottled shades of pinks, yellows, and green & brown- indeed it is this mottled glaze that instantly identifies this vase as a Pates vase. The vase is also stamped on the base “Pates Potteries Sydney Australia.”

This lovely green and brown vase is perfect to display wattle – the joey figurine is just along for the ride.

Pates Pottery collectors rejoice: this posey vase is in perfect condition and is for sale: $AUD75

Buy Now

#50sstyle dress jewellery

This is a collection of 50s Australian dress jewellery:

  • two ‘souvenirware’ bracelets featuring Australian fauna and flora,
  • six tie pins.

The bracelets feature various flora and fauna on faux mother-of-pearl backgrounds, whilst the tie pins have real mother-of-pearl. Some of the tie pins are gold; others are ‘imitation’.

The bracelets were sold as souvenirware on a cruise ship in the 50s- when the ship pulled into a harbour city these were available as mementos – or gifts- for the folks back home.

The tie pins were a 50s staple for the elegant suited gent: not only did they hold a tie together- they signalled prestige: the size, the styling, the gold…think ‘Mad Men’ – then think the humble Australian equivalent!

The bracelets are for sale: $AU35, and the set of six tie pins: $AU125

Buy Now

Knitting parapheralia

Knitting Paraphernalia
made in England, 1940-1950s

I am a knitter – and a collector – so naturally I have started to collect knitting paraphernalia. It’s sort of an amalgamation of my interests in the domestic arts- knitting- and technology. So here is a small selection: knitting gauges, knitting counters, and knitting needles.

The knitting gauges are all made from aluminium: the first is an impressed aluminium circle gauge, with sizes 5 to 16. It has no makers mark, and after countless hours [minutes] of research- I can’t find anyone who has ascertained the maker.

The second is a bell gauge made by Emu, in England in the 1940s. It’s a lovely anodised aluminium green: the Emu logo is a ball of wool with knitting needles for legs. It’s unusual in that it sizes needle gauges internally- rather than externally, which was the practice up to the 40s. It’s also unusual that an English firm would use an emu as its logo; at first I assumed this must be an Australian manufacturer.

The third gauge is a ’D-shaped’ gauge by Stratnoid Aluminium – this being the brand name of Stratton & Co, Birmingham. The gauge is unusual in that it indicates imperial and metric sizes.

I have just discovered that collecting needle gauges is a thing: it’s not just me!

The knitting counters sit on the end of the needle, and the end ring is rotated to move the counter to record the number of rows. These are 50s ‘rotary barrel’ counters, and are made of bakelite and plastic, by IX Products, and Millward. Millward termed these counters “Ro-Tally”.

Finally, the tortoise shell knitting needles – of which I have posted previously. Now much prized by knitters who suffer from arthritis, these needles are super-flexible, being made from an organic compound. Artists love them for the same reason.

The shadow box, also c.1940s, is not for sale: it makes a very useful display of all things vintage.

The gauges are for sale: $AU60, the counters are for sale: $AU45, and the tortoise shell knitting needles are $200 for 20 pairs [assorted sizes.]

Buy Now

50s egg cups [sold]

50s egg cups
made in Japan

Continuing the Easter theme, these ceramic egg cups from Japan would also have originally held easter eggs and been sold as gifts for Easter. It’s a great gift- after Easter the egg cups are used every day for breakfast. And who- I ask you- doesn’t love a boiled egg for breakfast?

There are many, many egg cup collectors in the world- maybe because they are small, easy to display and there are millions and millions of different types. These two sold before I had even finished writing this post. And they sold despite both being ‘care-worn’ with a little loss of paint due to use [they are over fifty years old and have obviously seen active duty!]

Egg cups! The gift that keeps on giving! Happy Easter everyone!

1940s doctors bag

1940s cow hide case,
made in Australia

This is a fabulous ‘barrel-shaped’ case, possibly a doctor’s bag or briefcase, from the 40s. It is made of ‘genuine cow hide’ – as it attests on the interior label, although the leather has been tricked-up to resemble crocodile skin.

The case is in fantastic shape for its age- lock and key still work, hinges in-tact, handles and bottom studs all in-tact. The interior is also in remarkable shape- it’s red tartan-lined with two interior pockets. It would make [and indeed has made me] a wonderful overnight bag.

Suitcases and doctor’s bags from the 30s and 40s are now super collectable; and clean, pristine vintage cases are so much nicer to travel with than modern cases.

The doctors bag is for sale: $AU125

Buy Now

Lomography

Debonair camera, made in Hong Kong 1967
Observer books, published 1958- 1975

I love old cameras – which now have a new life as lomography cameras. This Debonair “all plastic” camera was made in the 50s- it takes 120 film, and had a ‘super lens no. 809’.

It’s a point-and-shoot camera, fixed f/8 lens. Luckily 120mm film is still available – and – did I mention that lomography photos are uber cool?

Meanwhile, I also collect Observer books. This lovely series [1-100] started in the UK with no.1 British Birds published in 1937; and to collect all 100 in series is a prise.

Here we have a couple of my doubles:
1          Birds                1971
11        Aircraft             1958
21        Automobiles    1975
41        Heraldry          1966

However- you have already seen that the first in the series has been reprinted under many titles, and dates. And- to add to the collector enthusiasm- real enthusiasts only collect nos. 1 – 79, when the outer cover became hardback [with an image, no less.] So gauche.

Some Observer collectors just collect every edition of one published number. Some Observer collectors collect the first editions of every title. The rest of us are happy to have as many of the 1- 100 series in our collections.

The Debonair camera is for sale: $AU18
Observers [with dust jackets]: AU$10 each

Blue Moon

Poole Blue Moon tea cups,
made in England 1960-1975

Poole is a very well known pottery, which started operating in Dorset, England in 1873 – and continues today. I am particularly fond of the pottery produced between the 30s and 60s.

These tea cups – very modern in shape and sans handle – are part of the Cameo range. The colour is ‘Blue Moon’ –a deep blue exterior, with a slightly off-white interior [pure white would be too stark…this off-white is just right.] The set of eight tea cups and saucers have the traditional mid-century Poole mark on each piece.

The cups don’t hold much tea – not that I have used them as such – the lovely colour and repetition of form has had them serve a purely decorative function. But they would make for a lovely tea party.

For sale: $AUD145
Buy Now