Kitsch to the max- this rose print has a bakelite frame. Roses are so evocative of the 60s – and the OTT retouched photo is so retouched it’s difficult to tell where the photo finishes and the retouching begins.
The rose print is only small- 100mm diameter, but boy the red/green/blue [technically ‘cyan’] palette packs a punch .I’ve styled the frame with a small dolly, also from the 60s. I had one of these…I remember the over-sized head and wild hairstyle.
The framed rose print is ready to hang, and is for sale: $AU15 Buy Now
Australasian WONDER ATLAS
published in Australia 1950s
Australasian WONDER ATLAS! An Atlas for the AIR AGE. NEW Up-to date Edition.
My partner and I collect Australian Atlases. Because: Maps. Kitsch. Graphs. Kitschy drawings. Idealised images of Australia in the 50s.
This one is a beauty!
It’s in fantastic vintage condition. Last week at our local primary school book fair we found another 50s Atlas. It has ink blobs on the cover, thumbed pages, scrawls from numerous children throughout, and the old library card in the front. It’s similarly fantastic- I love the use, wear and tear and obvious appeal that maps have.
If anyone has an old Australian Atlas- let me know!
This is a ‘dual’ cast-iron cobblers shoe last- there are two different shapes on which to stretch and shape leather to make shoes. Cast-iron was used as it maintains its shape when in contact with wet leather and the mechanical stresses of stretching and shaping shoes.
Nowadays these heavy items are used as book ends, door stops or simply as decorative industrial forms.
There is something very satisfying about repurposing an industrial antique- giving it a new purpose and lease of life- and the functional design of the last means it is stable either end up.
Pictured here with a pineapple- the shoe last lends gravitas to anything!
Crystal Craft has become uber trendy for collectors: it’s a resin-covered fabric that originated in Queensland in the 70s. These two pieces – turtle ashtray and dolphin wall plaque- feature ‘marine opal’ [aka polished abalone shell for New Zealand readers.] ….Although, clearly, marine opal sounds much better.
I take some comfort in knowing that while abalone was “taken by divers from the Pacific” [as Crystal Craft labels inform] at least the whole animal was used. The abalone shell polishes up a treat and looks great under resin!
The Crystal Craft turtle and dolphin are for sale: $AU35
Depression era hand-made scone-cutter
Depression era hand-made items are having somewhat of a resurgence at the moment. Especially kitchenalia; into which category this scone-cutter neatly fits.
It was made by someone in their kitchen [with the help of a soldering iron] in the 1930s. Scones were a simple flour-and-water batter cake so most depression era families relied on them to either bulk out their evening meal; or – with any luck- by adding jam the ‘cake’ became a sweet item for desert.
Scones – with jam AND cream became popular in the 1940s and 50s- after the depression- and as a direct influence from England. Clotted cream and scones served at high tea became good old Aussie scones with a cup of tea. Either way, the scone-cutter lived on and has been cutting scones for decades!
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
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
Aboriginal 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.
Gambit 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]
MCP ‘Genie Lamp’ vase #257
made in Sydney, Australia c1950
MCP- Modern Ceramic Products- started production in the 1940s, in Redfern, Sydney. MCP made strong geometric forms with very modernist styling – and a highly textured exterior finish to contrast with the smooth internal glaze. This two-toned aesthetic meant each vase shape could be made in a wide range of iterations- albeit along the 50s spectrum of baby blue, pale pink and pale yellow.
I’ve sold several- beautiful- MCP vases; have a look on the SOLD tab. They are now very collectible and it’s getting harder to find these beauties.
This ‘Genie Lamp’ vase is in baby blue. It is stamped ‘#257 MCP’ on the base, and it looks good with anything from old fashioned roses [referencing the 50s] to contemporary structural arrangements- like Eucalypt leaves.