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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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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Wall pocket vases #50sstyle

Diana wall pocket vases
made in Sydney, Australia 1950s

I have posted much about Diana, a Marrickville [Sydney] pottery that produced from 1940 to 1975. I live very close to Marrickville, so became fascinated with this pottery and um…collected…a…bit…of it….. ..  .. . .

By the late 50s Diana was experimenting with ‘Australian’ colours [read: bush colours] and moving away from the classic 50s pastels of powder blue, baby pink, soft yellow, etc. These wall pocket vases were also made in those colours, but now they were being hand-coloured with the greens and browns of the eucalypt bushland.

The hand-applied glaze meant that no two vases were the same- and the new colours were enthusiastically taken up by a community eager to embrace new concepts of nationalism. Every vase shape and form was re-created using the new colourway; so you have art deco inspired shapes – to more modernist, assymetrical shapes- but now having the new nationalist colours.

These three wall pockets are part of my own collection- but alas- I do not have the wall space to do them justice and they have been boxed up for a decade. It’s now time they went to someone’s wall – to display eucalyptus sprays – of course!

The three Diana wall pockets are for sale: $AU225

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70s flowers

Flower bouquet cross stitch
made in Australia 1970s

My son Oscar [Gen Y] likens cross stitch to ‘pixel art’ and I can see his point. He is also my photographer- so as we style my collection for images to post to the blog he lets me know what he likes and absolutely DOESN’T like.

He is the child of two designers- so naturally has a firm opinion on my collection. Which I applaud and learn from; I love his interpretation of things made before he was born. I unfortunately lived through the 70s and 80s in Australia- the time that design forgot – and so sometimes have a less rosy view.

But- I love this tapestry with its stylized botanical specimens of Delphiniums and Poppies; crafted in Australian wool on hand-printed gauze; Oscar likes it because it’s a strong graphic representation of pixel art.

And I love it for another reason: I have a friend who intends to fill an entire wall of her house with found and reclaimed tapestries; I think this could be included. If it were me, they’d all be botanical in nature.

The 70s flowers cross stitch is professionally mounted and framed, ready to hang- and is for sale:  $AUD45

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40s ‘Utility’ jug

Fowler Ware ‘Utility’ jug
made in Australia 1940s

I’ve featured a lot of Fowler Ware pudding bowls and jugs on this blog: the 40s colours and shapes are so fabulous. This jug is stoneware, and from the Fowler Ware ‘Utility’ range – perhaps off-white wasn’t as glamorous as the coloured pieces -and could be used every day.

Whatever, the beauty of the off-white stoneware is that any fruit/food/kitchen implement stored in them looks fantastic. Collecting in a single colour is quite dramatic, and these pieces look fantastic in a white or neutral-toned contemporary kitchen. I was inspired by a friend who has about 15 off-white bowls sitting on the top of her kitchen cupboards- in that space below the ceiling.

And the beauty of the jug- it doubles as a vase! Win-win-win!

I have matching Utility stoneware pudding bowls for sale elsewhere on the blog. Start collecting today!

The Utility jug is back stamped, and in excellent vintage condition-for sale: $AU35

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Bushland Friends

Bushland Friends board gameBushland Friends board game
made in Australia 1956

The third in my posts on retro board games- this game purports to be a “cute little folks animal game”. For ages 4 to 8, this game involves spinning a dial featuring Australian animals [and, weirdly, a rabbit] and moving along a forest path made up of the same animals- thus “players simply match pictures of loveable little animals – there is no reading.”

It’s not all fun and games, however- players landing on occupied spaces can bump their opponents off. Even 4 years old need to understand the harsh competitive world that is board games!

As you can see on the image, the game originally sold for 99 cents. While the game is in good order, and ready for some bumping-off action, it doesn’t contain it’s playing pieces. However, since these were only dull plastic discs [and not, as I imagined, Australian marsupials- a la monopoly pieces] – the new owner of this game is obliged to supply their own.

The game is for sale: $AUD15

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70s Golden Glory

Johnson ‘Golden Glory’ teacups
made in Australia 1976

The back stamp of these 70s tea cups is Johnson OF Australia – [reminds me of Lawrence OF Arabia!] Johnson Bros [Australia] produced transfer printed stoneware crockery marketed as “tough, utilitarian ware” – which is why these teacups are looking so fresh and unblemished today. Also- never been out of the box.

Johnson Bros [Australia] was a division of Johnson Brothers England- at the time one of the largest domestic pottery producers in the world. This design is ‘Golden Glory’- which, double entendre aside, is a selection of lovely golden Australian flowers. This pattern was collected and added to the Powerhouse collection by a Melbourne artist -John Hind.

I have recently started to embrace the 70s – and Australiana from the 70s; and now I have an Instagram account, I have been seeing much 70s Australiana – and Johnsons ceramics are much celebrated. There is one fantastic site where Johnson pieces are cut and sanded to make upcycled jewellery: rings and necklaces. It’s a lovely celebration of 70s iconography and the ‘tough, utilitarian ware’ that the Johnson Bros never imagined.

This boxed set of four teacups and saucers is for sale: $AU45 Buy now for Christmas!

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Bakewell graduated jug set

Bakewell graduated jugs
made in Australia 1940s

These fabulous graduated jugs are called ‘Beulah Ware’- named for Bakewell’s wife, Beulah. They are functional jugs, with just a hint of art deco styling in the handle shape and the graduated patterning.

Bakewell started production in 1884 and like so many potteries, moved from making bricks and pipes to domestic wares in the early part of the twentieth century. By the 1920s, they were manufacturing vases [‘exclusive ware’] and domestic ware –kitchenalia – with ceramic canisters, bowls and jugs.

The earthernware jugs came in a set of four: unfortunately we only have three here. A full set of graduated jugs is next to impossible for find now – and originally, they came in this pastel green, a pastel yellow and a baby blue. You’ll note the subtle variation between the green colourings- this was due to the hand-glazing technique, and was a deliberate policy to allow for replacement pieces, should you break one of a set.

The graduated jugs are for sale: $AU95
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Christmas decorations #hipsterstyle [sold]

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.

Flour canister

Eon kitchen canister
made in Australia 1960s

This bakelite canister came with a set of transfers [Flour, Rice, Sugar, Sago, Coffee, Tea] in the 60s- so the homeowner could affix the labels as they saw fit- although the graduated size of the transfers meant most people stuck with the nominal order of the day. It makes me laugh that Flour was the largest canister – and coffee one of the smallest- nowadays it would be the other way around!

The transfer is in pretty good order for a canister that’s been in use since the 60s- normally these are quite perished when I find them. The red bakelite lid is also still tight-fitting, so you can store all the flour you wish!

The bakelite canister is for sale: $AU25

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