Crystal Craft wall plaque, made in Queensland, Australia 1960s
Crystal Craft! I have watched in astonishment as Crystal Craft has become incredibly collectible. Think the wired daisies with faces that proliferated in the 70s, or those resin daisy coasters with broad smiles in bright colours.
This example of Crystal Craft is where it all started: souvenirware using resin and marine opal. This is a wall plaque in the shape of Australia, with an ‘Australian Kangaroo’ insert where NSW would be. I take it that this would have sufficed as a souvenir from any city or town in NSW. On the back the label suggests this is a “decorative wall plaque for children, created with glass like resin and marine opals…”
Marine Opals – aka polished abalone shell, aka Paua shell for New Zealand readers- would seem to be a rather optimistic euphemism. Still this was the 60s, and marketing is what is it [and always has been.]
I have teamed the Crystal Craft plaque with wire plate hangers from roughly the same period: I have featured so many plates recently with suggestions to hang them on the wall that I thought it only right to include some original plate hangers.
The Crystal Craft plaque is for sale: $AUD10 + postage. I have featured a Crystal Craft owl letter holder and a teapot trivet previously : start your Crystal Craft collection today!
McCredie ‘flower’ vases
made in Sydney, Australia 1930s-40s
Nell McCredie was an architect before she opened her pottery studio in Epping, Sydney in 1932 to make fine art pottery by hand. McCredie continued to produce pottery right up to her death in 1968, and she was interested in art and design in all her work – as she said:
“Pottery-making is definitely an art inasmuch as the design is a purely individual thing. The technique of moulding is mechanical but the conception and execution of a design is an art -a fascinating art.” [Where Pottery is made by Hand, SMH, Oct 20 1936.]
McCredie pottery made vases and domestic ware – often a distinctive matt outer glaze as seen in this image -and a contrasting coloured shiny interior glaze. The forms were simple and strong, quite different to a lot of 30s and 40s pottery- employing what might be termed ‘architectural’ or structural forms.
This selection of small ‘flower’ shaped vases evidences the variety of colours that can be found on McCredie vases. As with all her pottery, the vase is hand signed on the base: McCredie N.S.W.
Arabia is uber collectable right now. Here we have a Arabia Ruska [Ruska = ‘autumn colours’] eight piece crockery set comprising large and side plates, and cup & saucers.
In the 70s every design studio was rebelling against the pastel/chrome/psychedelic colours of the 50s and 60s. The 70s was all about form, integrity, simplicity, and honesty. And brown. Brown featured a lot. Brown was both the colour of most base materials [think clay, timber, brick] and the basic tertiary colour that didn’t draw attention to itself. It was all about form – not colour.
Arabia Ruska is a collection of kitchenalia that celebrates autumnal colours- no two handpainted pieces are the exact same brown. It was made pre-dishwashers, so it has to be hand washed or the Arabia backstamp is liable to be erased.
Featured in an earlier post is a matching Arabia Ruska casserole dish: if you require this can also be purchased. The eight piece setting comprising thirty-two pieces is for sale: $AUD200
While Sesame Street- the TV show- debuted in 1969, Jim Henson, and his wife Jane Henson started Muppets Inc in 1958. Muppets Inc is now owned and operated by their children- and Sesame Street character toys are still being made.
The two toys are in great condition for being thirty-eight years old. Ernie and Bert are seminal figures from most peoples’ childhoods- and this continues today.
Carlton Ware whiskey jug, made in England 1962
London souvenir plate, made in England 1960s
This scotch whiskey water jug is both practical and collectible. It’s an ‘advertisement’ jug; mass produced and given away to pubs –not sold to the public- with the idea that the public would be so impressed by the glamour of having water added to their drink by a ‘branded jug’ that they would continue to order their brandy/whisky by name. Ah! the 60s, when advertising and impressing people was so easy!
The jug- being made by Carlton Ware- has a beautiful integral handle [not quite seen in image] and fantastic 60s square-shaped styling. It is very modern in form – and in fantastic condition. Whiskey jugs are uber collectible and they make a fantastic addition to a retro bar [and can double as a vase at short notice.]
The London dish- having been made as a souvenir piece in the 60- is plastic, hand-painted, and features that seminal 60s landmark – the GPO tower. Dwarfing those has-been landmarks Trafalgar Square, Tower Bridge, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace- the GPO is shown out loud and proud! That’s how landmarks were designed in the 60s!
The whiskey jug & London dish are for sale: $AUD65
Hornsea pottery is SUPER collectible right now: this is a set of cups and saucers and small plates from the ‘Heirloom’ pattern.
Hornsea Pottery started in 1949 in England and finished production in 2000. In 1970s John Clappison designed the successful – and now very collectible- series ‘Heirloom’, Saffron’ and ‘Bronte’ patterns.
Each of the Clappison’s designs has a repeating pattern in different colours: Heirloom is sepia & charcoal, Saffron is tan & orange and Bronte is sepia & green. I have featured the Bronte pattern previously on this blog- a set of kitchen canisters.
This collection comprises two cups and saucers, and two small plates: perfect for morning tea. As an added bonus, a coffee mug is thrown in!
Bambi posy vase and salt and pepper shakers
made in Japan 1950s
More bambis! A fantastic bambi posy vase- replete with log, flowers, sparkles- all hand painted, and a salt and pepper shaker pair. Rather than distinguish between S and P with the number of holes [in the head of the bambi, it has to be said] we have an alert bambi and a sleeping bambi. Awwww!
My fascination with bambi goes way back – way back when as a child I wanted a bambi but my mother thought them too ‘kitsch’ [by which she meant ‘common’.] So whenever I come across them now- I collect them. They are still terribly kitsch- but that is the attraction!
Beepa the Owl Telecom money box, made in Australia 1970s
Cassette cafrying case, made in Australia 1970s
A whole lot of 70s browns! This is Beepa the Owl– a Telecom money box that would have been placed by every domestic telephone in Australia. Twenty cents for a local call, a whole lot of 20c for an international call – to be place in Beepa for payment. Beepa still has his original stopper [notice that it is 20 cent-sized] so he’s still good to use as a moneybox.
The cassette case holds twenty cassettes– and it’s made of authentic 70s vinyl. The cassette holder inside is removable – so it can be used as a rather smart [albeit small] suitcase. The handle, hinges and front clasp are all in good working order – this is one smart case!
The Nancy Drew book “The Clue of the Tapping Heels” is number 16 in the series – and this version also hails from the 70s. If you are interested in this collection I will throw in Nancy Drew free.
Kitschy cat salt and pepper shakers
made in Japan 1960s
Cats rule the internet [have you seen ‘Cats of Instagram’?] and what better than kitschy cats? These Siamese cat salt and pepper shakers have it all : kitsch, 60s styling, made in Japan- and did I mention? Cats.
The cats’ faces presage anime- large heads, disproportionately large eyes [with eyelashes no less, whiskers don’t seem to exist] and they are both in ‘movement’ stances – these guys aren’t static animals- they are full of life. And the final coup de grace – the pair of figurines are in different poses.