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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Nally mixing bowls

Nally mixing bowls,
made in Australia, 1940s

I love bakelite and have collected Australian bakelite domestic ware for some time. Nally first started bakelite production in 1923 and was one of the first in Australia to do so. The factory was just up the road from where I now live.

These two mixing bowls – although nested [that is fitting exactly within one another]- were priced and sold separately. Nally’s advertising blurbs of the time made much of the fact that replacement pieces could always be bought, and as the mixing bowls were ‘harlequin’ [ie: different colours] they could be mixed and matched.

As it happens, these two bowls have never been used- testament to this fact is the original sticker in the base of the bowl. The sticker indicates these are ‘Genuine’ Nally bowls [in case you know, you thought they were fakes!]

The mixing bowls have a pouring lip, and came in the usual 40s pastel colours of blue, green, pink, cream and white. These bowls are yellow; and I’ve teamed them with a kewpie doll from the same era.

The bowls are for sale: $AU75

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Eon bakelite cake canisters [sold]

Eon cake bakelite canisters
made in Australia c.1950s

Eon is a well known Australian bakelite manufacturer of the 40s and 50s- specialising in kitchenware and especially canisters.

These two cake canisters are from different sets, but they were both produced in the 40s and both feature the red and white colourway- so beloved by modernist kitchens of the 50s. Both lids still fit snuggly, thus keeping said cake fresh. And both are unblemished, the bakelite as shiny bright as the day it left the factory.

The red-lidded canister is not labelled, but it’s clearly for cake. The white canister has that typical 50s cursive bakelite label pinned into the side of the canister.

For cake bakers/lovers/consumers and for all your retro kitchen cake needs…these canisters are for sale: $AUD90

Bessemer jugs

Bessemer jugs
made in Melbourne, c. 1970s

Bessemer products – made from melamine – were made by the Nylex Melmac Corporation which started production in the mid 60s. These beautiful jugs [and the subject of future posts, I have collected a lot of Bessemer!] were designed by Lionel Suttie, an industrial designer.

It’s interesting that Mr Suttie is remembered as Bessemer’s lead designer: this was the first time that condiment or tableware made from plastic [melamine] was thought to be worthy of design – that the humble mass-produced plastic jug or butter dish could make a design statement. These jugs certainly do that- they pay homage to mid-century modernist design and in the colouring, homage to the 70s.

The jugs can be used as intended- melamine is a strong plastic resistant to scratching and these jugs are ‘as new’ – or they can form part of a funky 70s display.

For sale: $AUD60

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Red & white bakelite

Australian bakelite spice canistersBakelite spice canisters,
made in Australia 1940s

Here is a collection of red and red & white bakelite spice canisters, all Australian made, in the 1940s.

The front six canisters- two with sprinkle tops, are by Sellex; Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger, Cinnamon, and one [indecipherable] other. The two canisters at the upper left are by Marquis, and the pair of canisters adjacent are by Nally.

All good Australian bakelite canister manufacturers. All the canisters have screw lids – which are all in good order. The labels to the Sellex canisters show vintage wear- after all, they are over 75 years old.

I have a set of matching kitchen canisters by Eon – also red and white- this colour combination is a winner- see posts, below.

The set of ten spice canisters is for sale: $AUD135

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Vintage pudding bowls

Fowler Ware pudding bowls,
made in Sydney, Australia 1940s

Fowler Ware pudding bowls are now quite collectable: and this crimson colour is the most sought colour. Vintage pudding bowls do double duty in the kitchen: they make excellent puddings- and when not being pressed into pudding work, they make great fruit bowls.

The monochrome shade of the pudding bowl looks great in a contemporary kitchen. The bowls originally came in a set of five –nested- bowls in the very 50s colours of grey, yellow, baby blue, green and crimson. I recently found a complete set of nested bowls – which is now unfortunately very rare.

These two bowls are from different sets- you can see this is the subtle differences in the rim patterning. However, they are the same fantastic crimson- and would look great holding apples or lemons- or – in the making of puddings!

The pudding bowls are for sale: $AU60/pair
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Krups kitchen scales

Krups kitchen scales
made in Germany c.1954

I have a rather large collection of retro scales. So far I have posted Australian scales [Salter -50s and Persinware-60s] but the collection also includes these lovely metal German scales. Scales are both functional and beautiful – as long as the measuring bowl is intact [and one must make sure it’s the original bowl as well.]

These scales weigh items up to 25 lbs [approx. 11.5kg] in 2 ounce increments. The scales are completely made of metal- bowl included, and they are original – not reproduction- scales, in that the scale is imperial only. Kitchen scales that feature both imperial and metric scales were made post 1972 and are considered reproduction.

The scales show a little bit of wear and tear from a life of service in a kitchen, but there is no corrosion or deterioration of the material and the weight measure is accurate. As is typical, there is an adjustment knob at the rear to allow one to correct for the weight of the bowl itself.

Four lemons and a lime weight 1lb 7oz. The duck is just along for the ride.  For sale: $AUD75

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Gempo canister [sold]

Gempo kitchen canister
made in Japan 1970s

Gempo pottery – like much of the 70s- is having a resurgence at the moment. Gempo pottery was made in Japan between1962 – and 1974 for the export market.

This pig canister has the large-faced form that marks all Gempo pottery. It is also particular to the 70s era with the stylised features, and the stoneware pottery glazed in rustic creams and browns. And the fact that the pig is wearing clothes!

I’m not sure how many animals Gempo stylised on canisters, mugs, egg cups and moneyboxes but currently in my collection I have a spotted hippo, giraffe, elephant and lion.

The Gempo pig canister is for sale: $AU25

Collectable Hornsea

Hornsea Saffron condiment set
made in England, 1970s

Here we have a lovely condiment set: mustard pot and salt & pepper shakers- all with teak lids- in a teak tray.

Hornsea is famous for its 70s patterns; always two apposite colours in a geometric pattern. I’ve showcased them all: Saffron, Heirloom and Bronte.

I grew up with this 70s oppositional style: and have only now come to embrace it again. Especially now it’s so collectable! I have styled the egg cup with wattle: it kinda recalls the yolk and i like how the mustard pot can become a egg cup can / become a vase. I have the teak cover, so it can be used as a mustard pot too!

The breakfast set is in great vintage condition, and is for sale: $AU35

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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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