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
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!
I’m not sure when ramekins became vintagey fashionable, but these are good examples from the 50s. With 50s styling and colours they were all collected singly to make a set of five [a typical Japanese set.]
Ramekins are great for small dishes, soups and for foods cooked directly in them [chocolate pudding comes to mind!]
Since this image was taken, I have added to the collection- ramekins with a powder pink and a pastel blue interior. Let me know your preferred mix!
Retro whiskey jugs and ice buckets
made in England and Australia, 1950-60s
The yellow Macnish whiskey jug, is by Wade [England] and the green Four Seasons whiskey jug is by Elischer [Australia.] Both are advertisement’ jugs which were 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 whisky by name. Ah! the 60s, when advertising and impressing people was so easy!
Both Wade and Elischer pottery is very collectible – and especially so ‘barware’. The jugs are sure to glam up your next cocktail soiree!
The ice buckets are also pretty glam: the black is advertising Tintara – ‘A Black Bottle Brandy – Such a Friendly Brandy’ – and was made by Hardy’s, a South Australian winery. The orange bucket is unmarked but adds a little 60s charm to the group. Both ice buckets have removable inserts and their original [plastic] tongs and lids.
Holdson Products Housie,
made in Auckland NZ, 1959
The game of Housie is called Bingo in the UK- players fill in numerical spaces on their boards as a ‘caller’ randomly produces numbers and calls them out. A win is made when any line is filled vertically, horizontally or diagonally.
Yawn. Sounds tedious to me – but look at the beautifully made housie board, and the numerical discs are stamped timber. And the graphics on the box…beautiful.
The box has its previous owner’s name ‘Cantwell’ inscribed on it – and a price tag of $2:50. My- how prices have changed!
Etsy and Pinterest are replete with artistic repurposing of Housie boards and numbers- what could you make of this collection?
How fabulous is this hand-painted Mickey Mouse napkin ring? Here he is in his early Disney rendering- all rat-like but with his trademark big ears. Mickey first appeared in 1928 [in Steamboat Willie] and this napkin ring was made not soon after.
I found Mickey in a collector’s sale lot of napkin rings and bought the lot because Mickey was there. Mickey is in great condition with only a little wear to the hand-painting on his extremities- ears and nose. He is very collectible- as is any vintage Mickey Mouse item. Mickey’s from the 30s and 40s are now highly sought after.
Mickey is shown here with a bakelite spice canister and a sweet tin from the 30s…they were made in Australia but since Mickey is a universal icon, I don’t think that matters. Mickey is for sale: $AUD75
Aboriginal motif placemats
made in Australia c. 1940s
Did I mention I like kitsch? These bookends are so of their time: the kangaroos are pewter, and have adopted that typical Skippy looking-over-the-shoulder stance. They stand on traditional Mulga wood- which has been cut and arranged to show off its famous bi-colouring. Mulga wood was used in 1940s souvenir works like these as it is a hardwood –unusual in a native from the wattle family – and was considered ‘export quality’. A transfer sticker on the base of the bookends, in the shape of Australia, proudly proclaims “Genuine Australian Mulga” in case one confuses it for fake Mulga, or worse still, a non-Australian Mulga.
The woven placemats are also genuine…a proud Aboriginal spear and shield-holder walks in front of a map of Australia- in case you mistake him for a proud Aboriginal spear and shield-holder from say, America. There are four placemats in the set…and the motif is arranged on the left side of the mat, so that plates, cutlery etc won’t obscure the motif.
My collection contains a fair few Aboriginal motifs…once considered to be in very poor taste, they are now old and retro enough to be embraced by hipsters who didn’t encounter them the first time round.
Albert Namatjira Mt. Giles print, Miniature Framing Company, 1950s, made in Australia Bonzo napkin ring, 1920s, made in Japan
An unusual pairing- I know. But these two pieces are quite iconoclastic in their own way.
Bonzo the dog was the first cartooncharacter created in England, by George Studdy in 1922. Bonzo has been reproduced in a myriad ways since- and this early napkin ring is now highly sought after
Albert Namatjira [1902-1959] was born near Alice Springs, and died aged only 57, at Alice Springs. Namatjira was a pioneer of contemporary Indigenous Australian art; his watercolours of outback desert landscapes departed from the highly symbolic style of traditional Aboriginal art incorporating incredibly vivid colours in an overtly ‘Western’ style.
Both Bonzo and Namatjira have been in and out of fashion and are both back IN again in a huge way. So much so that my landscape drawing studio is full of framed Namatjira prints and I am always on the hunt for any more Bonzo pieces.
Kodak Brownie Movie Camera, Model 2
made in USA, 1956-1958
I have a great fondness for all things camera…my father was a photographer and now my son is involved in photography…he took all the images on this blog. I seem to have collected a lot of camera-related things.
This ‘wind-up’ movie camera comes in its original [vinyl] bag with original instruction booklet. It takes 8mm film, which is still available on eBay. And as the instruction booklet says: “It’s everybody’s movie camera…it’s as easy as this: 1 -you wind the motor, 2- you set the lens, 3- you press the exposure level.”
These movie cameras were made to be simple and affordable for a mass market. It has a 13mm Ektanon lens, f/2.3-f/16 and despite having an aluminium body, weighs just 0.75kg. YouTube has a whole section devoted to movies made on vintage cameras. For sale: $AUD155