ANTHURIUM, ANTIQUE CHINESE POTTERY, COLLEGE DEGREES – AND THE FUTURE

FOTD – August 7 – Anthurium

I actually didn’t know what the flower was until Judy Dykstra-Brown looked them up and told me. What has turned out to be so interesting is though the orchids in the pot flowered once and seem to have died, the Anthurium are flowering and seem to be exceptionally long-lasting. Also, they are flowering in a window that gets very little sunlight. I didn’t know you could grow flowers in that much shade. The brighter part of the window is where I have the orchids and Christmas cactuses. The anthurium lives at the other end of the double French doors, probably because in that same pot came a lot of shade-loving plants including ivy which has been growing like mad. I think there must be 10 or 12 feet of it. I have it coiled around a chair and the pot. I suppose sooner or later I’ll have to trim it, but it’s so healthy. I hate trimming healthy plants.

The anthurium are hard to photograph because of the light. During the hour or two when there IS sun, the brilliant red flowers glow and are hard to photograph. If I shoot them late in the day when the sun has moved to the other side of the house (northwest as opposed to northeast), it’s too dark to get detail. This is one of those times when I wish i hadn’t given away my indoor lights. I used to have a whole set including three 5-foot lights on stands plus a table stand and umbrellas for lighting bounce. I used them a lot when I was running an antique business online. Many of my pieces were small and lights were necessary. And of course, I sold a lot of dolls and the clothing needed lighting. Doll buyers were also very picky about the condition of hands and hair and facial paint.

The other thing I sold a lot of were cast iron bookends and door stops. When I started buying them up, they were cheap. A year later, they weren’t cheap, but I had a huge stock of them. Most were made in the 1800s, but a huge number of were destroyed during World War I when they were gathering up metal to make whatever they were making.

Han Dynasty pot – the first mass produced kitchenware

And when 2008 rolled around, I packed it in. Nothing I sold could be called a necessity. It was all luxury stuff for collectors, but after 2008 and for a few years thereafter, no one had spare money and I had to pay for my “shop” on Ruby Lane. I bought a lot of my pottery for resale, but I couldn’t sell it. It wasn’t that people wouldn’t buy it. I just couldn’t sell it. A Han pot in perfect shape that’s a couple of thousand years old? Han was officially from 206 BC – 220 AD, the longest lasting Chinese dynasty. I also have Tang, Sui, Juan pieces and more. I had some other stuff that broke in a terrible crash — caused by me. I was cleaning and I stood up and my shoulder knocked two cabinets off the wall. I lost at least one Xing pot that was stunning and another from the Juan period that was certified. Most of my stuff isn’t certified because getting certification is expensive. It has been visually certified, but not laboratory tested.

Qing dynasty rice bowl, typically used by field workers. The blue chicken is a cultural thing. The bowl is almost 200 years old — and it isn’t even close to my oldest pieces of pottery.

That’s the story of my collections and why i have so much stuff … and why it is so hard to find homes for it. The people who were collecting it are now my age and I bet they are having trouble finding homes for their collectibles. Our kids don’t have houses and a lot of them have had trouble finding decent-paying work, even with college degrees. It turns out those college degrees aren’t worth quite as much as they were when i was growing up. They are probably worth even less now, at least in the job market. You have to have a skill that companies need. I could write – a saleable skill.

If I hadn’t had that skill, I’d have had to find some other field of endeavor. I warn kids to think carefully before investing huge amounts of money to get a degree that might not earn them a living. A degree in Medieval French literature isn’t a big job getter. With COVID-19, i have to wonder how this world will economically survive.

It’s a good time to be retired. A good time to be raising flowers and shooting pictures of birds. A bad time to be trying to build a career. Does anyone want to adopt a lot of hard-plastic strung dolls dating from the 1930s to the 1960s? How about caring for some very old Chinese pottery? Not looking for money. I just want it to be properly cared for and protected. It’s living history and I want it to survive.

GLASSES, CUPS, OR SAUCERS – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Glasses, Cups, or Saucers


Stacks of plates

Modern Limoge ca 1965 alongside Song dynasty vase (China Song Dynasty 960-1279 AD)
Spode

Antique Famille Rose Porcelain plate
Circa 1965 Wedgewood
Chinese Astrological figures etc

 

WINDOWS ON MY WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Windows On My World

My big windows on the world all need cleaning. the ones in the back are easy because you can stand on the deck and just wash them, but the ones in front of the house are two stories up. The ground in front of them is soft and muddy from the constant rain and someone stole our two-story ladder. Eventually, they will become sunglasses … or I’ll have to hire someone to clean them. Not this year, though. Or next. Too many other things need doing.

I am in the middle of a mental muddle.

I have a big collection (not, fortunately, as big as it used to be!) of antique Asian art and hundreds of dolls from the 1930s through 1970s, all in pretty good shape. Some are still rather new, tags and all.

No one wants the pottery, which is heartbreaking. To me, these are pieces of the past. I hold one of these pieces and I can see the world in which they were born. I wonder how many hundreds — thousands? — of people have held them and in how many homes they were things of beauty. But unless I can find homes for them, these irreplaceable pieces will disappear from the world forever.

When you get to my age and the age of my friends, no one is collecting. Everyone is trying to find homes for things because we are suddenly sharply aware that we aren’t going to live forever and those pieces of porcelain aren’t going to live forever on the mantel or the shelves or cabinets. The idea of all of these things going to some big dumpster makes me a little bit sick.

Seriously: if you know someone who wants them, free, no strings, please let me know. I’ve run out of local places with room for them and my friends are my age and don’t want more of anything.

Does is really matter if the world has one more Han pot or Tang horse? I don’t know.

What about all the dolls of youth. Toys represent the world in which we live more than anything except maybe books. They show how we viewed children, especially girls and their roles in the world. I would love to know they will survive!

DISHES AS DECOR, PART 3 – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I use all kinds of plates and dishware as decorative elements all over my house. It makes sense in the kitchen and dining areas, but I also use them in my bedroom and bathroom and in my bookcases.

This is an arrangement of prints and plates on my small bedroom wall

On the large wall of my bedroom, I used a mid-century mirror from the Algonquin Hotel in NYC as the centerpiece. I surrounded the mirror with prints and plates to create a large vignette across the entire wall.

Long shot of the wall
This is my ‘toilet room’, as you can see by the toilet paper holder in this decorative vignette
This is a decorative baker’s rack used to display plates and chatchkus in the bathroom
Whimsical teapot and teacup in my bookcase
Teacups and matching dessert plates used with bookends to create a fun moment in my bookcase

DISHES AS DECOR, PART 2 – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I love to use all kinds of dishes and serving pieces as part of the decor in my home. I find it’s an inexpensive way to fill the walls and the shelves all over the house.

In Part 1, I showed you the kitchen area, where you would be most likely to find dishes as part of the decor. Now we’re moving into my family room, my dining room, and my foyer, where I also use decorative plates and other dishes, such as candy dishes.

These plates are in the wall cabinet in my dining room. I use the other dishes from these sets when I have company.
One of my favorite mid-century candy dishes used in the hanging shelves in the dining room
These two mid-century candy dishes are in the large, decorative bookcase in the family room
Red and blue mid-century candy dishes accent my artwork in the family room
This Crate and Barrel platter works beautifully with my art deco decanter and a modern glass box in my foyer. They sit on a 1906 stove with a glass top over the burners.

DISHES AS DECOR, PART 1 – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Growing up, we had some beautiful sets of China that we actually used to eat on. My mother also displayed pieces of her china sets whenever possible. So I love dishware and always try to buy interesting and beautiful pieces for meals, but also to use as part of the decor. It is an inexpensive way to add interesting chatchkas to your home – and my home is full of chatchkas, often arranged into decorative vignettes.

Here are some of the dishes I’ve used in my kitchen, eating area and sun porch, on shelves, on tables, and on the walls.

This cabinet is mostly decorative and I rarely use those items.
This cabinet is totally functional and houses my everyday dishes and cups.

I also use plates as wall decor.

The same fish plates used on top of the cabinets above the stove area in the kitchen

I still have many of my mother’s and my old china sets that are too country or too formal for my homey but modern house today. They also don’t fit in with my mostly aqua and turquoise color scheme. But I still love them and want to share them with you.

Formal dessert set I got for my first wedding in 1974
The charming and less formal set I bought for my first home in New York City in 1974 (from Italy)
My favorite of all my mother’s china sets which we used in our summer, country style house in CT

A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE – DETAILED ACOMA SEED POTS – Marilyn Armstrong

Acoma Pueblo Pottery

The pottery of Acoma is strongly recognized for fluted rims, thin walls and geometric design. Potters of the pueblo implement similar techniques found in the local region, from collecting of the clay material from limited sources, forming the vessel for a specific use, decorated with hand-painted patterns and designs, to firing the pot at high temperature.

Traditional Acoma pottery is made using a slate-like clay found within the hills surrounding the Pueblo. When fired using traditional methods, this clay allows the potters to form very thin walls, a common and sought after characteristic of Acoma pottery.

Smaller seed pot

I bought these two seed pots years ago. I would have loved to own more of this pottery, but it is — not surprisingly — expensive and fragile. These designs are painted freehand. Again, no surprise, these artists often suffer from serious eye-strain.

Larger seed pot

Amazingly beautiful, incredibly detailed work … and these are not by any means the most detailed work. There is much finer work available. These were what I could afford.

Two Acoma seed pots

DELICATE – A PHOTO A WEEK – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Delicate


Delicate beadwork and fragile flowers.

Honestly? We don’t have a lot of “delicate” here. What we have is carefully placed where it can’t be knocked over by a clumsy human or enthusiastic dog.

In this house, if it can be broken, it has already been broken.

Very delicate. Also shattered and gone. All I have left is the photograph.

It’s why, though I love them, I shiver at the idea of a kitten. Dogs, at least, mostly hang with the floor. But cats leap and climb curtains. I don’t think this house would survive that.

I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t survive it either.

PRICELESS

There was a time when many items in my world were priceless. Many of them were items without significant dollar value, but they had great emotional or sentimental value. Then came a time when I realized these priceless things had morphed into dust collectors. I enjoy them, but they are long past priceless and have become part of the stuff I will I would happily give to someone who would treasure them — and dust them — rather than me.

Antique Famille Rose porcelain plate
Very old Han pot, Han Dynasty (206 B.C.–220 A.D.)

Funny thing about the way things change. The stuff that was priceless becomes clutter. Attractive, elegant clutter. Much of it becomes burdensome instead of priceless, unless priceless also means no one is willing to pay to take it away. I suppose that might be another interpretation.

Now, life is priceless. Maybe, honor, too.

ONE JAPANESE TEA SET OVER THE LINE

Garry went to New York to help clean out his parents home on Long Island. He went with my explicit instructions: do not bring home anything. We have no room. NO ROOM. None. Anywhere. Not on the shelves, the cabinets, the tops of the bookcases. Nowhere.

He was pretty good about it. All he brought home was one lovely Japanese tea set. Five cups. I assume one was broken. Plus the teapot, sugar bowl, and creamer. Lovely. Dragon style, which is a favorite of mine.

Not long ago. I gave away a nearly identical tea set as a wedding present, but clearly I am supposed to have a Japanese tea set. It must be a genetic thing. This is not my first … or fifth … Japanese tea set. I have had antiques. New ones. Sets made for children. Many sets made in weird shapes which were surely never meant for the actual serving of tea.

I recognized that I could not escape this tea set. I rearranged the stuff in my glass chest and somehow managed to fit it in. I’m so glad there were only five cups. One more, and I would have been lost.

It’s a beautiful set. Made of the finest porcelain so lightweight it’s almost not there. Beautiful, but my problem is not a dearth of beautiful things. I have far too many beautiful things and I wish someone else wanted them. I’d happily give them away, including some rare, very old Chinese porcelain.

Does anyone need a lovely, handmade Japanese tea set? I’ve got an extra.