Sunday, March 18, 2012

collecting part 7

I love reading about people's collections and as well as enriching my vintage knowledge,  my eye is now drawn, in my travels, to those things my collectors are passionate about. I now stop at every golden book, frozen charlotte, paua shell piece, glassware, corning ware piece and vintage hat that I come across! 

This week's collector takes me back to my childhood passion for stamps. The first postage stamp, the Penny Black, was issued by Britain in 1840 and pictured a young Queen Victoria. It was produced without perforations (imperforate) and consequently had to be cut from the sheet with scissors in order to be used. Stamp collecting as a hobby began almost immediately in England.
At the height of its popularity in the early 20th century, there were over 200 million collectors worldwide. There are less today, but it continues to be a fascinating hobby. Our collector for this week is Aussie girl Lucia. She is an artist who is interested in memory and sentimentality associated with vintage things. Her beautiful collages can be seen in her etsy shop Luciaa.

Can you tell me a little about your background? (where do you live, how old you are, background education/interests, work, family etc)
I live in Otford, which is a small isolated suburb on the southern end of Sydney, I am a 28 years old and I am a mixed media artist.  I work at a photographic retouching studio but outside of my office hours I spend my time working in photography, painting, and paper collage.  My interests include reading, gardening, cooking and creating.

What do you collect?
I love to collect old vintage ephemera, particularly postage stamps.  I like how they depict scenes from another time and place, how they contain little visual stories.

How did you get started?
My grandfather and his father before him were both big stamp collectors so I inherited the hobby, and some of my collection, from them.  My grandfather Max was a massive collector and and I love rummaging through his cupboards filled with tins and albums of stamps, postcards and old photos. 

What attracted you to collecting them, in other words, why?
It started off as any easy hobby when I was a kid, there was a bit of a stamp collecting craze at my primary school.  When I was young I use to love the stamps that depict animals, but as I grew older my passion for collecting them evolved.  I started to acquire some really interesting old ones.  I still love them for their visual value and find some of the vintage artwork on them really pretty.  I have started adding them to my collage artworks and they have become a sort of signature to my work.

What is the holy grail of your collection? That is, what is it you are keen to get your hands on that you don't have?
The older the better.  I dont really care too much about their money value as a trader but just like the idea of owning something so small, fragile and old.

What are the best aspects about being a collector?
The stamps I find particularly visually appealing I incorporate into little paper collages which I frame and sell as artworks.  I find that gratifying because I it gives new life to those little treasures that may have ended up forgotten about in an old album or worse, in the waste paper bin.

What are the worst? 
It is addictive!  There are so many stamps out there and my collection will never be complete.  I have a few people who save theirs me so I end up with quite a lot.  It can be time consuming steaming, flattening and organising them.

Do you have a passion for collecting something? Would you like to be featured in my blog? I would love to hear from you!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Collecting part 6

I cannot go past a beautiful glass object. Glass has always held a fascination for visionaries, artists and architects. Glass is a solid liquid, its molten state is imperceptible to the eye. It is hard and yet fragile, and it embodies transparency both literally and figuratively.

The earliest known glass objects, dating back to the mid third millennium BCE, were beads.  During the late bronze age in Egypt and Western Asia  there was a rapid growth in glass-making technology. Glass blowing was invented in Syria in the 1st century BC and by the time of Crusades, glass manufacturing was developed in Venice and it became glassmaking center of the western world. By 1575, English glassmakers made glass in Venetian fashion and in 1674, an English glassmaker George Ravenscroft invented lead glass. After 1890, glass use, development and manufacture began to increase rapidly. Machinery has been developed for precise, continuous manufacture of a host of products.  As a cultural object - glass and in particular domestic utilitarian glass truly reflects the passions and concerns of the time in which it was created.

This week's collector is Teresa. She has a number of collecting passions and her wide range of interests are reflected in her etsy shop But this time, she is sharing her passion for glass.

Can you tell me a little about your background? (where do you live, how old you are, background education/interests, work, family etc)

I live in the Adelaide Hills surrounded by gum trees. Koalas actually hang out in the trees on my property around my house. Kookaburras laugh and wattle birds, blue wrens, rainbow lorikeets and many other species provide free relaxing entertainment as we sip wine on the deck in the evenings and look out over the valley. I live here with my partner and our two teenage sons, seven hens including a white silky (she thinks she is a princess), one yabbie and a gorgeous cat.  In the past we have had ducks and fish and also raised chicks.  Deadly red bellied black snakes and brown snakes also like to visit!
I have a home studio where I work (I am a visual artist) and recently it has become extremely cluttered with etsy vintage shop, VintageInclination packaging and storage! Before I studied visual art I trained and worked in a counselling related profession and before that I studied a Bachelor of Arts majoring in History.  I’m a little overeducated!

What do you collect?

Many things, mostly vintage! I collect Australian vintage books, tea related things like cups, strainers, teapots, all things related to Superb Fairy Wrens, sea glass, shells, china plates for everyday use, atlases, china jugs including milk jugs and glass, including salad bowls, glasses, vases and bottles. I know I collect other things but I can’t think of anything else right now! Oh yes, antique prints and postcards to decorate my home. I’m going to talk about my glass collection today!

How did you get started?

My earliest memories of being attracted to vintage glass go back to around age six and living in a grand old two story 1800s house which had never been renovated. The place included an old stable. I remember digging around and finding bits of glass and china from a long time ago. Visiting my grandparents I enjoyed their old drinking glasses and salad bowls. Remember those beetroot in jelly salads? I remember cold lemon cordial on hot days served in tiny little glasses. Then there was a little glass ink well I remember my Father having on his desk. I often admired it. The first glass items I really collected were bottles. Mostly medicine bottles I think. Somehow they were lost or broken, so I don’t have them anymore.

I remember always being interested in old things and noticing things like fancy glass panels in doors and windows and the colours of glass. My favourite finds include a lovely set of harlequin glasses sold to me by a farmer at the Strathalbyn Antique Fair. I saw the same set elsewhere for three times the price I paid.  The colours and etched decorations of them are wonderful. I’m always on the lookout for that sort of thing.. beautiful glass. Sometimes it’s a bit tricky keeping them safe in the boot of the car when we’re on a big camping trip and the car, boot and trailer and brimming already! But, I can always fit in a special found item. I collect things, including glass, anywhere!

What attracted you to collecting them, in other words, why?

Why do I collect glass? One answer to this one… it is so beautiful! I love the way light shines through glass, the way a meal or moment is prettied up with lovely glass. I love the history behind each piece and the human stories that can be imagined. I love that others have enjoyed and used these lovely items and that somehow they still live on to see another life with me, my family and friends. I love the attention to detail in the decorations. Even the depression glass is so wonderful to me. I love how heavy the depression glass bowls feel and there is nothing better than a delicious old-fashioned trifle with homegrown raspberries served in a vintage glass bowl! The simplest food or drink is made more enjoyable by serving on or in a vintage glass bowl, plate or glass. These old things remind me of a time before television, a time when families enjoyed long Sunday lunches on summer’s days before air conditioning.

The other thing that’s important to me about my collecting, including the glass, is that each item reminds me of the place I found it, and sometimes the people associated. I always bring something home from a holiday. Sometimes I “lose” one because I like to use the glass things in my collection in everyday life.  Accidents happen!

What is the holy grail of your collection? That is, what is it you are keen to get your hands on that you don't have?

Good question and not something I have thought about. I tend to just think about what it is I next want. At the moment it’s the perfect set of glass dessert bowls and a larger dessert/fruit bowl, on stems and quite delicate. I imagine something circa 1910-1920. I’m sure one day I’ll stumble across them and no matter my financial plans, how I may have to pull in the purse strings, no matter that we may be eating beans and rice for a few weeks…when that irresistible pull takes a hold on me….they will be mine! Collectors will know what I’m talking about! I suppose collecting is a love affair….

What are the best aspects about being a collector?

I probably answered that already! So much pleasure, so much detail to think about! Sharing these beautiful things with family and friends. I do hope my boys will remember living with all these lovely old things and will enjoy collecting vintage when they are older. I already see signs that they appreciate great old stuff!

What are the worst aspects about being a collector?

I am biased, I can’t think of a “worst” apart from when breakages happen and that beautiful glass item becomes a memory! Like the time when our cat was a naughty kitten and ran around the tops of the furniture in our living room. Late one night we heard a loud smash. He had knocked my favourite huge aqua green glass antique jar off a cupboard and it hit the corner of wooden arm rest on its way down. Complete disaster. Tears for a moment…I really miss that one!  Because I don’t just obsessively collect one thing, none of my collections are out of control in size.

Do you have a passion for collecting? I would love to feature you in my blog, please contact me!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Collecting part 5

Food and home cooking can be viewed as significant anchors to our identity and sense of belonging as we grow up. As adults, memories associated with childhood experiences of food give us a direct link to those positive emotional attachments and experiences.  This weeks collector, has a passion for the humble corningware dish - a brilliantly designed and functional kitchen item that has figured in many of our pasts and continues to do so today.

The white glass ceramic from stove to table was invented in 1953 and evolved directly from research into materials for ballistic missiles nose cones. Corningware's oven-to-table service first featured the little blue Cornflower decoration, designed by Joseph Baum in Connecticut and continued to be used as a motif for 30 years.

Can you tell me a little about your background? (where do you live, how old you are, background education/interests, work, family etc)

My name is Jessa and I currently reside in the beautiful foothills of California with my wonderful husband, Chris, our pups; Gage & Armani, and our three kitties; Remington, Colt, and Little Girl. I am a full time blogger Confessions of the Cupcake Countessa and online vintage/upcycle shop owner CAKED Clothing. I am 27 years young, the oldest of five children, and the only girl!

What do you collect?

I have a passion for collecting Cornflower Corningware. My collection is currently over thirty pieces strong and growing all the time!

How did you get started?

As a young girl I remember my mother owning her own pieces of this collection. There was always something about the simple beauty of those dainty blue flowers that intrigued me. Now, as a wife and homemaker, I too collect them. They are still as simply beautiful as ever to me.

What attracted you to collecting them, in other words, why?

They always reminded me of love and weddings. It must have something to do with the "something blue" aspect of them. I always loved them and when I started the vintage business I found that I was stumbling across pieces in my search for vintage clothing. Needless to say, I would buy them up where ever I found them and before you knew it I had a little collection on my hands!

What is the holy grail of your collection? That is, what is it you are keen to get your hands on that you don't have?

There are so many pieces I long for but the pieces I truly long for are the counter savers. I have never encountered one but would love to have them to set my darling pieces on! Someday...

What are the best aspects about being a collector?

It's like a constant treasure hunt. Most of my searches involve locating items others will like but it's so nice to keep an eye out for myself. When I do find a piece I can't help but smile!

Do you collect something? I would love to hear about it and feature you in my blog. Please contact me.