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 www.etsy.com/shop/VintageInclination. 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!