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I recently treated myself to some vintage Dala horses via Mom’s birthday money (thanks Mom!), and the little darlings just arrived.

Aren’t they precious? They are in perfect condition and the two larger ones even have their original labels with maker’s marks…the largest horse has been hand labelled ‘Daddy 1967’!

The seller had listed them as Nils Olsson on ebay, but when they arrived I found that the 2 labels read actually read G.A. Olsson (Grannas Olsson) and Nils Olsson.

I have been trying to find out more about the difference in the two companies, but most of the sites are Swedish and the google translation is a bit of a muddle.

When comparing the two horses the one by Nils Olsson is more finely finished, while the Grannas Olsson is more rustic, with the carving marks left visible and unsanded under the paint:

Even with my terrible photography you can see the difference between the two in the images above.

I also received a little G.A. Olsson pamphlet with a bit of history (click on the image to enlarge):

There is tons of really interesting information on the history of the horse on the Grannas Olsson site if you are interested (both companies are still in production).

Got caught in a pinterest loop…dangerous, beware! Here are my favourites for the day:

 

To gently ease us back into real life after the holidays, here are a couple of compelling images I have seen in the last while.

I keep running across this bathroom image from Mossiere , and every time I do, it makes me stop and stare.

Love the simplicity of using vintage apothecary bottles as the focal point in this neutral bathroom! Definitely a reason to start collecting bottles.

The last one just makes me smile, somehow…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As mentioned in previous posts, I am a little obsessed with collecting and display at the moment.

Have you ever tried to collect a group of something, then realised how hard it can be to get shapes and colours to work unless the items are already in front of you and you can mix and match? Well, let me tell you…it isn’t easy!

I have collected a few images of glass groupings to get a feel for what makes a good ‘group’, as a starting point for future ‘acquisitions’. Ahem.

I have noticed that an easy way to play it safe is to group coloured glass from the same maker in different shapes. This way you get the exact same colour glass and can just vary shapes.

 This vintage set below is Whitefriars glass.

image above via H is For Home

A yellow group from US company,  Blenko:

I drool over the idea of pristine, all white groupings like the Empoli one below, but then get caught up in the gloriousness of coloured glass…

…like this!

Here is a bit of variation in this glass selection from Kastrup – same colour, different tones:

 

Going a little further into colour theory, these are almost ‘complimentary’ colours – opposite each other on the colour wheel – creating a more dynamic combination, than the calmer, one hued previous examples.

And finally, throwing caution somewhat to the winds (the colours are still within a certain tone and feel):

Look at the amazing shapes of these Empoli vases! Yum.

images above via VMGlasshouse

So many choices. How can one little owl decide???

In my ongoing quest for more treasures to pad out the flat and scare Bubby with the impending doom of suffocation, I have come across British glass company Dartington.     

This happened quite by accident on one of my ebay trolls, as I came across a floor vase I liked, bid on it, won…and then realised I had actually won a collector’s piece! Joy.  

Dartington Crystal was created by Dartington Trust, who recruited their ‘first Managing Director, Eskil Vilhemson, from a Swedish Glass manufacturer, who in turn recruited a team of Scandinavian glass blowers and brought them to Devon. The factory was officially opened in June 1967 when it employed just 35 people.‘ (Dartington website)     

Frank Thrower was the chief designer and creative inspiration at Dartington since it’s inception until his death in 1987.     

Adding to my treasure horde is his Inkwell vase (FT223) – the amber on the left. 10.5 inches in height it was produced in 1978 -79 in a short run by Wood Brothers of Yorkshire in amber, jet, smoke and green. Apparently, at the time, Dartington did not have the capacity for the colour ranges.    

 

The Inkwell was created along with 2 other shapes. 

The  Candy  (FT224) vase 29cm …and the bulbuous Volterra  (FT222) vase 26cm. 

    

Here is a stunning shot of the three of them together. Oh, how I drool and covet the set!      

 

  image via 20th Century Forum

Small aside – I am currently bemoaning the fact that I hadn’t heard of Glass Etc. when we were in Rye a few months ago. The shop looks gorgeous. The store also has a very informative and droolworthy website with many images from Dartington’s lines and other antique/vintage glass, which is where I have gotten so many of these beautiful shots.  

A recent obsession revolves around amazing Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala(1915 – 1985).

I have been drawn to his designs for years now, and only just realised that some of his pieces are actually within my range on ebay! What joy.

The following are examples of the ‘Bolle’ range Wirkkala produced for Venini in 1978.

image via Concepts and Contents

The range is created using the ‘incalmo’ process, combining two molten masses of different coloured glass.

images via Mid-Century Modernist and Worthpoint


These gorgeous glass pieces are quite hard to find, and as a result way out of my price range, but one can always dream!

images via Despard Gallery

Wirkkala was extremely prolific and designed all sorts of items for various companies, Iittala, Rosenthal and Venini among them. One of his less known designs which have hugely influenced modern life is the invention of the plastic ketchup bottle!

You will likely recognize one his designs, the original Finlandia vodka bottle, using his labour intensive ‘ice glass’ technique created by burning the surface of wooden moulds with  molten glass.

The process was used extensively for Iittala, and references melting ice, studied for weeks by Wirkkala for the designs.

These ‘Ultima Thule’ glasses were originally created in the late 60s for Finnair’s new flight route to JFK airport in New York.

image via Aldente

My favourite designs are his white porcelain pieces, mostly made for German company Rosenthal.

I have recently acquired a perfect, little, white ‘Pollo’ (chicken) vase. Designed in 1970 for Rosenthal’s Studio Line in Germany, the vase has simple, stylized, Brancusi-influenced lines and a matte bisque finish with textural detailing, like chicken skin, at the mouth.

Having seen it only online and in print before it’s arrival I was pleasantly surprised by the actual vase when it arrived. It is perfectly weighted with a rounded base that nestles in your hand and that it balances on. It is also finely glazed with a matte glaze, which you can see faint brushstrokes in, evidence of the craftsperson’s hand. In subtle contrast, the ‘chicken bumps’ and interior is glazed in gloss – a beautiful detailed touch in contrasting textures.

Here is a shot of my little baby below. The attention to detail and feel of the piece are exquisite! It is hard to put down, and feels almost alive when you hold it.

So tempted to get the matching black one, too, which are frequently listed on German ebay, but must resist…

or find a suitable occasion to celebrate in gratuitous consumerism.  🙂

image via Ebay.de


Here are a few other stunning porcelain pieces with stylized organic shapes.

image via Decornet


image via R-Lab


image via Design Classics 24


I initially thought these lovely shapes only came in black and white, but recently saw them in bright colours.

image via Botterweg

Wirkkala really believed in letting the materials speak for themselves and spent hours perfecting and synthesizing forms in his sketches, which you feel in the items when you hold them.

Ah another Monday. Hopefully this post sees you into your new week with a bit of colourful fun!

Since starting this blog a few months ago I have started seeing owls everywhere. I have also, since, been banned from bringing any more little friends home, as the venerable Bubs is afraid they will find his body one day, smothered by a plethora of owl items…!

I am devoting this post to the owly things I have seen and liked, for those who might enjoy them.

There have been a lot of simple black on white prints of owls lately:

Like Utilitarian Franchise’s owl pillow and canvas,



and these beautiful, if ridiculously expensive, Fornasetti bookends.


Fab bedding from Urban Outfitters. Unfortunately, these are only available in North America. (Why is it that, though both Urban Outfitters and it’s sister company Anthropologie have both opened in the UK, neither of them carry the full line of housewares? Frustrating!)

 


There have also been a lot of white ceramic pieces, which are always a hit with me. The following items are all available at The Cross in Vancouver, Canada.


Large umbrella stand (a must if you live in Van!).
image via Decor8

Soap dish.


Now these owls from Etsy would definitely fit into the ‘gnomey’ category, and might be just what a bedroom needs for a kitschy feel! See my Gnomey Bedroom post for a taste of the kind of room I mean. They really are borderline on nasty, though, which I think is why I like them!!


Here is a luminous owl painting by one of my favourite London artists, Gwen Ramsay:

Some paper characters from Mibo:


Cute shower curtain from New York’s Dwell Studio:

I keep seeing this exquisite silver and glass scent bottle from 1894 on Ebay. They are asking £850 for it, and it is obviously not going anywhere soon. Love seeing it and imagining it could be mine. Sigh.



I have noticed that most of the vintage owl glassware is from the US, and wonder what the influence was in the 50s, 60s and 70s that made us such a popular motif.

Here is a vintage vase from Retro Art Glass.

From the same shop, as mentioned on My Owl Barn, here is a glass Viking lantern, which also comes in red. Saw them both on US Ebay for much cheaper than the $50 the shop is asking for them, red ones are around $30. (Unfortunately, if you live in the UK, like me, it would cost about the same to ship!)


Vintage decanter and vase.

Mid century glass peanut dispenser.
image via US Ebay

So many gorgeous owly things. Oh Bubby, why have you cut me off???

I was going to call this new regular segment ‘Thrifty Fridays’ but it sounded too much like a nasty marketing pitch, so ‘Thrift Store Fridays’ was born.

I realise that my Brit readers will likely ask “what is a thrift store?”…and for those lovely souls – just replace the word with charity and all will become clear.

For the last few months, I have been taking Fridays off and they have become my own special day to hit the secondhand shops and hunt for vintage treasure before everyone swoops in on Saturday mornings.

As I have regular requests from lovely friends to divulge my finds for the week, I figured it would be fun to post them as a regular weekly segment.

So here is last Friday’s score, with additions from the Battersea Car Boot Sale on Sunday.

My most cherished find, and the big ticket item at £15, is the white Uta Feyl for Rosenthal vase in the middle. I actually managed a decent barter on that item and am quite pleased with myself. (These are going for about £65 online!)

The vintage tennis racquet will be joining another antique racquet I have on an upcoming trip to the glaziers to get mirror cut for them and will become wall mirrors, like the ones below from Country Living magazine.

image via Country Living

The extremely odd and admittedly gnomey weiner dog will get a coat of matte white spray paint to emulate the Jonathan Adler dachshund.

image via Jonathan Adler

I also got a slightly angled barrel lampshade that I have been seeking for months now for a teak lamp I picked up with the wrong shaped shade (Tulip shaped? With mid-century modern? What were they thinking?!), but I have not included it in the shot, as it is in the DIY lab getting a transformation. I will be posting it soon, with one of my beloved ‘before and afters’.

All in all, a fairly successful haul considering that most items were under £4, no?

Happy hunting all. Have a good weekend.

On a follow up to my gnomey bedroom post, have you noticed how popular cut glass items are at the moment? The kind of kitsch ones that a few years ago you would have looked at with derision, but now think about with words like ‘quaint’ and ‘vintage’!?

Case in point are the items below. Not long ago these would have been the envy of grandmothers everywhere, but now they have crossed over into the mainstream with a vengeance. (I am quite certain the the purple carnival glass goblet on the right in the photo is a new Iittala one.)

Pretty, though, aren’t they? All jewel coloured and jellybean-like.

Below are another couple of joyously colourful groupings.

images above via All In The Detail
image via The Selby

I keep telling myself I am going to start collecting vintage glass candlesticks, but haven’t gotten a start on it yet. One of the main reasons is that I can’t make up my mind whether I will go for the multi coloured approach or stick to a more minimalist one like the elegant all clear one below.

image above via All In The Detail

Decisions, decisions, sigh.

It would be great if I could have the kind of patience it takes to collect something over time…that friends and family could contribute to on special occasions. Unfortunately, I always want the completed collection – yesterday!

Think this might be the collection I work at slowly. Let’s see how it goes.

I am currently bidding on this lot of antique English lawn bowling balls and have had to explain to Bubby, that no, I have not lost all leave of my avian senses!

Apparently he was under the misguided impression that there was some kind of design strategy happening with the flat, and has now come to the realisation that, instead, the theme is just plain random ‘I like-y, therefore, I want-y’, with the belief that it will all tie in somehow in the end!
At my first car boot sale a few weeks back I saw a woman selling these for £8 each. She had them stacked in a big bowl, like below. They looked lovely.
Here are some more basket shots:
What a fantastically styled flea market stand! Yum.
They do seem to look better in a basket/bowl when you have enough to pile up on each other. This display below looks a little lonely.
images above via Velvet and Linen
Here are a bunch of mixed balls in a grouping.
If you only have a few, this minimal kind of display is more effective. The row of three looks quite nice.
A solitary minimalist one?

Or maybe a pair, like these two ‘nailed’ (or cloutées) antique French boules.

image via Home and Design

During my research on the different kinds of lawn bowling, from country to country, I discovered something interesting. The French balls are a little smaller than the English, and they frequently covered them in metal nails to make them stronger and also to repair cracks.

They developed an amazing array of techniques with different nails to cover them, some looking like fish scales, other like hob nailed little wonders. Of course, decorations began popping up and everything from numbers to initials were worked into the designs.

Here is a gorgeous old sign from a French Boules manufacturer in Paris via website on the history of boules, Les Boule Cloutées. You can see the star and circle designs that they would have done in the illustration.
The workmanship is absolutely stunning. Here is an real example of the star design:
An example of the overlapping ‘fish scale’ method:
It is pretty amazing to see the difference in before and after restoration of the boules.
Here is the rusted, neglected before:
And the carefully polished after:
images above via Les Boules Cloutées

How satisfying a project would that be?! Below are some boxes awaiting restoration. Would love to get my claws on these.
Some lovingly restored examples.
images above via Joy of Bocce

images above via Ruby Lane

What beautiful objects, with such a rich history!

It makes you wonder what will happen to this sport over the next few years as the few, older people still playing the game trundle off to aviaries in the sky.

Maybe it is time to take up a new, gentle on the joints, sport as we creep into our own old age?

Boules, anyone?

Winston


art, design and interiors obsessed

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