Monday, January 28, 2008

What a day!!

Well, I just checked my blog only to find that I am missing several pictures that I thought I had loaded on my Mexican pottery collection - this particular post has been most challenging! I think I will take the "How to" lessons from All Things Bright and Beautiful and try again tomorrow - sorry about that!!

To top it all off now my computer is saying cannot connect to blogger !! Talk about frustrated!!!!!!

Mexican Pottery

I know we have visited my breakfast room before, but this is where most of my old Mexican pottery lives. I collect some contemporary pottery, but most of what I have is old tourist pottery bought at estate and garage sales in the United States(mainly Texas and New Mexico) over the years.

Actually, when I have hunted for pottery in Mexico, I have found that the old pottery, made in places like Puebla and Tlaquepaque, is not there anymore. Please don't misunderstand, there is still a ton of great looking pottery being made there, just not the tourist pottery that people used to bring home from vacationing south of the border during the 30s, 40s, and even into the 1960s.

The first "new" pottery I began to collect I found on a quick trip to Nuevo Laredo in the early 70s. I bought three square bowls with lions on them and they hang on the wall above the window of my breakfast room along with an assortment of other plates and platters from the same potter.They were designed and crafted by the well known potter Gorky Gonzales. Gorky is an educated craftsman who has chosen to work in an authentic majolica technique. While he was in a small studio in the colonial town of Guanajuato , Mexico when I first visited him in the mid 70s, he had moved to a much larger facility when I was fortunate enough to visit again in the 90s. He has more help now and my impression is that his son may have taken over his business at this point. I have collected many of his pieces over the years and have them scattered around my house - some decorative and some useful! If you are interested in learning more you can go to www.gorkypottery for a lovely and informative presentation.

The pieces in the front with the sort of drip glaze, are old and come from Oaxaca. I have a Mexican teapot collection, and a few of them are also included in this grouping. There is one Talavera vase tucked back there, but the rest is Gorky , along with a few on the right made by another contemporary potter named Capello. He is in the same region as Gorky and while his style is similar, he actually does some more formal looking pieces.

There are several good books on the subject of Mexican pottery. I especially love one of the first I ever read entitled "A Potter's Mexico"by Irwin and Emily Whitaker, published in 1978 by the University of New Mexico Press.

For more current study of Mexican pottery, try "Popular Arts of Mexico 1850-1950", by Donna McMenamin, published by Schiffer Publishing in 1996. Another one published by Schiffer is called "Ceramica, Mexican Pottery of the 20th Century", by Amanda Thompson in cooperation with the California Heritage Museum, Santa Monica, published in 2001.

I have now lost this post twice -once due to my mistakes and once I think due to blogger's outage - so, I will continue in another post but want to go ahead and publish this one before I lose it! (the post and my mind!!)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Did someone say "edit"?

I love the concept of editing, I really do. I read about it all the time. The best designers are always preaching "editing" your space.

I look longingly at the most beautiful interiors with minimal accessories and furnishings arranged in such an orderly way and I wish I could BE that person with such discipline. I love the simplicity and quiet beauty of just a few fine things displayed on a table or chest......I try - I put things away, I sell things at antique shows, I give things away........and I still have too much stuff! I just cannot seem to edit enough, especially when it comes to my collections!

I started picking up these carved stone books at antique shows several years ago. They are difficult to find so my collection is small. I only know one other person who collects them and he has a huge assortment. He is Steve Wyman, my friend who owns Uncommon Objects, on South Congress, in Austin, Texas. Uncommon Objects is a fabulous vintage and antique group shop that is like no other! The dealers are extraordinary in their ability to find the rare, unusual, weird and interesting..........not necessarily "fine" antiques, but always curious and unique. Their ability to display their treasures is unequaled and it is always fun to stroll through the shop for inspiration and amusement. The shop has been featured in a lot of design magazines, from Country Home to Elle Decor.

I don't know much about stone books and have never found anything written about them.Many of them are carved to look like Bibles, but not all of them. Steve has told me that some were carried by people who wanted to carry a Bible to church, but might not have been able to read, or may not have had a "real" Bible.

A few of the ones I have are painted and personalized, and clearly mementos from travels. One is dated June 27, 1899, and has the words "Margaret Griffin", Elgin, Nebraska written on it. Another is dated 1915 and is marked "Souvenir Soldiers Home Hot Springs, South Dakota" written in a semi circle around a floral and fruit painting.It is one of the smallest ones I have - probably about 3 inches by 4 inches.

There are some old book ends made to look like carved books and I have picked up a few of these along the way. They are not as old, but fill in the collection nicely, especially for stacking.

So, there you have it.......just one more of many quirky things that I like. If you ever see any stone books, don't buy them - email me and tell me where they are!!

Also, if you find yourself in Austin, you should stop by Uncommon Objects for a really fun,one of a kind shopping experience!!

Meanwhile, edit,edit,edit..................

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Time, time, time..................

While my blog got off to a great start, I have been very remiss in keeping up with posts! Time is an issue, as many of you have discussed in your various blogs. To visit others in the design world is so much fun, and to comment, reply, revisit, post on one's own - oh my! what a world unto itself!! So, I had this great inspiration a few weeks back when Joni, of Cote de Texas, did a wonderful post on her sister's collections.

To digress a minute, my plan is to bring a host of interesting places to you from around the Texas Hill Country, but alas, the holidays came and along with them a host of family, friends,celebration......... and some obligatory activities. Not a lot of time for meandering around town snapping photos and writing interesting things on my blog!

So, with the "collections" idea, I realized that I have MANY collections right here in my own house and I could write about those. Well, I have been waiting and waiting for TIME to take really good photos, and then TIME to write really well and give informative facts about each thing I collect............and here I am and it is January 10 and about thirty other things are pulling at me...............and then today, I suddenly realized that not all of you write long, fabulous, fascinating posts ALL the time - sometimes you just stop by with a fun photo or two and a "hello"!! So, that's the plan for this post - a few things I love and then on to the rest of the day!

PIQUE ASSIETTE - I can't alway tell you why I love things -I just know it when I see it. Usually they are old and sometime crusty, and almost always make me smile. This old mosaic stuff was made in the Victorian time. People would make what they called "putty pots". They would spread putty or plaster on an old jug, bottle, plate or some other kind of vessel. Then they would press different "treasures" into the putty - maybe old jewelry, buttons, pieces of glass or pottery - and then let the putty set. Sometimes people refer to them as memory jugs. One other interesting tidbit - people also made "mourning pots" and covered them with little trinkets from the life of a deceased loved one.

I like mosaic in general, but usually don't care for the newer "copies" of these old vessels. I can't base what I like on any fact -just my"eye", strange as it may be!

CAMP BLANKETS - being a Texas girl and loving the Southwest, I have gathered old camp blankets for a while now. Sometimes they are stacked within an old cupboard and sometimes actually used at the foot of a sofa or on an ottoman for cuddling up in or warming bare feet.My requirements are not academic - purely visual. I like the ones that are old and soft and they must have great color and graphic design. I like old Navajo rugs, too, and old, soft, faded Mexican saltillos.


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