Friday, 27 November 2009

Funny images

Every now and again, I get sent an amusing image. Two arrived in the same week, so here they are for your delectation. The first is thanks to my friends Marc & Maiken at the marvellous Utopia2000 in Germany. It shows their dog on top of his new friend - a sheep designed by Hanns-Peter Krafft in 1982. The second is thanks to Dan, and is taken from a page in a 1960s edition of Czechoslovak Glass Review, and shows some glass designs by Karel Wunsch together with an 'interesting' arrangement of fruit...

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Fat Lava at Bygone Times

I've just got back from the fantastic Bygone Times, in Eccleston, near Chorley in Lancashire. This really is one of my favourite places in the entire country to visit. Two truly enormous warehouses literally crammed with everything from Georgian to modern await you - with prices from as little as a pound or two. The centre is best for vintage, retro and antique ceramics, glass and homewares, although you'll find a fair few bits of furniture to tempt as well.
What a surprise to find, on this visit, a new (to me, anyway) stand literally filled with fabulous Fat Lava! I was lucky enough to be able to meet the owner, Stuart, who is a real fount of knowledge and a true enthusiast. Prices are very competitive, especially when you consider postage and packing costs when buying online. As well as offering a huge selection of standard sized vases by makers including Ceramano, Carstens, Scheurich, Bay and Ruscha, there's a great selection of whopping floor vases that are becoming harder to find undamaged condition today.
I couldn't help but buy a few (well, seven) pieces to add to my collection, which I am delighted with. If you visit Bygone Times, even if Fat Lava isn't your thing, I challenge you to leave empty handed!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Fantastic new must-have book

I've just got back from the wonderful National Glass Fair, held at the Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. Apart from meeting many friends and colleagues, the highlight of the day was buying a copy of Charles Hajdamach's new book '20th Century British Glass'. If you love glass, go out and buy a copy - now!
This weighty tome, some three decades in the making, is an undoubted masterwork. Chapters cover tableware from Deco to Modern, cut and engraved glass from Stourbridge, the vibrant studio glass movement that began in the 1960s, 'modern designer greats' such as Ronald Stennett-Willson, Frank Thrower, Keith Murray, and much, much more. The coverage is breathtaking, and the detail awe-inspiring. Pieces by every factory or designer covered are illustrated with full colour, specially shot photographs, accompanied in many cases by original catalogue pages or photographs. A treu treasure trove of information.
As I leafed through it whilst talking to Charles, my feelings were mixed. I felt envy, admiration and wonder. This is a book to be picked up and read again and again - there'll always be something new to learn. There's no doubt that this will become the essential standard reference work for 20th century British glass for decades to come.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Starbucks goes antique?

In today's Evening Standard, City Spy revealed that global coffee chain Starbucks was excited about the imminent redecoration of all its UK stores. Rather than the bland, blond wood, laminate floored, Ikea look we're all used to, a "retro" style will be ushered in. Apparently the "antiques" to be used were sourced in Turkish bazaars, with each of their 750-ish shops gaining a truly unique look due to the individual pieces used. Although I'm somewhat suspicious, it just goes to show that even corporate giants are adopting the increasingly fashionable eclectic, retro and antique look...

Monday, 2 November 2009

Antiques: The History of an Idea

I haven't found too many books that discuss antiques from social, historical, economic or, indeed other, perspectives. So I was delighted to stumble across this book in Waterstone's last Sunday.
Professor Rosenstein is a philosopher who also has also dealt in antiques for the past 25 years, so offers us a unique view of the subject. His text is lively, easy to read and thought-provoking. Subjects covered include the definition of an antique, the cultural history of antiques and their links with civilisation and aesthetics, and the increasingly ignored skill of 'connoisseurship'. It's making fascinating and highly enjoyable reading. If you love antiques, this book crystalises and links thoughts you may already have had, and opens up a great many new thoughts too.