Creative Collections: Dowsers

December 18th, 2014

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collection of antique dowsers

This creative collection post is one for the real antique lovers!

detail of a collection of antique dowsers

These conical shaped candle extinguishers are often misnamed snuffers, but they’re more accurately called candle dowsers. Snuffers have a scissor action and are designed to remove burnt wick (or snuff).

underside of an antique dowser

We got the majority of them in one bulk purchase. It was a rather impulsive buy, but we fell in love with them when viewing an auction at Wilkinson’s, a really wonderful saleroom in Doncaster. It’s usually the country furniture and period oak that we make the trip to see, so twenty antique candle dowsers wasn’t really on our list!

ribbed antique dowser

But they made such a lovely display with the variation in style, size & material. There are some exquisite pieces here, dating back hundreds of years – brass, pewter, bronze and silver examples. We love the craftsmanship – and the real connection with history.

Mr Punch antique dowser

Having bought something unusual like this we enjoy the research into styles and dating, but we haven’t found any books or websites dedicated to the subject as yet. We’ll keep looking for reference material – and in the meantime just enjoy looking at them each time we pass!

Maths Class

December 17th, 2014

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'Let's Explore Mathematics' children's book cover

We bet there are quite a few of you out there for whom the words maths class (or double maths!) strikes fear into your hearts.

Number 2 illustration Number 8 illustration

Number 3 illustration Number 6 illustration

Would a gorgeous text book like this have made it any better?

'Let's Explore Mathematics' children's book

How many houses? illustration

We picked it up at the local market recently and were really taken by the interesting exercises set by the author LG Marsh – and even more so by the fabulous illustrations by Chris Hoggett.

Who is the tallest? illustration

How tall? illustration

Let’s Explore Mathematics dates from the 1960s and has a distinctive style from the period.

How much? illustration

Spotting numbers illustration

The graphics are captivating, charming, clever and colourful (how many Cs is that readers?)

Looking for triangles illustration

How many bottles? illustration

 This is Book 1 of 4, so there’s a lovely series to collect. If we have 1 of 4 books, what percentage do we own (stop it now!!)

How many rungs on a ladder? illustration

Eight soldiers illustration

It’s published by A & C Black Ltd; if you’re looking to track down some vintage copies – we noticed that there are a few on eBay & Amazon at the moment.

Gifts for… the Home

December 16th, 2014

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selection of Christmas gifts for the home

We’re all busy buying presents for each other at this time of year. Spare a thought for your home – it has feelings too! :-)

  1. Red Liberty print felt stocking: £39.95, Liberty
  2. FÉE DES NEIGES duvet cover: £35-£75, La Redoute
  3. Macedonia coasters: £8 each, Anthropologie
  4. Stem Jacquard clementine towels: £4-£38, Orla Kiely
  5. Marimekko Kukkuluuruu tin: £15, John Lewis
  6. Country Living – Modern Rustic: £9.99, Hearst Magazines
  7. Zigzag tiles long matchbox: £10, The Conran Shop
  8. Bugatti Vera kettle in orange: £189, Amara
  9. Three white & copper leaf tea light holders: £20, Cox & Cox

Gifts for… Epicureans

December 15th, 2014

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selection of Christmas gifts for epicureans

Having both been chefs for a number of years we like our food… and drink. We’ve lined up a number of gifts for epicureans in your life.

They may be big on doing a spot of cooking, baking or culinary wizardry. Or they may prefer to just do the tasting, leaving the business of preparation to others. Whichever camp they fall into, there’s something here for them!

  1. Due Vittorie balsamic vinegar 12 year old tradizionale: £37.49, Ocado
  2. Peanut butter maker: £44.95, Prezzybox
  3. Rubis chocolate wine: £9.95, The Whisky Exchange
  4. Penneli garlic peeler: £7.99, IWOOT
  5. Pack of six stainless steel straws: £7.99, IWOOT
  6. De’Longhi KG79 coffee grinder: £34.99, Argos
  7. Mozzarella & ricotta cheese making kit: £28, Culture Vulture
  8. Cuisinart® gelato and ice cream maker: £199.99, Lakeland
  9. Monthly tea club subscription by Charbrew: £24.99, Notonthehighstreet

Bookmarks: Grete Prytz Kittelsen – The art of enamel design

December 14th, 2014

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Grete Prytz Kittelsen - The art of enamel design book with a selection of Lotus enamelware

Grete Prytz Kittelsen – The Art of Enamel Design by Karianne Bjellå Gilje explores the work of one of our favourite product designers.

Grete Prytz Kittelsen - The art of enamel design book title page

It was written not only with Greta’s close cooperation, but with extensive contributions from her – in the form of interviews, added text, selection of images and so on. You really are getting to know the artist intimately.

portrait of Grete Prytz Kittelsen standing

Greta was one of the foremost Scandinavian designers of the Mid-century Modern era – in addition to which she also collaborated with many of the other great names from the period.

Grete Prytz Kittelsen-designed jewellery

She had “a thorough knowledge of materials, vast technical skill, independence and originality.”

red Grete Prytz Kittelsen-designed necklace

Her work has directly touched the daily lives of countless thousands with her ranges of beautiful yet practical kitchen & tableware.

green Grete Prytz Kittelsen-designed enamel tea set

She’s rightly praised for making good design accessible as she simplified the production process wherever possible, thus keeping retail prices affordable.

sculptural Grete Prytz Kittelsen-designed necklace

She’s immediately associated with the iconic Lotus cookware produced by Cathrineholm of Norway in the 1950s – ironically, the repeating leaf pattern of the Lotus range was the work of another designer – Arne Clausen.

selection of Cathrineholm Lotus enamelware

She was responsible for the form & colours of the range – and apparently preferred the enamel without the additional decoration.

Cathrineholm Lotus catalogue

Her range of products is vast – pots, pans, plates, cruets, bowls and cutlery.

Grete Prytz Kittelsen-designed salad bowl and servers

There are decorative objects too, such as candelabra & vases…

Grete Prytz Kittelsen-designed square plates

…and not forgetting the beautiful jewellery – we just love her jewellery!!

blue sculptural Grete Prytz Kittelsen-designed necklace

The book is very well written – comprehensive, entertaining and informative.

sculptural Grete Prytz Kittelsen-designed Cathrineholm bowls

It’s full of wonderful archive images, product advertisements & brochures.

Grete Prytz Kittelsen working in her studio

Also, fabulous photographs of her work – which is some feat as the beauty of enamel is very difficult to capture in print.

colourful Grete Prytz Kittelsen-designed bangles

The book concludes with a wonderful reference section including a fully illustrated catalogue of works and chronology.

Grete Prytz Kittelsen jewellery catalogue

It’s a must have book for anyone who shares our passion – or is not yet familiar with her work.

sculptural Grete Prytz Kittelsen-designed boomerang necklace

[Many thanks to W.W. Norton & Company for the review copy]