Archive for the ‘collections’ Category

Creative Collections: Dowsers

Thursday, 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!

Creative Collections: Wooden spoons

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

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Collection of wooden spoons on an antique wooden spoon rack

Last week’s ceramic Creative Collections post featured modern design & graphics – this one is altogether more antique & rustic in nature.

5 vintage wooden spoons

We just love old wooden spoons!! All the different shapes, sizes & patinas.

pair of vintage wooden spoons

There are endless gadgets that you can fill your kitchen with (and we do); but when it comes down to it, if you’ve got a couple of good knives and some wooden spoons, you can get most jobs done.

detail of a vintage wooden spoon

You can get very attached to certain spoons. In addition to some exquisite antique examples that we now just display, we must have about 20 spoons available for use in a pot next to the cooker – we both gravitate to our favourite 2 or 3. They just feel right in the hand!

Collection of wooden spoons on an antique wooden spoon rack

And then there’s the spin off collection – obviously you then have to find perfect racks & containers in which to keep them!!

Creative Collections: Altenstadt bottles

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

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Vintage Altenstadt bottle collection

For this Creative Collections post we have this lovely group of bottle decanters.

Vintage Altenstadt pottery mark

They’re all marked Altenstadt, Western Germany to the base – so we know where they originate from, but we have to admit to ignorance when it comes to a designer or manufacturer. Anyone out there know?

Vintage Altenstadt pottery pirate bottle Vintage Altenstadt pottery sailor bottle

Each bottle represents either a specific character, such as a pirate or sailor…

Vintage Altenstadt pottery barmaid bottle Vintage Altenstadt pottery birds bottle

…or a group scene like the bar room or birds in a cage.

Vintage Altenstadt pottery city gent bottle Vintage Altenstadt pottery monocled man bottle

They’re very charming and look equally good as a group or stand alone piece. They’re very good quality ceramic and the graphics are fabulous, full of quirky details.

Vintage Altenstadt bottle stoppers

We usually put our collections together over a long period of time, picking pieces up singly. Not in this case however. The bottles were someone else’s hard work – hello Emma (of Wooden Donkey fame) if you’re reading this!! We bought her remaining stock when she retired from the vintage retail game. We were supposed to be selling them of course, but as you can see we’ve not managed to part with them as yet!

Creative Collections: Vintage printing blocks

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

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pile of wooden vintage printing blocks

We love typography and fonts – and have amassed quite a collection of vintage letters & numbers in various forms – printing blocks, stencils and old retail signage.

details of a pile of wooden vintage printing blocks

We’ll concentrate on wooden vintage printing blocks for this edition of Creative Collections. Aren’t they wonderful? The array of wood grain & colour, sizes and shapes.

details of a pile of wooden vintage printing blocks

One of those perfect things to collect over the years that make up into a really interesting & eye-catching display – whether it be a random selection or spelled out words.

vintage printing blocks with a letter 'C' in the foreground

Even the traces of residual ink can add interest.

vintage printing blocks with a number 5 in the foreground

We’ve just bought a large collection of blocks like these pictured. So, if you’re missing that perfect letter Q to complete a phrase…

set of wooden vintage printing blocks spelling out H is for Home

…or you’d like particular words to display – name or house number perhaps – just drop us a line and we’ll see if we can oblige.

pile of wooden vintage printing blocks

Prices vary depending on size, the quality of carving & rarity – but generally speaking we sell the smallest letters for £2-£3, medium cost £4-£8 and the largest £10-£25.

Creative Collections: Glass floats

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

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collection of vintage glass floats

We’ve chosen glass fishing floats for this week’s Creative Collections post – we love the subtle colour variations and irregularities in shape.

collection of vintage glass floats

Glass floats originated in Norway in about 1840. Christopher Faye, a Norwegian merchant, in collaboration with the Hadelands Glass Works, is credited with their invention. Early examples were hand blown, later the glass was injected into wooden moulds resulting in the faint seam line which can be seen on many examples. Modern replicas are also being produced.

collection of vintage glass floats

This is how they would have originally been used – encased with a twine netting holder. These would have then been attached to the large fishing nets & lines to keep mile after mile of them afloat in the sea. This is quite a basic form of holder, but the more elaborate antique examples crafted by the fishermen or their wives during long winter evenings can be a things of real beauty. Glass floats are no longer used having been replaced by plastic, aluminium or Styrofoam. However, thousands of the glass ones are still afloat, travelling along in the currents of the world’s oceans. They’re prized by beachcombers and used in interior decoration.

collection of vintage glass floats

They’re great for interior display – particularly the genuine older examples which have so much character. A collection looks great in a large bowl for example – and they look really fabulous on a window sill where the sun catches the glass and fills the room with coloured light and shadows.