Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Arnold Print Works Redux

My Google stats show me that there's a significant number of people out there scavenging for Arnold Print Works cloth animals. Unfortunately, it's quite rare to find them, and even rarer to find them in decent shape.

The good news is, if you're willing to forego authenticity, Fiddler's Elbow offers a number of vintage-looking cloth doorstops that resemble the Arnold line. Check out their limited edition kitty, currently on sale at Arrow Gift Shoppe:

And I love this adorable pug:

These modern reproductions have the added advantage of being lightyears cheaper than their antique Arnold counterparts. At these prices, you could easily fill a basket with cloth friends!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Winged Creatures

I've been a bit obsessed with angels and fairies lately. Perhaps because more than a few of us could use the help of an angel or a fairy godmother these days.

That being said, I recently purchased this piece from Amanda Blake's Etsy shop, This Is All I Know.

I love how Amanda plays vintage-looking, quite serious figures against fantastical landscapes or whimsmical garb.

The thoughtful expressions of her subjects, combined with the wings, reminds me of folk artist Debbee Thibault's multitude of angels and fairies. This party fairy is being offered exclusively by Earth Angel Toys.

Here's wishing everyone a guardian angel or a sprinkling of pixie dust!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wheelie Cute

I must have a severe case of arrested development, because I can't get enough of vintage and antique toys. Pull toys are among my faves, especially if they involve folksy looking animals.

This vintage cow-on-wheels has a primitive look that would go nicely in any country kitchen:

William H. Roy is a talented carver who offers a number of delightful critters on wheels in his workshop. I fancy the rabbit:

And finally, ebay remains one of the best bets for scoring deals on antique toys. This composition sheep pull toy is as sweet as can be:

Bid now, before she "rolls" away!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Michael Banks Florals

Folk artist Michael Banks is a major talent. He also has a compelling personal story which informs his art: a life spent battling poverty, depression and other demons.

While he's better known for his figural works, I admire his florals just as much. This painting, "Early Spring", is currently offered at Oliver's Southern Folk Art:

Apparently, Banks uses a tar undercoat in his paintings. I like how it gives his still lifes a palpable intensity. Here's another, "Swingers", from American Folk Art and Framing:

I can't wait to see more from him!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

19th-Century Silhouettes With a Twist

I adore the look of 19th-Century silhouettes. But rather than the straightfoward profiles, I'm partial to a little more somethin'-somethin' -- namely, unique postures, poses and details added in watercolor or gilding.

Being the mom of boy-girl twins, I covet this boy-girl portrait from Granite Pail Collectibles:

Don't you love the lace detail on the bonnet/collar? And the marbled look of the frame just takes the cake.

This silhouette from Leslie Antiques is unusual in depicting a bird perched on the subject's finger. It's also unusual in that it's painted, not cut -- the rarest of silhouette methods.

I particularly like how the detail on the back of the girl's dress gives her almost an angelic form.

As always, ebay remains a great place to pick up antiques deals, and silhouettes are no exception. When silhouette shopping, I find it useful to browse the ebay UK site at ebay.co.uk.

Currently up-for-grabs is this circa 1840 full-length silhouette of a young lady:

The artist saw fit to add the plaid checks on her dress, and I'm so glad that he did. Bid now before she's gone!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Calligraphy Flourishes: The School Girl's Art

Part of the reason that I love folk art is that so much of it is by women. Traditional "school girl" handicrafts such as needlework and calligraphy should be celebrated -- not just for their beauty, but for the unsung female artists that created them.

That being said, this 19th-Century "School Girl" calligraphy drawing/flourish just floors me with its intricacy:

It. Is. To. Die. For.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Santos Cage Dolls

I've just discovered santos cage dolls. And now that I have, I covet one. Vintage, repro, doesn't matter -- they're lovely and soulful and yes, just a tiny bit creepy, which only adds to their charm.

Santos dolls originated in Mexico, South America and Spain. They emblemize religious saints, and were typically carried aloft in processions celebrating holidays and festivals. Seller Vintage Weave boasts a number of dolls in its inventory, among them this 36" high beauty:

Ebay seller A Bit of Paris 2 U offers a gorgeous 18" doll with an unusual salmon-colored finish. Another unusual touch: Her eyes are glass. I think the crown just takes the cake.

Finally, John Isaac Antiques sells the real deal: An authentic 19th-Century cage doll from Mexico.

And here's a creative use for your cage doll: She's great for hanging necklaces. Dripping with jewelry, she'll look more iconic than ever.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Folksy Cats and Dogs

Does it get any cuter than this antique folk painting of a kitty, courtesy Domenick Antiques? I love how it manages to combine silhouette technique with a form that's primitive, yet strangely modern.

Halloween's coming, and this would be perfect with your holiday decor.

Next question: Does is get any more endearing than this 19th Century framed advertising print of a bulldog? According to Oh Antiques, this guy used to promote The Old Bushmills Distellery Company.

Look at that face. I want to take him home with me. Can I keep him? Please?

Monday, September 15, 2008

If The Shoe Fits . . .

Folks are always coming up with creative ways to display or use their antique and vintage shoe forms. The folks at Vintage Weave use this pair as paperweights.

And at Marie Croft Antiques, this boot form has been sliced in half for wall mounting -- a fantastic way to show off the form's patina and curves.

And this vintage form from The Korn Krib?

Well, it looks good sitting any old where.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Care For A Game?

There's no disputing the appeal of antique wooden gameboards. The colors and geometric patterns make even the most common parlor games works of art, worthy of display.

Tiny's Antiques Barn boasts a selection of French game boards, like this beauty . . .

. . . and this one, in near-pristine condition.

But for those of you who prefer a down-and-dirty game of checkers, this delightfully weathered checkerboard is up for grabs on ebay:

Hope you win!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Skittle Me This

And to think that I used to assume skittles were nothing more than a sugary candy. . .

Antique painted skittles games, much like antique bowling sets, are all the rage, primarily for their folksy charm.

I wouldn't mind this set of sailor skittles keeping watch on my counter-top. According to seller Vintage Collectibles and Folk Art, they were made out of spindles.

Neither would I mind sharing company with this team of vintage skittles from Leaves of Memory:

Bright colors, good paint . . . what more could a collector want?

Monday, September 8, 2008

What The Firkin?

Yes, I know, that post title was all too easy.

Antique painted firkins, or sugar buckets, look fantastic when displayed in a stack, as ebay seller Black Tavern Primitives demonstrates:

Firkins with their original paint are few and far between, and even rarer to find at a modest price point. But this gorgeous blue firkin from Market Square Antiques does very nicely:

And this to-die-for firkin from Doll's Plus is painted just the shade of colonial gray to blend with any primitive decor:

Happy stacking!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dish Me Up Some Cornbread

I'm please to report that I just purchased my first John "Cornbread" Anderson folk painting: A black spotted guinea hen, one of the artist's favorite motifs. A red version is currently for sale at Oliver's Southern Folk Art:

The way Cornbread simplifies and stylizes animal forms calls to mind another one of my favorite artists, the mod-minimalist Charles Harper:

While Harper's style is pure-mid-Century and Cornbread's is pure folk, they share an affinity for simple color schemes and a real affection for their wildlife subjects. Here's another favorite Cornbread motif, the bluebird, courtesy Southern Visionary Art:

But don't buy this sneaky racoon, please . . .

. . . I want him for myself.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What A Crock

My favorite antique pottery has to be one of the most prized and sought-after: salt-glazed stoneware with cobalt decoration, like this trio on Live Auctioneers.

Not surprisingly, the condition of pieces impacts the price. Maker's marks and the degree of embellishment also determine value, with the fancier cobalt flourishes worth far more.

I'm liking the fraktur-like tulip design on this 2-gallon jug from Cortland:

Birds are highly-prized designs as well, as seen on this jug from Fort Edwards, NY, courtesy Louwers Antiques:

If you don't want to break the bank, there are many modern stoneware potters working with cobalt and salt glazes. Here's Rockdale Stoneware's take on the bird motif:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Do They Come With Crackers?

If you have the patience and inclination to troll ebay, you'll occasionally come across some incredible folk finds.

Case in point: This fabulous set of antique wood-carved parrots, still displaying their original paint. I love how they bob back and forth on their perch.

And here's the best part: Pollys come with a miniature watercolor portrait of their original owner, circa 1850.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fraktured Fairytales

I've recently fallen in love with 19th-Century Pennsylvania Dutch fraktur art. Original drawn and painted works are few and far between, but you can still find good deals on printed birth certificates and marriage documents that were hand-colored by their owners.

I like the color palette in this baptismal record, currently for sale on ebay:

Also on ebay, this charming watercolor embodies the best qualities of frakturs: vibrant colors, floral emblems, and a delightful personal touch with the man and his plow:

Because it's so rare to find well-executed frakturs that have survived, the better ones are quite expensive. Lucky for us, a new generation of folk artists is carrying on the tradition at affordable prices.

For instance, Etsy seller The Lion and the Lamb offers this beautiful original compass flower fraktur:

Hurry and grab it now -- she's offering a deal on shipping!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Juggling Life

Antique juggling pins/indian clubs have become a popular folk art collectible as of late. It's easy to see why: Their tall forms are graceful and elegant, yet folksy as they come.

It boggles the mind to think that these pins were once THE latest in exercise equipment. I suspect that more than one user was knocked out cold when a dropped pin clunked on his head.

Pins can be displayed happily in duos or even trios, as this threesome from Louwer's Antiques proves:

This weathered pair is up for grabs (no pun intended) on ebay:

. . . and presenting the Rolls-Royce of Indian Clubs, this luxury set from The Country Squire:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

That's Some Silhouette

Having tried my hand at collage work myself, I have the utmost respect for anyone with the patience and talent for hand-cut silhouette work.

That would include Wendy Schultz Wubbels, who creates lovely and endearing silhouettes -- many of which can be viewed on her website, With Heart In Hand.

I love how Wendy's chair silhouettes bring out the sleek beauty in these traditional American forms. . .

. . . and her series of dog breed silhouettes make wonderful gifts for the dog lover in your life. My Mom received the Cocker silhouette for Christmas in honor of her own pooch.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Politics, Folk Style

Tired of politics as usual? These redware forms from Turtlecreek should revive your outlook. For McCain supporters:

And for Obama Mamas:

I'm an independent voter, so I wouldn't mind one of each.

Kudos to the potters of the Workshops of David T. Smith for creating fresh redware forms that nod to the past.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Arnold Print Works Menagerie

Arnold Print Works was a textile outfit that produced some delightful cloth animals around the turn of the 20th century. I love the primitive, folky look of this basket of kittens:

My daughter, the proud owner of a Russian Dwarf, adores this bunny, courtesy Carole's Country Antiques:

I'd like to perch this stern hoot-owl on my desk, to glower at me when I need to get to work: