Tuesday, August 19, 2014

19th Century Pennsylvania Chalkware

Remember paint-by-numbers kits? Or hook rugs? Or even shrinky-dinks? (Yes, I am dating myself as a child of the 1970s)Well, Pennsylvania chalkware was the 19th-Century version of do-it-yourself fun. These plaster figures would be peddled door-to-door in their white, unfinished state.  The "fun" was in adding your own paint decoration -- and guessing from the primitive, rather na├»ve painting on most chalkware, I'm guessing a lot of the artists were kids.

Chalkware figures are so innocent and absolutely charming.  Linda Rosen Antiques features several on her site, including the deer (below), which is not a form I see too often. Love his lopsided eyes.


Bridlehurst Farm (via DigAntiques) sells these two precious spaniels -- kind of like Staffordshire gone country primitive.



More darling forms from Summerhill Gallery, via Trocadero.  I really like the Amish-style touches along the base of the sheep and the sides of the squirrel.



Also at Trocadero, Susequehanna Antiques Company features a very sweet rabbit:


 . . . and for the biggest grand-daddy of them all, The Sign of The Whale Antiques offers this amazing BIG chalkware mastiff.  I've never seen this form before -- and I'm in love with the expression on his face!


I wish I could say that old owl hook-rug I made in 7th grade was as delightful as these figures . . . but let's face it: it's ugly!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Well Hellloooooooooo Again . . .

I'm back. After a year. Or maybe it's two.  Or three.  Who's counting, at this point? So what happened in the intervening years? Well, for one thing, a recession that necessitated I stop blogging and get back to work semi-full-time.  A failed antiques biz on the side (Note to self: do not start an antiques shop at the beginning of an economic downturn.  Follow-up note to self: do not start an antiques shop, period.) And a lot of drama and raging hormones as my darling, innocent twins became greasy, surly middle-schoolers (Some day, I'm sure, they will become less greasy and less surly.  Until then, I buy a lot of Clearasil and drink a lot of white wine.)

But guess what? I miss my antiques, primitives and folk art.  Lucky for me, I am self-employed and can waste oodles of time browsing online sites till my eyes bleed.  And lucky for you, I want to share my folksy finds with the world!

Lately, I've been feeling very nostalgic for the America of yore and what used to be our unabashed, enthusiastic patriotism (for examples of this, please visit my photo blog).  That nostalgia is definitely spilling over into my collecting interests.

To wit: I can't get enough of red-white-and-blue tin parade horns.  They look fantastic displayed as a group, as they are here at Lost and Found Art:


Like all things rusted-out and primitive these days, antique tin parade horns can be quite expensive -- even more so when they still retain their original "Old Glory" colors.  That being said, I turned to Etsy, the site that never lets me down when it comes to affordable antique treasures.  If you haven't checked it out lately, Etsy's antiques offerings have really expanded and diversified since I last stopped blogging.

Sure enough, seller Nostalgic Artifacts currently offers these two perfectly-imperfect horns:


This one checks in at an impressive 16 inches long.  Made in the USA -- of COURSE!


I adore the rounded French-horn shape of this smaller one, measuring just 7.5 inches high.  The tassel just makes it that much more drool-worthy.

And while I'm on an Etsy/patriotic kick, I should include these old painted Indian clubs from Donna's Finishing Touch:


Not parade horns, true, but because of the similar height and primitive look, I'm thinking they would display well together.