Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tins Just Waiting for Upcycling

Shh!  Don't tell those commercial thrifts, they'll jack up the prices again and make these things too expensive to use for resale.  This is a closeup up of my stash, just waiting to be scratched up, cut up and upcycled into things quite unexpected.  I prefer to use reclaimed metal, which sets me free from the worry about waste and preciousness.

Now the next thing to consider is how not to do the expected, as in just cut out motifs.  I like to do as Jenny and Loran do, use the metal structurally, for my own imagery.

I don't think I can cut up the salve and toffee tins, though.  Those are too wonderful just the way they are!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Jenny Fillius Queen of Tin

I was lucky enough to meet Jenny after she saw my work on Etsy and messaged me to say we had to get together, because we are from the same tribe.  What flattery!  I consider Jenny to be foremost among the artists who are using tin.  Her wit and her sharp edges are always uplifting, especially on those days when I am taking myself way too seriously.

Feeling low, got those end-of-summer blahs?  Do yourself a little favor:  you can find deep healing at Jenny's place.   And if you get curious about the great inner depth that creates these wonderful things, more shall be revealed at Design Faith.  Get hip, get tin!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A World of Cookies: Babyboomer Nostalgia

This highly collectible item was discovered in Palouse, Washington, a very old small town, on a blue-sky, sunny afternoon, just poking about, following my nose. It belonged to someone who loved it, since still has its Fred Roberts Company label, reading "Made In Japan." That phrase alone gives strong indication of its age:

"In 1939, the United States imposed trade restrictions on Japan as a result of the Japanese aggressions in Asia. (You will find nothing imported between 1939 and 1945.) Trade resumed in 1945 with the same 'made in Japan' mark required but Japanese manufacturers found that 'made in occupied japan' was an easier mark to sell to the Americans. That label was widely (but not exclusively) used until 1952 when the occupation ended."  (Text from, linked above.)

So I would guess it is most likely post WWII to early "mid-Century Modern." It has raised cursive writing on it that reads "A World of Cookies." It stands 10-1/2 inches high with lid, and has an inside diameter of 7-1/4 inches. It's a real prize for the aficionado!

Because I often turn up neat things like this, things I can't resist and for which I have no room, I pass them along, so if you're interested, check my Etsy shop section, "Sundries."  You can find a link to the shop in the right column, below.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Very Old Ghost

She's so far back on the family tree, she's hardly more than an elusive waft of fragrance, though she was once a Civil War era belle. She is the image of a very old tintype printed on muslin, adorned with shredded lace and old jewelry components, very gothic, Victorian, and creepy.  She is filled with a combination of polyfiber and my own Northwest Gothic sachet, and if you hang her on the door knob or another place where she may gently flutter just a tiny bit, the scent will please you. From the top of her head with its tattered lace fascinator to the tip of her train, she is 16 inches long.  Look closely and see the black lace mitts on her hands.

I bought the original tintype long ago; it is among the first of my collection.  She is tightly corseted, which may explain her expression, but her face and hands caught my attention, and the cruel set of her jaw; her eyes very unusual, perhaps pale, pale blue, true "white eyes," that appear to be blazing with hard determination.  A close look at her hands shows fine black lace mitts, but it also reveals hands that are coarsened, which is incongruent with her fine taffeta gown that must have been silk and taken as much as 20 yards to construct.  So, to own the dress, she must have had some wealth, but to have those hands, she had to work with them, too.  This set me to imagining a wife who had to contribute to the great labor required to keep to keep the plantation running.  I know that the set of her jaw may be due to poor dental care or a painful corset, but it does look cruel to me, and so I imagine her as a slave owner, too, much like those revealed in Edward Ball's Slaves in the Family.  Such ladies even found it fashionable to have small pearl handled whips, for dealing with their unhappy human possessions.  For that, she deserves to have to haunt us for an eternity, and I don't care if it was fashionable, or the "custom of the country," a term used to euphemize a brutal, dreadful failure of the human heart.  For a bit of fiction, well researched and set in old time New Orleans, a beloved city not without its shadows, read A Free Man of Color by Barbara Hambly, which is where I encountered that phrase, "a custom of the country."  You know, there really are ghosts, and they haunt us yet.  Slavery is one of the worst of them, but there are more.