Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blue Christmas...

hope not...but I needed a lead in for a follow-up on hobnail...wanted to highlight some of the blue hobnail...but I did get a little history on "Blue Christmas".

It was written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson and recorded by Ernest Tubb in 1948. A heart-broken tale of unrequited love during the holidays had long been considered a Christmas staple of country music. In 1957, Elvis Presley effectively made "Blue Christmas" a steadfast rock-and-roll holiday classic by recording it in his signature style. Elvis Presley's famous recording of the song appeared on his 1957 LP Elvis' Christmas Album. It was also released as a single. Ernest Tubb's version of the song included an extra verse not used by Elvis' later version.

So, there you have that...now for some blue hobnail...the blue color is made by adding copper to the mixture, and in a book on cake stands, this turquoise blue is dubbed "Jersey blue."

These hobnail pieces are signature depression era Fenton. You can tell their styles by the ruffles and the rolled edges at the bases of the pieces. These are all early pieces because they do not have the Fenton name imprinted on the glass. Fenton used paper labels until 1970.



You can see the various shades of turquoise in these pictures. The shades do vary...one piece I got with this collection was a Westmoreland piece. It is a totally different shade as you can see...

Westmoreland Glass made some gorgeous Victorian glass when they opened in 1890 in Grapeville, Pa. English Hobnail was a big hit thru the Depression Glass years. This in a 50s piece because it has the intertwined W G mark that originated in 1949. Unlike Fenton, which is still in business, Westmoreland closed in 1984.

So, hopefully, your Christmas was a pretty blue like Fenton or Westmoreland blue...and remember as we face the new year, as Mark Twain says:
“Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter white...


So, I did mention winter white...I do not think I specified snow...but, alas, that is what we have...I have not dug my way out to the shop, so this will be snow white scenes...not this SW this one...
It is so seasonally appropriate though! So, for those of you who are browsing in your shorts and tees, let me refresh your winter spirit!






And, as you contemplate the winter...think about this...“Where does the white go when the snow melts?”

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The color of

springtime is in the flowers, the color of winter is in the imagination. ~Ward Elliot Hour

I am going with the winter white theme this year in the shop. We have had so many gray rainy days that bright and light seemed to be needed. Of course, I am still waiting for my drunken paper whites to do their thing! Chuckle!

So, I thought the opalescent glass was a nice touch, and I have a nice collection of hobnail glass available. According to my research, the term “hobnail” comes from the nails with thick heads that were used to secure and protect the soles of boots. It is funny how such a utilitarian product turned into a decorative art. Hobnail patterns can be seen on dishes, candlesticks, lamps and vases. It is created by blowing the glass into a mold. There are early Victorian pieces, but Fenton is best known for the style.

Fenton Hobnail glass, dating from 1930, is decorated with a pattern of bumps.
Early hobnail pieces such as Fenton brand had a signature look to them. No matter what the piece was made for (soap dish, perfume or even holding fine liquor) it came with a wooden lid or stopper adorned with a round wooden finial. The glass itself is not marked with the manufacturer’s name; rather it is marked on the underside of the lid. In the later years of hobnail glass, the wooden toppers were replaced with matching color glass, but still had the round knobs on top.
Fenton produced many colors of hobnail glass, the most popular being the opaque milk glass. The most rare and sought after color is an opalescent cranberry that was used in some vanity sets and miscellaneous items before it disappeared in the late 1950s. I have some other hobnail colors, but I will save them for another time.

Fenton was not alone in the hobnail manufacturing because Anchor Hocking stepped into production with "Moonstone." Anchor Hocking manufactured the distinctive Moonstone pattern from 1941 through 1946. This pattern is easily identified by the clear hobnails and the milky, or opalescent, edge. It was produced in the first five years of the newly consolidated Anchor Hocking Company, which had begun to manufacture glass for the home in 1937. The opacity, or milkiness, comes from adding ash or tin oxide during the firing process.



So, for those who like snowy whites, Moonstone and Fenton hobnail may be something to look for.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hummel "wanna-be"


I bought a couple of these cute Christmas figurines at the flea market a couple weeks ago, and I just got them out in the shop today. That made me think of the history of these Hummel wanna-bees as I fondly call them.
Many dealers incorrectly tag them as mid century to rival Hummels when German imports were banned during the war; however, the company behind the figurines, Arnart imported porcelain art.
Erich Stauffer designed fake versions of Hummels and Kalk figurines for Arnart from 1953 to 1970 under the brands Arnart Imports, 5th Avenue, ArMark, Royal Carlton, Royal Chintz, and Royal Crown.
Some researchers speculate that Erich did not even exist, but that he was a fictitious character. Erich Stauffer, a traditional German name, may have been invented to make it seem as though the Arnart imports were from Germany. The paper labels that indicate Made in Japan are not often found on the figurines. But, this could explain why it is so hard to find out information about Erich Stauffer, the designer.

When we occupied Japan, we allowed many of these import companies to gain a major share of the import market which is no different than the Chinese imports of today except I daresay the quantity and quality of some of those imports pales in comparison to the mid century Japanese imports.

And, that brings me to a key point for the beginning of December and the spirit of giving. Can you imagine how many of these figurines were given as gifts to Grandmothers and Mothers in the 1950s and 60s? I remember going with my father the day or two before Christmas to buy some gifts for my Mom. We headed to the local 5 & 10 (now known as the Dollar Stores), and I usually went for some figurine or rhinestone jewelry. I still gravitate towards those displays in the department stores! So, as the season of gifting begins, remember...


Cheerful givers do not count the cost of what they give.Their hearts are set on pleasing and cheering the person to whom the gift is given.
Julian of Norwich