Sunday, October 28, 2012

"There are some things you learn best in calm,

and some in storm." ~Willa Cather

And I guess here at the southern tip of New Jersey that we are going to have some serious lessons learned in the next couple of days.

But, Mother Nature wins out!  So, just a quick post today since I am still making sure everything is secure.  Obviously, in this area the last thing on anyone's mind is shopping unless it is for water, batteries, supplies.

Images of women representing mother earth, and mother nature, are timeless. In prehistoric times, goddesses were worshipped for their association with fertility, fecundity, and agricultural bounty. Priestesses held dominion over aspects of Incan, Algonquian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Slavonic, Germanic, Roman, Greek, Indian, and Iroquoian religions in the millennia prior to the inception of patriarchal religions.  Women should have held on with those manicured nails!

The word nature comes from the Latin word, natura, meaning birth or character. In English its first recorded use, in the sense of the entirety of the phenomena of the world, was very late in history in 1662; however natura, and the personification of Mother Nature, was widely popular in the Middle Ages and can be traced to Ancient Greece in origin. 
Medieval Christian thinkers did not see nature as inclusive of everything, but thought that she was created by God, her place lay on earth, below the heavens and moon. Nature was somewhere in the middle, with agents above her (angels) and below her (demons and hell). For the medieval mind she was only a personification, not a goddess. The modern concept of nature, all inclusive of all phenomenon, has returned to her illustrious traditions.  And, it is not nice to fool Mother Nature!  So, for all in her "trick or treat" path, be safe!

"Any proverbs about weather are doubly true during a storm."
                                                                       ~Ed Northstrum

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"There is no season when

such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October."   ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
I love fall...I love the colors...this is the field across the street...I am into color...not just one plain color but the blends, the muted, the layers.  I was rearranging the shop easy task, but I realized that Gonder Pottery reflects the layered colors in their glazes like the fall colors.  Many potteries had the straight colored glazes, but Gonder's Pottery is recognizable for its mottled appearance.
Years ago I had written about Gonder, but the fall layers bring me back to this pottery again.  Lawton Gonder, the founder, began the pottery in 1941.  Lawton Gonder was born August 27, 1900, in Zanesville,  Ohio, and his parents worked for Weller.

At the early age of 13, Gonder began working for John Herold who was a family friend and ceramic authority.  He learned the ceramic trade at the Ohio Pottery Company running molds and casting handles and spouts for teapots.

On December 8, 1941, Gonder purchased the Zane Pottery Company plant from Mrs. Mabel Hall McClelland in South Zanesville.
All Gonder is marked, and I have had pieces with paper labels in addition to the incised mark.

Some of the early pieces of Gonder molds resemble RumRill designs that had been manufactured at the Florence Pottery. Since some of the RumRill pieces have been found with similar and sometimes identical, shapes, matching mold numbers, and glazes, it is possible that some RumRill was produced at the Gonder plant.  The company was only in existence for 16 years...a victim of Japanese imports where they were cheaper by the dozen...I keep telling you China is nothing new in the manufacturing world.  We have been putting each other out of business for many decades!

Since it was in production for such a limited time, it is not seen in quantity, yet its prices are reasonable (actually in this economy everything should be reasonable--actually sensible perhaps is more appropriate!).  Anyway, if you are into the layered look, this pottery may be your style.

"October is the fallen leaf, but it is also a wider horizon more clearly seen.  It is the distant hills once more in sight, and the enduring constellations above them once again." ~Hal Borland



Sunday, October 14, 2012

"If wisely taught,

it develops the thrifty dispositions and habits of  neatness, cleanliness, order, management and industry."
This week's opening quote is from a 19th century instruction manual for teachers describing the virtues of darning as part of the American public-school curriculum.  I do not think they even teach Home Ec anymore in many schools, let alone teach students to repair socks!  We could use a little management and industry with or without holes in socks! But, there was a time though when the sock darner was as common as the remote control in today's households.

They came in a variety of styles...eggs, balls, bell, spools, mushrooms...there is even an entire book dedicated to them!
159 pages of the darn darners!

And, from that book we learn that they were made from nearly every conceivable material, most commonly wood, as well as stag horn, mother-of-pearl, porcelain, ceramic, celluloid, plastic, Bakelite, papier-mache, ivory, brass. aluminum, and tin.

While some glass darners were commercially produced,
many of them were intended not to be used
but to showcase glass blowers' artistic talents.

Between 1865 and 1956, the U.S. Patent Office issued more than 100 patents for this little tool, but the 1920s marked the height for patents when 17 unique models were recognized.

The word "darn" dates to the late 16th century,  perhaps to be identified with Middle English dernen to keep secret, conceal, Old English (Anglian) dernan since one is trying to conceal a hole.  Of course, we all know it is the kinder way to say "Damn"..."Darn it" has nothing to do with mending those socks!

But, this quote is in my collection about mending..."Asking a seamstress to mend is like asking Michelangelo to paint your garage."  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

"In Seattle you haven't had enough coffee until

you can thread a sewing machine while it's running." ~ Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder)
For thousands of years, all sewing was done by hand. The invention of the sewing machine in the 19th century and the rise of computerization in the later 20th century led to mass production of sewn objects, but hand sewing is still practiced around the world. Fine hand sewing is a characteristic of high-quality tailoring, haute couture fashion, and custom dressmaking, and fortunately is  still pursued by both textile artists and hobbyists as a means of creative expression.

I picked up a sewing "box" at the flea market, and this one still has its history tucked inside.  What fascinates me in this business is the history behind these finds.  I know many people buy to resell and never think of the past that comes with the objects.  Perhaps a tad romantic, but I do think we are losing the human spirit that made us a little more special.  For example, check out the lock!  A previous owner must have wanted it secure from a little one's hands, and I imagine her husband going out to his workshop to find a latch! 

Of course, the button stash is artistic even tossed on the shelf in the box.  Old thread is more charming!  Kismet!  Love it!

This was in with the buttons...I have no clue!  Two buttons connected with braided metal...
Which brings me to the history of buttons--quite fascinating. Primitive man used bone stick pins, thorns and sinew to hold clothing together. The buttons of those times in Greek and Rome were fashioned from bones, wood, metal, horns and even seashells. In the Bronze Age man didn’t fasten anything to it but simply wore it for decoration. They were just sewed on the clothing and used as brooches.

The first button holes were slits made in the other fabric just big enough to let the button pass through. We do not have the exact record as to when the button hole was developed. By 1200, buttons and button holes spread to Europe, thanks to the Crusades and their encounters with people on the way. At this rate the button and the button hole had become a driving force in the clothing industry.

The word button was not used for this cloth fastener. It is claimed that button was derived from French words bouton for bud or bouter to push. The French spotted the potential of the button market and established the Button Makers Guild in 1250. The Guild produced beautiful buttons with excellent artistry, much to the delight of the aristocracy. Commoners weren’t allowed to use the button even if they could afford it, and it was kept separate only for the elite. (You know, this might account for why the 1% is a tad upset...we can button our shirts and tie our shoes, but I digress.) Thus, the button became a status symbol and an ornamental piece rather than a fastening tool.

By 1300s the buttons had become a big business and its popularity grew to such an extent that people started using thousands of buttons in a singe dress. In 1520, King Francis 1 of France, bedecked his dress with 13,600 gold buttons to meet King Henry VIII of England, who was similarly clad with buttons. France by this time had become the Button Capital of Europe.

What I found in the bottom drawers were these booklets from the 1920s including one teaching the seamstress how to make underwear. 

Women truly suffered in the 18th and 19th centuries from corsets that pulled the shoulders back and pushed the breasts up...think Victoria's Secret antique style. By the 1880s, a dress reform movement campaigned against the pain and damage to internal organs and bones caused by tight lacing.

At least the patterns in this little booklet allow for normal body styles.

So, when you buy a sewing box, you never know what will be inside, and, in this case it was a little treasure trove.

If you are in the area, don't forget my neighbor down the road-Home Made
She has the modern take on sewing for you; I have the vintage/antique spin!
And she has classes if you want to learn to sew or knit, so think about this:
"Really I don't dislike to cook, but what you cook is eaten so quickly. When you sew, you have something that will last to show for your efforts. "~Elizabeth Travis Johnson