Friday, May 31, 2019

Vintage Tea Treasures: An Etsy Shop Update

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Hello friends! Welcome to another shop update for Vintage Tea Treasures, my Etsy shop, where you'll find classic, timeless and fun teatime china ware suitable for any occasion where timeless beauty is what you require.

Did you know that Vintage Tea Treasures now offers vintage gifts? Since opening the shop it has been a fascinating and challenging journey learning all there is to know about the history of the British pottery factories. As that understanding grows, so does my curator's eye as I am out and about searching for lovely tea ware for you to enjoy.

For example, when I recently spotted the two c. 1992 Royal Doulton bone china ballerina figurines above I knew they would be perfect additions to the new 'vintage gifts' shop category. Modelled by artist Alan Maslankowski each captures the beauty, grace and elegance of a classic ballerina. Hand made and hand decorated, both 'Little Ballerina' (above left) and 'Ballet Shoes' (above right) are available now.

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I think my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw this Spode bone china 'Bridal Rose' coffeepot! At this point I have seen many pieces of lovely vintage tea ware that are designed to look like real botanics such as teacups that suggest flower petals and have 'branch' handles, but I never saw anything so rich in texture and detail as this very special coffeepot.

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With its realistic cabbage leaf-like textured pattern 'growing' up from the base to its branch-like handle embellished with pretty rose bouquets, perhaps 'Bridal Rose' was truly meant for a bride or bride to be.

And lastly, how lovely is this Harleigh China pink roses teacup and saucer duo? There are not too many Harleigh China pieces out there for comparison but I can assure you that it is a high quality brand that pings with perfection, loudly and strong. A testament to the timeless quality of vintage bone china.

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For all the details about these and more than one hundred other vintage tea ware offerings, (and the new vintage gifts section) including additional photographs, measurements and prices, please visit Vintage Tea Treasures on Etsy. And as an Under The Plum Blossom Tree blog reader you can save ten percent off your order with code PLUMBLOSSOM10.

Thank you for reading!
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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Faffing With Vintage Tea Treasures - Georges Briard 'Peony' Teapot

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Hello friends! This past weekend I had the pleasure of saying goodbye to another piece of vintage tea ware when Marie in California purchased this lovely Georges Briard 'Peony' teapot from my Etsy shop Vintage Tea Treasures.

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Ukrainian born American designer Georges Briard (1917-2005) came to the United States from Poland in 1937. After earning an MFA at the Art Institute of Chicago Briard began what would eventually become a successful career in commercial home ware design. His style is best described as whimsical and modern with a touch of elegance.

I'm sure you would agree that this 'Peony' teapot, with its dancing green leaves outlined in red, its fully bloomed stylized blue and red peonies, and the abstract red and blue border pattern all serve to incorporate the above described design qualities.

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Furthermore, according to the inscription on the bottom of the teapot, this design is Briard's homage to a traditional 18th century Japanese design known as Imari.

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An interesting feature of the teapot is Briard's modern twist away from the traditional teapot lid. The lid lays flat within the top opening and has two grasp holes.

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And the classic bamboo handle reminds me of all the Japanese teapots I've ever had over the years.

I hope you've enjoyed this small peek into a whimsical, modern and elegant piece of vintage tea ware as well as learning a little something about its designer and historic design influence.

If you love midcentury modern home ware design, and would like to see more of Georges Briard's creations, I made a Georges Briard Pinterest board just for you.

And, if you are interested in purchasing any of the items in my Etsy shop Vintage Tea Treasures, you can save 10% off your purchase with code PLUMBLOSSOM10.

Thank you for reading!
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Friday, May 10, 2019

World Collage Day

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Friends, World Collage Day is Saturday May 11th, 2019. The first World Collage Day was held last year when the publishers of Kolaj Magazine declared the second Saturday of May to be a day for artists to celebrate art making and to raise awareness about the art form.

More specifically and in their own words, Kolaj states:

World Collage Day is about artists connecting across borders against a global context of entrenchment and separation. And the day is about an art medium that excels at bringing different things together to create new forms and new ways of thinking.

We created World Collage Day because we wanted to honor this community of artists and to remind the world what a spirit of cooperation, mutual support, and creativity can look like.

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Collage is a medium that I have been exploring for the past few years. For me, collage provides an emotional connection to the world that is unseen, felt on a very personal level, and difficult to describe in words. I am, after all, an introvert...

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Owl #1, for example, was created out of a concern for the health of birds and the relationship we humans have with them. There are about three more in this series in various stages of completion.

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Mrs. Grosvenor Contemplates the Evolution of Her Next Tea Party features an Aesthetic Movement (1870s -1880s) teapot in the form of a woman holding a flower. Her bent right arm serves as the handle and her left arm extends out forming the spout. It made me chuckle a bit when I cut her out of a Sotheby's art auction book and positioned her whimsically bobbing about on a wild flower waiting for her eggs to hatch while geese fly by in the background. (What, do you suppose, is in those eggs?!!!)

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So you see, collage can be serious and emotional but it can also be humorous and quirky. Fostering ideas in visual form from disparate parts can, indeed, "create new forms and new ways of thinking."

Happy World Collage Day!


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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Design Spotlight: Vintage Haeger Pottery

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In 1871, the same year of the great Chicago fire, German immigrant David H. Haeger became a part owner in the Dundee Brickyard. The brickyard was located along the clay-rich banks of the Fox River, 45 miles northwest of Chicago, in Dundee, Illinois.

Although just a small town volume brickmaker, Dundee Brickyard contributed significantly to the rebuilding of Chicago by firing the first of millions of bricks needed to help rebuild the city.

In their desire to transition the company from brick making to the production of artisan wares, David Haeger and his son Edmund H. Haeger began planning their future development. Over the next thirty years David Haeger expanded the business by adding two more brick and tile factories to his holdings.

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When David Haeger passed away in 1900 the company was already producing simple red clay flower pots for the florist trade. With David's passing Edmund took over the management of the business and transformed Haeger Bricks into Haeger Potteries.

By 1912 Edmund introduced a more sophisticated line of glazed art ware incorporating fine design and craftsmanship. When a shipment of the new pottery arrived at Chicago's premiere department store, Marshall Field and Company, it was widely accepted. 

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In 1919 Edmund doubled the factory output by purchasing the Dundee pottery business from the family holdings and adding another kiln.

By the 1920's production included tea ware, luncheon ware, crystal and glassware.

In 1939 Haeger Potteries, Inc. took over another pottery factory located in Macomb, Illinois, about 200 miles southwest of Dundee, and converted the output to art ware. A second kiln was added to the Dundee plant in 1941.

A pivotal moment in the history of Haeger Potteries occurred in 1934 when Edmund Haeger built a complete working ceramic factory on the grounds of the Chicago World's Fair 'Century of Progress' exhibition. Indeed, the fair was an historic event for a city that just 50 years earlier had burned to the ground. Furthermore, the city's reunion with the once volume brick maker turned art pottery business, which played an important role in helping to revitalize Chicago, is highly notable.

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More than four million visitors attended the exhibit. There were demonstrations of both ancient and modern production techniques and the factory produced commemorative souvenirs.

Over the years there were several prominent designers that contributed to the legacy of the Haeger Potteries line of art wares. For example, J. Martin Stangl worked with Edmund Haeger to develop commercial florist ware. Royal Hickman introduced the 'Royal Haeger' line featuring intricate smooth flowing lines and highly original glazes. His signature piece was a sleek elongated black panther, introduced in 1941. Eric Olsen contributed a red bull figure to the Royal Haeger line in 1955.

The work of the designers played a pivotal role in the growth and evolution of Haeger Potteries for many decades. Their creations helped to broaden the Royal Haeger range into exquisite vases, figurines, miniature animals, birds, flowers and lamps.

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Unfortunately, after 145 years of production, Haeger Potteries, Inc. succumbed to the economic pressures of our modern age and went out of business in 2016.

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As an avid thrift shopper I have managed to find the few Haeger pieces shown here. I had fun arranging some 'urban foraged' spring blooms in them from my walk around downtown and in my neighborhood. I hope you agree that they do make lovely containers for all sorts of floral arrangements.

If you would like to see more containers similar to mine as well as vases, planters and even a few of their lamps, you may want to check out this Haeger Potteries Pinterest board I made just for you.

Do you have any vintage Haeger pottery? I'd love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading!

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Willamette Valley Backyard Birds: Red-Breasted Sapsucker, Eurasian Collared-Doves, Mourning Dove, American Robin, House Finch, Downy Woodpecker, Cassin's Vireo & Oregon Junco

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Hello friends - Happy Spring! I'm very glad to be back on the blog and excited to share with you some images of the birds that we have had the pleasure of watching in our backyard here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

I am still learning how to use my new (second hand) Lumix GH2 camera. With its 45-200mm telephoto lens it is by far the best camera I have ever had for photographing from a distance. For years I longed for a camera that could be used for bird photography and the GH2 came with not only the standard 14-42mm lens, but also the telephoto lens mentioned. It was within my budget and I am very happy to have it.

Already this new year has brought a surprising variety of birds to our small humble backyard garden. There have always been, and continues to be, the usual sparrows, blue jays and starlings. But so far, this year has been different. There have been a few new species. For instance, our latest visiter, this Red-Breasted Sapsucker, (a kind of Woodpecker) flew into our yard just this past weekend. It went straight to Jim's maple tree and set about vigorously eating insects and/or drinking sap. It only stayed a short while and then was gone. How lucky we were to see this!

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Also surprising was this pair of Eurasian Collared-Doves. They started arriving in our garden in early March and soon were visiting 2-3 times every day. At first they were a bit shy and would only perch on our privacy fence for a short period and then leave. But over the course of a few weeks their visits became longer and they began to feed. It's so cute how they seem to enjoy each other's company. They stay in close proximity to one another and spend quite a bit of time pruning.

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My bird book says their diet is almost exclusively from seeds on the ground. I suspect the reason they came to visit in the first place is because we always have seed strewn all around the yard. Also, there are lots of sparrows, juncos and towhees that come here to feed and the doves seemed comfortable joining in and eating alongside them.

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It's hard to say if the two we saw were the same pair every time, but it was a very unusual (and welcomed) visit!

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Then, just as I was feeling sad that the Eurasian Collared-Doves were already moving on, there was another astonishing bird watching moment. Another kind of dove arrived! This is the Mourning Dove.

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The Mourning Dove is a bit smaller and more slender than the Eurasian Collared-Dove. It has a pointed tail and black spots on its wings, whereas the Collared-Dove has a blunt tail and a black collar on the nape. Like the Collared-Dove, they are also seed eaters.

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Such a pretty blue color around its eye and on its beak, don't you agree?

We experienced some other new (to us) bird sightings in the later part of the winter also. For example, in the past we had sighted American Robins in the neighborhood but never had the pleasure of any of them visiting our backyard garden. But this year they did!

I think the Robins may have finally discovered our holly trees with their abundance of berries. They seemed to eat a lot of them. It was fun to watch them pick the berries off the stems and with one gulp - gone!

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I discovered that Robins like to travel from place to place in a group, but while they are foraging and resting each keeps a bit of distance from the others.

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Robins are also extremely adept hunters. They are remarkably good at standing perfectly still while they scout for worms and insects. And when they see one, they pounce!

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Theirs was another short (maybe 2 weeks?) but oh so enjoyable visit.

Like the Red-Breasted Sapsucker, this House Finch came and went rather quickly. My bird book says they are regulars at sunflower feeders and this one is (hopefully) enjoying just that.

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And lastly, here are a few images of our regular, year round visitors. First is the Downy Woodpecker. The Downy loves suet cake, although they also eat insects, fruits and seeds. It appears to forage alone, as we always have just one visiting at a time. 

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This Cassin's Vireo, also called the Solitary Vireo is one of the smallest birds we've had visit our backyard. They are only about 5-1/2" in size. They also forage alone, although we often see the Vireo amongst the sparrows and juncos. Like the Downy Woodpecker, the Vireo comes for the suet cake.

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And last is the Oregon Junco, another seed eater. I captured this one eating a millet seed. The Juncos arrive in the early autumn and stay through late spring. They are often seen with sparrows and towhees. 

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Birdwatching has been a favorite hobby of mine for a number of years. It's a small daily pleasure to sit at our kitchen table, tea or coffee in hand, and look out onto the garden waiting for the birds to arrive, watch them eat and observe their habits. Do you have a small daily pleasure?

As always, thank you for reading.
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