Wednesday, July 31, 2013

MORE opshop treasures

I know I shouldn't .... but sometimes you see things you MUST have... eg this lovely vase which I found in Paeroa.
It was $35 and would have been far more costly in white, but I am happy with classic honey glaze. It's not a shape you see that often. Number 2095. It is 18 cm tall.
And then... went to the local junk shop and there was a shell which I was pretty certain was Crown Lynn.. only $15 so worth the gamble. And it is, shape number 630 (Thanks NZ Pottery Forum!)
This version is a bit garish for my taste; there's a gorgeous white one on TradeMe at present which is attracting a lot of interest - and no wonder.  NOTE I have since discovered that Studio Ceramics made white shells in this shape, which were unmarked. I am not sure if Crown Lynn also made shells in white - I  have seen them with this pink and grey effect and also in green and grey. My Crown Lynn shell (above) is unmarked. 
And then... at the Waihi charity shop there was a Crown Lynn condiment set; not easy to find. One piece (a toothpick holder?) is missing, but the rest of it was in such excellent condition I couldn't leave it behind.
Just look at these gorgeous perky little hand painted salt and peppers.
There is no number on the base of this set, but the shape guide says it's number 420 and the salt and peppers are shape 422.  The plate is 15 cm wide. It's part of the Crown Lynn 'Fancy Fayre' range from the 1950s:
Next stop was Andrea's China in Te Puke. This shop has a vast array of all sorts of china, it's a bit dusty and tired at present but absolutely still worth a stop. I found a saucer to match a floral cup I found years ago - the combination is quite busy, in a way I preferred it on a plain white saucer, but still it's great to have the real thing.
The cup has the standard Made in New Zealand mark, and the saucer is Genuine Ironstone.

And this is another groovy cup and saucer - not often seen. The cup has 'New Zealand' on the base, the saucer is Cook & Serve.
I also bought a Narvik jug, 10 cm tall and pristine.  This was one of the design award patterns, not easy to find any more. 
I love the Scandinavian effect - just look at this detail.  Tom Clark told me once that he was very keen on Scandinavian design, and even did a trip over to look at the work their potteries were turning out.
Also on my travels I couldn't resist this Air NZ dish. It's a backstamp I haven't had until now, and the dish is a very pretty turquoise shade - not the same as colourglaze, nor the other Air NZ ware. It's 10.5 cm wide, 4.5 high.

Enough!  This is our bus at the Miranda shellbank, almost deserted in midwinter, with gorgeous hot pools just up the road. George says that given my tendency to accumulate, we should have a truck not a bus, and sometimes I think he has a point.
More next week.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Crown Lynn displays - Auckland 22 July, 4 August, 11 August

I have been thinking about how to approach my Crown Lynn displays at the Auckland Art Gallery this coming Sunday 22 July (and repeated on Sun 4 August). The theme is modernist design - a general term applied to simple structured shapes with clean lines and very simple - or no - decoration.

So where does Crown Lynn fit into that? Even in the beginning when Tom Clark and his team were struggling to make anything, they gave thought to how to make their products look good.

For that early period I will display things like my early kitchen bowl and the ceramic hot water bottle, which was technically very difficult to make but Tom also described it as having 'a bit of style.'
 This bowl is about 80 years old. Its glaze has a few blobs and dribbles, but its simple clean lines would not be out of place in a modern kitchen.
And look at this little ashtray - so gorgeously deco.
From these early products we will move onto the classic and long-lived items like the hotel jugs - made for at least 30 years. The red-lined version below was hand decorated for hospital use.  These simple jugs, most often found in undecorated clear glaze, have a dignity which again is not out of place in today's kitchens.
Then we have the gorgeous curved 1950s shape 709 jugs, which I just love. I bought this beauty complete with a worn glued-on picture of a bird.. the other day I finally scraped it off, which is bad form when you are supposed to be preserving history, but I think it was an amateur effort, certainly it was not a decoration from the Crown Lynn factory.  The jug's simple shape and glaze complement each other so well.
Which brings us to the point that all through the history of Crown Lynn there was a conflict between the wish for simple stylish shapes and decorations and the fact that NZ buyers, on the whole, wanted flowers and 'fancy' decoration. 'Stick a rose on it and it would sell'  Alan Topham, the long-time marketing manager and later GM, once told me.   Frank Carpay initiated a 'war against the roses' with his bold designs - but they didn't sell at the time though they are very collectible today. (This, on a standard Crown Lynn shape, is less valuable than some of his other work.)
The lovely simple crisp shape 849 jug from the 1960s was usually sold complete with transfer - on the right we have Autumn Splendour, the best selling pattern right through the 1960s. Yet look how lovely it looks in a simple mustard glaze. You appreciate the shape more when it is undecorated.
And look at this wonderful colourglaze teapot. I am so pleased it is finished in a simple yellow glaze.
But then.. decoration has its place! Look at  this lovely Mexico Cook & Serve coffee can. Hand painted in the 1960s.
So. In summary. On Sunday 21 July and again on Sunday 4 August, I will be at the Auckland Art Gallery with an interesting and varied collection of my favourite pieces made between the 1940s and the mid-1960s. I am set down to speak about my collection between 12 noon and 2 pm, but I will be around all day and happy to chat and to sign my books.

And - wait for it... on Sunday 11 August Billy Apple will be at the Art Gallery with some of his magnificent collection of Dorothy Thorpe ball handled pieces.  Without doubt, he has the largest and most interesting collection of Dorothy Thorpe ever seen - that display will be well worth a visit as well.
These Crown Lynn displays are part of a series of 'Design Encounters' built around the Auckland Art Gallery California Design 1930-1965 exhibition.  Over several weeks, there are some great events to look out for - on Sunday 21 you can also hear Douglas Lloyd-Jenkins talking about how California design influenced NZ modernism (1pm) and at 3pm AUT Senior Lecturer Tony Robotham discusses the influence that California has had on the modern motorcar.

All design encounter events are free. It costs $15 per adult to get into the main California Design exhibition - which I wouldn't miss for all the tea in China!

The exhibition features more than 250 objects including furniture by Charles and Ray Eames, fashions from Levi Strauss & Co. and graphics by Saul Bass. A number of landmark industrial designs, ceramics, jewellery, metalwork, architectural drawings and photography are also on show.
The touring exhibition was organised by Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

All the best

Friday, July 5, 2013

Next!!! Crown Lynn events coming up!

We had a very happy and buzzy book launch on Tuesday, with an amazing mix - people who worked at Crown Lynn, dealers, collectors old and new, and researchers... plus a few heroic friends who braved the Crown Lynn frenzy to support me and George. (added later... and the potters.. how could I have missed you out when I first wrote this!) Here I am (left) with Carole from the Women's Bookshop:
And here is a general pic of the gathering.

Thanks again to the Women's Bookshop who hosted the event, and to Penguin who also contributed substantially. (photos courtesy of the bookshop). And a heartfelt thank you to all who came to the launch on a chilly workday night. I was so very happy to see you all.

But wait.. there's more! 

On  Sunday 21 July and again on Sunday 4 August, I will have a display of Crown Lynn at the Auckland Art Gallery, and on Sunday 11 August Billy Apple will be at the gallery with some of his amazing collection of Dorothy Thorpe ball handled Crown Lynn.

These will be informal events, with ample time to look at the exhibits and to question and comment, and to listen to us tell the stories around our particular obsessions.  My display will be a general collection of Crown Lynn with emphasis on the simple clean designs such as hotel jugs, the McAlpine jug, colourglaze, Shufflebotham, etc etc. It won't be a huge display, but it should be interesting. Billy of course has probably the largest collection of Dorothy Thorpe in NZ.

Our talks are built around an exhibition at the Art Gallery called California Design 1930-1965, living in a modern way. This exhibition features amazing modernist furniture, ceramics, even clothing and posters. 

And alongside it, a huge range of NZ collectors and researchers have been asked to display and talk about their particular fields.  Just scroll down this page to see the 'design encounters' on offer... including talks on Barbie Dolls, modernist architecture,  surfboards, furniture, fashion.... you name it!

As well as wonderful Crown Lynn. So here are these dates again:

Val Monk (general Crown Lynn) - Sunday 21 July and Sunday 4 August, 12 noon to 2 pm 
Billy Apple (Dorothy Thorpe) - Sunday 11 August, 12 noon to 2 pm

IMPORTANT when I first posted this blog I got the timing wrong for the times that we would be speaking about our displays. My apologies, please note the correct times in red.

Listen to my radio interview

And one last thing.... a few days ago I had a half-hour interview with Kathryn Ryan on Nine to Noon on National Radio . If you click on the link, you will go through to the page which features my gallery of images - then click on Nine to Noon, which will flick you through to another page, then scroll down and you will see the link to the interview. Any problems, let me know and I can pop it through to you on email.

AND the last piece of good news.. I have found my camera charger! So my next post will have new images to enjoy.

Take care till then.