Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sweet Annika...and Egersund mystery solved!!

I've had a bit of a dryspell, thrift wise, much of it due to crazy days at work. Today I finally had a couple of hours to myself and squeezed in some thrifting between driving the boys to soccer practice and the Saturday grocery shopping. It's fleamarket season over here. It's a sure sign that spring is finally here, fleamarkets are being arranged all over the place. Today I stopped at four, one of them was really great with an auction and all, but alas I was a bit late. All I found was one piece, so you're gonna get it from all angles:-)
It's a really cute one, though, I've developed a crush on "Annika" by Rørstrand. It was designed by Marianne Westman and was in production from 1972. The colors are so lovely, rich brown and mustardy yellow. It reminds me so much of a little bird, the way they cosy up on a branch, all round and fluffy. See what I mean?
Annika has some similarities with "Honey" by Stavangerflint, designed approximately at the same time, but the pieces are more rounded. This little jug sits really well in your hand, it's like it's begging to be held!

I also did some detective work. Remember my mystery Egersund teapot? I just got an e- mail from the Egersund fayence museum with some information about it! The model is "Cirkel", designed by Kaare Blokk- Johansen (who also designed "Unique"), and the decor is "Cherie" by Ingrid Marcussen. It was in production from 1965 to 68. Mystery solved!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish & German pottery

This post is gonna be a tour of the Nordic countries (minus Sweden, sorry- no Swedish finds this time!), as well as a visit to Germany. This weekend was amazing, thrifting wise, I found some great stuff, at ridiculously low prizes in three different charity stores. You gotta love those, so much more fun than ebay, as you get the thrill of the treasure hunt as a bonus:-) Nothing beats searching through a pile of junk,and then suddenly hit the jackpot. That's what it felt like this Saturday. I really need to cool it....

This is a beautiful piece of Danish studio pottery which was mine for only 30 NOK, around 5 USD, I really had to rub my eyes! The edge looks blue in the second image, it's not. The first one represents the colors best, the red is a rich orangy, and the brown is really dark, almost black. The initials KK is still a mystery to me, so I'm counting on you Danes out there:-) The only Danish pottery maker I can find with these initials is Knud Kyhn (1880- 1969). When I search the web for works by Kyhn, however, I find mainly animal sculptures, so it might not be the "KK" I'm looking for. I'm also guessing there must be a KK that was born a little later.

Speaking of Danish, I've been admiring the Søholm spice jars for ages but have never found any in the thrifts over here. But suddenly there they were in all their glory- a set of six jars at 10 NOK a piece- that's less than 2 USD!! I didn't notice before I washed them that some have text in Danish and some in Swedish. I guess they were customized for export.

On the same table as the beautiful Danish KK studio pottery, I spotted a piece of pottery that I've been really hoping to find one day. It's a piece of Icelandic Glit lava pottery. I don't know a great deal about it, but I know the ceramic studio was founded by Ragnar Kjartansson in 1958 and that they're known for using lava rocks (hraun) in the glaze. I don't think that's the case with this piece, unless the lava is actually blended into the clay. I find the roughness of icelandic pottery really beautiful, it's a quality that really reflects the gorgeous landscape it comes from. The symbol in the middle looks ancient and mythical, also in true Icelandic spirit. I'm  really excited to have found this piece!

Over to another country known for it's beautiful rustic designs- Finland! I know there's a looot of Arabia Ruska around, but I still love finding new pieces. If someone told me years ago that I would be collecting Ruska, I wouldn't have believed it. Growing up, I thought it was really ugly. But it's a design that has grown on me and taken me by surprise. It's a bit challenging and has certainly not been love at first sight, but when I fell, I fell hard. I love how it's all about that beautiful rustic glaze, that has all the browns you can imagine, from rich chocolate to almost black. I found this tea set for six.

A new handsome German, before I leave the rustic lava theme! This Scheurich is in neutral tones and a very cheerful orangy red that will brighten up things a bit while we're waiting for the spring to prove that it's here for sure:-)

Back to Scandinavia again, to Norway, more precicely to the southwestern part where I grew up. Some may have noticed that I'm pretty patriotic about our great pride and joy, Stavangerflint and Figgjo:-) Have you ever seen this beautiful Stavangerflint pattern? I thought I'd seen them all, but obviously not! I'm sorry, the photo was taken in the shop, it's not a good one. The shapes are the same as the "Nordkapp", but the pattern and colors are new to me. The teapot is gorgeous. I've e- mailed a photo to someone who might know what the pattern is called, I'll be sure to inform you if I find out! As beautiful as the set were, I actually left it behind. I have to narrow it down, I can't get everything. Sometimes I wish I had a shop... Well, I left the set hoping someone will be happy to find it complete. Later that same day, I actually found a serving plate in that same pattern in another shop, and guess what? I took it home:-)

Finally, two small dishes that I've previously only seen on the web. They're made by Stavangerflint for the Viking Hotel in Oslo in the 60s. They' re rather small, around 10 cm across, they might be ashtrays or butterdishes, I'm not sure. I do like the rather bold black on white pattern, it's quite striking. I wonder if there was a wide range of products in this series, does anyone know?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Great new findings

Besides the Japanese Country Cookbook, I found some more great stuff this weekend. First out is this beautiful glass bowl. I know it's from Hadeland, probably 60s, but that's all I know! I'd appreciate some helpful hints here:-) It's got the exact same color as the Greenland series by Arne Jon Jutrem, so I wonder if he might be the artist behind this too. It's a substantial piece, 28 cm in diameter, is shaped like a mushroom and has a very heavy base.

I found this gorgeous large serving plate and jug, both in Sera by Stavangerflint. I have a large lidded dish and rectangular serving plate from an earlier hunting trip, that you can see it this post, and a small rectangular plate that you can see here. Sera was designed by Inger Waage and was in production from 1970- 79. The Sera pattern is so shiny, which always makes it really hard to photograph. I love the combination of brown and black, my husband thinks it's a bit gloomy...

Then I found two more lidded serving dishes in the Korulen pattern from Egersund Fayance (The small one in front is a sugar bowl I already had). They very rarely appear in thrift stores, so if you should stumble upon them, you just grab them and run. After paying, of course...
How fitting that the sun decided to bathe them in her rays! Noticed I said "her"? I'm pretty sure it's a she! Korulen was in production at Egersund Fayance from 1971 to 76. The design is called Unique (Kaare Blokk Johansen) and the decor Solsikke (Sunflower) or Korulen (Unni Margrethe Johnsen). They also came in a sunny orange version without the sunflower decor, but with brown trim, and a version in brown with orange lids. The colors, the pattern and the shape of the lids are all sooo wonderful. You really can't avoid smiling when you look at them. I was overjoyed when I found a set of 8 plates, cups and saucers, as well as this sugar bowl and a serving plate a little while ago in an add on Finn. You can see it here.

Finally, I found another one of the small WG planters in brown with the cream pattern or speckles on them. I love these, and I picked up a cute (but ever so hostile:-) cactus for it yesterday. The whole family below. Wish you a sunny week:-)

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The Japanese Country Cookbook

What are the chances of this book turning up in a local thriftstore over here? I guess the previous owner must have done some travelling. Not to Japan, though, which seems to be the obvious at first glance, but probably to the US.
The book was published in 1969 by Russ Rudzinski, the owner of a country- style japanese restaurant called Mingei- Ya on Union Street in San Fransisco. Apparently (from what I'm able to dig up on the web) this was quite a famous restaurant in the 60s, but was closed down a long time ago.

I love oriental food, and could easily have bought it just for the recipes, but it's the great graphics, layout, colors and paper I fell for. It's a beautifully crafted book, printed with black and red inks on brown textured rice paper. The pen drawings are beautiful and rich in detail. They're done by artist Mike Nelson, who I unfortuneately haven't been able to find out anything about. Anyone? I found a graphic artist by the same name, but too young to having been around, professionally, in the 60s.

The restaurant interior and courtyard must have been pretty amazing too, just listen to this quote that I found in the food column of SF Weekly:

 "I was reminded of a long- gone restaurant in san Fransisco, Mingei- Ya, a woody Japanese country- style place that felt as if you were dining inside an especially beautiful cedar- lined closet." That says it all, huh? I've always been amazed about how much Japanese and Nordic aesthetics have in common, even though they are, literally worlds apart, the simple lines, the love of wood. You see it all over the fields of architecture and design, both contemporary and modernist.

I found some more great stuff this weekend, but decided this deserved a feature of it's own. To be continued!

PS. If you want to see some more amazing graphics, head on over to Potshots and have a look at this beautiful children's book from 1911! Great blog, by the way, highly recommend it:-)



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