Archive for June 18th, 2009

June 18, 2009

Shirley Gittelsohn Painting Still Available


Red is for love and hell, brides and mourning, and prosperity and purity. P1080769

Large (36 x 48 inch) Shirley Gittelsohn painting still available. For more information, click here.

June 18, 2009

Pair of Prayer (or Prie-Dieu) Chairs


P1080831

The little note in the box on the chair to the right reads “Hymnal goes here (or not).”

If you weren’t raised in a certain religious way, you may not know that a prayer chair is a chair with a high back and a low seat where the user kneels, resting his or her arms on the flat back of the chair (aka the shelf) when praying. This cross member is sometimes padded. Such chairs may (or may not) have a little box for a hymnal or other book.

They are also of a height that they can be used just for sitting it.

It seems like it could be useful to have a little box on the back of one’s chair. Always have a pen and post-it notes handy. A place to store that magazine you were reading or to put the interoffice mail when the desk is a tornado zone. Though . . . what would it say to give your coworker a prayer chair . . . ?

June 18, 2009

The Treachery of Images; or, the arbitrariness of this digital life


this is not a pipe

This is not a pipe (photograph of the work of Réné Magritte)

This is not a half-pipe

This is not a half-pipe (from Cute Overload).

(But you could probably get cardboard like this from SCRAP if you wanted to make a not-a-half-pipe for your small pet.)

This is not a beaver with a pipe

This is not a beaver with a pipe. Really.*

You see, people are falsely conditioned to equate representation with reality. The image of Angry Beaver is not Angry Beaver. The words “Angry Beaver” are not Angry Beaver. Angry Beaver is not an angry beaver. He may just be a kind but terribly cross-eyed representation of a marmoset. We don’t know. We suspect that you reading this blog is you not telling your child or your partner or your friend or all of them how beloved they are to you. (Take a break right here and do that, ok? We’ll wait.)  Ok. We guess that you reading this blog will probably not lead to giving money or time to The Community Warehouse, Free Geek, SCRAP, The ReBuilding Center and ReFind Furniture, or Schoolhouse Supplies. (Who has it,  you know?) We even imagine, sometimes, that you might be as godawful lonely as we are. (It’s too bad we sold those tiny violins, isn’t it?)

Well, it’s time to get busy.

The organizations named above share the values of reuse, sustainability, and a belief in the dignity inherent in all living beings (aka community building). They each take items for reuse and most of them sell quality reusable goods. The reuse of materials conserves scarce resources and improves people’s lives.

In support of our efforts, the City of Portland and Multnomah County has proclaimed the week of June 12-19 as ReUse Week.
Ta Da!

Please consider donating high quality reusable goods to any of the organizations above. If you’re in the market to buy a couch, computer, cloth, order a piece of contemporary custom furniture, or buy crayons for someone (if you’re just in the mood to give), please visit one or all of the above organizations when doing your errands this week.

Now. What truly fantastic thing are you going to do with your life in the next week?

*Pipe with Bakelite bowl and plastic mouthpiece available for sale this weekend at the Estate Store. Only $5. Tobacco smell included for free. We love you.

June 18, 2009

Icarus, Icarus, Wherefore art thou Icarus? Herbert Darper, Lament for Icarus (1898) Gold Frame Print


615 004 LamentForIcarusDraper

Why is it that the nubile sea-nymphs only show up after you’re dead?

Why is is that they never lament the death of an intelligent guy?

And why is it that they used to have muscled derrieres from swimming among the dolphins and now have the bodies of sylphs? (see any Disney cartoon.)

And what bird donated those feathers?

Oh well . . ..

June 18, 2009

Mid 19th Century Meigh Tivoli Plate with Fake Chop Mark


meigh 003

The front of the plate is decorated with a palimpsest of scenes from Tivoli Italy including the Temple of Venus on the left of the frame, the waterfalls in the center, and a structure I was unable to conclusively identify but that may be the Villa d’Este on the right.  Prior to 1826 when the river was re-routed to prevent flooding in the town, the falls had a different alignment (see here).  Although the view of the falls presented in our plate results from a combination of influences it is a good, if idealized, view of the post-1834 “Villa Gregoriana” Park.

meigh 001 meigh 003a

The desirability of Chinese porcelain in the late 18th and early 19th centuries drove  imitative technological innovation in European ceramics. The desired goal was to create a hard body, highly fused, white colored earthen ware that could compete with expensive Chinese imports.

Early attempts resulted in the manufacture of salt glazed white stoneware and then led to the innovation of creamware (a white earthenware with yellowish glaze). Further progression along this “trend to whiteness” continuum resulted in the innovation of whiter earthen wares such as pearlware, which has cobalt added as a bluing agent (similar to that used in laundries to make whites appear brighter) and is identifiable by a blue tint where the glaze has pooled (around foot rings for instance). This was followed by another yet whiter “whiteware”.  Creamware, pearlware and whiteware are notable in that there is a lack of fusing of the body paste and glaze layers. *

These attempts helped feed the desire for cheaper white colored earthen wares to compete with imported porcelain, and generated new classes of decoration (transfer prints such as flow blue) and/or  form (scalloped or feather edges) and innovation along this trajectory continued.

The next major step was the improvement of body and glaze to result in what is now known as Ironstone China. (There were many commercial names at the time, among them were India China and Stone China.) The early Ironstone pieces were introduced in the first part of the 19th Century, eventually becoming the dominant type in the market place although improvements in ceramic technology continued throughout the 19th century.

meigh 014

This is the “Improved Stone China” mark on the back of our piece, suggesting that it belongs to at least a second generation of Ironstone China.  Documentary sources suggest that the Meigh works used this mark from 1835-1861.

meigh 004

Close up of makers mark and pattern name  on reverse of plate.

Variations on C M and CHARLES MEIGH were used from the period from 1835 to 1849.  Later marks (post 1850) incorporate the use of “Son”. There is some crazing of the glaze (i.e., not totally fused to the body paste) and faint blue tinting in the pooled glaze around the foot ring. The blue tint suggests that this piece is from the earlier part of the 1835 to 1849 period.  I’d speculatively say circa 1840.

meigh 018

Perhaps one of the most notable features of this plate is the use of a fake chop mark. Why have this device on the piece? Is this a bit of coy marketing on the part of the Meigh works to enhance the perceived desirability of the product? Through use of the fake mark were they able to sell more plates or move to a higher price point by appealing to the desires of their customers for Chinese pieces? Did they do this even though all but the most unsuspecting dupe knew that these were made in merry old England and were as close to Chinese as a Cornish Pastie?

$100 for this marvel.

*This is a brief, simplistic and entirely inadequate overview of the development of ceramic technology and styling in the 19th Century. For those to whom the details of this process are important please accept my apologies.

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