Friday, July 30, 2010
What really fascinated me about these as well, however, was the fine muslin. I have never seen anything like it - it was like tissue paper - and had been crimped, probably with an old fashioned goffering iron.
I've decided that the time has finally come to let these go, so I'm listing them on my eBay shop this week, but I won't be too sad if they don't sell!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Although textiles are my passion in life, I have always had a liking for glass of all kinds, whether it be amazing stained glass, or those small, slightly misshapen drinking glasses that you sometimes come across in charity shops, and realise that - against all the odds - they may well have survived for two hundred years and more. But there can be few things as exciting as watching a master glass artist at work - and John is nothing if not a master and an artist. There's something enticing about the way in which a magician of this kind makes the work look easy - when, in reality, it's both difficult and dangerous. Watching him, you forget the high temperatures and the volatility of the material - until, of course, you see the sparks flying!
His pieces have been described as the antiques of the future, by David Dickinson, among others - and I've certainly seen them fetching high prices at auction. You'll have seen them yourself perhaps - paperweights, mushrooms, lilypads (complete with silver frogs) and other natural forms in amazing iridescent colours. But not everything here is in miniature. Outside the studio are a variety of large and striking glass sculptures including the strange flowers above.
But my favourites are definitely the vases. The shapes are simple and very beautiful, while the patterns and colours in the glass are endlessly complicated and enticing.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
This week, The Scottish Home is delighted to introduce a guest post contributed by London Interior Designer Greg Kinsella. We find these tips fascinating, since it's a sad fact that too many of us impulsively buy wonderful antique or vintage items, but are then not entirely sure how best to display them in our homes!
There are certain rules of thumb you can employ for placing antiques in your home so that they exude just the right amount of charm without being pretentious or over-bearing. Here are 5 tips to help you make the most of your treasured collections:
Any savvy merchandiser will tell you that placing an odd number of similar pieces of collectible antiques in a display will create the most appealing arrangement. So when arranging items on a shelf, follow this rule to draw the eye. Also you want to be sure not to group items of different genres together. In other words, it is better to have a shelf just for your glass antiques and come up with a different way to display antiques of another material or style.
2. Furniture Placement
To create a specific sense of an particular era, you can make theme placements for your antique furniture that feature a certain style in a room. For instance, if you have a collection of furnishings from a certain era, put them all in the same area and add any knick-knacks that match that time period in the same area, especially lamps and artwork.
When you paint the rooms containing your antiques, try to paint at least one wall the same color tone as your displays and furnishings. For pottery and earthware collections, choose a soft beige or brick red hue that will accent their natural colors If you are working with items like French provincial furniture, consider using a soft yellow or cinnamon color to highlight the decorative inlays and hardware features.
4. Mixing Vintage with Modern
Don't be shy about adding a few antique pieces to your ultra-modern rooms. The contrast between the old and the new accents your antiques and softens the stark effect which often results from the clean, modern lines of contemporary room designs.
If your beautiful antique collection is not well lit, it runs the risk of not being noticed. Use embedded lights in display cases that eliminate shadows and have different watt bulbs for various items. Also consider overhead lighting fixtures or recessed ceiling spotlights to accent antique artwork or furniture groupings. A pair of vintage lamps strategically placed in your groupings can be used to add splashes of light to accent your most valued collections
Sunday, July 18, 2010
They look fabulous used as throws on a couch, or chair, or to dress a bed - or on children's beds. You have to be careful that a child with sensitive skin doesn't react to the wool, but I've found these blankets to be so soft that it's seldom a problem. Sadly, here in Scotland, these vintage blankets are so often thoughtlessly cut up for 'dog blankets' which seems like a crime to me.
In the old days, most village weavers would have woven their own blankets which were then taken to be treated at a 'waulk mill'. You can often see this term in placenames, especially in Southern Scotland, and in fact we have the remains of an old waulk mill just outside this village - and documentary evidence that the landowner, up in his big house, would sometimes have been paid rents in 'good woollen blankets'. Given the nature of our winters, they would have been very welcome indeed!
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I just love the name of these - 'The Iris Box of Superior Buttons, containing an assortment of the most useful sizes.' These must be Victorian or Edwardian - the kind of buttons that you often find on the back of pillowcases, or sometimes on old nighties. There's something incredibly engaging about the design of these surviving items of packaging - they sometimes seem to retain a flavour of the period more than the items themselves - perhaps because it is so rare to find them in good condition!
Friday, July 09, 2010
To reach this wonderful hillside garden you have to negotiate the famous (or should that be infamous) Rest And Be Thankful. The entrance is well signposted, just before you round the head of Loch Fyne - where you can visit the famous Oyster Bar, if you want to sample some first class seafood! For those with less deep pockets, however, right next to the Oyster Bar is a little garden centre, The Tree Shop, with an excellent cafe where you can get freshly made sandwiches, home baking and a very good cup of coffee. You can also buy plants, shrubs and some rare trees, grown at Ardkinglas, on the other side of the loch. This is a hillside garden, so you need to be reasonably fit to negotiate the many steps, but the pinetum, where you can see champion trees like these, is more accessible. The formidable Scottish midges were having a field day when we went a couple of weeks ago, so be sure to bring some insect repellent. They don't actually like me, for some reason, and only bite me when nothing more succulent is available. I'm delighted about this, but it does nothing to help my companions, especially my husband, who is always mercilessly attacked. The gardens themselves are beautiful and the trees, including the tallest tree in the UK, Abies Grandis, are absolutely wonderful. There's something humbling about standing beneath one of these giants, and gazing up among the dizzying branches. These are monumental trees, trees with personality - well worth a small diversion, if you find yourself heading west from Loch Lomond.