Mid-Century Curiosities

Sometimes I get back from garage sales and wish I had endless bookcases to display all the small things I run across. From modern geometry to worldly handcrafts, the appreciation for artful forms in the 1960’s yielded an endless amount of knickknacks. As evidenced by this haul from a few weeks back, sometimes I attempt to bring them all home with me.

I have a weakness for carved wooden items and these two figures caught my eye. In the 60’s hand carved art from Africa, the Philippines and other parts of the world became pretty popular with the jet set. I think the forms contrast well with the minimal nature of modern furniture. The handcraft theme continues in the laminated paper serving tray with a glittery hand painted swordfish, the monkey pod bowl and the owls. Oh, the owls. We all love a good vintage owl, but how cool is this macramé bad boy? I think my favorite thing about him is his ceramic eyes and nose not to mention his genuine twigs. The ceramic portion of this snag show a great range of artistry from the mass-produced but hand painted Denby plate to the studio pottery vase to the DIY craft kit ashtray. I love that all of these things, be it in a factory, studio or living room, were made by human hands.

In stark contrast to the handcrafted aesthetic is the clean industrial geometry of mid-century modernism. This German-made key wound 8-day starburst clock is one of the most interesting in my collection. Most American made clocks are electric or battery operated and a little more streamlined. This vaguely snowflake-looking clock is fairly small, but has amazing exaggerated hands. Always a sucker for anything with a dial, I also snapped up this Wesclox clock in a walnut case. It’s quartz movement takes up about a 100th of the space in the cabinet, but I bet it would be a great place on your desk to stash candy. The only downside is a brass placard on the top noting the salesman it was given to by an insurance company in 1970. I peeled it off, but it left a dark spot where the wood didn’t fade under it. I’ll keep you posted how that project turns out. Vintage barometers like this wall hung model are plentiful but so cool. I know the accurate climatic conditions of every single room in my house.

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