Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Virtual Visits #4: Some Very Special Books

Come browse at our coffee table! 

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Quimper collector, world traveller, she used her time and talents brilliantly and left this gorgeous record for us all to enjoy. We first met her many years ago in upstate New York and were delighted to renew that connection in Florida, where she established the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts as part of Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.

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Missouri antiques dealer dealer with a discerning eye for country furniture and accessories and a passionate love of old paint. His booth at the Antiques Show in St. Louis, where we first met, was a joy for this folk art devotee to behold!

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 Mme Orsenne is a dentist in Paris who has had a life-long love affair with the Eiffel tower. Since she is the sister of my beloved hôtelier, Victor, I knew her slightly and, purely by chance, was at the hotel the day the book was published. I had the pleasure of dining there with her and so was able to ask about the book. For years she had been sending some of her Eiffel Tower pictures as Christmas cards to her patients; one day a patient, M. Massin, who was a publisher, said to her, "Catherine, I think we should do a book"...and so she did!

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 Corky Davidow's career as an artist and collector extraordinaire has led her to many fascinating byways: Bakelite and, happily for us, Quimper as well! We encountered her at an antiques show in Washington, years ago.

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We'd like to end this visit with a word in defense of "coffee table books". Wikipedia notes that the term is often used pejoratively, as being lightweight froth: lots of pictures, not much substance. Every one of these books represents enormous amounts of time, research and expertise...and we are thrilled all over again with reviewing their contents and our memories of the authors.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Virtual Visits #3: Pin's and "Make-Do's"

Do you remember the Pin's collecting mania of some years ago? All sorts of people were sporting their collections on lapels, sleeves, jackets, hats. Of course, there were Quimper pin's like miniature plates, and of course! we bought a load of them for our collectors here. One ardent collector wanted a pair to be made into earrings, and she very kindly made a pair for us, too.

We found a handful of them in a desk drawer when we moved here, and have put them to good use in the office as thumbtacks for old Quimper affiches.

And two of them had already been (literally!) pressed into service as trompe l'oeil drawer pulls for an odd little hanging shelf that merits its own description.

American folk art dealers have developed some delightful euphemisms; this uses several of them. We who love old painted finishes become obsessed with "original" paint, no matter how worn. "Second-generation paint"  subtly means: original it ain't. "Make-do" means an object, like a simple wooden crate that has had a handle added, to become a nice little home-made carrier or basket... or some other inventive re-use of whatever is at hand.

This little shelf is a "make-do" plus: in addition to the new paint job and the pin's handles, there is a lovely glass flower attached underneath whose delicate stem end was broken off years ago...but it was much too pretty to throw away... now it has a safe permanent spot.

Anything that can showcase Quimper is definitely worth a make-do!

The ultimate Make-Do!

Stay well, stay safe, savor your own surroundings.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Virtual Visits #2: The Rabbi's Desk

We have always loved having collectors come to visit: a lovely way to share tastes and ideas.
Here is another aspect of our new home:

This is an American piece, 7' long, and 7' high: we know these dimensions because we've renovated more than one house in the 50 years we've owned it and measured the desk more than once to make sure it would fit.

We found it outside of Perkiomenville, a small country town west of Philadelphia, that had had a weekly auction/flea market site since forever (don't know if that has been true in recent years or not!). It was sitting outside a small house, whose owner did a weekly yard sale to catch all the traffic going by. Having made a deal to buy it, we asked where it came from: the seller told us it came from a house in west Philadelphia that had been left to her mother by the rabbi, a neighbor, whom she had nursed in his declining years....so it became a sort of instant heirloom in our family, and has always been referred to as "The Rabbi's Desk".

Over the years, it has been in kitchens, dining  rooms, and, as now, living rooms. And always a focal point for our  own most important Quimper. The compositions change with each move!

 That's "Rooster Row" on the top now, left to right:
 American wooden folk art, early unsigned Quimper large pot, two contemporary metal birds.

And tucked under: a very large market basket, bought even before the desk, from an
antiques shop in Phoenixville (can still hear the dealer saying, "Old Mr.........carried this into Philadelphia to the Reading Terminal Market every Saturday to shop"). Plus a dear little hooked rug that has my favorite basket-of-flowers motif done in perfect Quimper colors (made in Nashville!).


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Virtual Visits #1: Down Memory Lane!

We used to announce new website additions with announcements like this, 
about 4 times a year...remember?

They represent a lot of time and creative effort, not to mention a whole lot of wonderful Quimper!

 So when we moved, we decided to "wallpaper" the guest bathroom with them ...

 ... we are so pleased with this album effect that we wanted to share it with you. 

Browse at home for the fun of it; stay well!
Joan Datesman