My affair with enamelware is well documented here. It is indestructible and wears the patina of age with both grace and quirkiness. The perforated spoon is my go-to utensil for poached eggs, which I eat quite often. Something about using it makes me happy and reinforces the pleasure of the cooking ritual. The best tools possess this quality. The middle image, of the two-armed octopi, are of some very old enamel hooks. One sunny morning, during my recent trip to Nice, I met my friend Kate (a dear friend from college who now lives full time in France) at the flea market. After I showed some hesitation at the price quoted by the dealer, Kate swooped in before I could stop her, and bought them as a gift. Thank you!! The sunny biscuit tins represent my hope for Spring. I could not resist their call. Plus, I needed a few little storage boxes.
Something about this cup inspires simplicity and austerity, of the best sort. Imagine living in a one room house in the middle of the woods, with this as your one drinking vessel.
In the darkest, coldest days of winter, these yellow enamel plates will offer a glimpse of optimism and light. (At least that’s what I told myself when I decided to bring them home.) With the added bonus of making eating, while watching a movie, that much tidier and easier. Two of these will soon leave my possession for friends, who will hopefully enjoy them the way I do.
Violet lives in Nice with my dear friend Kate and her husband Michele. She may reside in France but, make no mistake, this feline was born in Italy. Kate and Michele rescued her from a feral existence when she was a kitten. Violet now fully embraces the beauty and luxury of her surroundings. And she adores flowers. (Please note that she does not eat them!) Kate started sending me photos of Violet among the weekly bouquets, and I kept asking for more. Not only is Violet photogenic, but the setting is romantic and mysterious. No surprise there: Kate is a fabulously talented artist with a unique eye. One which always delights me!! Plus, we share a deep and abiding love of enamelware. And Michele is the proprietor of Danda Productions (among other ventures), a twenty year old antiques business where you’ll find a consistently excellent collection of landscape, portrait and still life drawings and paintings.
How about that wacky Serge Gainsbourg head?
If you mishandle a ceramic plate or a water glass, it’ll chip or crack. In which case, it is likely rendered less useful and reliable. There are no easy fixes for either material. Sure, you can glue a plate or vessel back together, and you can sand down a rough spot on the edge of a glass, but as a consequence, its original function is somehow downgraded. (Although if you’ve ever seen a pottery vessel stitched together as a result of a break, you’ll certainly appreciate its beauty.) Believe it or not, I am not much of a collector. At least not intentionally. And these days I definitely think twice before adding anything to our lives. But, I looked around me the other day and realized that I have many many pieces of enameled metal: containers and plates and vases and trays, all of which get used almost daily. The large oval platters pictured here are, I confess, a recent purchase from Bought & Sold (the rustic branch of Lee Hartwell Antiques), one of my favorite shops in Callicoon. My personal feeling is that enamelware only gets better with time. The scratches, the dents, even the wearing away of the enamel all add character, but never really end up compromising its use. Unless we are talking about a cooking pot, which I’ve heard isn’t wise to use after the coating wears away. And certainly the most abused pieces can end up with holes. But a soldered patch can bring those items back to life. Here and here are some other pieces I’ve posted about before. The cup is a daily reminder to live simply.
Sal, the proprietor of the Tin Can Trading Post in Callicoon, has a quirky and eclectic eye. One that I enjoy immensely! His tastes run the gamut from a spectacular woven civil war coffin, to a 1970s Soviet plastic Anna doll and everything in between. The shop isn’t curated in any obvious way, so the experience of discovery is all your own. Not many places still see the merit in NOT polishing and cleaning every item. I ran into him earlier today and agreed to stop by. I actually avoid going into the store because I have little to no willpower. Anyway, as soon as I crossed the threshold, I saw these spools of twine hiding in a bin near the floor. I ignored them for a moment, not wanting to get distracted. But I caved. It’s the red tape that got me. For earlier bits and pieces from the Tin Can Trading Post, see here, here (the plaster letters) and here. Oh, and I totally forgot…here.
Hello, back to it after a week-long break so as to get things in order.
So, I unearthed this lovely tray in the unpacking process. I like its plainness. And its age. In general I find enamelware irresistible. Something about its cheapness, but ultimate durability, that gets me every time. This company makes enameled kitchenware, but it’s still not available here in the US. Dang it.
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