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.
“Lay on Ground, Light Fuse, Retire Quickly” is the first line of the story in the NYT about the sale of George Moyer’s enormous firecracker collection. Moyer is a pyrotechnician and fireman from Pennsylvania, so it stands to reason that he might have an outsized interest in any and all types of explosives. The photos aren’t the best, but that’s the consequence of a massive drag and drop operation. The entire collection was/is online at Morphy’s Auction House. Oh, and Happy Fourth of July!!
Barry Rosenthal is a precise photographer and a scavenger. Of the very best kind. This series of images portrays found objects, for the most part culled from the mass of detritus in and around the waterways and beaches of New York and New Jersey. I hate to think that garbage is beautiful, but here it is, in all its glory. It’s a sad commentary that there is this much waste that it can be organized by kind and hue. It should come as no surprise that I first stumbled across Mr. Rosenthal’s work on Things Organized Neatly.
These erasers are all hard as rocks, so of no use to me or anyone. But I love them all the same. Especially the round Mallat wheel erasers. And, if you are of a certain age, you’ll remember with fondness the ones with the little brushes at the ends.
I thought I had lost these somewhere along the way. Perhaps in our last move. With a sigh of relief, I recently unearthed them along with some beautiful French boxes of insect specimens. I was less concerned about the loss of the bugs because, while quite unusual and striking, they posed no safety threat. Not so for the hydrometers. Those big silvery bulbs at the ends contain mercury. And lots of it. I just happened to have finished reading a disturbing article about South America and how, as a result of the gold boom, mercury contamination has spread at astonishingly high levels in both air and water. So the question of what to do with these things is front of mind. Suggestions are welcome. I don’t mean to be glib, but poison aside, these are pretty amazing.
The second of two placards…
One of those truly unusual finds from the Vanves flea market in Paris. These are wax seals depicting heraldic crests from some of the oldest families in France. I have my friend Nancy to thank for spotting these. We were approaching the final few hundred feet of the market and I heard a sharp intake of breath. I turned and followed Nancy’s gaze to a gentleman who had about 20 or so of these small 12″X14″ boards arrayed on the pavement at his feet. It seemed unthinkable that they were for sale and not in a museum. Who knows, as I write this it occurs to me that maybe they were stolen.