Monday, October 29, 2012

Ode to the Pumpkin

I would rather sit on a pumpkin
have it all to myself, 
than be crowded
on a velvet cushion.
                                                    -Henry David Thoreau, 1817-1862
                                                                      American author, poet, philosopher

Have a Safe and Happy All Hallow's Evening everyone!

Monday, October 22, 2012


Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.

The word democracy stems from Greek meaning 'rule of the people'.  Equality and freedom are most important characteristics here.  It is a form of government whereby all eligible citizens have an equal say in decisions that affect their lives.  With that comes liberty which represents the freedom from arbitrary control.  As we go forward in this season of elections, be grateful for both tenets.  Listen, learn, think and exercise your right to vote.  It is certainly one of the greatest privileges in the world.


Monday, October 15, 2012

C is for Cased Glass

Cased Glass has been in existence for of a number of centuries, in many countries including China, Germany, and Bohemia,  yet the best pieces incorporated the fine use of hand cutting tools by English glassmakers beginning in 1825.  The effect was quite decorative and highlighted the creative expression and inordinate skill of the artist. French cased glass was produced in smaller quantities until the late 1800's, at which time the engraving wheel almost completely eliminated the hand crafted elements. Hydrofluoric acid was used to remove unwanted glass in combination with the engraving wheel, yet it was the meticulous and delicate hand sculpturing techniques that produced some of the most outstanding pieces of art.

Cased glass consists of two or more layers of different colors with a lovely satin-like feel and appearance, engraved by hand.  The process may be created by
  • blowing a color inside a piece that is already made -or-
  • layering different colored glass over each other.
In each case, the multiple layers of glass are fused together thus creating a uniquely beautiful piece.

Also known as Cameo Glass,  a cased glass Thomas Webb 4.5 " vase recently listed on e-bay for $1000., a result of its rarity and artistic decorative qualities.
Thomas Webb & Sons (1837) from Stourbridge, Worcestershire, England produced lovely examples of this art form with pieces very much sought after and highly collectible.   Happy Hunting!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Columbus Clouds

Columbus Day celebrates, simply, the 1492 five week voyage of three small Spanish ships - the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria - that terminated with 'discovery' of the Western Hemisphere.  Often referred to as the Encounter of Two Worlds, it was in fact the first step in the process of permanent European colonization into America.  However one may regard its significance, Columbus Day represents a melding of cultures; it is also a source of pride for Italians honoring one of their own, Cristoforo Colombo.  

As a tribute to our America I give symbol to these clouds representing freedom from tyranny.  
We are able to BE... on cloud nine, so to speak.  

Did you know that types of clouds are assigned numbers according to their altitude, with 9 being the highest? To be on cloud 9 is to be high above worldly cares..... Freedom is what comforts us as freedom is what ensures it. 
Enjoy your Columbus Day holiday everyone!


Monday, October 1, 2012

B is for Blue Willow

Blue Willow is a distinctive elaborately patterned dish ware designed by Thomas Minton in 1790.  The pieces are examples of blue oxide transferware,  created in 1775.  Minton's process eliminated the tedium of hand painted china with the use of copper plate etchings to create repetitive copies.  The Blue Willow Ware pattern was created in response to the high demand for Far East Canton and Nanking goods.  It was Chinese imitation at its best:  bridges, flying birds, pagodas, rivers and weeping willows. The pattern was so popular it was copied by countless manufacturers, in many countries including China itself!

Through the centuries stories were passed down to promote sales of Minton's  Blue Willow pattern.  As an incurable romantic, I am especially enamored with  the following tale, entitled fittingly 

The Romantic Fable
Once there was a wealthy Mandarin who had a beautiful daughter, Koong-se.  She had fallen in love with her father's humble accounting assistant, Chang, angering her father due to the class differences between them.  He dismissed the young man and built a high fence around his house to keep the lovers apart.  The Mandarin was planning for his daughter to marry a powerful Duke.  The Duke arrived by boat to claim his bride, bearing a box of jewels as a gift. The wedding was to take place on the day the blossom fell from the willow tree.  On  the eve of the daughter's wedding to the Duke, the young accountant, disguised as a servant, slipped into the palace unnoticed.  As the lovers escaped with the jewels, the alarm was raised.  They ran over a bridge, chased by the Mandarin, whip in hand.  They eventually escaped on the Duke's ship to the safety of a secluded island, where they lived happily for years.  But one day, the Duke learned of their refuge.  Hungry for revenge, he sent soldiers, who captured the lovers and put them to death.  The Gods, moved by their plight, transformed the lovers in to a pair of doves.

Who knew dish ware could provide such a story of devoted love and passion.  My kind of cool!
For the coffee lover:  this perfectly sized  large 'mush cup'  is available for sale at simplycoolstuff

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