Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ceramics, pottery, china and porcelain

Ceramics mean  objects such as figures, tiles, and tableware made from clay and other raw materials by the process of pottery. Some ceramic products are regarded as fine art, while others are regarded as decorativeindustrial or applied art objects.They may be made by one individual or in a factory where a group of people design, make and decorate the ware. Decorative ceramics are sometimes called "art pottery".
Most traditional ceramic products were made from clay (or clay mixed with other materials), shaped and subjected to heat, and tableware and decorative ceramics are generally still made this way.

Pottery is the ceramic act of making pottery wares, of which major types include earthenwarestoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of a potter or the manufacture of pottery.
Earthware and stoneware are defined by type of clay used and temprature of kiln used.

Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating materials, generally including clay in the form of kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 °C (2,200 and 2,600 °F). The toughness, strength, and translucence of porcelain arises mainly from the formation of glass and the mineral mullite within the fired body at these high temperatures.
Porcelain derives its present name from the old Italian porcellana (cowrie shell) because of its resemblance to the translucent surface of the shell. Porcelain can informally be referred to as "china" or "fine china" in some English-speaking countries, as China was the birthplace of porcelain making

Chinese porcelain

The chinese were the first to produce porcelain. The main raw material for porcelain production is Kaolinite.The name is derived from Chinese Kao-Ling vilage.
Exported Chinese porcelains were held in such great esteem in Europe that in the English language china became a commonly–used synonym for the Franco-Italian term porcelain.

 Bone china Although originally developed in England since 1748 to compete with imported porcelain, bone china is now made worldwide.
Bone china uses bone ash as a raw material. Developed by English potter Josiah Spode, bone china is known for its high levels of whiteness and translucency and very high mechanical strength and chip resistance
From its initial development and up to the later part of the twentieth century, bone china was almost exclusively an English product, with production being effectively localised in Stoke-on-Trent
Most major English firms made it, including Mintons,CoalportDavenportRoyal Crown DerbyRoyal DoultonWedgwood and Worcester.
In the UK, references to "china" or "porcelain" can refer to bone china, and "English porcelain" has been used as a term for it, both in the UK and around the world.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Retro style

Retro style refers to new things that display characteristics of the past. It is mostly the recent past that retro seeks to recapitulate, focusing on the products, fashions and artistic styles produced since the Industrial Revolution, of Modernity. The word "retro" derives from the Latin prefix retro, meaning "backwards, or in past times"
Up until the 1960s, interiors were decorated with antiques. During the 1960s in London shops started selling pieces of second hand furniture. These shops were different from the previous antique shops because they sold daily life objects from the recent past. These objects used to be seen as junk: Victorian enamel signs, stuffed bears, old furniture painted with union jacks, bowler hats etc. A new way of producing and consuming the past emerged and a broader range of objects from the recent past was used for new designs.
Before the word ‘retro’ came into use in the 1970s, the practise of adopting old styles for new designs was already common. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, designers borrowed from the past, for example classicistic style.The difference is that since the 1960s people started to refer to the recent past.
In the 1980s design history emerged as a discipline and several histories of design were published. The access to these overviews and the ability to experiment with computer design programs has caused an increase of retro designed objects in the last decades.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fairy tale

fairy tale 

A picture by Gustave DorĂ© of Mother Goose reading written
 (literary) fairy tales

 is a type of short story that typically  features European folkloric fantasy characters, 
such as dwarveselvesfairiesgiantsgnomesgoblinsmermaidstrolls, or witches, and usually magic orenchantments. Fairy tales may be distinguished from other folk narratives such as legends (which generally involve belief in the veracity of the events described) and explicitly moral tales, including beast fables.
Unlike legends and epics, they usually do not contain more than superficial references to religion and actual places, people, and events; they take place once upon a time rather than in actual times.

Fairy tales are found in oral and in literary form. The history of the fairy tale is particularly difficult to trace because only the literary forms can survive. Still, the evidence of literary works at least indicates that fairy tales have existed for thousands of years, although not perhaps recognized as a genre.

Although the fairy tale is a distinct genre within the larger category of folktale, the definition that marks a work as a fairy tale is a source of considerable dispute. One universally agreed-upon matter is that fairy tales do not require fairies. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Depression glass

Pink Depression Glass Sherbert Bowls

Depression glass is clear or colored translucent glassware that was distributed free, or at low cost, in the United States and Canada around the time of the Great Depression. Depression glass is a subset of Uranium glass. The Quaker Oats Company, and other food manufacturers and distributors, put a piece of glassware in boxes of food, as an incentive to purchase. Movie theaters and businesses would hand out a piece simply for coming in the door.
Most of this glassware was made in the central and mid-west United States, where access to raw materials and power made manufacturing inexpensive in the first half of the twentieth century. More than twenty manufacturers made more than 100 patterns, and entire dinner sets were made in some patterns. Common colors are clear (crystal), pink, pale blue, green, and amber. Less common colors include yellow (canary), ultramarine, jadeite (opaque pale green), delphite (opaque pale blue), cobalt blue, red (ruby & royal ruby), black, amethyst, monax, and white (milk glass).
Although of marginal quality, Depression glass has been highly collectible since the 1960s. Due to its popularity as a collectible,Depression glass is becoming more scarce on the open market. Rare pieces may sell for several hundred dollars. Some manufacturers continued to make popular patterns after World War II, or introduced similar patterns, which are also collectible. Popular and expensive patterns and pieces have been reproduced, and reproductions are still being made.


For depression glass on etsy:


Vintage Porcelain Enamel Victorian Lady Cameo                                   

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Art Deco Shell Cameo Bracelet Sterling Silver 1920s

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Cameo is a method of carving an object such as an engraved gem, item of jewellery or vessel made in this manner. It nearly always features a raised (positive) relief image; contrast with intaglio, which has a negative image. Originally, and still in discussing historical work, cameo only referred to works where the relief image was of a contrasting colour to the background; this was achieved by carefully carving a piece of material with a flat plane where two contrasting colours met, removing all the first colour except for the image to leave a contrasting background.

Today the term may be used very loosely for objects with no colour contrast, and other, metaphorical, terms have developed, such as cameo appearance. This derives from another generalized meaning that has developed, the cameo as an image of a head in an oval frame in any medium, such as a photograph.

The Great Cameo of France, five layers

Ancient and Renaissance cameos were made from semi-precious gemstones, especially the various types of onyx and agate, and any other stones with a flat plane where two contrasting colours meet; these are "hardstone" cameos. In cheaper modern work, shell and glass are more common. Glass cameo vessels, such as the famous Portland Vase, were also developed by the Romans.

The portland vase

Modern cameos can be produced by setting a carved relief, such as a portrait, onto a background of a contrasting colour. This is called an assembled cameo. Alternatively, a cameo can be carved by the traditional, but far more difficult, method directly out of a material with integral layers or banding, such as (banded) agate or layered glass, where different layers have different colours.
Sometimes dyes are used to enhance these colours.

The technique has enjoyed periodic revivals, notably in the early Renaissance, and again in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Neoclassical revival began in France with Napoleon's support of the glyptic arts, and even his coronation crown was decorated with cameos.
In Britain, this revival first occurred during King George III's reign, and his granddaughter, Queen Victoria, was a major proponent of the cameo trend, to the extent that they would become mass-produced by the second half of the 19th century.
Although occasionally used in Roman cameos, the earliest prevalent use of shell for cameo carving was during the Renaissance, in the 15th and 16th centuries. Before that time, cameos were carved from hardstone. The Renaissance cameos are typically white on a grayish background and were carved from the shell of a mussel or cowry, the latter a tropical mollusk.
Cameo in Shell

Classically the designs carved onto cameo stones were either scenes of Greek or Roman mythology or portraits of rulers or important dignitaries. In history, agate portrait cameos were often gifts from royalty to their subjects. These antique cameos, some more than 2000 years old, are either displayed in museums or are in private collections.

For cameos available on Etsy:


Cleaning of Vintage & Antique Porcelain

Step by Step Guide to the Restorative Cleaning of Vintage & Antique Porcelain:

On courtesy of :

Periodically cleaning your pieces of porcelain is important. With careful restorative cleaning & handling, your vintage glass and antique porcelain items will look beautiful for years to come.
1. Pad your work area with soft cloths or towels. Polyethylene foam stretched over a table and affixed to the underside works well.
2. Always work on an object from the highest point down.  Remove the dust and the dirt from it.  Use a dry, soft brush to remove dust and any particles.
3. Use a very mild or diluted dish washing liquid soap & lukewarm water to wash it. Why lukewarm?  Using water that is too hot or too cold may risk damage the piece. Avoid using abrasive cleaners, scouring pads or put porcelain in your automatic dishwasher.
Never immerse your porcelain in water completely, it is best to use a damp cloth to clean porcelain items. Use a dabbing or very gentle wiping motion with a soft cloth.  While cleaning your antique piece you have to take extra care to place it on a drying area padded with some soft towels or cloths.
4. Stain removal: Rub your piece gently  with a cotton swab or a dampen,
clean cotton cloth with a solution of 10 parts denatured alcohol, 8 parts distilled or deionized water, and 1 part non-detergent household ammonia. Gently wipe the surface of the object, being careful to turn the cloth to a clean surface as it picks up dust and dirt. You can re-soak the cotton swabs if needed during the cleaning process. Be sure to rinse the area thoroughly with clear warmed water.
Please note: Ammonia can react chemically with unstable glazed and glass surfaces. If any question arises concerning the stability of the surface to be damp-wiped for stains, consult a conservator and the Regional Curator before proceeding with this method.
Other Stain Solutions:  hard water or alcohol stains – try citric acid or white vinegar with warm water.  Tobacco stains: try gently rubbing the piece with a dab of toothpaste or denture whitening paste. Mineral or chemical deposits: we recommend that a consult be arranged with a professional conservator.
5. Before cleaning be sure to remove any jewelry (rings or bracelets) so not to risk scratching your piece. If you have hard water, consider using bottled or filtered water instead of tap water warmed in a kettle.
6. After cleaning let your antiques porcelain to air dry for a bit, then use a soft, lint free towel to gently dab any excess water off of them.

Basic Antique Porcelain Care

1.  Any utilitarian object, old or new, which has been restored or conserved in any way should revert to decorative display only. If a restored piece, adhesives used in the process may be toxic if ingested.
2. All restored objects should only be cleaned with a damp cloth or dusted with an artist brush. Do not use water to clean.  This includes some older or aged finishes ( in particular gold, silver or moriage) have an adverse effect to cleaning.
3. Temperature and humidity extremes should also be avoided in storage or display.  Keep objects in dust-proof storage or exhibit cases when possible.
4. Avoid handling objects by their handles, rims, finials or sprigged attachments as there may aggravate firing faults or cause hair-line breaks.
5. Do not use metal spring-loaded plate hangers – easels or springless plate hangers are preferable in any case. Cushion or purchase metal hangers with plastic tubing to prevent chipping at the rim.
6. Tape, collection or inventory stickers should not be placed over enamel, luster, gilt, painted surfaces or restored areas as damages may result when removed.
7. Any objects which exhibits efflorescence or flaking glazes should be kept at a constant relative humidity of 40%.