a fire on the 23rd July at the Collectible World Studios Woodhouse
Street site, the 6th Annual National Collectors Event went ahead
as planned on the 29th and 30th July at the Shugborough Estate,
Staffordshire. Pictured right – Shugborough
Hall, home of Lord Lichfield the Queen’s cousin
– click on image for detail.
A great deal of the preparation work and material for the show
was lost in the fire but the CWS team were still able to put
on a splendid event as a thankyou to all their collectors.
Saturday saw the largest crowds and quite a bit of rain, but
the Sunday saw some of best weather in Britain this Summer.
the leading designers were at the show including Real and Muff
Musgrave, who actually arrived late on the Saturday due to their
plane being delayed. Pictured left – Real
and Muff Musgrave signing – click
on image for detail.
queues for the signing lines of Real Musgrave (Pocket Dragons),
David Corbridge (Piggin’) and Raine (Just the Right Shoe) were
continuously long throughout the two days, and the bargain tent
was just incredible. Pictured right –
Piggin’ creator David Corbridge signing
– click on image for detail.
intrepid Pocket Dragon collector Cheryl (and World Collectors
Net regular) speant three hours queuing on the Saturday to have
a her pieces signed, and the Sunday also saw waits of over one
hour. Pictured left – Raine of Just the
Right Shoe fame signing – click
on image for detail.
Available on the day were all the touring specials and also
for the first time there were a number of Special Day pieces.
These were only available on the day and for a limited time
at designated branches of the various sponsor retailers whilst
stocks last. The Figurines of the Day include Piggin’ Fix It!
– (Piggin’); Your Prince is Here – (Pocket Dragons) ; Treads
(Just the Right Shoe); On this Special Day (The Latest Thing);
and Unity (J.H. Boone).
CWS Chairman Bill Dodd, speant the whole of Sunday helping collectors
spend their money. There were some incredible prices for lots
of excess, and end of line stock. Bargains picked up included
a Limited Edition Thomas Blackshear Ebony Visions piece for
just £10. Lots of other goodies going from £1 up. Pictured
right – Bill Dodd helping out at the bargain tent
– click on image for detail.
the fire destroyed the CWS on-line department offices and server,
the event included the on-line department showing of the various
CWS web sites, however planned live broadcasts had to be cancelled.
Pictured left – Collectors looking at
the CWS web sites – click on image for detail.
popular tents included the Paint and Cast Your Own, where we
met Luke from Walsall – the newest Pocket Dragon’s Collector
who started his collection of Pocket Dragons at he event. Pictured
right – Luke painting his Pocket Dragon
– click on image for detail.
These included Jackie from Kent who was busy painting her Just
the Right Shoe. She has 61 already and has been up for the whole
weekend visiting Soke as well. Pictured
left – Jackie painting her Just the Right Shoe
– click on image for detail.
other up and coming designers and lines were also represented
including the very talented David Meredith the main designer
for the ‘a Walk in the Country’ range. This is one collection
that is both original, interesting and very well executed. Pictured
right – David Meredith relaxing after a busy day
– click on image for detail.
Other activities over the two days included prize draws, competitions,
falconry displays, a free inflatable assault course & bouncy
castle, and the Circus Sensible performing lots of fun acts.
A great setting and a well planned event was enjoyed by an estimated
12,000 collectors, all of the ones who we spoke thoroughly enjoyed
Write for WCN
Random Collecting Feature
Holly Hobbie was an artist specialising in drawing greetings cards, lending her name to the characters she drew, which were later issued in doll form. Pictured: 1975 Knickerbocker Holly Hobbie doll During the 1960s, people became intrigued by her designs featuring a little girl, facing sideways, dressed in a long patchwork frock, with a large bonnet totally obscuring her face. This pose tended to create an urge to see the expression which lurked beneath the brim. Grannies, especially, adored this nostalgia theme, imagining it was their granddaughter lurking under that floppy bonnet, and the whole concept happily coincided with the fashionable look of the day – long, floaty dresses, small prints, Laura Ashley, country style, femininity and pastel shades. Holly Hobbie created her designs for the American Greetings Card Company for many years, featuring children in idyllic settings, each illustrated by a motto such as ‘Life’s greatest blessing is a happy heart’, ‘Happiness is found in little things’ or ‘Start each day in a happy way’. The designs appeared not only on stationery items, but on products such as kitchen towels, oven gloves, plates, cups, aprons, bed linen, china ornaments, trays and, of course, as dozens of different dolls. Many of these were rag dolls, as befitting the nostalgia theme. Today, Holly Hobbie lives in Conway, Massachusetts, and is a successful author/illustrator of picture books featuring the adventures of two pigs called Toot and Puddle. Pictured: Tomy Party Days Holly Hobbie Dolls representing Holly Hobbie have been made by several companies over the years, including Knickerbocker, Tomy and, most recently, Ashton Drake. During the 1970s a Holly Hobbie made from a very soft thin rubbery vinyl was issued by the American Greetings Corp. This doll had barely-there features, a round head, straggley hair and tiny eyes. She looked rather strange. Knickerbocker created a whole range of rag dolls in various sizes, and, as well as Holly Hobbie, there were friends such as Amy, Heather, Carrie, Robby and Grandma. Amy tended to wear green, Heather pink or beige and Carrie, red. Robby was a little boy in blue striped dungarees, while Grandma, naturally, was an old lady doll. Pictured: Ashton Drake Holy Hobbie doll As well as the rag dolls, vinyl types were available – one unusual one stood just 6″ tall, but wore an enormous skirt. Underneath the skirt was a three-roomed dolls house, complete with Holly Hobbie-style furniture and accessories, such as a gramophone with a horn, a rocking chair, a butter churn, a kitchen dresser and a round table. Tomy introduced a range of Holly Hobbie dolls in 1989, featuring some beautiful rag types 16″ high, dressed in pastel-coloured dresses, each bearing a message such as ‘Make each day a sunshine day’ and ‘A gift from the heart is the best gift of all’. The box stated ‘Every day is a Holly day’. During the 1990s, Holly Hobbie was revamped again, this time by Knickerbocker, appearing as a vinyl, soft-bodied doll with a snub nose, cheeky smile and masses of curly hair. She wore a long patchwork frock and matching bonnet, available in several colourways. Smaller versions were sold too. The recent Ashton Drake issue of porcelain Holly Hobbie dolls was probably the most delightful representation of the character ever produced. Created by Dianna Effner, and standing 16″ high, they represented the four seasons. Autumn, the first to be released, showed the little girl in her famous patchwork dress and bonnet clutching a flowering twig. The next in the series, Summer, had Holly dressed in patriotic red, white and blue, holding the American Flag, while Winter had her in a red dress and Spring wore green. These dolls had delightful expressions – a combination of a shy smile and a cheeky grin – and the detailing on the costumes was excellent. Related Holly Hobbie Doll Features Greetings from Holly, Sarah & Betsey – feature on Holly Hobbie, Sarah Kay and Betsey Clark
Readers who were children during the 1950s may well have fond memories of a very rare type of doll – the Beauty Skin. Made by Pedigree, these lovely dolls were certainly not rare at the time. On the contrary they were very popular, especially with young children, because they were so soft and cuddly. Sadly, though, the dolls had a fault – they tended to disintegrate after a few years of play. Pedigree Beauty Skin dolls first appeared in the late 1940s, and were popular until the mid-1950s. They came in four sizes, but the smallest had a rubber head, unlike the hard plastic of the larger sizes. These rubber-headed dolls were 9” high, while the hard plastic headed versions were 14”, 16” and 20”. Although their heads were hard plastic, their bodies were made from a soft thin rubbery latex material and their limbs were of a similar substance, stuffed with kapok. They had pretty faces, often with flirty eyes, and most had moulded hair. Gradually, after lots of loving and cuddles, the latex would split or turn brittle, and the kapok would emerge, leaving a split and empty arm. Eventually, the dolls would be so damaged that they would be thrown away, which is why they are so rare today. Some people tried to stop the splits with sticking plaster, but this was a disastrous thing to do, because once stuck to the latex it could never be removed. It would turn grubby and unsightly. Sadly some owners of the dolls still resort to this method of stopping the kapok emerging, today, but it is not recommended. If you are lucky enough to own one of these dolls, but it has split, then the best thing to do is to place a soft garment on the doll – cardigan or leggings, depending on where the split is – and then handle it as little as possible. Just leave it alone, and hope that it doesn’t get worse. At the time, Pedigree recommended that talcum powder should be rubbed in to the latex, but I am wary of this treatment, unless the doll is actually sticky, as it could dry out the latex even more. Sun, warmth and the rigours of handling played havoc with that delicate skin, and modern central heating dries them out, too. (Most people in the fifties didn’t have to worry about central heating; they made do with a coal fire downstairs and cold bedrooms!) I called my first Beauty Skin baby Jeannie, and loved her very much, but eventually she was so damaged, I couldn’t play with her. So when I was asked what I would like for Christmas – I must have been about six – I asked for another soft doll, just like Jeannie. I found Isabelle on Christmas morning wearing a white satin dress, lying in a little blue-draped metal crib. I loved Isabelle dearly, and I had her for many years, even though her right arm slowly, but completely, disintegrated. I used to take her on holiday with me, and she rode in my doll’s pram. Eventually the day came when my mother decided I was ‘too big’ for dolls, and so most of my babies had to go. Isabelle had to be put into the dustbin – no-one would want a doll with a perished arm – though Mum kindly offered to do it for me, knowing how much I loved that doll. When I started collecting dolls, I searched everywhere for a Beauty Skin, and kept a lookout at all the doll fairs, but no luck. Then one day, about six years ago, my daughter and I visited our local Collectors’ Centre. Suddenly I saw her pick up a doll from a table, and turn to me in triumph. She had found me a Pedigree Beauty Skin! Apart from one tiny crack in the rubber skin on the palm of one hand, she was perfect, and was the first one I had seen since my beloved Isabelle was thrown in the dustbin all those years ago. She is slightly larger than my original Isabelle, and her face is a little different, but her fingers, her toes, the way her moulded hair is shaped into little curls around her forehead, are just as I remembered. My Beauty Skin wears her original white satin-edged cotton romper suit, and takes pride of place in my doll cabinet. Now, though, she normally has a light cotton dress and jacket placed over the top of her romper, just to ensure that when she is handled no damage can get to her skin. A couple of years later, my daughter came hurrying over to me at a doll fair, to say she had found another, smaller, Beauty Skin! This one was just 9” high, and was immaculate, with a soft head, rather than the hard plastic head of the larger-sized Beauty Skin babies. Still boxed and wearing her blue dress, bonnet and socks, she must have been ex-shop stock. Then, recently, I came across yet another large Beauty Skin. This one, although not in such perfect condition as our other doll, is, I believe, unplayed with, but poor storage has caused her to disintegrate on one thigh. However the facial colouring is wonderful, with cheeks as pink as the day they were painted. She is 16” tall, wears her original lilac and pink romper suit and lacy net socks, and comes with her box and even the delightful letter which Pedigree gave to all the new young ‘mothers’ of Beauty Skin babies. This delightful ‘hand-written’ letter reads: ‘My Dearest Mummy, I love you, I hope that you will love me too. Be careful not to let me fall, I am a Baby – after all! To keep me always fresh and sweet, Just sponge me over, top to feet, Then gently dry and powder me, And I’ll be clean as clean can be,. I’m ready Mummy Dear for fun, And go to sleep […]
At a recent exhibition at the Acorn Gallery, Pocklington we had the pleasure of interviewing a favourite artist of ours at WCN, the very talented Marie Louise Wrightson. Marie’s work and imagining of Alice in Wonderland has caught our attention and her clever use of props, novelties and frames for her art make her an artist to watch. Have you always been a fan of Alice in Wonderland? Being Dyslexic, I have always loved the illustrations in books, for me, they bring the stories to life in so many ways. Alice in Wonderland has always been my favorite book, I think it’s that mix of escapism, fantasy and the wonderful portrayal of the creativity of Lewis Carroll in his story telling. Who is your favourite character? My favorite character has to be the Mad Hatter, because of his love of tea and fabulous quotes. Do you collect Alice in Wonderland books? I have a large collection of of Alice in Wonderland objects and around 70 books, many favorites, but I do have a Russian copy with some amazing illustrations. I am constantly inspired by the drawings, paintings and illustrations from the books, a fabulous resource of imagery. You also create designs featuring wonderful hair arrangements. How did you come up with the idea and how do you select the items that appear? I started painting a grown up Alice with large cups on her head and long hair with all the related objects not long after I graduated from art school. I like creating that almost dream like effect with my figures, a head full of dreams. What else inspires you? I’m a bit of a DC fan and have painted many characters from the comics and films, would love to paint a Bane and Batman piece, many next year. Favorite comic characters has to be Harley Quinn and Cat Woman, always fun to paint. More about Marie Louise Wrightson Marie Louise graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone School of Art, in Dundee, in 2005, having completed her degree in Fine Art and then later her Masters. Marie’s modern twist on a very fine art style has gained her an excellent reputation. Marie was born in Lincolnshire but has lived in Scotland for the past twenty years. Further information You can find Marie on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MarieLWrightson/ Marie Louise Wrightson at the Acorn Gallery
Dumbo by Walt Disney Productions premiered on October 23, 1941 and celebrates its 75th Anniversay in 2016. It was Walt Disney’s fourth animated feature and was based upon a storyline written by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Pearl. The main character is a baby elephant Jumbo Jr., who is nicknamed “Dumbo” due to his big ears. Dumbo is ridiculed for his big ears, but in fact he is capable of flying by using his ears as wings. Throughout most of the film, his only true friend, aside from his mother, is the mouse, Timothy. A number of Dumbo related collectibles and art have been created or are being released to coincide with the 75th Anniversary. Jim Shore Sweet Snow Fall – Dumbo 75th Anniversary Figurine Jim Shore celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Disney classic Dumbo with this unique design featuring the beloved baby elephant decked out for the holidays. Disney Dumbo 75th Anniversary Musical Ornament This delightful Hallmark Gold Crown Exclusive is designed by Kristina Gaughran and features Dumbo being cradled by his mother. The ornament plays Baby Mine. Lionel Dumbo 75th Anniversary Boxcar This little gem from Lionel features a traditional boxcar featuring Dumbo designs. It is priced at $84.99. New Zealand Mint Dumbo 75th Anniversary Coins The New Zealand Mint has been minting legal tender collectible coins, gold bullion and medallions for more than four decades and has released to coins for Dumbo’s 75th Anniversary – the Dumbo 1 oz Silver and Dumbo 1/4 oz Gold Coins. Thomas Kinkade Company Disney Dumbo Limited Edition Art Continuing the work of Thomas Kinkade, this wonderful new release from the Thomas Kinkade Company celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the release of Dumbo. Disney Dumbo by Thomas Kinkade Studios portrays the happiness and pride that his circus friends feel for Dumbo as he soars above the crowd. This painting captures Dumbo’s shining moment, reminding us, as Timothy tells him, “The very things that held you down are going to carry you up and up and up!” Disney Dumbo’s 75th Anniversary Facts Disney premiered Dumbo in movie theaters across the United States on October 23, 1941. Dumbo was the fourth movie in the “Walt Disney Animated Classics” series. The story was based upon the “Roll-A-Book” written by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Pearl. The film was conceived during the Great Depression and Disney’s goal was to give Americans a story with an uplifting message as they faced difficult times. Walt Disney acted out each part of the movie, as it was being planned. With a run-time of 64 minutes, Dumbo is one of Disney’s shortest animated features
Wemyss Ware Wemyss Ware (pronounced Weems) is named after the castle situated on cliffs between East Wemyss and West Wemyss in Fife, which was the home of the Grosvenor family who became patrons of the Fife Pottery in Gallatown, near Kirkcaldy. The Fife Pottery was built in 1817, traditionally the Fife Pottery had paid its way by producing useful domestic wares, and it was not until the 1880s when the production of the hand-painted earthenware, with characteristically bold decoration, recognised today as Wemyss Ware began. The first piece of Wemyss Ware appeared in 1882 on the initiative of Robert Methven Heron. R. M. Heron had studied painting at the studios of the Edinburgh artists of his time and had travelled extensively in Europe. The production of Wemyss style pieces, particularly with traditional subjects such as the cock and hen patterns, had already begun when R. M. Heron brought back to the pottery six continental artists to augment the staff at the Fife Pottery. Five returned, and the one who remained was Karel Nekola, who became chief decorator and instructor at the pottery. Karel Nekola introduced a new style of ware to the pottery which was initially fired at a low temperature in order to produce a soft ‘biscuit’ body which would be able to absorb the colours from the decorator’s brush. It is this initial firing which is responsible for giving Wemyss Ware a body which is very fragile. After being painted and dipped in a soft lead glaze the pottery was again fired at a very low temperature, this time so as to avoid spoiling the brilliant colours. Wemyss Ware was decorated with natural subjects, such as flowers, in particular the red cabbage roses, but also buttercups, honeysuckle, sweet peas, carnations, Canterbury bells, thistles, irises, violets; and fruits are to be found including: cherries, plums, apples, pears and oranges may be seen, but also rare fig pattern, or lemons and grapes. Pictured: A Wemyss ‘Cabbage Roses’ ewer and basin – The basin painted by Karel Nekola, ewer 16cm high, 19cm diameter, both impressed WEMYSS and with green painted Wemyss mark, ewer with blue printed T.Goode & Co mark. Sold at Bonhams, Edinbugh for £275, August 2011. Image Copyright Bonhams. Wemyss Ware was a instant success, and with interest shown in the pottery by the Grosvenor and other Scottish families, Wemyss became an exclusive, expensive product much sought after by the affluent. Thomas Goode & Co. the well-known Mayfair china shop, became the companies sole retail outlet in England. Goode’s would often request special shapes and designs. Pictured: A large Wemyss Ware pig, with sponged black markings, the details picked out in pink, 46cms long, impressed WEMYSS WARE, R.H. & S., and bearing red printed retailer’s mark for T.GOODE & Co. Sold at Bonhams, Edinburgh for £1,995, December 2004. Image Copyright Bonhams. Karel Nekola continued to work at the pottery until disability prevented him and even then continued working at home, using a small kiln which was built for him in his garden, so that at his death in 1915 he had completed 30 years arduous service for the pottery. Edwin Sandland became chief decorator to the Fife Pottery following the death of Karel Nekola. Edwin Sandland, was from a family of potters and was a decorator in the Staffordshire area, and was posted to Perth during the Great War. He joined the pottery until his own death in 1928. New designs were introduced at this time and typical Wemyss motifs were painted over an all-black ground. Another innovation was to paint the design over splashes of various colours thus producing a gaudy effect. At the same time means were successfully found to raise the temperature of the final firing and so produce a glaze which was free from crazing. Despite new designs and new techniques the great economic depression of the 1930s meant that the pottery ceased trading in Fife. Wemyss Ware at Bovey Tracy 1930-1957 Thus the Fife Pottery came to an end in 1930, but Wemyss Ware secured a kind of extended life when the patterns and designs were taken over by the Bovey Pottery Co. of Bovey Tracey in Devon. Here Joseph Nekola, Karel Nekola’s son, following in his father’s footsteps, continued the familiar style of painting on a harder, whiter body, under a brilliant glaze which was free from crazing. A number of pieces produced during this time are marked as “Plichta.” Jan Plichta was a Czech immigrant that sold and exported wholesale glass and pottery, and items he ordered from the Bovey Pottery were marked with his name. Wemyss decorators produced items for Plichta, which sometimes leads to confusion, but in general Plichta items are inferior in quality. One of the lead apprentices at the pottery was Esther Weeks who went onto become head decorator in 1952 when Jospeh died. The pottery at Bovey Tracy closed in 1957. Wemyss Ware and the Griselda Hill Pottery Ltd® In 1985 Griselda Hill started producing Wemyss Ware® back in its birthplace in the heart of Fife. Griselda was inspired by the memory of her grandmother’s Wemyss® pig, which she discovered to have been made locally when she moved to Fife in 1984. The first product was a cat modelled on an example in Kirkcaldy Museum, and over the years since then the Pottery has developed a range of Wemyss Ware® which can easily stand alongside the originals. Pictured: A modern black and white Wemyss Ware pottery cat from the Griselda Hill Pottery Ltd®. This and other cats etc are still available at https://www.wemyssware.co.uk/ As with the original Wemyss Ware®, the success of the Pottery is based on the quality of the hand painting and the beauty of the designs and colours. All the artists have been working at the Pottery for over fifteen years, and have become very skilled at their work. While some new technology has been introduced to minimise production problems and environmental pollution, the techniques of hand decoration remain the same as ever. Being hand painted, each piece is unique. Pictured: A modern small clover Wemyss Ware pottery pig from the Griselda Hill Pottery Ltd®. This and other animals etc are still […]
The first Moomin book was published over 70 years in 1945 and the stories and character have since inspired puppet animations, TV shows, animated series, collectables, collectors items, a museum, Moomin shops, Moomin cafes and even a Moominworld theme park. For collectors of Moomin collectables and merchandise there is especial interest in the Moomin books, Moomin art, vintage Moomon items and the Moomin mug. The Moomin characters and Moominworld were the work Finnish-Swedish writer and artist Tove Jansson. Her stories about the adventures of Moomin family (Moomintroll, Moominpappa, Moominmamma and friends) of white and roundish trolls with large snouts have delighted generations and interest continues today. Tove Jansson was born in Helsinki in 1914 into an artistic family. She studied art from 1930 to 1938 in Stockholm, Helsinki and then Paris and her first Moomin-like character appears in the magazine Garm in 1943. Her first Moomin book was published in 1945 by Söderström & Co – The Moomins and the Great Flood. The first book was a minor success but her next two books Comet in Moominland and Finn Family Moomintroll, published in 1946 and 1948 respectively, saw high sales and assured her fame. Most of the Moomin books were translated into English in the 1950s to the 1970s. The first book Moomins and the Great Flood was only translated into English in 2005 to mark its 60th Anniversary. The character Moomintroll was born out of chance when Tove, on one childhood summer day, discussed literary philosophy with her brother Per Olov Jansson by the outhouse next to their summer cottage in the archipelago. Tove drew the ugliest creature she could imagine on the outhouse wall. That drawing is the first glimpse of the Moomins, although Tove called it a Snork. Source moomin.com The modern interest in Moomins coincided with the release in 1990 by Telecable of a 104 half-hour Moomin animations names Tales From Moominvalley. The series was produced in Japan by Dennis Livson and Lars Jansson and Tales From Moominvalley was eventually sold to over 60 countries. The series was followed by full-length movie Comet in Moominland. The success in Scandinavia and principally in Japan created what has been term The Moomin Boom (muumibuumi in Finnish). The Moomin Books Tove Jansen write 9 books and 5 picture books. The original publication date is given below along with English title. 1945 The Moomins and the Great Flood (Originally: Småtrollen och den stora översvämningen) 1946 Comet in Moominland (Swedish title Kometjakten / Mumintrollet på kometjakt / Kometen kommer) 1948 Finn Family Moomintroll (Original Swedish title Trollkarlens hatt, ‘The Magician’s Hat’), 1950 The Exploits of Moominpappa (Originally: Muminpappans bravader/Muminpappans memoarer) 1952 The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My – The first Moomin picture book (Originally: Hur gick det sen?) Some Moomin books – First Edition English book covers 1954 Moominsummer Madness (Swedish title Farlig midsommar, ‘Dangerous Midsummer’) 1957 Moominland Midwinter (Swedish title Trollvinter, Finnish title Taikatalvi) 1960 Who Will Comfort Toffle? – The second Moomin picture book (Originally: Vem ska trösta knyttet?) 1962 Tales from Moominvalley (Originally: Det osynliga barnet) 1965 Moominpappa at Sea (Originally: Pappan och havet) 1970 Moominvalley in November 1977 The Dangerous Journey (Originally: Den farliga resan) 1980 Skurken i Muminhuset (English: Villain in the Moominhouse) 1993 Visor från Mumindalen (English: Songs from Moominvalley) As well as books the Moomins also appeared in comic strip form in a number of papers all over the world originally in 1947 in the children’s section of the Ny Tid newspaper, and internationally to English readers in 1954 in the London’s The Evening News. The Moomins cartoon strip reaches up to 20 million readers daily in over 40 countries. Tove Jansson drew and wrote all the strips until 1959. From 1960, Tove’s brother Lars Jansson drew the strip until 1975 when the last strip was released. The Moomin Mug – Collecting moominmugs Other than books one of main areas of interest is collecting Moomin Mugs (collecting moominmugs). Arabia have been responsible for the Moomin mug since 1990. Arabia are a Finnish ceramics company, founded in 1873 by Rörstrand, who specialize in kitchenware and tableware. The first Moomin mug was released in 1990 and began a series entitled Teema. The Mug Green is also known by the name The Green Comic Strip. The original artwork featured on the mug is from Tove Jansson’s comic strip #8 Moomin Builds a New Life (1956). Tove Slotte was the graphic designer responsible for Arabia’s Moomin products. He used the images from the strip more or less as they were, only removing the speech bubbles. In the same year Mug Blue, Mug Rose and Mug Yellow. The Mug blue is also known by the name Painting Moomins, the mug rose is also known by the name Rose Comic Strip and the fourth Moomin mug is also known by the name Mug yellow, Moominmamma. The early Arabia Moomin mugs are extremely collectable with prices for perfect example of Mug Green being over £400. The other colours also fetch prices from £100 to £300. There is an excellent series of articles on the history behind the Moomin mugs on the moomin.com blog. A visit to a Moomin shop, to their website or a look on ebay will show the wide variety of collectables, books, merchandise and household items that are available. If you have not read a Moomin book do go and find the recent special editions of the original books and immerse yourself in this wonderful fantasy world.
Unlike us, bears have discovered the enviable secret of eternal youth. An eighty-eight-year-old Rupert? Ridiculous! A seventy-eight-year-old Mary Plain? Unthinkable! An eighty-eight-year-old Pooh? Preposterous. And as for a fifty-year-old Paddington – you must be joking! How can a bear who creates mischief and mayhem wherever he goes – admittedly a bear whose sole aim in life is to be helpful and polite, but who is unfortunately accident prone, impulsive and always in deep trouble – be well on the way to collecting his bus pass? Bears always find an age with which they are comfortable and stick to it. So, believe it or not, Paddington really does celebrate his fiftieth birthday this year. Pictured left: Paddington Bear by Gabrielle No doubt he will be hosting a party with an iced cake cooked by Mrs Bird, buns and cocoa donated by Mr Gruber, and a ‘here’s one I made earlier’ wobbly jelly from the Blue Peter team. (For many years, Paddington was a regular in the Blue Peter studio.) Of course, there will be a huge pile of sandwiches too, but the vital question is, will they be filled with marmalade – or Marmite? Up until recently, the choice of filling would have been a forgone conclusion, but suddenly our loveable bear has developed a taste for the sticky brown stuff. Of course, he still loves marmalade very much. In fact, when Paddington was first approached by the advertising company he exclaimed, “But I always have marmalade in my sandwiches!” The agency explained, “That’s exactly why we think you would be perfect for the campaign. We want people who normally have something different in their sandwiches to try Marmite.” Pictured right: Paddington Bear with Marmalade Hidden Treasures from Arora Design – each figurine has a secret compartment containing a hidden treasure. So, rather tentatively, Paddington took a sniff, and then a nibble, and finally a big bite. He discovered that he enjoyed Marmite very much indeed, and though it could never really replace his beloved marmalade, it certainly made a jolly acceptable change. The pigeons and the ducks are not too sure, though, as can be seen in the adverts. Michael Bond is not too sure, either, and in a letter to The Times wrote, “Paddington likes his food and tries anything, but he would certainly never be weaned off marmalade”, saying that Paddington’s characteristics are “set in stone and you shouldn’t change them.” In the past he has always tried to avoid any hint of commercialising Paddington Bear, so he added darkly, “Now there’s no going back.” What actually is Marmite? Well, it’s a spread made from yeast extract, vegetable extract, salt and various spices and, as the adverts proclaim, ‘You either love it or hate it’. You certainly can’t be indifferent to that tangy, tongue numbing taste. Although Paddington has been weaned off the marmalade for a while to promote the new, squeezy Marmite, I’m sure it won’t be long before he reverts to his favourite marmalade chunks. A marmalade-free Paddington is about as unthinkable as a Paddington who has lost his duffel coat and floppy hat. When Michael Bond found a small toy teddy bear on a shelf in a London Store on Christmas Eve 1956, he decided to buy it as a present for his wife. He called the bear Paddington. Just for fun, he wrote some stories revolving around the bear, and after a few days realised he had a book on his hands. However, he admits that while he was writing he didn’t consciously set out to write a children’s book – which is good, because, as all Paddington enthusiasts know, the books are far too special to be the sole prerogative of youngsters. Eventually, the book was placed with William Collins and Sons (now HarperCollins), and illustrator Peggy Fortnum was commissioned to produce the delightful sketches which complemented the stories so well. ‘A Bear Called Paddington’ was published in 1958, and as we all know, the rest is history. Amazingly, the Paddington series of books have sold over thirty million copies world wide and have been translated into thirty languages. Pictured left: Paddington Bear by Steiff As the birthday bear’s big day approaches, as well as planning his party shopping list and putting both Marmite and marmalade at the top of it, how else will Paddington be celebrating? For starters, he will be starring in a new book, the first Michael Bond Paddington Bear book to be published for thirty years. Rumour has it that a mysterious stranger will cause Paddington to reflect where home really is – surely he won’t forsake 32 Windsor Gardens and return to darkest Peru? ‘Paddington Here and Now’ will be published in June, while in October, to commemorate the publication of that very first book, HarperCollins will issue a special anniversary edition of ‘A Bear Called Paddington’. And there’s more – in March, as part of World Book Day, a £1 read, ‘Paddington Rules the Waves’, will be amongst the titles on offer. There will be plenty of new Paddington Bear collectables and merchandise this year, too, including a new Steiff creation. As we all know, Paddington was first discovered by Mr and Mrs Brown on Paddington Station, hence his name. The optimistic little refugee was sitting hopefully on a suitcase containing his worldly goods, and Steiff have depicted him, carrying his case, in a limited edition of 1,500 pieces. This 11 inch tall Paddington wears a pale blue coat and is complete with a gold-plated button-in-ear. He is based on the FilmFair Paddington Bear from the television series, a super bonus for fans of the animated episodes. Other items include puzzles courtesy of Hausemann en Hotte/Falcon, while Robert Harrop has produced a gorgeous commemorative figurine of Paddington munching a marmalade sandwich (not a blob of Marmite in sight!). More planned Paddington releases include a commemorative coin, a pewter figurine, clothing, greetings cards, a cookery book and gift wrap, as well as a range of soft […]
From their home studio tucked away on the rural coast of northern California, a pair of sisters create works of art that look good enough to eat. Dinah and Patty Hulet have created stunning art glass that you’ll find in museums, galleries, and the finest gift shops in the world. Both went through college and pursued meaningful careers. While working as a librarian for a chemical company, Dinah found inspiration in the creations of the scientific glassblowers and it wasn’t long before both sisters were fully entranced with the captivating medium of glass art. By the mid-1980s, the sisters created Hulet Glass. They sold their works at local art and wine festivals with plenty of success, but they both felt it best to move to a rural portion of northern California to put their sole focus on creating their art and marketing to galleries and high-end gift shops across the country. Looking at their works, it’s amazing to discover that they are both self-taught in the field of glass art. Dinah excels at lampworking torch methods while Patty’s artistic focus involves the kiln with fusing, casting and pate de verre. What started as a hobby for both women became a full-blown career in art glass. Hulet Glass is now known around the world for upstanding quality and impeccable craftsmanship. Dinah’s portrait murrine have been exhibited in places like the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York. Patty’s pate de verre was represented at SOFA. After years of experience in glass art, they’ve lectured to aspiring glass artists, taught their techniques locally, nationally, and internationally, and Dinah is a past board member of the Glass Art Society. In addition to these accomplishments, the sisters have found the perfect recipe for success in the form of art glass chocolates. Under the name Hulet Glass Confections, Dinah and Patty began creating these delectably-designed art glass treats in 2005. Lavish details make each piece look good enough to eat, perfectly mimicking the look of gourmet chocolates, petit fours, tartlets, cupcakes, chocolate drops, and other delightful treats. The truly astounding embellishments include art glass chocolates topped with nuts that look so real you might attempt to taste them. When they displayed the glass chocolates at the Buyer’s Market of American Crafts in Philadelphia in 2007, buyers responded in a frenzy. Since then, the Hulet sisters have continued to create their art glass chocolates for collectors in the US and around the world. Each piece is crafted by the sisters only. They take great pride in ensuring the precision and quality their glass art brand is known for. A display of gorgeous chocolates adds a touch of class to any room, a symbol of both romance and opulence. As we eat with our eyes, the sight of stunningly-detailed chocolates evokes memories of innocence, love and happy times. Collectors will go out of their way to find a unique piece to add to their Hulet Chocolate collection. Many times when one friend or relative starts collecting, others in their close circle begin to do so as well, creating a partner to assist in tracking down that perfect piece. One look at Hulet Glass Confections and you’ll be amazed these pieces aren’t real gourmet treats. The sisters continue to craft them, coming up with new designs every year to tempt collectors to add to their growing collections. The sisters also devise decorative boxes for their art glass treats, making them the perfect vessel to commemorate special occasions like weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and more. The creations they make are the ideal special gift for anyone that wants to give something unique. The Hulet sisters’ Chocolate Drop is a beautiful piece that can be used as a necklace or ornament and given for holidays like Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, or as a sweet treat for teachers at the end of the year. For more details on these great creations visit Hulet Glass Chocolates
Often referred to as a “Pioneer for the Modern Movement”, Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a talented architect, artist and interior designer.
When it comes to innovative design there are two sisters that instantly spring to mind, Freda and Dorothy Doughty. Between them they were not only responsible for creating some of the most spectacular ceramic figurines but also for saving one of the UK’s best loved factories – Royal Worcester. Dorothy had a passion for nature which is evident in her bird figurines but Freda’s designs of enchanting loveable children at play changed the way Royal Worcester was perceived being not only hugely successful back in the 1930s but also highly sought after by collectors today. Born to the wife of the famous explorer and Poet, Charles Doughty, in San Marino, Italy, Freda and her sister Dorothy were brought to Kent in the UK when they were still small children. In 1926 their father passed away leaving the girls, who were unmarried, to run the family home. Dorothy was a keen naturalist and ornithologist who also had a talent for painting. She attended the Eastbourne College of Art where she excelled. Very little is known about Freda’s early life but we do know that she also had a keen interest in art and ran ceramic modelling classes for children, from the house. These children became great inspiration for Freda and she would frequently create ceramic models of them, totally unaware at the time of what impact her child figurines would have on saving one of the most reputable British ceramic factories from demise. In 1930 the Royal Worcester factory was having financial difficulties and was on the brink of closing. Businessman, Charles Dyson Perrins saved the day by purchasing the factory and paying the workers out of his own pocket until the company was stable again. Another initiative that he introduced was a new group of modellers who were mostly women. They were responsible for helping enlighten the factory once again. One of the Directors of Royal Worcester saw Freda’s child figurines whilst staying with her cousin and so asked if Freda would submit something to the factory. This was to be the start of a flourishing career for Freda both as a modeller and designer. The first four models were exhibited at a London Art Gallery along with offerings from the other freelance designers. In comparison to the more ‘avant-garde’ designs that were created by her colleagues, Freda’s children were very simplistic and considered to be old fashioned. However the public absolutely loved them and as a result Freda quickly became one of the most prolific and successful artists at the factory. During her long career with Royal Worcester, Freda produced over 100 different models, most of which were produced many times over. Each piece showed children either playing in the garden, on the beach or simply enjoying their youth. ‘Grandmother’s Dress’ and ‘Boy with Parakeet’ were two of the most popular and so were created in various colourways. Other successful ranges were ‘Days of the Week’ and ‘Months of the Year’ which were also produced over a long period of time. By 1934 Royal Worcester decided to introduce a range featuring Birds of America in order to re-establish themselves in the American market. A series of cabinet plates illustrating images from the Audubon Birds of America book were issued in limited edition sizes and proved to be a huge success. The Art Publisher of the book, Mr Dickens, then approached Royal Worcester again about the possibility of creating three dimensional bird figurines. His requirements were specific and the figurines had to have a matt finish which would help create a realistic feel. Freda was by now very popular with the public and had released many models of her children. So the Art Director, Mr Gimson approached Freda to see if she would be interested in sculpting the new range of bird figurines. Although a talented and versatile modeller she introduced Mr Gimson to her sister Dorothy who, Freda believed, would be perfect for the job. Dorothy already had a sound knowledge of birds, a fine artistic flair and also a legendary photographic memory for small details so this particular project was ideal. There was no doubt that Dorothy was skilled in watercolour and sketching but needed to learn the art of producing models for ceramics. Freda spent time teaching her how to create plasticine models and cut them to produce the required moulds for slip casting. The first few bird figurines were produced by studying photographs but these earlier models lacked the vibrancy of her later pieces which were created by modelling from life. It became apparent to Dorothy that the method of slip casting was unsuitable for making finer details such as flowers, so a workshop was set up and Dorothy along with a team of trainees began to hand mould the details. The bird figurines were all extremely complex to create and so were produced in limited edition sizes, a culture that was being adopted as it appealed to the public. On many occasions Freda was asked if she would like to make some limited editions of her child figurines, but she declined. She was a believer that her particular figures were to be bought and enjoyed by everyone and so be easily accessible rather than limited to just a few lucky people. Throughout the war years much of the factory production ceased as the staff concentrated on the war effort. Dorothy still worked on some of her bird figurines but also became an ambulance driver and was involved with secret experimental work with aircraft production. Sadly she then fell very ill and so together with her sister Freda, moved to Falmouth in Cornwall although together they continued their work for the Royal Worcester factory. By the 1950s Royal Worcester once again was experiencing financial difficulties and it is said that Freda’s child figurines especially ‘Grandmother’s Dress’ and ‘Boy with Parakeet’ were a contributing factor to the company’s survival. Dorothy continued to create her bird figurines but sadly in 1962 was taken seriously ill again and […]