Saturday, April 23, 2011
RANDOM 341 OBJECT
Antique REDWARE JAR, Incised Lines Accent Color CT / PA-$202
They don’t let me out much, so I can’t speak for your part of the world, but around here finding a piece of authentic, pre Civil War era redware is as likely as finding a hundred-dollar bill in the parking lot of one of those payday loan places. I just never run across it in the wild.
At 10” tall and a bit over 7” in diameter, I’d say it holds about one gallon when filled to the bottom of the collar-like neck. The color is a real eye-catcher in any setting, and the incised lines and darker blotches are bonuses. Obviously, it isn’t flawless.
I’ve been pondering “imperfection” for quite some time, but more on that in a jiffy.
After the potter smoothed out the sides, shaped the collar, the neck and the rim, he or she then incised some lines: One at the middle of the body and two or three more up at the neck. At the top rim, you’ll find a chip, but there are no chips at the bottom rim. And yes, there are glaze losses, and they are examples of the “imperfections” I’ve been pondering.
Years ago, I took by brother with me to an auction taking place way out in the country. There were wonderful old things – authentic, early antiques; one family’s accumulations spanning three generations. I met up with a couple fellow antiquers, and we were all taken by a huge, early, hand decorated yellowware bowl with several big chips around the top and a crack going down one side. As we were passing it back and forth, my brother, who gives the same respect to antiques he would give an illegitimate maggot, just had to chime in: “It’s busted and should be thrown in the trash.” Yet we were undeterred in our admiration.
All manner of trite explanations and excuses have been written over and over again attempting to justify one’s love of antique things in spite of these imperfections. “One man’s junk is another’s treasure” is a good example, but I think it goes deeper, and that’s what had gnawed at me for years. How could we possibly be drawn to this old stuff?
Years later I ran across something written by Leonardo da Vinci. He said, “The part always has a tendency to reunite with its whole in order to escape from its imperfection.” That has stuck with me ever since. It helps me rationalize paying an outrageous price for something old and rare but with glaring imperfections. Maybe it’s genetic. If so, I hope you were lucky enough to have inherited that gene. It applies to people as well as crocks, which are sometimes one in the same.
I got up this morning promising myself I’d “blast through” the mountain of things I have waiting to be listed on eBay. I’d simply give you the measurements, show you some pictures and be done with it.
Obviously that didn’t happen. Once again, I stepped off the cliff and fell headlong into a brain babble.
Labels: peter mckinlay
RANDOM 341 OBJECT
FINE Old DIMINUTIVE Near Mini JOINED STOOL, Oak PEGGED-$51
Don’t jump to reclusions! It has age, but it’s not a Pilgrim Century piece. My best guess is that it is around 60 to 70 years old, but that has little or nothing to do with my idea of how to best put them to use.
The top is 10” by 10 ½” having shrunk across the grain as wood does as it ages. The height is 10 ¾”. You’ll see a minor warping of the top – again, to be expected. Nothing heartbreaking by any means.
It’s been used, which is what we are supposed to do. And I have a feeling it may have been used in the way I love to use them.
Actually I stole the idea from an old friend of mine who collected redware and decorated stoneware. He used small stool to display his everywhere: hearth, tables or even tucked into a corner of a room. I loved the idea – he died – so I took the idea and claimed it. (I’m going to sell that redware jar a little later. Those things have all but totally disappeared from the market, and I still remember the thrill of discovering this one.)