Friday, April 11, 2014

New Items in our Etsy Shop This Week 4/11/2014

Here are a few items that are new to our Etsy shop this week!

Vintage Flavia (Bitossi) elephant (unglazed) link.

Harlequin Decor Bitossi Ashtray, Marked Italy 2200. Usually attributed to Aldo Londi. link.

Marshall Studios/Martz Blue Desk lamp link - Sold.

Terma Flameldfast casserole dish by Stig Lindberg for Gustavsberg. Compliments Spisa Ribb Line link.

Russel Wright American Modern for Morgantown sherbert/champagne glasses in smoke gray link.

Danish staved teak desk/table lamp link.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Painted Eames Shell Chair Restoration

A few months ago, Mid Mod Mom and Bit of Butter let us know that there was a great deal on painted Eames shells on Etsy. However, if you have read the comments on the Chairfag Restoration Guide you know that caution is urged when buying painted shells. The problem seems to be that the paint gets into the fibers and is difficult to remove. These particular shells had bright blue paint on what appeared to be light blue shells. The price was right so we took one for the team and bought four. There are great instructions for restoring the fiberglass shell chairs in the Chairfag guide and the post at Plastolux is worth reading as well. This post specifically addresses stripping the paint from the shells.

Painted shells from the original Etsy listing by Vestige Modern.

We used Citristrip to remove the paint and primer. I have seen comments online that other strippers may attack the plastic in the chairs. Make sure you wear the right pair of gloves and safety glasses. The stripper is not benign; my hands were in rough shape after the first use. It will also attack some plastics (i.e. nitrile gloves, the grommets, and the plastic front on the dishwasher) so be warned.

The stripper and paint turn into this gooey mess.

The top coat of paint came off easily but the primer took quite a bit of scraping to remove. We did not have trouble with paint getting into in the fibers but there was some paint where the fibers used to be which gave the impression of painted fibers. These small crevices were easily cleaned with a dental tool.

Stripped, dirty chair (left) and painted chair (right).

The shells ended up being medium blue and not light blue as we originally thought. (A color chart can be found at Chair Smith.) The light blue visible in the original picture was the primer coat under the blue paint. The chairs must have been painted to hide the grime underneath.

This dirt was hidden under the paint.

Cleaned and sanded shells.

We tried a number of cleaners and found Oxiclean to be the most effective at removing the grime. Most of the dirt was removed but there is still some discoloration visible in the worst spots under bright light.

New grommets epoxied with JB Weld.

Once the chairs were stripped and cleaned, we glued on new grommets, sanded, and then coated the chairs with several coats of Penetrol. A thick coat looked the best but took almost a week to completely cure.

New dowel base from Modern Conscience.

We bought new grommets and bases from Modern Conscience and are very happy with them so far.

Finished Chair. :-)

Our gamble paid off and we are happy with how the chairs came out. I would be willing to repeat this process for the right color shells.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Auction House Find

Last month The Mad Scientist and I went to an auction in PA. Some of the things we got were great, others were dubious, and then there was The Bowl; uncatalogued and residing next to a pair of 1970s roller skates. I got the distinct impression this was not where this beauty belonged, and indeed, she did not. Or, as I prefer to think of it, she was just there waiting for me! The signature was faint enough to be indiscernible (even to me), hence, no competitive bidding. She was all mine! I did not identify the bowl until last week... (scroll for the artist information)

June Schwarcz Blue Enamel Bowl No. 797, 1980

After we got it home, The Mad Scientist noticed it was signed but we couldn't find any "Schwartz" that did enameling work so we forgot about the signature. I'd been moving it around the house, trying to justify keeping it (I was supposed to be buying for the Etsy shop at that auction) when it occurred to me, not for the first time, that this piece was NOT made by an amateur - there must be some record of it somewhere. And there was. When you spell SCHWARCZ right.

From Craft and Folk Art Museum website:

June Schwarcz (b. 1918) is a metalworker whose arena is enamel. Born in Denver, she studied writing at the University of Colorado and then at the University of Chicago. Fearless and innovative, Schwarcz has spent the last 57 years transforming gold, silver, and copper into uniquely exquisite forms through her experimental manipulation of materials and processes.

Along with enameling—the fusing of colored glass to metal under high temperatures—Schwarcz pleats, sews, pierces and hammers metal to produce complex and intricately fabricated pieces that characterize the unique artistry of her work. Her distinctive forms also arise from her frequent use of thin copper foil and mesh. She is in the collections of the Museum of Arts and Design, the Renwick Gallery, and the Museum of Applied Arts in Zurich, among others. At 92, she continues to produce new work and has garnered official recognition as a Living Treasure of California by the California State Assembly.

Just to be sure, I contacted the artist's family and they confirmed that it was one of June Schwarcz's pieces with the official description of: spun copper, electroformed design, oxidized green on exterior and who the original purchaser was. Amazing stuff. I ran off to the library immediately to research her work (fascinating techniques) and found this too (9 minutes):

Lesson learned: Buy What You Love. This one isn't going in the shop now, but I am still moving it around the house, looking for the perfect setting!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Shop Updates 8.12.13: Lucite and more!

Hello friends. I have a confession to make: I LOVE lucite. It doesn't go with anything I own, but I cannot leave it when I find it. I am hoping you will be the ultimate benificiary of my recent lucite windfall.

Vintage Lucite Waterfall Style End Table or Side Table

Vintage Hinged Lucite Ice Bucket

Vintage Lucite Magazine Rack or Album Rack

All are available HERE in the Etsy shop.

Estate Sortie 8.10.13: More Books

No matter how hard I try to stop buying books... Well, you know the rest: Confronted with a pile of special books, I am a lost cause. And it seems the Mad Scientist is too! We hit the last day of a garage/estate sale of a Manhattan Project-turned-pacifist scientist. This was the result. Nothing of value, per se, only to us geeky types.

We also got to chat with the family for some time. They were very proud of their father's scientific work and relished their upbringing at Los Alamos, but they were just as proud of his later pacifism.

Meeting the family was an enriching experience for both of us and one of those nuggets we will store away to bring out at some later date to enjoy all over again.

Note to self: Always make the time to follow random Estate Sale signs!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Goodbye, Love.

Raymor Modern Artware by Roseville. Double Slot Vase Number 41-6, Mustard Yellow (Gold). Produced ~1952-54, Ben Seibel designed

I had the pleasure of sharing my home with this lovely piece for a few months, but this week it will be moving on to its "forever home"! Good journeys Toaster Vase!

Thrift Crawl: Raiding Party

I mostly do my thrifting/picking over here in MD, but sometimes, in the course of everyday events, we have to cross the border. Last weekend was one of those times and here is what we "found":

Cathrineholm Fondue in lovely condition In the Shop.

Digsmed (Denmark) Busy Susan Rotating Spic Rack. Very cool, mounts flush with the wall or counter. In the Shop.

Le Creuset 1 Quart #18 Two-in-One vintage set in flame orange. Excellent condition, in the Shop.

Lanvin perfume or vanity tray. I wasn't sure if this was vintage or not (it is unmarked), but I love lucite/acrylic and have not seen much in black, so I brought it home. It is from the 1970s (according to the interwebs)and made by Lanvin Paris as a vanity tray for their perfumes. Did I mention how hard it is to photograph a mirror?! In the Shop.

And the rest:
Going roughly clockwise from 12:00, Red Scheurich Vase, made in France butter crock incised Gres Du Berry, English made lucite salt and pepper, macrame hanging, 70s hand towel, Eldon tape dispenser (I love office supplies!), wood lidded box with ducks (quack!), yellow tile and cork trivet, Dansk trivets, West German mushroom party candles, a made in Japan brass candle holder, some awesome brass Bassick ball casters and two West German Scheurich ashtrays. Underneath, that maroon tray is a Radius One paper tray. All will be in the Shop soon.

Whew. And last, but not least, we stopped by an estate sale advertised along one of the many the roads we traveled and got some awesome goodies for our house. I'll post that next time!