A Magazine Rack for Cool Cats

This is what I do on days off

We had a few chores to run on the weekend but we made sure we popped into a couple of junk shops along the way.  As you do. We're not going to buy anything, we said.  We have enough stuff, we said. Let's wait, we said. But look at this:

How could we resist? It's only small and has some great 50s graphics on it.  So, here it is, our new magazine rack:

But it's back to work for us.  We will be at the Wattle Street Market next Saturday, and the following Saturday, we will have our final market for the year, at the Makers and Shakers Market. Our store will be closed from 15 December 2016 until after Christmas.  Any orders placed during that time will be processed on 27 December 2016, so if you are buying for Christmas, my advice is to not leave it until the last minute!

From Paris to Juan les Pins


On a recent trip to my parent's house, I was digging around in their cupboards and I came across a crumpled old brown paper bag.  Crumpled old brown paper bags are like a red rag to a bull to me, so I zeroed in on this to find out what was within.  This is what I found:


The Patheorama is a 35mm film viewer.  You load the film across the viewing window, close the lid, hold it up to your eye and wind the film manually using a wheel located on the backside of the viewer.   The images appear through the window one at a time, black and white but tinted.  The films are all French, one of Paris, another of Norway, Switzerland, a cartoon and the Riviera.  

I don't recall seeing this device when I was young, which might have been a good thing as the old film is very delicate and brittle.  The images are murky through the scratched lens, faded and elusive.  I love them!  Here are some delicately coloured scenes of Paris and the Riviera, near Antibes and Villefranche, I think:

I asked my mother about the viewer and she told me that her father had been given it by a friend who had returned from the continent during the first world war.  It makes me happy to think that I can still rummage around in my parents cupboards and find new treasures, just like I did when I was a kid!

Prints and Prints

Escaping from work

I noticed that the Flinders University Art Museum and City Gallery is now located in the State Library of South Australia, so I went to visit it during the week to see what was on offer.

Currently on show is an exhibition of South Australian political prints from the 1970s and 1980s called "Mother Nature is a Lesbian".   The period covered now seems like a golden age for South Australia, what with Don Dunstan and a healthy and visible culture of protesting for change.  Maybe I'm looking back through rose-coloured glasses, but there's something very appealing about those years from where I stand.

I loved the energy in the posters on display, all pre-digital era of course, and I snapped a couple of my favourites below.   I highly recommend a visit to this very conveniently located gallery.  The exhibition closes on 13 July 2014.

Pamela Harris, 'Memory Trace' 1983, serigraph.

Pamela Harris, 'Women' 1984, serigraph.

Ann Newmarch, 'Nationalize the Car Industry' C1975, serigraph.

Mandy Martin 'But for the 750,000 people in the world who depend on 

General Motors for their daily bread' 1975, serigraph.

Mandy Martin, 'Gallery 2' 1977, serigraph.

Also at the State Library of South Australia is a small exhibition of photographs and photographic equipment called "Moriendo Renascor: 19th Century Photography".  I would love to see more from the library's collection and I understand that the public may browse its collection.   This exhibition closes 31 July 2014. 

A modern print of a C1850 daguerreotype 'Actors', photographer unknown.

The photo above is an extract of a modern print of (I think) a glass plate negative C1879 showing the studios of an Adelaide based photographer, Captain Sweet, on Flinders Street.   

Of course, the name Captain Sweet alone is enough to pique anyone's interest, but what little I have seen of this photographer's work makes me want to learn a lot more!  I understand he photographed a lot of landscapes, but it is his portraits that caught my eye.  I have one in my own collection which is one of my favourites, a gentleman in dark glasses.   The subject is interesting, of course, because it is unusual to have a sitter wearing dark glasses, perhaps he is vision impaired, or perhaps it's a trick of the light turning his standard reading glasses dark.  I don't know.  But it is also the space, the jaunty position of the sitter and the quiet simplicity that I love.  

1960s Colour Inspiration

Capri, by Crown Lynn

We recently acquired a set of Crown Lynn crockery in the Capri range.   Made in New Zealand, Crown Lynn was the largest manufacturer of pottery in the Southern Hemisphere up to the late 1970s, and the "Colourglaze" range was one of the most popular styles.  The "Colourglaze" range was also sold under the names "Capri", "South Pacific" and "Caribbean Ware". 

The range of colours is inspiring, with names like Pumpkin, Jade, Tropic, Duck Egg, Oyster, Clover, Ant Green, Coral, Cocoa, Citrus, Honey and Mushroom.   Apparently, there are many other colours too, so my inner collector (not so inner, really) is all fired up!  Here are some snaps:

19th Century Papier Mache Mushrooms

The Museum of Economic Botany, Adelaide Botanic Gardens

I don't know why, but I often feel drawn to Victorian things in the days following Christmas.  I think it must be a desire to be grounded in that quiet, solid world of elaborate design, earnest pursuits and brown things after the brash, noisy rush of Christmas.

Boxing Day, I like to pore over (or is that paw over - I do both) my small collection of 19th century gardening books, read a little Tennyson and go through my collection of cabinet cards and cdv photographs. 

So, today, I was pleased to make a visit to town with my partner and we wandered through the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, including the wonderfully stern Museum of Economic Botany.

Within this small museum, there is housed an amazing collection of 19th century papier mache mushrooms, apples, pears and plums, made by Heinrich Arnoldi & Co, Gotha, Germany.   They live in lovely Victorian cabinetry with their original labels.  They were a joy to see!

Christmas Jelly!

Time to get nostalgic

We had a lovely time visiting my parents last night.  We brought food to share and exchanged cards and gifts and while it was a lot quieter than my childhood Christmases, it all felt festive and cheerful.  

While helping pack the special crockery and glasses away, I noticed in the corner of a lowly cupboard a couple of glass jelly moulds.  Glass jelly moulds are always beautiful of course; their weight and the glistening curves, but this pair brought back memories of my grandmother and her small flat filled with bits and pieces of her life in London that so fascinated me as a child.  

I commented on the glass jelly moulds and my mother reminded me that they were her mother's and she believed they came from her mother's mother.  She then gave them to me, a gift I happily accepted because the moulds are both beautiful and full of unseen memories for me.  I know I'm getting a bit of a reputation as a grifter, but I insist this is unfair!   (Only the night before I was at a party marveling at the bowl of pitted cherries, when the gracious host insisted I take her cherry pitter - which I did, it would have been churlish not to!).

Well, here are the jelly moulds in all their sparkling, chunky, Victorian, crystalline beauty!

Merry Christmas, all, and thank you for your interest in Shanghai Lil and The Scarlet Fez!!