Cartouche – Definition

Cartouche – Definition

The decorative arts world has many “squishy” and vague vocabulary words, but few are “squishier” and vaguer than cartouche. Originally, the term comes from Egyptology and is used to describe a oval enclosing hieroglyphics and having a horizontal line at one end. (The line denotes royalty.) The oval had significance not unlike that of a closed circle, in that it was believed that an oval around a person’s name provided protection [...] Click here to continue reading.


Canning Jars

Canning Jars

Canning jars, also called fruit jars, because early versions were primarily used for fruit, or Mason jars, after the best-known manufacturer, are one of those technological advances that have become so ubiquitous we’ve forgotten just how revolutionary the development of food preservation really was. Many of the greatest empires, events and discoveries of the 19th century were largely aided by the development of the canning process. Supplying armies, expeditions and explorations was [...] Click here to continue reading.


Lithophanes – Definition

Lithophanes

Lithophane comes from two Greek words: lithos, meaning stone and phainein, which has a more shaded meaning that is close to making something appear quickly. The term refers to an image or scene that is etched or molded into very thin porcelain, so that the intaglio image “pops” when light is placed behind the porcelain. (Because of their windowpane-like appearance, they are sometimes mistakenly referred to as “lithopanes.”) This makes lithophanes three-dimensional, unlike [...] Click here to continue reading.


Viktor Schreckengost

Viktor Schreckengost (1906-2008)

Creator of Groundbreaking Designs for Everything from Bikes to Bowls.

Artist and industrial design giant Viktor Schreckengot’s contributions to American product design was on par with the likes of Raymond Lowey and Walter Teague. Schrekengost was a major force on the American Industrial design scene since the early 1930s.

Schrekengost Attended Cleveland School of Art Born into a family of Ohio potters, Schrekengost entered the Cleveland School of art [...] Click here to continue reading.


Newcomb College Art Pottery

Newcomb College Art Pottery

Before it was revered for its art, and more specifically for its art pottery, Newcomb College was the country’s first degree-granting college for women within a major university. Its founder, Josephine L. Newcomb, envisioned an environment in which women would learn both practical skills and academic knowledge when she proposed the creation of the college in the memory of her daughter H. Sophie Newcomb, who died at 15. New Orleans’s [...] Click here to continue reading.


Drake, Dave – The Slave Potter

Dave Drake, the Slave Potter

The potter known as Dave the Slave was born circa 1800 in an area devoted to pottery making. The Edgefield District of South Carolina had the clay, workforce and demand to make it the area’s pottery capital. Large pottery factories dotted the district, most operating with slave labor. Their products were essential to life on the early to mid-19th century plantation where pottery served as refrigerator, Mason jar and [...] Click here to continue reading.


Hummel Figurines

Hummel marks Hummel Figurines

History

Berta Hummel (May 21, 1909 to November 6, 1946) was born Massing, Bavaria, and the young girl exhibited artistic talents early, drawing little sketches with images of her friends or things she observed in nature. Her family encouraged her abilities, and by 1927, she enrolled in Munich’s Academy of Fine and Applied Arts. While still a student, Berta became friendly with two Franciscan nuns who were members of [...] Click here to continue reading.


Battleship Maine – Spanish American War

The Battleship Maine

Construction of the U.S.S. Maine was authorized in August of 1886, and she was launched in 1889 and commissioned in 1895. After several years spent patrolling the East Coast and Caribbean, orders sent the Maine and her crew to Cuba in response to continued civil unrest on the island.

The photograph above is a 1896 image of the ship framed in a sheet iron frame made from remnants of [...] Click here to continue reading.


Clarice Cliff Pottery

Clarice Cliff (1899-1972)

Colorful & Quirky Ceramics

The Newport Pottery Bizarre Girls created bold Art Deco ware. Clarice Cliff’s hugely popular Art Deco era pottery features simple, streamlined forms decorated in brilliant colors and eye-catching patterns.

Clarice Cliff, one of eight children in a pottery making family grew up in the heart of Staffordshire pottery country in England. By the age of 17 she was working as a decorator at Wilkinson’s Royal Pottery where [...] Click here to continue reading.


Ormolu – non-furniture

Ormolu

Ormolu, an 18th-century English term, is from the French phrase or moulu, with “or” indicating gold and “moulu” being a form of an old French verb moudre, which means “to grind up.” (This French term for this technique is bronze dore.) This idea of “ground-up gold”refers to the production process of ormolu, where high-quality gold is finely powdered and added to a mercury mixture and applied to a bronze object. Modern usage often [...] Click here to continue reading.


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