Last weekend we found these amazing mugs. They’re very large for vintage mugs (4 inches tall and 4 inches in diameter) and they have a great, heavy feel in the hand. Thanks to @full_upright on Twitter, who let us know that the mugs were made by Iron Mountain Stoneware. These mugs were designed by the founder of IMS, Nancy Patterson. (Patterson’s “NP” mark is under the typical Iron Mountain Stoneware stamp.) Each of the mugs was decorated by Sally Patterson (Nancy’s sister) and is hand-signed by Sally on the bottom. We’ve listed these mugs on eBay — if you’re interested, the listings close on 5-12-2013.
It was so much fun to research Iron Mountain Stoneware and to be introduced to the Patterson’s work! We found this blog to be very helpful as we worked on this post — go visit it to find out more information about IMS.)
Edited to add: This 1975 Reading Eagle article on Nancy Patterson gives some information on the connection between IMS and the Royal Copenhagen company. It seems that Royal Copenhagen produced Iron Mountain Stoneware for national distribution, which clears up a mystery of @Luolashop’s, where Iron Mountain Stoneware has Royal Copenhagen stickers.
I mean, really. Does it get any better than this?
As promised, here’s more about the green ashtray we found on Friday! It’s Freeman Lederman personal ashtray in a dark green glaze. We’ve had some Kenji Fujita cups in the same treatment, but we’ve never seen this form before. Stamped with the FL mark.
We went out early on Friday morning and found some great stuff for the shop as well as a few things that will probably stick around the Butter collection for a bit.
That bright pop of aqua is a square tray by the late (and great) Barbara Willis. This is the first time we’ve handled any of her work and we were very impressed by the weight and feel of the piece. It’s really a glorious example of studio pottery. We’ve already listed the Arabia “Riisposliini,” or rice porcelain, demitasse cup and saucer. So delicate and beautiful. This is only the second piece from this line we’ve found. I’m not sure who made the ram figurine, but it will go up in the shop later this week. We’ll tell you more about the green ashtray in an upcoming post!
For now, have another gander at the Barbara Willis piece! Some other finds include this Blenko Ashtray in Olive Green, which we just listed in the shop and some other items that we’ll be listing throughout the week!
Believe it or not, the bairn is almost seven months old, so it was high time we took her down to southern California to visit her grandparents. While the grandparents oohed and aahed over the (not so) little one, we escaped to a few thrifts and antique stores around town and even took a day-trip to visit A La Modern in Los Angeles!
While thrifting in the Central Valley, we found six Freeman Lederman spice jars, which Kevin was very excited about. Freeman Lederman is one of the few things we’re actively collecting right now, so it was great to find these. Unlike most FL, these are metal with wooden lids. They have paper FL labels on the base of the jar. Under one of the wooden lids we found a Sears price tag!
We spent the day thrifting with A La Modern in Los Angeles, which was a blast. It was so fun to geek out with a like-minded friend. He has already blogged about some of his finds (and we can confirm that the Camark vase is beautiful in person!). We found some Russel Wright pinch tumblers at the first thrift we visited. (The same store he found Zeisel lowballs. We like to think that they came from the same house, full of awesome barware!)
We also found a great Riihimaen vase in cobalt blue and a very cool gravy boat designed by Dorothy Thorpe and produced by Crown Lynn of New Zealand. This particular piece is the gravy boat from the “Pine” pattern. If you haven’t checked out Thorpe’s dishware for Crown Lynn, do a quick google image search — it’s gorgeous stuff!
We’ve been bad about blogging. BAD. We’ve found some great stuff, but it’s been so hard to juggle the shop, the bairn, and our lives. Blogging just seems to slip through the cracks as of late. We keep meaning to blog about our visit to a little tiny thrift outside of our usual haunts and the strange little Blenko water bottle we found there. We almost didn’t bring it home with us, but it was different enough that we decided it made the cut!
Thanks to the amazing blogger behind A Year of Blenko Water Bottles, we were able to get a little more information about our find. As it turned out, Blenko only produced their #384H Water Bottle for just a few years. Not many of these bottles come down to us today because they’re incredibly fragile. What’s more the water bottle we found was in “Marine Crystal,” a greenish-clear color that was only produced for a few years!
We ended up selling this piece on ebay since we had no clue how to price this piece. We’re very glad we decided to pick up this piece of design history and we hope that it enjoys its new home!
We have a long history with Iittala’s “Kekkerit” pattern, which was designed by Timo Sarpaneva for Iittala. A source from the 1970s calls Kekkerit (which, incidentally, means party in Finnish) “a robust, happy goblet,” and we couldn’t agree more. Other than Iittala’s Festivo candle holders, Kekkerit goblets are one of Iittala’s most copied patterns.
Above, are Iittala’s Kekkerit cordial glasses, which share the same form as the water goblets, but in miniature. These glasses are hefty and yet elegant, with the bowl of each goblet shaped like a snowball. Like all Iittala glassware, the original Kekkerit’s are incredibly detailed. When you hold one in your hand, you can feel each individual facet in the glass.
Until very recently, we used imitation Kekkerit goblets for our everyday water glasses. Our friend Valentina, who runs the Etsy shop Object of Beauty is currently selling the same glasses and has graciously let us borrow some of her images for this post. The Kekkerit-inspired glasses (featured in the above image) are very well made, but the pattern has some key differences from Iittala’s Kekkerit, which are important to note if you’re trying to tell the difference between the two. The glasses above do not have a rough, or faceted, finish at all, but instead have smooth-ish ripples.
A key difference between the two goblets is in the shape of the foot. Iittala’s pattern has a square foot, which is a little unexpected for glass with such undulating lines. The kekkerit-inspired glasses have a much rounder foot. There’s also a difference between the bottom of each glass: Iittala’s Kekkerit has a patterned bottom, in keeping with the textured design on the body of the glass, while the imitation goblets have a smooth bottom.
The biggest difference between the two goblets is that the real Kekkerit’s have a solid foot, which is easily seen when you pour dark liquid into the glass. This makes the real thing incredibly heavy, which is great but some people might not like it for everyday use. (This is one of the main reasons we used the Kekkerit-inspired goblets as our daily glasses for so long–they were light to the touch and very sturdy.) And no, Iittala did not make Kekkerit in an amber color (at least, none that we’ve ever seen)!
Welcome to a new series on the blog: how to spot a fake. Why is this important, you ask? We’ve seen many an inexperienced seller mistakenly sell knock-off goods as the real thing. We have quite a few posts planned for this series, including one on Lisa Larson figurines, and a few more on Iittala glassware.
First up? We’re examining Tapio Wirkkala’s “Aslak” pattern for Iittala, designed around 1965. Aslak first appeared in Iittala’s product catalogue in 1973 (Vigier and Pina 155). We haven’t seen many knock-offs of these glasses, but we managed to snag one at a thrift a few months back so we could compare the real with the fake, side-by-side.
So, which one wasn’t produced by Iittala? The glass on the right. The first difference between the glasses is purely tactile — the knock-off glass feel softer to the touch. The real Aslak has sharper and more defined edges, especially on the lower half of the glass. The definition and texture that is so distinctive in much of Iittala’s glassware isn’t present in the knock-off. The upper portion of the knock-off is also less detailed than the genuine article.
Looking at the glasses from the bottom, the real Aslak has a much thicker wall than the knock-off. We thought the top lip of the glasses might be a telling sign between the two as well, as the real Aslak has a very thin lip-line, but we examined the rest of our Aslak and the lip size seems to vary from glass-to-glass (it probably changes depending on the time of production).
The final difference between the knock-off and real Aslak is the level of detail in the facets at the base of the glass. The bottom edge of the the reproduction has far fewer facets, and indeed feels almost smooth to the touch in comparison with the Iittala glass, which feels ribbed and more organic.
Next up — we’ll be looking at Iittala Kekkerit.