Showing posts from 2015

The Mystery of Kathy Kale

While thrifting in Colorado recently I came across an odd and intriguing thing that looked like a candle holder. It looks rather like an old exploded view of power line insulator in an odd way. It's brown ceramic, has three feet and a beautiful brown glaze-- without the ever popular drippy white edge.

Sorry folks,I  have never been a big fan of the drip ware with white edges. My aversion probably dates to a youth of chili in drip glazed Hull bowls or my grannie's awful coffee served in heavy Hull Pottery  mugs.

The piece is marked clearly on the bottom with "Kathy Kale USA" and a monogram. The clay body is a white sturdy stoneware and even the tips of the feet are glazed. It must have sat in the kiln on a perch that held it up off the kiln floor. It has one little spot on an edge that didn't get glazed. It's not a nick as confirmed by a magnifying glass, but a flaw that got through. So who is Kathy Kale and how old is this little cool  piece and what is it?


Put a Picture On It...The Odd World of Antique Souvenir China and Pottery

I have decided the world of vintage is more like a Universe of Vintage with untold galaxies of things people love. There is so much to be curious about Out There, I feel like an explorer of the cosmos every time I pick something up and wonder about why and how it came to be.

I am always to drawn to strange juxtapositions in old things, like a porcelain shoe with a picture of Balanced Rock printed on it or a tiny fragile tea cup that has a scene of Niagara falls on it—and ladies carrying parasols.  Why porcelain? Who collected these things and when?

Well…souvenir pottery has a long and storied history it turns out.  Before place-specific souvenir ware became the next hot thing, Josiah Wedgwood was producing dishes with views on them; places people would never most likely visit but that suited the romantic nature of the times. Dashing horses and carriages, soporific mill scenes, great English houses, you name it, and Josiah was all over it in the eighteenth century. Other potters figured o…

Life is Just Grate!

I am a self-confessed aficionado of vintage kitchen implements. I have found in case after case that newer and snazzier is not always better. The best example I know of to demonstrate this point is kitchen graters. The kind we use to grate cheese, cabbage, carrots for carrot salad and occasionally knuckles.
I have, in my more than 50 years in a kitchen, tried every type of grater I can get my scraped knuckles on. I started young standing on a chair to stir a pot at the stove and never looked back. I have used box graters, round graters, flat graters and grater blades that fit on my Cuisinart. I have sexy Microplanes with attachments.

I’ve thrown out tons of graters with barrels and cranks because they were more annoying than useful. I have found graters for garlic and porcelain graters for ginger; I have tiny graters for nutmeg and citrus zest. You name it, someone came up with it and in many cases I have tried it.

Which brings me back to the mother of all graters, (Insert angelic choru…