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Lilac blossom gives old vase new charm

Tue., May 29, 2007

One of the delights of moving is discovering new things about a house or garden as the seasons change. I hadn’t noticed the tall shrub in the backyard near the fence until the blooms appeared. And when the beautiful lilac bloomed it was a delightful surprise. I snipped one of the fragrant blossoms and looked around for a vase to hold it. Coincidentally I’d just unpacked my collection of vintage “hand” vases – pottery pieces made in the shape of a woman’s hand holding a vase. They’d been stored in a box in the garage since the move and I’d almost forgotten about them.

A new flower and an old vase. My favorite way of doing things.

I picked up my first hand vase, made by the Shawnee Pottery Company, years ago at a flea market in upstate New York. It was a soft green-glazed piece of pottery. Over the years I collected more as I discovered them at shops and markets across the country. Now I have a shelf full of vases in soft hues from white with a pale green tint to blue to soft pink. I think they’re pretty with or without flowers.

The vases aren’t particularly expensive, as collectible pottery goes, but they aren’t very easy to find. I’ve seen more on eBay that I ever found in my travels, but they’re still unusual enough to give me a thrill when I stumble across one.

A cup of creativity

Anita Kelsey reads Treasure Hunt and occasionally sends a note telling me about her favorite finds. When I wrote about making a gift of a little hand-painted souvenir mug several weeks ago, I asked for your stories.

Kelsey wrote to tell me about a little mug she keeps on her desk. It is painted with an artist’s palette and the words “Pencils” and “Brushes.”

“I found my favorite mug at Julie Buttons Antiques,” Kelsey wrote. “I have been a graphic artist, jewelry designer and am always doing something creative – painting or something – so for me this mug is perfect.”

The bottom of Kelsey’s mug is marked with the artist’s name, Phyllis Walden, and dated 1962.

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