Archives June 2019

What is it and What’s it Worth?

What is it and What’s it Worth?

How many of you grew up with one of these in your house? This Indiana Glass Company hen on nest sold for $14.99 in February 2019.

Did any of you grow up with a “hen on nest” on your dining room table or in your living room filled with candy? Odds are, many of you grew up with several everyday pieces of glass from this particular manufacturer. This company actually produced glass for almost 100 years. We are talking about the Indiana Glass Company. Indiana Glass is most well-known for producing Depression glass, carnival glass, and “goofus” glass. Our Worthopedia has over 200,000 listings for Indiana glass, and our Worthpoint library has several books on glass that cover Indiana Glass Company. Keep reading and take your knowledge of glass to the next level.  ENJOY!

History

In 1896, James Beatty and George Brady purchased an unused Pennsylvania Railroad locomotive and car repair building in Dunkirk, Indiana, and refitted it as a glassworks. Beatty-Brady produced household glass, lamps, lamp chimneys, and vases. In the early 1900s, Beatty-Brady Glass became part of the National Glass Combine. The combine changed the name to the Indiana Glass Company.

When the National Glass Combine failed in 1907, a group of investors led by Frank Merry and Harold Phillips bought the Indiana Glass Company. The company’s letterhead noted the company was founded in 1907. The company continued production of pressed glass.

Indiana Glass was a well-known manufacturer of carnival glass. This hobnail amber carnival glass egg dish sold for $20 in March 2019.

Although the company made iridescent (carnival) glass, the number of patterns was minimal. Indiana Glass’s principal products consisted of barware, berry sets, goblets, jellies, novelties, tableware, tumblers, stemware, and water sets. Many of the novelty items were miniatures meant for use by children. A soda fountain line was added in 1919. Indiana Glass also produced the A & W root beer mugs.

In the early 1920s, A&W baby root beer mugs (smaller and lighter) were created by Indiana Glass Company to accommodate small hands of the children who were customers. This baby mug sold for $10 in February 2019.

In 1923, Indiana Glass introduced Avocado, its first Depression glass pattern. Additional Depression glass patterns such as Pyramid, Tea Room, and Indiana Sandwich followed. By the late 1930s, over a dozen Depression Glass patterns were being manufactured. The 1930s also witnessed the introduction of a line of hen on nest novelties. In production for over 70 years, these hen on nest novelties were made in over 75 colors.

In the 1950s, Indiana Glass started making milk glass using versions of their old glass patterns. This set of 16 oz. tumblers in the Harvest Grapes pattern sold for $59.99 in February 2019.

During World War II, Indiana Glass made headlights, lenses, and other industrial products. Milk glass was introduced in the 1950s. New patterns such as Christmas Candy and Orange Blossom were introduced. Production of barware, restaurant, and soda fountain ware continued.

In 1957, Lancaster Glass Corporation purchased Indiana Glass Company, keeping the plant and brand name in operation. Colony Glass turned to Indiana Glass to help produce its Harvest pattern milk glass. A brief period of prosperity occurred in the early and mid-1960s. In 1962, Lancaster Glass became part of the Lancaster Colony Corporation. New lines, patterns such as King’s Crown and Ruby Band Diamond Point, and colors, like ruby flash glass, were added. Carnival patterns were reissued.

This Indiana Glass Tiara Honey Bee box in aquamarine sold for $29.95 in 2013.

In 1983, Lancaster Colony purchased Fostoria Glass. Several of the Fostoria molds were sent to Indiana Glass.  Indiana Glass also acquired old Duncan & Miller, Federal Glass, and Imperial Glass molds. Reproductions made from these molds were marketed as “Tiara Reproductions.” In the 1990s, Indiana Glass made glasses for Budweiser and Coca Cola and a variety of household glass accessories under contract to Wal-Mart.

By the end of the 1990s, Indiana Glass and its parent company Lancaster Colony began experiencing financial difficulties. A disastrous strike occurred in 2001. The workers returned to work in January 2002. In November 2002, Lancaster Colony announced it was ending glass production in Dunkirk. The factory closed in November 2002.

Although Indiana Glass production ceased in Dunkirk in 2002, the Indiana Glass name survives. Since 2002, Indiana Glass is being produced at Bartlett & Collins, a factory owned by Lancaster Colony.

What to Look For

Indiana Glass collectors specialize, focusing either on type of glass, pattern, or novelty. Depression glass patterns are the most popular followed by hen on nest examples. Most Indiana Glass was made for utilitarian purposes.

Nostalgia plays a role. Collectors under 50 are more likely to focus on post-1945 material than earlier examples.  Many buyers are motivated by filling in sets inherited from parents. Beware when buying flashed pieces. Washing, especially in a dishwasher, fades the colors.

Indiana Glass was a major producer of goofus glass. These goofus glass bowls sold as a set for $50 in January 2019.

Goofus Glass,” pressed glass that is cold painted, is closely associated with Indiana Glass. It also was made by Northwood and Westmoreland. Popular with collectors during the middle of the 20th century, it has fallen from favor to the point were collecting interest is minimal.

Fenton has reproduced a number of the Indiana molds such as Paneled Daisy and Fine Cut and Heirloom.

Marks

This particular paper label mark was used around 1970.

Paper label:  Rectangular with rounded corners and white ground.  “Indiana / GLASS”

Paper label:  Rectangle with rounded corners and black ground.  “Indiana / GLASS”

Beginning in 1963, packaging for Indiana Glass was marked “Indiana Glass, a subsidiary of Lancaster Colony Corporation.”

Post-2002 mark: Blue square with white circle.  “MADE IN U.S.A.” in arch above item number and object description. Bar code in center under which is “LG Indiana Glass Co. / A Lancaster Colony Co.” above “Cincinnati, OH 45242” in a reverse arch.


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Published at Thu, 27 Jun 2019 16:52:48 +0000

Old Glory as Rendered by Mohawk Beadworkers

Old Glory as Rendered by Mohawk Beadworkers

Of the six nations of the Iroquois, it was the Mohawk beadworkers who used the US flag design in their beadwork. Shown here is a 5.5″ box purse made in 1909 by a Mohawk beadworker. Notice how the Iroquois beadworkers rendered the flag in beads.

Countries, nations, states, and groups all over the world identify themselves by their distinctive flags and banners. Many designs have been meaningful for centuries. Early in the formation of our United States, a red, white, and blue national flag was created to identify our new country.

In July we see many flags as we celebrate Independence Day, the federal holiday that commemorates the declaration of independence of the United States on July 4, 1776. The holiday is also called the Fourth of July. Throughout the month flags are flown, and commercial sales brochures are decorated with red, white, and blue images.

The flag of the United States of America, the national flag, is also called the American flag and can be referred to as the Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, and the Star-Spangled Banner. It is one of the most recognizable flags in the world. It features thirteen red and white horizontal stripes with red stripes on the top and bottom. A blue rectangle called the union or canton is in the upper left corner. It features fifty small, white five-pointed stars arranged in nine horizontal rows with alternate rows of six stars and five stars. The fifty stars on the flag represent the fifty states of the United States of America, while the 13 stripes represent the original 13 British colonies that declared independence from Great Britain and became the first 13 states in the United States.

The first version which had 13 stars and 13 stripes was adopted on June 14, 1777, and has been modified officially 26 times. (In recognition of the first adoption, an official national Flag Day was proclaimed starting on June 14, 1916.) The current design of the US flag is its 27th version. The 48- star flag was used for 47 years until the 49-star version became official in 1959, while the 50-star flag was adopted in July 1960 after Hawaii, the 50th state, was added to the list of states. It has now been in use for 59 years, the longest used version.

Over the years many rules have been adopted on the correct use and disposal of the national flag. If flying at night, it must be illuminated, and it must not touch the ground, the water, or anything below it. There are rules on how to display it and how to dispose of an old or damaged flag. I once asked an army general why he left his institution’s flags up during rainstorms. He answered, that we are not only fair-weather patriots, but we are patriots in storms too.

Iroquois beadworkers started creating purses, pincushions, and wall hangings over two hundred years ago. Although some of the pieces were made for family and friends, the majority were made to sell. Of the six nations of the Iroquois –the Mohawk, Oneida, the Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora- it was the Mohawk beadworkers who used the US flag design in their beadwork. It is ironic that they used Old Glory because the Mohawk beadworkers lived on the Kahnawake Reserve across the St. Lawrence River from Montreal in Quebec. The flag motifs were obviously marketed to US citizens, which indicates that the Mohawks either wholesaled to US distributors or traveled to markets in the US themselves.

This 11″ x 11″ early 20th century tri-lobe pincushion features two flags and a bird, probably an eagle.

The Mohawk artists also created pincushions that were meant to hang on a wall to hold sewing supplies. This large tri-lobe heart pincushion shown above displays two flags and a bird, probably an eagle, also a patriotic symbol of the United States. Elaborate pincushions such as this probably sold for only a few dollars, but now, over one hundred years later, they are worth several hundred dollars.

This 8″ x 9.5″ pincushion may be carrying one of the earliest beaded flag images.
This rectangular pincushion with the eagle and US flags sold for $152.50 in Feb. 2019.

It is thought that the first beaded flags were incorporated on Mohawk beadwork in the 1870s. They were probably inspired by the celebration of the United States Centennial. This rectangular pincushion form in the top photo above was very popular in the last quarter of the 19th century. Tens of thousands of these rectangular pincushions were sold, but most feature beaded birds and flowers instead of flags.

This 6.25″ x 6.25″ 1904 picture frame was gifted to me by Will Seippel, WorthPoint CEO and founder.

By the 20th century, flags appeared more frequently on Mohawk beadwork. Flags appear on one particular piece made to sell in 1904. If you haven’t guessed what it is, it is labeled PICTURE FRAME in the photo above (thanks, Will). Picture frames sell for about $100 or more depending on size and condition. 21st century Haudenosaunee beadworkers still create picture frames, but no one seems to be adding the US flag design to any Iroquois beadwork.

Note that the beaded flags on Iroquois beadwork do not contain the standard number of stars and stripes for their time periods. Of course, it would be impossible to indicate dozens of stars, but the beadworkers could have rendered the 13 stripes correctly. Most pieces have fewer than 13 stripes but some have more. It seems that the idea of a US flag was more important than to attempt to render it correctly. In fact, some flags have red fields and blue and white stripes or the fields fill the entire left side.

This heart-shaped pincushion with the US flag sold for $99 in 2018.

The Mohawk beadworkers knew that flags were important to their potential customers. They were not only skilled beadworkers but also wise marketers.


Dolores Elliott is a retired archaeologist who has researched the art and artifacts of the indigenous people of the Northeast for the last 50 years. Since the 1970s, her research has concentrated on the beadwork created by the Iroquois. As a museum consultant, she has mounted over a dozen exhibits. She has written fourteen publications about Iroquois beadwork, and she organizes an annual International Iroquois Beadwork Conference. For more information check out www.otsiningo.com. She can be contacted through email at Dolores@stny.rr.com.

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Published at Thu, 27 Jun 2019 16:56:56 +0000

An American history lesson at the auction

An American history lesson at the auction

I recently had the opportunity to pre-preview the inventory of a local auction in the small town where I live. This auction certainly won’t make the pages of the national trade press either for the uniqueness of the inventory or for the prices achieved but it was impressive in another way. I realized as I walked down the aisles mentally tabulating each piece by date and style (a habit I can’t break) that any history class would benefit from such a stroll whether they were interested in furniture or not. Right there in a single room in a nondescript local auction were examples of pieces that were made during some major periods of American history.

The people who initially used these items lived through the historic times whether they realized and appreciated it (or regretted it) or not. And here was an opportunity to see a relatively broad array of these original pieces in reasonably good working condition. Here are some highlights (historically) of the inventory.

Federal/Empire transitional chest.

Federal/Empire transitional chest.
Photos courtesy of Fred Taylor

Federal/Empire transitional chest: Here was a chest of drawers made of solid cherry with tiger maple drawers on its way from being a Federal chest to its more formidable Empire form, circa 1815-1820. The second War of Independence, the War of 1812, had just concluded but the peace treaty was still unsigned when this cabinet found its first home. Maine had just become a free state to counterbalance the impending admission of a slave state, Missouri, and James Monroe was re-elected President (with no opposition!) despite the Panic of 1819.

Country Federal work table.

Country Federal work table, 1840: This simple stand with cherry legs and top and mahogany veneer drawer was made in the Federal style but by a competent woodworker who was not too familiar with the fine points. It was sturdy enough for country duty and the leaf that would not drop all the way because of shrinkage in the top attests to its age. Around the time this table was made William Henry Harrison was elected president and promptly died from the effort, to be succeeded by John Tyler who subsequently survived an impeachment effort. Not much later Florida and Texas joined the Union, sparking the Mexican War.

Renaissance Revival chair.

Renaissance Revival chair, 1875: This mechanical-looking example of the great revival of Italian architectural style was the successor to the flowery Rococo Revival of the Civil War period. After the War in the prosperity of the 1870s, America celebrated the 100th birthday of the country at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia and this was the premier style of the Exposition, the introduction to the Gilded Age of American history in the late nineteenth century.

Eastlake folding rocker, 1885: Charles Locke Eastlake was an English designer who was a leader in the rebellion against Victorian excesses. He published his influential book Hints on Household Taste in England in 1868 and in the U.S. in the early 1870s. Even though Eastlake never actually designed a single piece of furniture, his name is attached to one of America’s most produced styles. Multiple patents were issued in the 1870s and 1880s for folding chairs, and folding rockers were almost the ultimate technical furniture achievement of the period.

Parlor set, 1900: While parlor sets of the mid nineteenth century had included seven or more pieces, by the end of the century they were down to usually three pieces. This was the period of the great catalog mail order houses like Sears and Montgomery Ward and much of America’s furniture was shipped by rail so some contraction was required. William McKinley was president and the Spanish-American War had just been concluded. McKinley was assassinated in 1901 and was succeeded by Vice-President Teddy Roosevelt.

Cabinet bed, 1902: This folding cabinet bed was illustrated in the 1902 Sears catalog. This was the year of the first college football bowl game, the Rose Bowl between Stanford and Michigan and the first movie theater in the country opened in Los Angeles.

Hoosier style cabinet, 1910.

Hoosier style cabinet, 1910: This was the successor to the possum belly baker’s cabinet of the late nineteenth century. This one, the “Ideal,” was made by the Vincennes Furniture Mfg. Co. of Vincennes, Indiana, around 1910. This year the Boy Scouts of America was founded and the following year both the air conditioner and the electric automobile starter were invented. Soon Arizona would be a state and the Panama Canal would open.

Oak hall tree, 1915: One of the last vestiges of the Golden Oak era of American furniture this massive oak hall tree was made just after World War I broke out in Europe in 1914. Woodrow Wilson was elected president the next year, 1916 and Albert Einstein proposed his General Theory of Relativity.

Edison Amberola, 1918: While most music boxes had turned to shellac disks by 1909 Edison clung to his cylinder players and introduced the four minute version called the “Amberol.” His new internal horn player, introduced in 1911, was called the “Amberola.” Shown is an Amberola 30, introduced in 1915 and made as late as 1925. This was the “Jazz Age” and “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald was the icon of the period. It was a pleasant interlude before the market crash of 1929.

Priscilla, 1930: After the market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression a lot of attention was turned to homemade clothing. The home tailor’s helper was the portable sewing basket called the “Priscilla” named after an early century sewing machine and it publication “The Modern Priscilla.” Unemployment was 25 percent and the average annual salary was $1,368. The “Dust Bowl” had devastated the agricultural community of the Midwest starting a westward migration. Herbert Hoover would soon be displaced by Franklin Roosevelt.

American history can be found anywhere from museums to the old building around the block. I just happened to find an interesting source at an auction, not as a buyer or seller but as a student.

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Published at Wed, 26 Jun 2019 22:21:39 +0000

The results of Sotheby’s New York Dreaming in Glass sale, May 23, 2019

The results of Sotheby’s New York Dreaming in Glass sale, May 23, 2019

I am now publishing once a week, on Monday.


Sotheby’s New York held a Dreaming in Glass sale on May 23, 2019. The sale was small, 41 lots, but consisted entirely of important Tiffany Studios lamps and glass. Total sales were $4,088,250 for the 36 lots that sold.

Tiffany Fish and Waves table lamp, Sotheby’s lot #214

The cover lot, #214, a Tiffany Fish and Waves table lamp, the most important lot in the sale, did not sell, against an estimate of $1,000,000 — $1,500,000. I guess the estimate was a bit too aggressive.

Tiffany Studios Elaborate Peony floor lamp, Sotheby’s lot #211

The top lot of the sale was #211, a Tiffany Studios Elaborate Peony floor lamp, formerly in the collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. It sold for $692,000, including buyer’s premium, at the low end of the estimated range of $600,000 — $800,000.

Tiffany Studios Peacock box, Sotheby’s lot #206

Lot #206, a Tiffany Studios Peacock box, achieved an astonishing result, selling for $87,500, against a pre-sale estimate of $8,000 — $12,000. I loved the box, but didn’t even bother to bid because I knew I had no chance of buying it. It was very rare and very beautiful.

Click here for the complete results of the sale.


No shows until the Labor Day weekend, when we’ll exhibit at the Baltimore Art, Antique & Jewelry Show, one of the best shows of the year. In the meantime, we’re still very much in business. Please email or call to buy, sell or trade.

I listed some of the new items on my website and will list more every week. Click Philip Chasen Antiques to take a look. I will make every effort to actively list new items as often as time permits. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

Published at Mon, 10 Jun 2019 07:00:27 +0000

Designing A Life Less Ordinary

Designing A Life Less Ordinary

When I was in my 20’s and had first moved to Paris, I opened a new journal and I wrote one sentence. I’ve started a million other journals since then, living a million different lives, as my journey took me the last two decades from living in Paris to Amsterdam and Berlin before making Venice home – but in that particular journal, there is still only that one sentence. The rest of the journal is blank. I didn’t know what words would follow – but I knew I was writing my manifestation. My mantra. The life I would live.

I want a life less ordinary.

Venice: Designing A Life Less Ordinary | Toma Clark Haines | The Antiques Diva 0036

My mom often reflects, “Your life is interesting, but it’s not easy.”  She sees past the glamour of my life to the day to day toils of living abroad. Here there are inconveniences you don’t face in Oklahoma where I grew up. Radiators that never seem to heat the apartment causing me to sleep under fur coats in the winter. She sees me carrying groceries home in the rain over bridges and up flights of stairs. She’s regaled with stories of the acqua alta filling my magazzino and me frantically elevating storage items so they’re not ruined by the famed Venetian floods. More than once our Skype has been interrupted when the electrical fuse blows because I turned the tea kettle on forgetting I was running the washing machine. She sees the minor – but yet –  practical – inconveniences of my life abroad. And while my life may not be convenient by American terms, darn it’s sexy.

I joke I can tolerate anything but two things – ugly decor and to be bored. And – my life is many things – but it’s always beautiful and it’s always interesting. 

Venice Biennale

It’s this sentiment that made me smile when I saw the theme of this year’s Biennale di Venezia – “May You Live In Interesting Times.” The quote refers to 1966 when Robert F. Kennedy delivered a speech saying, “There is a Chinese curse which says ‘May he live in interesting times.’ Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty, but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind.” Anything is possible.

I found myself reflecting on this sentiment during the opening week of the Biennale as I attended the #DiorBall- also known as the #TiepoloBall – organized by the Venetian Heritage Foundation for their 20th anniversary. Held in the Baroque 17th-century Palazzo Labia, the ball was a reenactment of the 1951 Beistegui “Bal Oriental” – dubbed the ball of the century. Both in 1951 and this month at the event, all of European society floated down the Grand Canal clamoring to get in. Among the original guests in 1951 were Christian Dior, Salvador Dalí and Orson Welles. Now, the guests were Sienna Miller, Tilda Swinton and Sandro Kopp, Peter Marino, Monica Bellucci… and… uhm… me?!?! alongside my dear friend Steven Moore of BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. At times like this, I pinch myself. How did I get this life I’m living? With 380 guests in attendance, it was a formal sit down dinner catered by the Gritti Palace. And just as at the original event, the guests were charged to dress as if in a Tiepolo paintingtableaux vivants – so they became part of the decoration. As we climbed the stairs after being dropped by our water taxis and private boats at the palazzo we were presented in the main salon of the palace in the room where Giambattista Tiepolo painted his masterpiece The Banquet of Cleopatra. It was magic… (You can read more about the night in Vogue.)

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Behind the scenes at the Venice Biennale Dior Tiepolo Ball

When debating what to wear to a ball hosted by one of the world’s greatest fashion houses where everyone I knew was going to be wearing haute couture… I decided to focus on the accessories. After all, “if” as Oprah says, “there’s one thing I know” – I know it’s all about the accessories. My dress was pretty – an emerald green empire waist strapless gown that I’d worn once before but on my head – I wore a swan. Yes. You read that right – but don’t take my word for it, watch Paris Mode TV to catch a glimpse of my feathers! 

The jewelry was all my own design, Republic of Toma. Around my neck, I wore a ring of interconnecting pearl frogs with black diamonds for eyes. In life – not just in romance – you have to kiss a lot of frogs to get what you want. That means sometimes you have to go through failures and times in your life that things don’t go your way to get what you want.

The Dior Tiepolo Ball in Venice: Designing A Life Less Ordinary | Toma Clark Haines | The Antiques Diva
My dress was pretty – an emerald green empire waist strapless gown that I’d worn once before but on my head – I wore a swan.

At my table in the SeaRoom, I sat at one head of the table with my escort Steven across the table parallel me. At the very moment the Frenchman from Van Cleef & Arpels sitting to my right asked, “Why do you live in Venice?” and I responded matter of factly, “Because it makes me happy,” a photo was snapped. On my face is a look I rarely see. A look of quiet contemplation. I manifested this life. I build this life. A life less ordinary. I have found my home. Ca’ Toma. 

In Dior’s autobiography, he wrote about the 1951 event, describing that evening as “the most beautiful” he had ever seen and that he “would ever see” and the event “a true work of art.” As my friend Steven Moore was on the water taxi heading home after an amazing week in Venice to England he texted me, “No detail was left unattended. No matter how small. We seemed to float along as if in a dream. I kept thinking I was going to wake up, but sometimes dreams do come true.”

You and only you have the power to make your dreams come true.
What are you dreaming?

Antiquing in the South of France

antiquing in a WWII era Ulta motorcycle in the South of France: Designing A Life Less Ordinary | Toma Clark Haines | The Antiques Diva
Antiquing in a WWII era Ulta motorcycle in the South of France

Coco Chanel said, “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” Two photos, taken a week apart capture the essence of me. In one I’m wearing a White Swan fascinator on my head at the Dior Ball in Venice. In the other, I’m wearing a white motorcycle helmet while sitting in a sidecar of a WWII era Ulta motorcycle antiquing in the South of France putting finishing touches on our newly revised Antiques Diva Provence Tours. (lol. Sidecar optional :). #WatchThisSpace we’re working on organizing our next training program for antique dealers held at a special retreat in the South of France. The photo is not about the helmet – though that is a great accessory – It’s about the adventure. We’re visiting Carpentras and Ville Neuve les Avignon, Aix en Provence and of course Ile sur la Sorgue. The deballages – in Avignon, Montpellier and Bezier – are still at the top of our #mustshop Provence list for antique dealers – but we’re also adding in appointments in private homes, and a surprising amount of chic new concept stores that show you that antiques can be super sexy. I’ve fallen in love with Marseilles recently – a city that wasn’t my favorite and now suddenly feels like home. It’s a city where Europe and Africa meet, allowing you to take a journey within a journey.

Provence Designing A Life Less Ordinary | Toma Clark Haines | The Antiques Diva
Journeys in Provence
Provence Flea Market

Journeys Ca’ Toma

Perhaps that journey within a journey is also what I like about reading. Summer is coming and we’ve our cabana booked in Lido and my stack of summer reads is mountainous. My bookshelves are overflowing with biographies, business books, travelogues and simple inspiration/motivation. It can take me months to finish a book as I don’t want to reach the end of the author’s journeys. I’m sad when it’s time to say goodbye, like parting with a dear friend who I don’t know when I will see again.

The last few books on the list start revolving around Venice… As Joann Locktov writes, “I Dream of Venice.” (If you’ve not read Joanne’s books then you must add her newest book to your reading list.) Hmmm… this makes me ponder…  Joanne is another American woman making a mark on Venice.  

As an American woman living here, I find it fascinating is that Venice has a history of being influenced by American women. There is Peggy of course. But the Countess Elsie Gozzio saved Fortuny, allowing it to become what it is today. And it’s practically impossible to write a chronicle of the 20th C without including the salons of Princess Winnaretta Singer de Polignac – yes, that Singer of sewing machine family fame. When she married her husband Edmond she bought him the Palazzo Contarini Polignac as a gift. And then there was Isabella Stewart Gardner who of course rented the nearby Palazzo Barbaro in 1890 becoming a patron of the arts. Today these American women who left their mark on Venice surround my home here. I live across the Grand Canal from the Guggenheim and the Palazzo Contarini-Polignac. My grocery store stands in the shadow of the Palazzo Orfei (today known as the Palazzo Fortuny on the Campo San Beneto) and the Palazzo Barbaro is a mere stone’s throw away.

Living Room Abbey Designing A Life Less Ordinary | Toma Clark Haines | The Antiques Diva
Living Room of the Abbey

Colnaghi: Private Exhibit at Abbazia di San Gregorio

During the Biennale Opening Week, I attended countless parties – but one of my favorites was the invitation from Parisian interior designer Chahan Minassian, Richard Nathan and Jorge Coll, the Spanish art dealer, and the CEO of Colnaghi, one of the world’s oldest and most significant art galleries. In the historic Abbazia di San Gregorio, Chahan Minassian created his signature atmosphere incorporating Colnaghi master paintings with vintage and modern furniture and design showing how one lives with art and antiques. The collaboration is “the home of a 21st-century traveller” illustrating the lifestyle of a modern-day collector. And much like the Rothschild home I featured in last months blog, the Abbazia di San Gregorio encapsulates the timeless spirit of the Grand Tourist in a contemporary setting. Just as in love and in science, in interiors opposites attract. The juxtaposition of contemporary furnishings set amidst medieval architecture and art spanning the centuries is simply sexy.

While the exhibit is private, Colnaghi will take private appointments to shop the exhibit where all the art is for sale. Of the Grand Tour connection, Jorge Coll of Colnaghi explains,

“Throughout this project, we want to show that a collection is not just a pool of assets: its real value lies in its connection with the life of a collector and is built from memories, experiences, friendships and discoveries. Building a collection is a voyage of discovery and, as with every voyage, the traveler needs guides if he or she is to arrive at the right destination. The collector needs to have good people to do research, to create the right relationship with the experts and dealers to ensure that what is collected is something that he or she can feel proud of and enjoy, something that will live on into the future.”  

Read more about the Collection here.

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A Private Tour of Abbazia di San Gregorio

Fortuny

Over the years on The Antiques Diva blog, I’ve written frequently about the Grand Tour – and last month after my visit to see Alessandro in China, I introduced the Silk Road into my dialogue. His book detailing his journey bicycling from Venice to China comes out soon and I’m anticipating its release. Silk is the thread that unravels in my mind as my mind shifts from the Colnaghi private exhibit in Venice to the Palazzo Fortuny. While you can’t visit the Fortuny factory itself – the process is still a tightly woven secret – you can visit the 15th C Palazzo Pesaro degli Orfei where one of the greatest minds of the 20th Century lived and created. Mariano Fortuny was a 19th/20th C Renaissance man and perhaps one of the people from heaven I’d most like to meet. While we think of Fortuny for fabric – his stretch and influence go beyond textiles. He was a pioneer photographer, an inventor of theatre and stage lighting plus he patented a plethora of inventions, among them a machine for pleating silk which he used to create his Grecian-style “Delphos” dresses. In his will, Mariano spelled out his wishes that the factory no longer makes the Delphos gown after his wife Henriette’s death.

15th C Palazzo Pesaro degli Orfei where Mariano Fortuny lived

Knowing the rarity of these gowns, my friend Nancy Heckler donated her mother’s Delphos gown to the museum. (You can find out more about Nancy’s mother’s foundation by visiting the janetcramerfund.com). When the curators opened the box and unfolded the pleated Japanese silk dress they wept. The dress now is on display in a room layered in antique and oriental fabrics alongside more exotic artifacts and patterns from Africa, Central America, and Polynesia. The room is indeed another tribute to the Grand Tour and beyond. It’s a glimpse into the objects that inspired an artist from around the world – and perhaps a glimpse into one of the greatest minds on the intellectual and artistic scene at the turn of the 19th century.

Förg in Venice exhibit at the Palazzo Contarini-Polignac | Designing A Life Less Ordinary | Toma Clark Haines | The Antiques Diva
Förg in Venice exhibit at the Palazzo Contarini-Polignac

I always joke that I wish my friends could see into my own mind. While I’m far from an intellectual, my mind is nevertheless a beautiful place. I dream in colors that Pantone hasn’t classified yet. As I begin the process of writing my book I’m seeking the words to describe that cavern in my head. In the end – art is often merely about just that. Expressing ourselves. I visited the Förg in Venice exhibit at the Palazzo Contarini-Polignac – one of the official collateral events of the Biennale. The curators of the exhibition have layered Gunther’s art over the family’s own tapestries which lined the walls of the piano noble. As we were leaving the exhibit which is held in a private home a member of the Polignac family stopped my friend Steven Moore – one of the worlds leading porcelain experts – to ask his opinion. And back up the stairs we climbed, to see a collection of tiles on the palazzo balcony walls. My friend named the artist he believed who had created the tilework and as we stood on the balcony overlooking the mouth of the Grand Canal again I smiled that smile of quiet contemplation and felt that perhaps finally – nearly 20 years later – I had the words to write in that journal after my one sentence,  “I want a life less ordinary.”

Until next month,
Yours

Toma 




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Toma Clark Haines

Toma Clark Haines is a Global Tastemaker, Speaker, Writer & Entrepreneur; and founder and CEO The Antiques Diva® & Co, Europe, Asia and America’s largest Antiques Sourcing & Touring Company.

Latest posts by Toma Clark Haines (see all)

Published at Tue, 28 May 2019 19:15:18 +0000

Patriotic milk bottles – They did America proud

Patriotic milk bottles – They did America proud

How the World War II dairy trade aided the war effort

Story and images by Michael Polak

By the time you read this, Memorial Day and the commemoration of D-Day, June 6, 1944, celebrating the sacrifices of the brave men and women of that “Greatest Generation,” will have passed. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, war was declared against Japan, and soon after against Germany, thrusting the United States into World War II.

The need for war bonds

Bottle cap: “St. Charles Dairy - Let’s All Back The Attack (depiction of a Soldier and Sailor) Buy More War Bonds Today”

Bottle cap: “St. Charles Dairy – Let’s All Back The Attack (depiction of a Soldier and Sailor) Buy More War Bonds Today”

The cost of the machinery and materials to support all branches of the military required a call to arms of the American home-front to contribute and make sacrifices on a daily basis. As an example, families were required to accept price freezing, rationing, and recycling programs. These types of actions were helpful but a more urgent, critical need was a method to raise millions of dollars for the war effort. This is where the beginning of War Bonds entered the picture, which was fueled by aggressive poster war advertising.

The ad industry took immediate action by forming the War Advertising Council that focused on public service campaigns. As a result of these campaigns, $800 million in war bonds were issued by the end of the war. If you are wondering what that equals today, you better sit down. It’s a huge, whopping $11,291,370,786.52 … as in billions of dollars. I can’t even imagine that much money. That’s what I call an extremely successful campaign.

Recognizing the urgent need to contribute to the war effort, the dairy industry answered the call to duty by organizing an aggressive advertising campaign that even would have made General George Patton proud. Recognizing how well the poster campaigns were working being placed in every venue and open wall space in America, the dairy industry took that idea a step further. They began a campaign of patriotism in America that had never been experienced before at any time in history.

“Victory – Comes A Little Closer Everytime You Buy A – War Bond” (airplane flying), orange colors Sunshine Dairies, Utica, New York.

“Victory – Comes A Little Closer Everytime You Buy A – War Bond” (airplane flying), orange colors Sunshine Dairies, Utica, New York.

Almost overnight, nearly every dairy in the United States began manufacturing some of the most unique and colorful milk bottles depicting various types of war slogans. These milk bottles feature amazing, detailed graphics.

Some of the younger generation might be asking, “Did milk really used to come in a bottle?”

Applying War Bond advertising to milk bottles was a brilliant idea, since milk bottles of all sizes, from creamers, round and square cream tops, 1/4 pint to gallon, with quart bottles being the most common, was an item that everyone in America, at that time, touched and saw every day at breakfast, lunch, dinner, with a snack, or maybe at school or work.

It needs to be noted that the dairy industry didn’t just apply their war bond advertising to the bottles, they also applied their ads on packaging for their butter, orange juice, chocolate milk, and even cheese assortments.

John Tutton, author of “Udderly Beautiful,” “Udderly Spendid,” and other guides to collecting milk bottles and related items states, “Bottles manufactured during World War II had patriotic motifs and mottos, advertising a particular dairy’s support for the war while encouraging their customers to do the same. An example slogan was, ‘Food fights too! Conserve what you buy. Plan all meals for Victory!’”

The method for applying these graphics to the bottles is called pyro-glazing, where lead, silica, and borax are stenciled and fused into the glass at an extremely high temperature, resulting in stunning colors including red, blue, green, orange, and yellow.

Patriotic milk bottle slogans

WWII War Bond slogan page

WWII War Bond slogan page

While the majority of the war slogan bottles have the colorful pyro-glazed depictions, very few dairies utilized embossing to display their support of the war. Today, embossed war bond bottles are extremely difficult to acquire and are higher in value.

Many of the war slogans depicted detailed graphics of tanks, soldiers, fighter planes, bombers, “V” for Victory signs, and slogans related to Pearl Harbor, while others displayed simple slogans such as “Buy War Savings Bonds-Keep it Up,” “Buy Bonds and Stamps” on the wings of bombers and fighter planes.

Here are a few war slogans examples:

  • “Keep ‘Em Flying (depiction of fighter plane) Buy War Bonds and Stamps”
  • “Let’s Go – U.S.A.” (depiction of Uncle Sam marching behind a soldier, sailor, and marine)
  • “Back Their Attack – Buy More War Bonds (depiction of soldiers holding rifles and fighting back) – Drink Milk for Health”
  • “There Is No Substitute for Liberty (depiction of Statue of Liberty) – There is No Substitute For Milk”
  • “Keep Them Rolling (depiction of moving tanks) Buy Bonds and Stamps”
  • “Fortify Your Health (depiction of Navy destroyer pointing their big guns) Drink More Milk”
  • “Buy War Bonds, Everybody, Every Payday (depiction of arrow pointing at target)
  • “It’s Patriotic To Save (depiction of fighter plane) Buy War Bonds and Stamps”
  • “You Can Keep ’Em Flying By Buying (depiction of fighter plane) U.S. War Bonds and Stamps”
Milk bottle collar label.

Milk bottle collar label.

When the Dairy industry decided to mount an aggressive war bond campaign, they didn’t just apply their war slogans to milk bottles, they also used a variety of other go-with items to help the war effort.

As an example, they manufactured milk bottle collars that would attach to the neck of the bottle with red, white, and blue colors with various messages and depiction of planes, soldiers, sailors, marines, tanks, and ships. These collars were used to urge the public to help win the war by recycling their glass bottles.

Rationing and recycling became a patriotic duty, a way for all Americans to support the war effort. To complement the war slogans on the milk bottles, the dairy industry also manufacture special milk bottle caps with various messages and war related depictions.

If you should ever find milk in a bottle, or happen to see some war slogan milk bottles while searching for treasures, take a moment to remember the “Greatest Generation.” As you can see, when it’s time for America to come together and support their country, they always do it right and do it big.

Milk Bottle References:

Tutton, John. Utterly Splendid, A Guide to the Pyroglazed OR Painted Milkbottle History and Price Information, John Tutton, 1967 Ridgeway Rd., Front Royal, VA 22630, 2003

Tutton, John. Utterly Beautiful, A Pictorial Guide to the Pyroglazed OR Painted Milkbottle History and Price Information, John Tutton, 1967 Ridgeway Rd., Front Royal, VA 22630, 2005

Witkowski, Terrence H. The American Consumer Home Front During World War II, Advances in Consumer Research Volume 25, 1998, Pages 568-573, California State University, Long Beach, California, 1998

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Published at Thu, 27 Jun 2019 12:27:56 +0000

I missed some very nice items at Bonham’s Modern Design | Art sale, April 24, 2019

I missed some very nice items at Bonham’s Modern Design | Art sale, April 24, 2019

I am now publishing once a week, on Monday.


I’m so busy that I miss more than a few opportunities to buy good items at fair prices. Recently there have been several auctions where some really wonderful items sold for very good prices, but I missed many of them, including Bonham’s Modern Design | Art sale on April 24, 2019.

Duffner & Kimberly Poppy table lamp, Bonham’s lot #26

Lot #26 was a gorgeous, large, 24″ diameter, Duffner & Kimberly table lamp with intense red poppies, easily worth in the $15,000 – $20,000 range. It sold for $10,000, including buyer’s premium, against a pre-sale estimate of $3,000 – $5,000. It was incorrectly catalogued as a generic American table lamp.

Newcomb College plate, Bonham’s lot #5

Lot #5 was a high glaze Newcomb College ceramic plate with incised floral decoration, early, from 1913. It sold for $1,402, including buyer’s premium, below the pre-sale estimate of $1,500 – $2,000. I could have easily sold it for double, possibly more.

Grueby two-color vase, Bonham’s lot #7

I was also interested in a very nice Grueby 2-color vase, Bonham’s lot #7. I wouldn’t have been the buyer as it sold for $13,825, including buyer’s premium, against a pre-sale estimate of $5,000 – $8,000.

For the complete results of the sale, click here.


No shows until the Labor Day weekend, when we’ll exhibit at the Baltimore Art, Antique & Jewelry Show, one of the best shows of the year. In the meantime, we’re still very much in business. Please email or call to buy, sell or trade.

I listed some of the new items on my website and will list more every week. Click Philip Chasen Antiques to take a look. I will make every effort to actively list new items as often as time permits. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

Published at Mon, 17 Jun 2019 07:00:12 +0000

Designing A Life Less Ordinary

Designing A Life Less Ordinary

When I was in my 20’s and had first moved to Paris, I opened a new journal and I wrote one sentence. I’ve started a million other journals since then, living a million different lives, as my journey took me the last two decades from living in Paris to Amsterdam and Berlin before making Venice home – but in that particular journal, there is still only that one sentence. The rest of the journal is blank. I didn’t know what words would follow – but I knew I was writing my manifestation. My mantra. The life I would live.

I want a life less ordinary.

Venice: Designing A Life Less Ordinary | Toma Clark Haines | The Antiques Diva 0036

My mom often reflects, “Your life is interesting, but it’s not easy.”  She sees past the glamour of my life to the day to day toils of living abroad. Here there are inconveniences you don’t face in Oklahoma where I grew up. Radiators that never seem to heat the apartment causing me to sleep under fur coats in the winter. She sees me carrying groceries home in the rain over bridges and up flights of stairs. She’s regaled with stories of the acqua alta filling my magazzino and me frantically elevating storage items so they’re not ruined by the famed Venetian floods. More than once our Skype has been interrupted when the electrical fuse blows because I turned the tea kettle on forgetting I was running the washing machine. She sees the minor – but yet –  practical – inconveniences of my life abroad. And while my life may not be convenient by American terms, darn it’s sexy.

I joke I can tolerate anything but two things – ugly decor and to be bored. And – my life is many things – but it’s always beautiful and it’s always interesting. 

Venice Biennale

It’s this sentiment that made me smile when I saw the theme of this year’s Biennale di Venezia – “May You Live In Interesting Times.” The quote refers to 1966 when Robert F. Kennedy delivered a speech saying, “There is a Chinese curse which says ‘May he live in interesting times.’ Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty, but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind.” Anything is possible.

I found myself reflecting on this sentiment during the opening week of the Biennale as I attended the #DiorBall- also known as the #TiepoloBall – organized by the Venetian Heritage Foundation for their 20th anniversary. Held in the Baroque 17th-century Palazzo Labia, the ball was a reenactment of the 1951 Beistegui “Bal Oriental” – dubbed the ball of the century. Both in 1951 and this month at the event, all of European society floated down the Grand Canal clamoring to get in. Among the original guests in 1951 were Christian Dior, Salvador Dalí and Orson Welles. Now, the guests were Sienna Miller, Tilda Swinton and Sandro Kopp, Peter Marino, Monica Bellucci… and… uhm… me?!?! alongside my dear friend Steven Moore of BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. At times like this, I pinch myself. How did I get this life I’m living? With 380 guests in attendance, it was a formal sit down dinner catered by the Gritti Palace. And just as at the original event, the guests were charged to dress as if in a Tiepolo paintingtableaux vivants – so they became part of the decoration. As we climbed the stairs after being dropped by our water taxis and private boats at the palazzo we were presented in the main salon of the palace in the room where Giambattista Tiepolo painted his masterpiece The Banquet of Cleopatra. It was magic… (You can read more about the night in Vogue.)

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Behind the scenes at the Venice Biennale Dior Tiepolo Ball

When debating what to wear to a ball hosted by one of the world’s greatest fashion houses where everyone I knew was going to be wearing haute couture… I decided to focus on the accessories. After all, “if” as Oprah says, “there’s one thing I know” – I know it’s all about the accessories. My dress was pretty – an emerald green empire waist strapless gown that I’d worn once before but on my head – I wore a swan. Yes. You read that right – but don’t take my word for it, watch Paris Mode TV to catch a glimpse of my feathers! 

The jewelry was all my own design, Republic of Toma. Around my neck, I wore a ring of interconnecting pearl frogs with black diamonds for eyes. In life – not just in romance – you have to kiss a lot of frogs to get what you want. That means sometimes you have to go through failures and times in your life that things don’t go your way to get what you want.

The Dior Tiepolo Ball in Venice: Designing A Life Less Ordinary | Toma Clark Haines | The Antiques Diva
My dress was pretty – an emerald green empire waist strapless gown that I’d worn once before but on my head – I wore a swan.

At my table in the SeaRoom, I sat at one head of the table with my escort Steven across the table parallel me. At the very moment the Frenchman from Van Cleef & Arpels sitting to my right asked, “Why do you live in Venice?” and I responded matter of factly, “Because it makes me happy,” a photo was snapped. On my face is a look I rarely see. A look of quiet contemplation. I manifested this life. I build this life. A life less ordinary. I have found my home. Ca’ Toma. 

In Dior’s autobiography, he wrote about the 1951 event, describing that evening as “the most beautiful” he had ever seen and that he “would ever see” and the event “a true work of art.” As my friend Steven Moore was on the water taxi heading home after an amazing week in Venice to England he texted me, “No detail was left unattended. No matter how small. We seemed to float along as if in a dream. I kept thinking I was going to wake up, but sometimes dreams do come true.”

You and only you have the power to make your dreams come true.
What are you dreaming?

Antiquing in the South of France

antiquing in a WWII era Ulta motorcycle in the South of France: Designing A Life Less Ordinary | Toma Clark Haines | The Antiques Diva
Antiquing in a WWII era Ulta motorcycle in the South of France

Coco Chanel said, “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” Two photos, taken a week apart capture the essence of me. In one I’m wearing a White Swan fascinator on my head at the Dior Ball in Venice. In the other, I’m wearing a white motorcycle helmet while sitting in a sidecar of a WWII era Ulta motorcycle antiquing in the South of France putting finishing touches on our newly revised Antiques Diva Provence Tours. (lol. Sidecar optional :). #WatchThisSpace we’re working on organizing our next training program for antique dealers held at a special retreat in the South of France. The photo is not about the helmet – though that is a great accessory – It’s about the adventure. We’re visiting Carpentras and Ville Neuve les Avignon, Aix en Provence and of course Ile sur la Sorgue. The deballages – in Avignon, Montpellier and Bezier – are still at the top of our #mustshop Provence list for antique dealers – but we’re also adding in appointments in private homes, and a surprising amount of chic new concept stores that show you that antiques can be super sexy. I’ve fallen in love with Marseilles recently – a city that wasn’t my favorite and now suddenly feels like home. It’s a city where Europe and Africa meet, allowing you to take a journey within a journey.

Provence Designing A Life Less Ordinary | Toma Clark Haines | The Antiques Diva
Journeys in Provence
Provence Flea Market

Journeys Ca’ Toma

Perhaps that journey within a journey is also what I like about reading. Summer is coming and we’ve our cabana booked in Lido and my stack of summer reads is mountainous. My bookshelves are overflowing with biographies, business books, travelogues and simple inspiration/motivation. It can take me months to finish a book as I don’t want to reach the end of the author’s journeys. I’m sad when it’s time to say goodbye, like parting with a dear friend who I don’t know when I will see again.

The last few books on the list start revolving around Venice… As Joann Locktov writes, “I Dream of Venice.” (If you’ve not read Joanne’s books then you must add her newest book to your reading list.) Hmmm… this makes me ponder…  Joanne is another American woman making a mark on Venice.  

As an American woman living here, I find it fascinating is that Venice has a history of being influenced by American women. There is Peggy of course. But the Countess Elsie Gozzio saved Fortuny, allowing it to become what it is today. And it’s practically impossible to write a chronicle of the 20th C without including the salons of Princess Winnaretta Singer de Polignac – yes, that Singer of sewing machine family fame. When she married her husband Edmond she bought him the Palazzo Contarini Polignac as a gift. And then there was Isabella Stewart Gardner who of course rented the nearby Palazzo Barbaro in 1890 becoming a patron of the arts. Today these American women who left their mark on Venice surround my home here. I live across the Grand Canal from the Guggenheim and the Palazzo Contarini-Polignac. My grocery store stands in the shadow of the Palazzo Orfei (today known as the Palazzo Fortuny on the Campo San Beneto) and the Palazzo Barbaro is a mere stone’s throw away.

Living Room Abbey Designing A Life Less Ordinary | Toma Clark Haines | The Antiques Diva
Living Room of the Abbey

Colnaghi: Private Exhibit at Abbazia di San Gregorio

During the Biennale Opening Week, I attended countless parties – but one of my favorites was the invitation from Parisian interior designer Chahan Minassian, Richard Nathan and Jorge Coll, the Spanish art dealer, and the CEO of Colnaghi, one of the world’s oldest and most significant art galleries. In the historic Abbazia di San Gregorio, Chahan Minassian created his signature atmosphere incorporating Colnaghi master paintings with vintage and modern furniture and design showing how one lives with art and antiques. The collaboration is “the home of a 21st-century traveller” illustrating the lifestyle of a modern-day collector. And much like the Rothschild home I featured in last months blog, the Abbazia di San Gregorio encapsulates the timeless spirit of the Grand Tourist in a contemporary setting. Just as in love and in science, in interiors opposites attract. The juxtaposition of contemporary furnishings set amidst medieval architecture and art spanning the centuries is simply sexy.

While the exhibit is private, Colnaghi will take private appointments to shop the exhibit where all the art is for sale. Of the Grand Tour connection, Jorge Coll of Colnaghi explains,

“Throughout this project, we want to show that a collection is not just a pool of assets: its real value lies in its connection with the life of a collector and is built from memories, experiences, friendships and discoveries. Building a collection is a voyage of discovery and, as with every voyage, the traveler needs guides if he or she is to arrive at the right destination. The collector needs to have good people to do research, to create the right relationship with the experts and dealers to ensure that what is collected is something that he or she can feel proud of and enjoy, something that will live on into the future.”  

Read more about the Collection here.

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A Private Tour of Abbazia di San Gregorio

Fortuny

Over the years on The Antiques Diva blog, I’ve written frequently about the Grand Tour – and last month after my visit to see Alessandro in China, I introduced the Silk Road into my dialogue. His book detailing his journey bicycling from Venice to China comes out soon and I’m anticipating its release. Silk is the thread that unravels in my mind as my mind shifts from the Colnaghi private exhibit in Venice to the Palazzo Fortuny. While you can’t visit the Fortuny factory itself – the process is still a tightly woven secret – you can visit the 15th C Palazzo Pesaro degli Orfei where one of the greatest minds of the 20th Century lived and created. Mariano Fortuny was a 19th/20th C Renaissance man and perhaps one of the people from heaven I’d most like to meet. While we think of Fortuny for fabric – his stretch and influence go beyond textiles. He was a pioneer photographer, an inventor of theatre and stage lighting plus he patented a plethora of inventions, among them a machine for pleating silk which he used to create his Grecian-style “Delphos” dresses. In his will, Mariano spelled out his wishes that the factory no longer makes the Delphos gown after his wife Henriette’s death.

15th C Palazzo Pesaro degli Orfei where Mariano Fortuny lived

Knowing the rarity of these gowns, my friend Nancy Heckler donated her mother’s Delphos gown to the museum. (You can find out more about Nancy’s mother’s foundation by visiting the janetcramerfund.com). When the curators opened the box and unfolded the pleated Japanese silk dress they wept. The dress now is on display in a room layered in antique and oriental fabrics alongside more exotic artifacts and patterns from Africa, Central America, and Polynesia. The room is indeed another tribute to the Grand Tour and beyond. It’s a glimpse into the objects that inspired an artist from around the world – and perhaps a glimpse into one of the greatest minds on the intellectual and artistic scene at the turn of the 19th century.

Förg in Venice exhibit at the Palazzo Contarini-Polignac | Designing A Life Less Ordinary | Toma Clark Haines | The Antiques Diva
Förg in Venice exhibit at the Palazzo Contarini-Polignac

I always joke that I wish my friends could see into my own mind. While I’m far from an intellectual, my mind is nevertheless a beautiful place. I dream in colors that Pantone hasn’t classified yet. As I begin the process of writing my book I’m seeking the words to describe that cavern in my head. In the end – art is often merely about just that. Expressing ourselves. I visited the Förg in Venice exhibit at the Palazzo Contarini-Polignac – one of the official collateral events of the Biennale. The curators of the exhibition have layered Gunther’s art over the family’s own tapestries which lined the walls of the piano noble. As we were leaving the exhibit which is held in a private home a member of the Polignac family stopped my friend Steven Moore – one of the worlds leading porcelain experts – to ask his opinion. And back up the stairs we climbed, to see a collection of tiles on the palazzo balcony walls. My friend named the artist he believed who had created the tilework and as we stood on the balcony overlooking the mouth of the Grand Canal again I smiled that smile of quiet contemplation and felt that perhaps finally – nearly 20 years later – I had the words to write in that journal after my one sentence,  “I want a life less ordinary.”

Until next month,
Yours

Toma 




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Toma Clark Haines

Toma Clark Haines is a Global Tastemaker, Speaker, Writer & Entrepreneur; and founder and CEO The Antiques Diva® & Co, Europe, Asia and America’s largest Antiques Sourcing & Touring Company.

Latest posts by Toma Clark Haines (see all)

Published at Tue, 28 May 2019 19:15:18 +0000

Everything I Need to Know About Business I Learned in the Vogalonga Regatta

Everything I Need to Know About Business I Learned in the Vogalonga Regatta

When I was asked to be the Drummer on a Dragon Boat for the Vogalonga I said yes because it was a Regatta and I liked the sound of the word “Regatta.” When else in my life am I going to compete in a 30km rowing marathon?  First, I should point out I wasn’t rowing. Secondly, I should say I was promised that the role of the Drummer was easy, peasy, pumpkin pie. In fact – that MIGHT have been an exaggeration, and while my core muscles may still be aching from 4 ½ hours of balancing myself on the bow of the boat on a seat the size of Bosc Pear in the choppy waters of the Venetian lagoon – it was without a doubt worth it. (Yes – that’s moi in the headdress in the above photo!) Cue the music, “I had the time of my life, and I owe it all to you… (Yes, I’m talking to you, Naomi, the woman who talked me and several other friends into this).

And while at first it simply sounded glamorous to be in a Regatta in Venice – the Vogalonga is one of the most significant rowing races in Italy –  it was more than that. I learned several things about myself and on top of that, I had a major mental breakthrough.

The first thing I learned is that riding the waves is a lot like riding a horse.  For the first hour on the boat, I was bracing myself. And at a certain point, I realized if I relaxed into the movements of the water – if I gave up control and went with the flow – the entire process was a lot easier. I faced less resistance and simply had to work less. Hmmm… wouldn’t it be amazing if I could apply this lesson outside the boat?

Secondly, for years I have been trying to meditate. And for years I’ve discovered I simply suck at meditating.  

Eat. Pray. Love.

But my Eat Pray Love moment happened at a regatta. Elizabeth Gilbert went to Italy to eat. I apparently have decided to try all 3  –  Eating, Praying and Loving – in Italy. Gilbert explains,

Meditation does not come easily to me. My mind wanders relentlessly. I complained about this once to an Indian monk and he laughed and said, it’s a pity you’re the only human being on the planet who has that problem. But I find mental stillness really difficult.”   

For me, it is the opposite problem. I welcome the quieting of my brain. I welcome the solitude to stop thinking but within seconds of starting to meditate, I fall into a deep sleep. 

Clear your mind. Check. 
Listen to your breath. Check.
Wake up an hour later… Check.

Eat. Pray. Love.

Sitting on the bow of the Dragon Boat, perched high above facing my team, I found my mind clearing. My role as the drummer was to be the heartbeat of the team. I was to watch and mimic the Pacers – when their paddle went up, my arm went up; when their paddle dipped into the water, my drum pounded. I was the only one on the boat who could see their movements – and my job was to communicate to the rest of the team the speed with which to row. It is critical that all paddlers are synchronized in order for the boat to move forward easily.  

More than that, my job was to motivate and to encourage: helping the team using drills to increase team strength and unity. And in many ways, it reminded me of our Antiques Diva Antiques Dealer Training and Mentoring Mentoring Program where my job is to bring out the best in you – to help you find your stride in your antique business. Susan Shaw, of W Road Collection, explains of the training program,

“The way you work in your Antiques Diva Mentoring Program is exactly like the coxswain – the coach on the water, the leader in the boat making all as one in unison propelling the boat forward. I cannot thank you enough for helping me with the forward motion.”

Susan Shaw of W Road Collection

As we floated through Venice passing some of the most significant locations among the islands – S. Erasmo, S. Francesco del Deserto, Burano, Mezzorbo and Murano – I became mesmerized by the dipping on the Pacer’s oar into the water. If I lost concentration and skipped a beat – the whole boat lost synchronization. So I simply focused. On one thing. The dipping of the paddle into the water.

And in doing so – suddenly I was in the zone. My mind was quiet. As we moved water my mind went numb. I had a physical almost visceral feeling of detachment from time and place. All I could see  – all I could think about – was the dipping of the paddle into the sea. As if floating up above the boat, I felt a suspension of gravity that was soothing – achieving complete and utter mindlessness. 

During the Vogalonga I learned to meditate.

As an article in Entrepreneur magazine explains: Thought leaders such as Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and Steve Jobs have all lauded the importance of meditation for the entrepreneur.

We often feel that we have to turn off the creative and wandering impulses of our brains in order to make things happen. Meditation sharpens focus, improves decision-making and boosts creativity.”

The Business of Antiques

The reality is when you’re running an antiques business,  your most valuable asset is your mind. As an Antique Dealer, it’s easy to stay positive when buyers are buying… but what about those economic downturns when none of your inventory is selling? How do you maintain your positive mindset? Meditation helps find happiness – and focus – within, even during rough seas. Meditation also teaches you not to respond. Sometimes the best thing you can do in the Antiques Business is to wait it out – ride the tide until the next economic upturn.  

Where Focus Goes Energy Flows | Everything I Need to Know About Business I Learned in the Vogalonga Regatta | Toma Clark Haines | The Antiques Diva & Co

For me, my entrepreneurial spirit inspires me to focus consistently on my vision. The secret to success is simply focusing on the goal and always going in the direction of it. Vision is integral to building a company. However, sometimes we can be so focused on our goals it can have a negative impact on our personal life, our relationships, our health, even our job performance. Learning to achieve a balance in your life actually increases your chances of being successful. Meditation helps find balance. 

Basically, meditation puts you in the receiving zone. And as a business owner, finding your zone is one of the most important things you can do.  

Years ago, before I had made the final decision to end my marriage, my marriage therapist encouraged me to get regular massages. While I was all about the concept of self-care, I thought it was hogwash that a massage could solve all the problems in my marriage. But by happenstance, I accidentally had 3 massages one month. And at the end of the month, my brain had absolute crystal clarity on some issues I’d been debating. So 3 months later when I was plagued with a business decision, I did something radical. I booked a 2-hour massage. By forgetting about my problem I was able to solve it.

Have you ever forgotten someone’s name and no matter what you do – you can’t remember it?  Then you wake in the middle of the night remembering that name? That’s your subconscious at work. When you meditate you’re letting your subconscious do the work for you. Just like when I was sitting on the bow of the boat using all my core muscles to maintain my balance – I found I was better able to balance – then I sank into the sensation. I stopped resisting it and went with the flow. And trust me, lest you think massages have nothing to do with a Regatta… every team member on our boat would disagree. I think all 12 of the paddlers booked massages immediately following the rowing marathon!

Venice Vogalonga 2019
Venice Vogalonga 2019

I mentioned that Susan Shaw of W Road Collection – one of our clients in our Antiques Diva Training program – compared my role as a Mentor for Antiques Dealers to that of a Coxswain. So what does a Coxswain do?

  • The coxswain is the person in charge of a boat, particularly its navigation and steering. The etymology of the word gives a literal meaning of “boat servant.” In our mentoring program, we are serving you. We are assessing where you want to take your antiques business and helping you chart your course for success.
  • The coxswain is tasked with motivating the crew as well as steering as straight a course as possible to minimize the distance to the finish line, helping with speed, timing and fluidity. We help you achieve your goals.
  • The coxswain is connected to the way the boat feels, what’s working, what needs to be changed. We evaluate your business, your personal strengths and weaknesses and we advise what needs to be changed.
The Antiques Diva Antique Dealer Training & Mentorship Program: The Business of Antiques
The Antiques Diva Antique Dealer Training & Mentorship Program
The Business of Antiques

In addition to offering our Antiques Diva Training or Mentoring Program for Antiques Dealers, we also offer a slew of marketing services for Antique Dealers from help setting up business systems to helping set up your newsletter or social media strategy. One of the most important services we are offering for our Antiques Dealer Clients at this moment is our content marketing audit for antique dealers by Catherine Russell, AD&CO Content Manager.

Content Marketing For Antique Dealers 

Content Marketing for Antique Dealers by Catherine Russell, Content Strategist for The Antiques Diva & Co
Content Marketing for Antique Dealers: Free eBook | Antique Dealer Training Program | The Antiques Diva & Co

Journaling

In this month’s blog we’ve run the gamut from a Regatta in Venice to SEO optimization, but remember last month’s blog when I talked briefly about journaling? To close that’s what I’d like to focus on. I said mediation puts you in the receiving mode. The best way to process after meditating is to journal. 

As an antique dealer, I’d encourage you to start journaling about your business. Go out and buy yourself a notebook and start writing.

  • Describe what your business currently looks like. 
  • Write what you’re proud of.  
  • Write what problems you’re currently experiencing in your antiques business.
  • What are your goals?
  • What would your fantasy business look like?
  • Where would you sell?
  • How would you sell?
  • And how would you adapt your business to fit your desired lifestyle?
  • What things do you need to do to change your business to reach your goals?

Most dealers I know have a thin line between their personal life and professional life – in creative businesses those lines always tend to blur. My own life especially. Thus, when I journal, my journal is one part personal, one part professional. If you’re a loyal blog read you’ll have heard me mention that my decision to start The Antiques Diva & Co came out of my “Morning Pages.” Author Julia Cameron of the Artist Way explains Morning Pages are essentially a mind-dump – three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. Sometimes I do “Morning Pages” but most mornings I do my own version of Mel Robbins 5 Second Journal.

In a recent Facebook Live Post with Steven Favreau of the Favreulous Factory I talked about my own morning routine and how I use a journal to focus on the MIT – Most Important Thing to bring me focus and prioritize my day. 

Today my Most Important Thing Is You – Sharing with you how you can improve your antique business and how we can help you along the way either through our antiques buying tours or antique dealer mentoring program.

On a personal level, I encourage you to go find what makes you happy.  For me, one of the things that make most happy is my cats Fortuny and Fiorella (and their lovely 3 babies!!!) My kittens had kittens!

Toma with Fortuny and Fiorella - and their 3 kittens!
Toma with Fortuny and Fiorella – and their 3 kittens!

Happy Journaling,
Toma – The Antiques Diva 




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Toma Clark Haines

Toma Clark Haines is a Global Tastemaker, Speaker, Writer & Entrepreneur; and founder and CEO The Antiques Diva® & Co, Europe, Asia and America’s largest Antiques Sourcing & Touring Company.

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Published at Tue, 18 Jun 2019 16:43:15 +0000

The results of Christie’s New York Design sale, June 4, 2019

The results of Christie’s New York Design sale, June 4, 2019

I am now publishing once a week, on Monday.


Christie’s New York held a Design sale on June 4, 2019 with total sales of $14,038,250. 77 of the 96 lots offered for sale sold, for an impressive average of $182,315. Included in the sale were several lamps by Tiffany Studios, the topic of today’s post.

Tiffany Studios Pond Lily table lamp, Christie’s lot #12

The selection of Tiffany lamps was small and decent quality, but not exceptional. The top lot of the group was #12, a 20″ diameter Pond Lily table lamp on a Twisted Vine base. It sold below its low estimate of $100,000, realizing $106,250, including buyer’s premium.

Tiffany Studios 17″ diameter Dragonfly table lamp

The second highest price for a Tiffany lamp went to lot #15, a 17″ diameter Dragonfly table lamp on a rare matching Dragonfly base with mosaic tiles. It too sold below its low estimate of $100,000, realizing $100,000, including buyer’s premium. Even though the base was rare, the shade didn’t have much pizzazz.

Tiffany 10-light lily table lamp, Christie’s lot #17

After viewing the catalog, I really wanted to buy lot #17. The 10 green shades were quite rare and beautiful. My goal was to buy the lamp and put the shades on a patina 10-light lily base, which would have looked much better. However, after inspecting the lamp in person, I decided not to bid at all. The shades looked great in the photo, but they didn’t match very well in person and had some original flaws in workmanship I found objectionable. So without my participation, the lamp sold for $43,750, including buyer’s premium, against a pre-sale estimate of $15,000 – $20,000. My participation really didn’t matter because I wouldn’t have paid that price.


For the complete results of the sale, click here.

No shows until the Labor Day weekend, when we’ll exhibit at the Baltimore Art, Antique & Jewelry Show, one of the best shows of the year. In the meantime, we’re still very much in business. Please email or call to buy, sell or trade.

I listed some of the new items on my website and will list more every week. Click Philip Chasen Antiques to take a look. I will make every effort to actively list new items as often as time permits. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

Published at Mon, 24 Jun 2019 07:00:11 +0000