Hi everyone. In the interest of time, I'm doing an ensemble photo for most of our thrifting finds (click on the photo for a bigger version). We had another great Friday. There seems to be more items showing up at thrifts and estates.
After a long dry spell of Kokeshi dolls, I found all six of these Kokeshi in one day. I'm fairly certain these are all vintage, but haven't researched them yet. I do know that the "grandfather and grandmother" ones are the "Shingata" style, which employ non-traditional shapes and styles (thanks Bit of Butters for the info on that). The little kid with the pointed head is a little different, but I don't think he's in that shingata style. I think the taller kokeshi in the back may be older than the others. I actually had a fun time explaining to the estate sale folks what these dolls were.
The big blue bowl the kokeshi are sitting in is of course a Bitossi Rimini Blu piece from Italy. These pieces are unbelievably heavy and solid. I think it's a bowl and not an ashtray because it doesn't have the indentations that an ashtray would have. I wasn't passing it up either way. Unsure on the dating, but I think this is an older one.
The tall Madonna and child stoneware figure to the right of the Bitossi is a David Stewart for Lions Valley piece. I don't think I've seen this one before, so I'm not 100% on attribution, but it looks too similar not to be. I often pass on the religious figurines, but had to get this one because it was DS. Interestingly, it has a store sticker on bottom "La Mirada, The Pear Tree, California". I couldn't find this store listing, so I think it may not exist any more. Anyone know? It sounds familiar...
Below the DS piece is a Barbara Willis bowl! This is a newer piece from 1996, and while it's not that much to look at compared to some of her other work, it's still a great find. It was not cheap, but I couldn't pass on it. We have another small new Barbara Willis piece somewhere in storage. We've found older pieces with the bird decals, but her non-decaled vintage stuff eludes us. Sadly, Willis passed away very recently - more info is on our Potteries of California page if you're interested.
The frying pan is an interesting find. I'd remembered our friend Scott from New Documents / Sllab writing recently about an uncommon Michael Lax cookware line. This aluminum 8.5" #809 pan with wooden handle dates to around 1975-1980 and was designed by Lax for Copco. I think they were produced in several countries - seems to be Denmark, Spain and Japan on quick glance, and ours is the latter. This piece has quite a bit of gunk on it, but I think it'll clean up some.
The large chartreuse and dark green vase in the back is from Hull. I probably should've passed on this one, as it doesn't bring in the big bucks like some of the other Hull pieces. It's a three lobe #110 vase. But it was in fairly good condition which is sorta rare for large ceramic vases at our thrift stores, so I ended up getting it.
I'll end this thrift roundup with an interesting find. You might remember we found a David Stewart signed handmade bell awhile back. Last week, I came across a single candlestick which looks to share a lot of the workmanship and glaze choice as that bell. However, this one is signed GAIL Stewart. It turns out that she's David Stewart's daughter! She actually studied for a time at Pond Farm too, and as far as I can tell she worked as Marguerite Wildenhain's assistant as well for a time. I think she may have transitioned into painting versus pottery, but she also worked with her father at their shop in old town San Diego.
As far as I know, she's still producing artwork. I never would've picked up the candlestick if I didn't know about David Stewart's style. I just sort of took a guess that it might be related. It's always interesting for us to find out about artists in this sort of roundabout way. On that note - we're going to be making a special post in the next couple weeks on an elusive company that we've recently found out more info on. It's a surprise (unless you follow our tweets).