Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Back to Brian's Condo - Artisanal Accessories

Vintage Studio Pottery

Furnishing Brian's Condo from scratch in one fell swoop was a challenge in itself, but making it look and feel personalized was the bigger challenge.  You can fill a space with all your major items like sofas, coffee tables and media units,,,even area carpets but until you layer in some artwork,,,,books,,,,,and interesting objects a space will always look unfinished and bare.  There's definitely no shortage of great looking and affordable accessories available at all the retail stores (trays, baskets, vases etc.) and I often rely on those sources for filling in the gaps, especially when starting from scratch but I also really think its important to leave some room for pieces that you'll acquire over time.   I deliberately try to avoid filling a room with all new, mass produced type accessories and make an effort to find at least a few hand made or one of a kind items.  For me, I think its more interesting  to display some old objects, some found objects, some inherited objects, vintage or personal collections all mixed in with some books, photos and artwork.  Its so tempting to just head over to one of the big chain retailers and fill the condo with their pretty accessories and be done with it,,,,,,,and I did start there, with a few basic items but I can't resist checking out vintage shops and antique markets for something more original and unique.

I visited an Antique Mall a couple of weeks ago and was on the look out for some interesting and inexpensive pottery or art glass for Brian's place.  Its a hit and miss process, sometimes you luck out and score some great finds but other times you can spend an entire day or weekend scouring shops and markets and come up empty handed.  It can be a great way to find some really affordable and unique things that have character - as long as your willing to spend some time to seek them out.

My approach when I visit an antique fair or vintage shop is to quickly scan - I'm a scanner, not a browser.  I go really quickly up and own the aisles, focusing on one side at a time while scanning for specific things, 95% of what's there I'm not interested in.  If I'm looking for a variety of different items, I'll make two or three passes, each time changing my focus.  In this case,,,I arrived at the antique mall and I spotted a number of amazing pieces at the first booth, the vendor had a great collection of small studio pottery pieces.  At the end of my 'scanning', which took less than 45 min., I left with a couple bags full of some amazing finds and only spent about $85!  Here are some pics of what I bought that day all of which I plan on taking to the bachelor pad this week.

I picked up 4 beautiful pieces of studio pottery....

I love the shapes, the colours and the beautiful quality of the glazes.  All are hand made and ranged in price from $8 to $15 ea.  

I thought these ones made a perfect little grouping...

I love the imperfection in the glaze on this one, creating a pattern and I was instantly drawn to the pale grey blue colour.

All of the pieces were signed on the bottom.

This is my favorite, the matte finish on the glaze is gorgeous but the detail on the top is spectacular.

This little one was soo tiny but I couldn't resist it,,,the subtle ribbed texture was really beautiful and there's something about a bulb shaped vase that I love,,,but the metalic glaze on this is what sold me on it.  These little pieces are great for placing on top of a stack of books or on a shelf beside a photo....or grouped with other vases as I showed above.

This one had a beautiful shape and as much as I love my neutral beiges and greys, I'm always drawn to the colour green.

This one had an Austrian studio label on the bottom and small initial markings on the rim (yikes,,,this pic is really out of focus!)

Then I found these vintage ribbed glass and teak canisters made by Dansk.  I thought they'd be perfect at Brian's which has some vintage teak furniture.  For only $24, these were a steal and so versatile.  They could be used in the kitchen, bathroom or office and the best part is ,,I've never seen them anywhere else before!

The following week I picked up these two throw blankets for him, the cream coloured cable knit is 100% cotton and hand made, the grey one is a mohair wool blend and I love the fringe detail.  Again, some great texture and artisinal quality.  I thought these were a steal too at $89 and $59 each from Union Lighting & Home Furnishings.

The small finishing touches are finally coming to completion at the condo so I'll have my final after pics of the entire condo soon.

Happy Hunting!

All Photos:  Carol Reed