Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Souvenirs on the Voyage of Life

During the holidays I ran across some old postcards. Well, actually, I was nosing around in a drawer at my mother's house in Memphis and found several written by my grandfather to his grandparents in Kentucky. I love old things and especially those that revolve around family. I grew up listening to stories about parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and great aunts and uncles. These stories evoked a way of life and style of living mostly gone today. I just couldn't resist posting these pictures of the postcards and corresponding notes.  

This was written on the back of the card showing Dogwood Drive in Overton Park, Memphis, Tennessee just a few days after my grandfather moved from his birthplace, Kentucky, in 1909.

Court Square, Memphis, Tennessee, 1910

This card was written by Nancy Caroline Morehead Gibson, my great-grandmother to her sister. Lina, as my great-grandmother was called, raised my father for the first 6 years of his life. Thelma Henry Gibson, his mother,  died when he was 11 days old. I was named after Nancy Caroline (Lina.)

 A card signed by David Benjamin Gibson, my grandfather, but never sent. There is no writing on the back. This was the tallest building in Memphis.

This was sent to John Wiley Gibson, my great-grandfather and  husband of Nancy Caroline Morehead Gibson by my grandfather.

I love the advertising promises on the back--says it all!

The following card is of the back of the above postcard sent from Heber Springs, Arkansas by my grandfather while on a short trip to partake of the hot springs.
He reports that everything taste something like rotten eggs. Yuk!

Below is a photographic portrait of the David Benjamin Gibson, Sr. family prior to 1953. 
Park Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Pa lived in Memphis until his death in 1961. He is buried in the Gibson family plot at Elmwood Cemetery.

Seated on the floor, left to right: 
Fran Gibson (Carpenter,) John Gibson, Jr.

Seated on the sofa, left to right:
Rebecca Gibson (Schott), Uncle Petey (Granny's brother, Peter Fowler from Chattanooga), Granny (Frances Fowler Gibson), Pa (my grandfather, David Benjamin Gibson, Sr), holding Bert Gibson, and Gibby (David Benjamin III) Gibson sitting on the arm.

Back row, left to right:
My father George Gibson, Sr., my brother George Gibson, Jr., my mother Mary Frances Gilbert Gibson, Dorothy Esch Gibson, John Gibson, Sr., Helen Young Gibson, David Benjamin Gibson, Jr.

Missing are Diane Gibson, my cousin and me. We were not born, yet.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Next Show For Gabriel Gibson Decorative Arts January 2-3, 2010

Even though Christmas is right around the corner and I am not even close to being ready, I am planning for my next antique show, The 17th Winter Hunt Country Holiday Antique Show at the Hill School in Middleburg, Virginia. January 2 and 3. http://dfshows.com/

For this show, I picked a bright red paper to cover the walls of my booth. The focal point of the space is a fabulous green and red floral basket quilt from the 1920s-30s. It is a knock-out quilt and the price is right for these tough economic times. I will show you pictures of the quilt in a later post.

I've never taken jewelry to a show, but may do so this time. In order to exhibit it so it gets noticed, I need a lighted case. A smallish one will do. Although they can be rented, I prefer to purchase one, which means I will save money in the long run. So in the next few weeks I will be hunting for a case for a reasonable price. With so many shops closing, it shouldn't be too hard to find one.

I am carefully editing the objects being offered for sale at this show, offering only the best and most iconic.  Many have been recently acquired and are being offered to the the secondary market for the first time.

Textiles will include quilts, hooked rugs, linens (exquisite vintage table and bed linens,) 1950s furnishing fabric yardage for mid-century modern decorating projects,and several framed pieces.
I always like to offer a nice selection of smalls, such as 19th century pin wipers, museum-quality mercury glass, and folk art toys, Below are images of some of these items.

2 Mexican silver bracelets from the 1930s-40s.

An iconic design in a 1950s hooked rug.

The most fabulous white and orange fan quilt. It reminds me of a Dreamsicle.

Marked Chanel earrings from the 1980s.

For the gentleman.

Felted puppy pin wiper (or dauber) 
These rare 19th century hand-made wipers were used to clean ink off the nib of writing pins. This one saw minor use. 

A 1950s pillow in perfect condition. I sell only fabrics in perfect condition, ready for use in your home.  

More later on preparations for the show.  Now, back to shopping for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend

This faux diamond necklace is for sale for less than $1000 at WWW.VandM.com/GabrielGibson.

The canary and white faux diamonds are finely set in sterling silver. This is the best faux diamond necklace I have ever seen!

Marilyn would love it!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Building A Collection of Crocheted Potholders--HUH?

I probably have 300 crocheted potholders. Most are red and white, but I have never been known to turn one down just because it wasn't red and white. In fact, I have them in almost every color, shape and genre. One or two are so risque I can't show them on this blog. Now, I realize collecting potholders is odd habit for a former museum curator, especially considering that I spent 20 years studying, writing and curating exhibitions on pre-1840s printed cottons, ie: chintz. Potholders just don't have the same appeal. But, there is a story behind this odd collection.

When my children were small, I needed something to occupy them during my endless visits to antique shops and flea markets. Since I drug them everywhere, what better way to keep them from complaining than to challenge them to a scavenger hunt! The idea came to me in one summer in Maine. While driving from Bath to Wiscasset, we passed a small, but interesting flea market. They begged me not to stop, to no avail. Trying to avoid a revolt from the back seats, I asked them to help me find potholders--red and white was best, but any color would do. Whoever found the first one would get a treat. 

The boy, who was about 10 at the time and extremely competitive, took off. The girl, 8, strolled leisurely around the flea market, looking for a toy or a soccer ball, anything but potholders. She wasn't the least bit interested.

Secretly, I hoped this challenge would spark an interest in collecting. I come from a family of collectors and thought genetics would kick in. The boy scored first. He found my first figurative potholder in the bottom of a messy box of linens. It was a red and white fish. I haven't seen another since.

For years we searched for potholders. They were, and still are, inexpensive. But, what do you do with them? 

I hung the red ones on my kitchen walls--against red walls they were adorable and a great conversation starter. The others were tossed in a large drawer, where they still are today.

My red vintage kitchen is soon to be a grey/blue mid-century modern-inspired delight, and the potholders just won't do!  So what do I do with 300 crocheted potholders?

Before I sell them or give them away, except for the fish, of course, they will have one last hurrah!

Here are pictures of this year's Christmas tree. Maybe I will make a dvd of the collection with history and sell it on my website. 

The tree during the day.

Some of the potholders.

My favorite dress.

I love the geometric ones--very abstract.

Two more cute dresses.

The boy's fish. 

A Poinsettia


More blues

Unusual Black and whites

Oranges, browns and yellows

I added small red balls.

All photographs by the author. 

Friday, December 4, 2009

They Say It Is Going To Snow

We are supposed to get our first snow of the season tomorrow and I can't wait. The DC area doesn't usually get a lot of snow, and since global warming we have received even less than usual. Even though I have a ton of shopping and decorating to do, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a big snowfall.  I'm going to snuggle in with the cats and the beagle and play Farmville all weekend. Maybe I will decorate the tree.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It is Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas: Seeing Red

I love Christmas! Not just because of the usual reasons everyone loves Christmas, but because my favorite color- RED -is everywhere. Starting with the December magazines, which are filled with red rooms, red flowers, models in red party dresses, ads styled in red, red and more red, and I can't get enough. Here are some of my favorite reds to get you in the mood for the Christmas season.

New York apartment designed by Miles Redd. Uhmm! Get a load of the huge wreath on the mirror. Perfect! The soft blue sofa gives the room a modern feel.

Love the red shades on the library lights. Note the chintz curtains-more chintz to come. 
I wonder if I can make a tablecloth just like this one?

There is nothing better than deep green against lipstick red. The olive green upholstery on the chair is super. Red seems to be the perfect color in libraries and rooms decorated with an animal scheme. This room feels like a gentlemen's club room. I once decorated my Christmas tree with equestrian ornaments. I love the Hunt.

Maybe it is because I associate red with horses and hunting. I took this picture last year at the Potomac Hunt's Thanksgiving Day meet at Montivedeo, Austin Kiplinger's farm in Seneca, Maryland. Going to this is a Thanksgiving Day tradition. 

I adore the tufted sofa. It was custom made and has such nice lines. Red on red--that is the best. The blue chinese vase is a nice relief. This room is very Diana Vreeland!

Zebras on red. 

The red door. 
Red leather is always classy and perfectly appropriate as chair upholstery. There are so many things I love about this entry hall. The white sunburst mirror is glam, the painted floors give me a ton of ideas for my own entry floor, the edging on the door makes the hall look current, yet it evokes the 1960s. The blue-glazed walls are so beautiful I want to scream!

So English classical!
I love the white classical furniture trimmed in gold leaf against the dark red walls. Black is just so sophisticated with red--the framed drawings are yummy.  I cut this photo out of a magazine many years ago and still love it.

Here is an even more traditional red room. Again, red with soft white and chintz.

This would be a nice Christmas gift. 
  A brooch with invisibly-set diamonds and rubies, made by Van Cleef and Arpels, Paris in 1936, it was owned by the Duchess of Windsor.

More lovely jewels from the Duchess of Windsor collection, by Van Cleef and Arpels, Paris. Inscribed, "Hold Tight." The Duke gave her this bracelet during the abdication crisis in 1936.

A ruby and diamond bangle made in 1925 by Lacloche. Exqusite!

I'm inspired to collect butterflies, especially swallowtails.

The most beautiful necklace in the world.
I can FEEL it's coldness  draped around my throat.

Mexico loves red, too

This Mexican wooden dish by Josefa Ayala is fabulous. I want 8.

Amazing baskets of interwoven palm strands from Oaxaca. 

Indian Chintz  "Tree of Life"
Mordant and resist dyed cotton hanging from the Coromandel coast of India 1720-50. The natural dyes give this chintz a soft, yet bold aesthetic. Seriously, India did it best!

Chintz in Palmette design
Possibly a bedcover or hanging, Mordant and resist dyed, 1700-25, Coromandel Coast. Made in India for use in the Netherlands. This is breathtakingly beautiful.

Chintz dress or furnishing fabric fragment, 1720-30, Coromandel Coast, India 
I want to cover my sofa in this and lacquer my living room walls red to match. Pillows in a leopard print, a blue and cream paisley Tabriz rug, black lacquer coffee table with glass top. Nice!

Dress Yoke, 1710-20, Coromandel Coast
The scale is more likely to suggest the yoke was cut from furnishing fabric. Speaking of clothes...

Plaids are back and I want this dress.

I want this one even more. Note the safety pins-and great shoes!

 A little touch of red can just make an outfit.

Let the Season begin!

Photos from Harper's Bazaar, Traditional Home, Elle Decor (all December issues 2009), Understanding Jewelry by Bennett and Mascetti, Arts and Crafts of Mexico by Chloe Sayer, and  Chintz: Indian Textiles for the West by Rosemary Crill. Potomac Hunt image by the author.