Fiesta Ware covered it all, bringing bright splashes of color to the dining room. The range of colors allowed for people to mix and match sets to their liking. The bright variety of colors and simple art deco design was a big hit. In the first two years of production more than a million pieces were made.
The craze all started with the infamous “radioactive red.” From 1936-1943 they used a small amount of uranium oxide to create the red color. Luckily in 1943, the U.S. government took control over all uranium oxide for developing nuclear weapons during World War ll, which was great because the use of uranium oxide made the ceramics RADIOACTIVE! Unfortunately, after the war they went on to use depleted uranium oxide, which still may be radioactive, all the way until 1972!
So be careful of the radioactive red if you ever come across it! But the other colors were safe; Fiestaware was released in: cobalt, light green, yellow, old ivory, turquoise, forest green, rose, chartreuse, gray, medium green, antique gold, and turf green.
After 7 decades of producing simple, art deco styled ceramics the craze wore off. There were many more American dinnerware companies on the scene making wide ranges of designs and styles. After 37 years of colorful production the Homer Laughlin China Company retired the line.
But the story doesn’t stop there, since Fiestaware was a part of so many people’s lives during the mid 20th century, there was a strong feeling of nostalgia for those pieces for people coming of age in the later 1970s and 1980s. People started coveting the discontinued, vintage, Fiestaware. This created a strong resell value, some individual pieces going for hundreds of dollars.
The market for Fiestaware was hot again! So hot that the company decided to bring the line back! In 1986, the 50th year anniversary, five colors were released: rose, black, cobalt, white and apricot. From there minor changes in clay and glazes were made so that the plates would be lead free, lighter and more durable, but still all made in America.
Now only 15 colors are available at one time. A new color will only be released when one is retired and completely sold out. They do this because the Homer Laughlin China Company loves the collectors culture around the Fiestaware. They do special releases for the serious collectors and support the annual conventions.
What they won’t stand for are copycats. In 2002 Target released a line of ceramic dinnerware that looked extremely similar to the Fiesta line and even packaged in a similar style. The Homer and Laughlin company immediately sued Target and won a few years later! This was no doubt a little boost to once most collected dinnerware in America. Fiestaware is still being produced and in only new colors, the company will not take any colors out of retirement.
Brass figurines became a popular collectable in the mid-century and are now having a comeback as a trendy décor object. Since most brass collectables are about 50 years, sometimes older, the brass has probably aged. And it can age beautifully, that darker sometimes green look is called a patina. Some people like to leave the patina but if you want your brass to be shiny and bright, you can clean it! Here are 4 non-toxic ways to get your brass shiny and new!
Before you get started you need to know a few things:
4 Non-toxic ways to clean brass:
1. The easiest way to give your brass some glow is to:
2. Create a paste for more tarnished objects
3. If you’ve got more time try
4. If you don’t have lemon or vinegar try ketchup!
To keep your brass in primo condition after cleaning apply a mineral oil, like linseed, in a buffing motion.
You can find all of these lovely brass collectables, and more in Nostalgia!
Is that Mission Style, Arts and Crafts, or is it Craftsman? Or is it Morris?! The evolution of the Arts and Crafts movement led to many different off shoots of the style that impacted American and English design for half a century. So, what came first and how can you tell the difference? Keep reading….
The English Arts and Crafts movement was the first to come along in England around 1880. It started as more of a social philosophy, which critiqued burgeoning industrialized labor and the replacement of craftsmen by machines. Many organizations, clubs and societies were formed during this time, to uphold the importance of the handmade versus machine made. The design philosophy was based around simple forms and traditional techniques, that took inspiration from medieval, romantic and folk art style of decoration. It was more about honoring the material, structure and function of design.
This movement was led by, John Ruskin, and Augustus Pugin. But it was William Morris who is thought of as the father of the Arts and Crafts movement in England. His designs and ideas penetrated Europe and North America. His name is often associated with the American Craftsmen style, because he was not only a designer but an activist and directed his attention to socialist propaganda that spread across the Atlantic.
The American Arts and Crafts movement made its way from England in 1895, with the founding of the Chalk and Chisel Club, the first Arts and Crafts society in America. From there the publication of House Beautiful, which was solely dedicated to the movement spread the philosophy; clubs, societies and organizations started to pop up all over the country. Gustav Stickely led the movement, through another publication called Craftsmen.
Like Morris and Frank Lloyd Wright, Stickely designed homes to fit the furniture he was creating. These designs were made up of clean lines, incorporated natural elements, and did not include any unnecessary embellishments. These homes would be called Craftsmen style, and this would coin the phrase for the American movement. The Craftsmen style was picked up by the masses and the designs were reproduced by Sears Roebuck, offering a cheaper version of the Morris chair and architectural plans for bungalow styled homes. This paved the way to the movements demise, the designs had been commercialized and mass produced, it ended up exactly what it was conceived to be against.
The Mission Style was derived from the American A&C movement, with emphasis on the designs from the American Southwest and the Spanish Missions in Southern California. Although they do not completely fall in line with the furniture designs used by Spanish Missionaries, they did borrow a few elements and further emphasized them. Mission style is mostly simple horizontal and vertical lines made up of flat panels that accentuate the grain of the wood. A lot of the furniture that is produced today is often done in this style.
These styles have no distinct lines that can be drawn to identify one from the other. These were philosophies first, the elements that make up the designs transcend the visuals and are really brought together by their intentions. So, don’t worry about accurately identifying a piece of furniture or style of house as Mission, Craftsmen or Arts and Crafts, because they are all meant to unify not divide.
Interested in vintage wooden chairs? Swing by Nostalgia in Providence RI and see what we've got!
Don’t let big bulky shoulder pads keep you from getting that great vintage piece! Check out this simple tutorial on how to easily remove shoulder pads from a jacket or any kind of top that has a lining and sew it back up by hand!
**One thing to keep in mind when deciding to remove shoulder pads is the cut and fit of the garment, the shoulder pads were a part of the original design so the cut of the fabric is made to fit the shoulder pad. So, if you remove the shoulder pad the cut of the fabric may slouch or be a bit larger.
What you’ll need: