Monday, August 24, 2015

SOMETIMES YOU'RE HOT.......and sometimes you're not

About two weeks ago I blogged about these two very different pieces of art that I had just acquired---and they both sold today. And I was not even there to make it happen (maybe that was a good thing?)
By hot I mean that sometimes I'm in the flow of life and have caught a glimpse of where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to do--and, amazingly, I'm paying attention and follow my intuition, that quiet voice.
My goal of the last few months is to only purchase items that are soulful and that call to me in a certain indescribable way. These two pieces fit into that framework and I was listening to my intuition when I bought them. 
On Saturday, I bought a set of silly (but chic) vintage cuffs from my friend John downstairs--I love buying jewelry from John who has a fantastic and well-trained eye. John works for a nationally well-respected local auction house; so his second life as an antiques dealer is there to add spice and the joy of the hunt to his life. While I was talking to John about how much fun the bracelets were, I looked over and there, staring me in the face, was the most aethetically perfect 70's/80's bronze and glass small cocktail table.

And I knew that he had to be mine. I looked at the ticket and asked John if the price were in hundreds or thousands. John said hundreds and then sweetened the deal with a generous discount.......
Just look a the perfect balance of the design of the bronze structure and the proportion and thickness of the original glass surface....marks of top quality. I left the table in John's space as it is super heavy and Roberto is coming Wednesday and he will schlep the table upstairs.
So yesterday (I didn't go to shop as The Girls had a dance recital at 2pm---so cute!!), the top Los Angeles (perhaps national) decorative arts dealers came in to check out an item of which he had been sent a photo. JC didn't like the photo item at all but went crazy over my little table which, by then, had a sold tag on it. I knew that the table was great the moment that I saw it, but have no idea who designed it. And, although I know JC, I would never ask him who he thinks is the creator. Which means..........I have my research work cut out for me. And this is why I love this crazy business: almost every purchase is a gamble, there is loads of melodrama (hopefully somebody else's) and I get to learn something every day. 
I'm trying to get everything lined up and sales completed this week, before I have surgery on the 1st. Who knows, maybe I'll sell everything in the next couple of days and be able to start super fresh after a couple of weeks of recovery.

Mia had her regularly scheduled check-up at St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Tenn last week. The tumor and cyst are almost gone, but the MRI revealed another anomaly in her brain. At the moment her doctors are simply going to "watch" it and she can continue on with her busy, happy and normal life. So please, send prayers, that this new condition simply heal itself. 

Sending blessings for a great last week of "real" summer.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Saturday, August 15, 2015

CHINESE EXPORT REVERSE PAINTING ON GLASS--How to tell if it's antique or vintage

Last week I didn't preview very carefully; so I ended up relying on my "gut" instinct when items came to the block that I thought might be interesting.........this can either be a good auction strategy; or a very bad one (usually the later).
When this Chinese reverse painting on glass came to the block it didn't get much attention.......I've had these before, and have bought what I thought was old, when in fact the work was simply vintage (and trying to be an antique).
This piece is a bit is well painted with a European theme of two young lovers in a naive style. The detail is quite good--I cannot imagine the thought process required to paint everything backwards so that the true image appears on the front of the glass. The European representation is not one that I've seen replicated in the 20th c. (but that does not mean it hasn't been done). What cinched the deal for me was the symbolism: the young woman is holding a basket of eggs which symbolize new beginnings, creation and protection while the young male lover holds a basket of doves. Doves have come to symbolize love and fidelity. I think we can imagine what these two young lovers are telling each other........

Don't you just love the tiny extended foot of the young female lover? The romantic setting? The well-painted trees (I think that those are supposed to be exotic palm trees) and background? What is not lovable is the reflection of the Chinese tiger-patterned rug on the images--must retake the photos!!
Checking out the back of the frame, it appears to have some age--not 18th c.vintage, but most probably second half of the 19th c. This time frame would match the Victorian-influenced symbolism of the doves and the eggs.
There was one minor detail that I needed to check out before I could be sure that this was a 19th c. work. The clothing of the lovers is in an 18th c. style--but for the piece to have been painted in the 18th c., the glass would need to be hand rolled, with tiny bubbles and an uneven surface.........This glass does not match up with 18th or early 19th c. glass (too bad for me), but it has imperfections, so I'm pretty sure that it dates to the second half of the 19th c. (Victorian era).
And does the painting match up with my goal to bring items with depth or soul into inventory? Yep, I think so. I love that the eggs can symbolize new beginnings, I think that just might be what I'm attempting.
It is going to be another blazing hot day in Pasadena tomorrow (well over 100*) and the ac at the shop needs a facelift. And the SUPER GOOD NEWS is that El Nino is over 90% assured to hit this winter renewing our water table and ending this awful drought.  Of course, homes on hill sides are a major concern for work has begun to protect the burn areas......we'll see what evolves. I do know that I will not be driving in El Nino rains--California drivers are notorious for their lack of driving skills and caution on the freeways when it rains.
Have a super end-of-summer week-end.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Thursday, August 6, 2015


I haven't been very forthcoming lately. I've felt that I needed to control what was going on (which we know is impossible).......I've been on crutches the past 2 months. ME? Self-contained, INDEPENDANT me, ON CRUTCHES?? Definitely not my chosen style of being. But BOY, have I learned and (hopefully) grown a lot. 

People are so helpful and loving when they see my vulnerability. Doors are opened, smiles given, open hearts extended. Of course, I wonder why we don't always treat everyone we come in contact with this way. What makes this moment in my life so special? Why has my vulnerability (which I hate) achieved connectedness that I have struggled to reach? People, strangers, have opened their hearts to me--sharing their pain and troubles and challenges. At times I struggle with this; sometimes, I simply do not want to hear about another person's physical journey when I'm busy find my way along my own untraveled path. Ultimately, it is this connectedness that I have searched for. The other along my path is me. I'm so much more aware (now that I have the time because I'm so slow) of how easy it is to send love and strength through the very weakness that I have feared.
This begs the eternal question that all (most) of us ask. Why am I here? What is my purpose in this moment? Maybe I'm simply learning that I can have the courage to momentarily walk with some one who needs encouragement, but is too afraid to ask. Maybe I'm learning that I am worth having some one help me or simply learning that I am worth the effort required to surrender to the present. 
I've also started to learn a little more tolerance. I have had acquaintances/friends take pot-shots at me--firing off judgements  and very poor advice regarding my vulnerabilities....I even had some one race me to the bathroom when they heard me clinking down the aisle...really? But, for the first time, I've been able to step back and chuckle, recognizing that their aggression has nothing to do with me. It is mainly about what is going on within themselves and I'm an easy target for releasing their discomfort. Yep, I'm a lot slower (hate it). I've made a couple of executive decisions regarding my being slightly late most of the time (crutches take a lot of time)--the world will not come to an end if I'm a few minutes late, and I'm worth not putting the pressure on myself just to prove that I'm still "perfect"--I'm not.
I'm also (finally) learning how to "go with the flow"---I just don't have the TIME (because I'm always late) to do anything else, but skip merrily along. And guess what? Everything seems just a bit smoother, lighter--sales have picked up, too.
I guess that the saying is true: NO PAIN/NO GAIN.

I'm scheduled for surgery next month------surgeon is on vacation (wouldn't you know??) and then he's booked solid. (sh__!) I guess that I've got a few lessons left....

Auction Thursday is tomorrow and I have scoped out a couple of things. We'll see what turns up.

Blessing for the last full month of summer!!

Mary & Jones & Cole