Saturday, August 27, 2011

Scaring children for their own good

In my velvetonthepage etsy shop that makes cards out of vintage book pages, sometimes I’m struck by how scary and threatening the images are. Traditional fairy tales are full of witches who capture and eat children and give young women poisoned apples, wolves who try and devour everything from three little pigs to a sweet old grandmother, and ogres and giants and dragons and evil trolls….
Big bad wolf in red

...and why?

During some training I went through at the Portland Art Museum we learned about a frightful giant ogress called Kwakiutl that Northwest Coast Native Americans told their children about. With huge hairy eyebrows, a mustache (?!) red eyes and a bloody mouth, she roamed the nearby forest with a basket on her back looking for wayward children she could scoop up with her long-nailed claws and stuff into her pack to roast over a fire and feast on. We were all rather horrified that children would be told this story, and then the trainers asked why we thought the children were told this story. Turns out, it was out of pure love. In order to protect their children from wandering out in the forest and getting lost or being attacked by a wild animal, these parents were willing to scare the hell out of their children. I bet it worked.
Portland Art Museum, Kwakiutl, British Columbia, Axel Rasmussen Collection 48.3.410

When my sister and I were children, my grandparents had a very old German book that we always took off the shelf to look at. It was the scariest book I had ever seen. It was called Struwwelpeiter  or Slovenly Peter by Heinrich Hoffmann originally published in 1845 and it was basically an etiquette book designed to keep children in line through fear, worry and threats. It was fantastic.
Struwwelpeter by Hans Hoffman, Dover Publications 1995
It is hard to choose which story was more horrible, Harriet who set herself on fire by playing with matches or the boy who wouldn't eat his soup for five days and ended up in a lonely grave.
Struwwelpeter by Hans Hoffman, Dover Publications 1995

They were all so gruesome and threatening that it would be hard to choose a favorite, but since I was a nail biter and still have to fight the urge, it may be the story of Little Suck-A-Thumb who ended up bloodied and thumbless due to a scary tailor who suddenly dashed into the room equipted with wickedly sharp scissors that really crept into my soul. Good stuff!
Struwwelpeter by Hans Hoffman, Dover Publications 1995
My parents still have that original copy of Slovenly Peter but I had to buy my own copy to have around my house when my kids were little.

Have to keep the little ones in line, after all……
Photo of scary girl from delphiniumsblue on etsy

Check out some more fresh etsy shops that feature strange and wonderful things in this vein:
Red devil-like beast with chartreuse pants and scary hooves by spencershook
Vintage scary clown painting by BooandPie on etsy

Vintage mask scary hippy by RoseLuv Vintage Findings on etsy

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rockin' vintage

I have always loved rock music. I wrote reviews on rock albums for my high school newspaper, went to lots of concerts, read Creem magazine, and would have loved to been up there on stage but found I had zero musical talent. My sister and I took guitar lessons for a while but our teacher embezzled money from the music store he worked for and ran away- never to be seen again. Welcome to the music business! We gave up and went back to listening and collecting albums rather than making the music.

My uncle Jerry was a businessman in the Bay area and gave me some amazing Fillmore West posters. Fillmore West was a legendary concert venue in San Francisco from 1968-71 that was started by Bill Graham. The concert line-ups on the posters that were posted on street lamps and telephone poles at the time are mind-boggling now, and included the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Santana.... I was way too young to go there, but I do still have the posters.They are rock vintage now, and I treasure them.
Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention with Boz Scaggs

Traffic and John Hammond


Chambers Brothers

John Sebastian and Buddy Miles
Procol Harum, Poco and Mungo Jerry- and later that week one of my faves- Small Faces with Rod Stewart!

The Yardbirds, James Cotton and Richie Havens, and next week, The Doors!

Just think- much of this amazing psychedelic poster art was torn down and thrown away after the concert was over! So glad I have these vintage treasures from my cool uncle. This same uncle said he saved the lives of the Rolling Stones once in a hotel fire while he was on a business trip. He pulled them out of their room and helped them get out when they were too "stoned" (as he said) to realize what was going on. Good story- not sure if it's true or not.....but I'll claim it!

I was showing my daughter Kelty some vintage purses I have and she reached into one and found some concert ticket stubs that I hadn't seen for decades! Cool find huh?

Needless to say, I had eclectic musical taste- and I love the concert prices- $7.50 for Elvis Costello! Always remember your rock and roll roots, and this:

Check out some rock and roll themed items from some fresh etsy shops:

Rock on!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Productive peace and quiet

We have a vintage rustic cabin in a tiny historic town called Camp Sherman in Central Oregon on a pristine, very cold river. A week of uninterrupted time with no phone, internet, errands, or schedule can do wonders for an artist.....

Cocktail menu board

Bird jewelry box

Bird jewelry box

Wooden bird box with nest inside

Wooden bird box with nest inside

Three little bird paintings

Three little owl paintings

Frida Kahlo wooden box

Exotic birds embellished train case

Frida Kahlo embellished luggage set
I hope you can find time for some peace and quiet this summer......we all need it and you never know what you'll get out of it!

Meanwhile, check out these fabulous vacation-themed items from some fresh etsy shops:
Retro pink camper belt buckle by bmused

Far And Wide Pendant
Far and wide pendant by skykoltun
Map coasters on rustic stone by designedbydallas


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