My Favourite Window

December 5, 2015

Mad Thing

This vase was almost certainly a wedding present to my parents when they married 56 years ago today. 

Probably a gift from one of my mother's friends, it was always on display, remaining a favoured ornament of hers until she left our family home in 2009. 

All of my siblings have feelings about the vase, none of them very complimentary. They range from disdain to bemusement. 

Although I never loved it I must have absorbed some of my mother's sentimentality towards the vase. I do remember being entranced by the wedge of glowing red, probably from earliest babyhood. It's likely that it was made in the same year as me!

1959 (but born in 1960)

I hesitate to say my parents had a shotgun wedding after first meeting in September, but there was some urgency, as Derrick was due to leave Melbourne in January for a fifteen month sojourn in Antarctica. He married Joan in the Melbourne Wesleyan Chapel according to her diary. She noted too, that their wedding reception was also George and Pam's Xmas party. Pam was Derrick's sister and the only immediate family member present.

The wedding was small, and the wedding photos were snapped by one of the guests and probably my father. I've photographed them in turn on a rather fine piece of Mid-Century Modern furniture that my father made a few years later - a Scandanavian style coffee table. 

Which brings me back to the vase! Sensual, sinuous, two necks entwining... Very appropriate to mark a mid twentieth century union.

The base mark shows the SMF shield, followed by Schramberg, then Handgemalt denoting handmade. Dec. appears to be an Anglicised version of the earlier Dek (dekor) and suggests that this art pottery was being intentionally marketed beyond Germany. Mexico is the name of this decorative finish and 39 is probably the shape number. 

What the base doesn't show is the artists' names: Elfi, or Elfie Stadler, worked for this West German pottery between 1953 and 1963 and appears to have designed the shapes for this range. She may also have decorated them but another craftsman associated with the decorative finishes is Ferdinand Langenbacher. I've managed to find this vase shape online, decorated with named patterns; Capri, Milano, Florida and Hawaii, and some un-named ones. I've also found Mexico in at least six of the bizarre shapes, but not this one. I could easily get hooked!

I remain endlessly grateful to my parents for my childhood - an almost unfettered countryside existence liberally graced with art, culture and learning of all sorts. 


Geo. said...

That is a beautiful vase, capable of holding flowers certainly, but designed to hold the attention of its recipients, the symbolism of two lives entwined and the imagination of their offspring. Thank you for sharing. I'm moved by the story and the enchanted object.

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

Oh Geo, your own understanding and imagination always extends what I have to say. Thank you :-)

libby said...

A marmite it or hate it. I don't particularly love it but keep looking at it and it reminds me of a fennel bulb. Your childhood sounds just as a great one lovely is that?

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

A fennel bulb Libby? I hadn't seen that before. There were no fennel bulbs in my father's vegetable garden to know what one was when I was little :-)

Englishkiwi said...

....I never liked it, but viewing it via the photos and understanding it's origin seems to make it a little more appealing! Not a lot, just a little.
Maybe if I ask you to show it to me, and I see it in front of me, it may become more appealing...!
Yours, Sister.

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

I do find that learning about their background makes these mid century items that our generation abhorred during their out-of-fashion phase more interesting. Though I don't think we need feel obliged to actually like them.