Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Infinite Ephemera

Oh my goodness, readers - my friend Robin strikes again!  Check this out....

Yep.  This enormous pile of antique (not vintage) invoices and legal documents came to me on Saturday.  I was gallery sitting at the Jazz Gallery for the Warped Milwaukee fiber arts show (which I'm a part of!), and in walked my friend Robin.   You may remember me talking about Robin from this post and this post - she has bestowed upon me some of my favorite ephemera in my whole collection!  And here she was again with a huge new pile of wonderfulness.

One of the great things about this pile is that not only does it contain some of the most fantastically patinaed paper I've seen, but a veritable history of paper fasteners!  Check these out - we have the paper pincher:

The grommet...

The heavy-duty...

...and the staple-less stapler!  :D  What's interesting is that this last one is making a comeback (you can find one here)!

Robin, her friend Gwen and I (and my friends Harmonie and Carolyn) all had a great convo about this ephemera.  While we were looking through the invoices (which will get their own separate blog post!), I commented about how much fun I was having making my new "sandwich" collages, and that some of these old papers would be PERFECT for them.  I looked at her rather sheepishly, and she knew exactly what I was thinking - that I would offend her if I deigned to cut up these papers.

My latest "sandwich" abstract - I call this one "Grilled Cheese"

She said to me, "Mel, I know you're going to be using some of these papers in your collages - I expected you to!  Remember what we talked about before?  That there is an infinite amount of this stuff out there!  In my experience, there will ALWAYS be an abundance of this type of ephemera, because there will be homes that are combed through, old barns and businesses, too - at least enough to last our lifetimes."

Robin is absolutely correct, of course.  We Ephemeraologists always have that nagging thought when we 'use' our collections - "what if this is the last known label of this kind?"  "What if I need this newspaper for an historical reason at some point?"  "What if it turns out that this particular invoice is worth a thousand dollars to some paper dealer?"

Maybe these thought will materialize, but they probably never will.  And if that particular invoice that I used IS worth a thousand bucks?  Well, maybe it'll drive up the price of my art work!  ;)

Thank you again for thinking of me, Robin - your generosity truly knows no bounds!  :D

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Body Ephemeral

Happy Tuesday, Ephemeraologists!  Allow me to first tell you how wonderful it is to be back in the swing of things!  I hope all of my readers in the States had a lovely Thanksgiving!

Did any of you participate in Black Friday shopping?  I'll admit it - I did, but not in the way you'd think.  My friend Nicci and I traveled to Appleton specifically for a HUGE art supply sale at a local place called Richeson's (those of you who are artists have probably used their products - they're distributed at places like Jerry's Artarama and Blick).  I SCORED on hardboard canvases - some as low as THREE BUCKS.  We couldn't pass it up!  :D

After Richeson's, we checked out this new (to us) consignment place called Bumble Puppy.  BINGO!  It was like being at an indoor rummage sale, except that it was far more massive than that.  There was a lot of what I like to call "junque", but I did manage to find some wonderful stuff, like this:

The "girl" - she went wild.  Hence, the censor blocks.  :D


What you're seeing here is the front of some amazing paper anatomy figures.  I couldn't find a copyright but judging by their faces and hairstyles, I'm going to put these in the 1920s, possibly as late at the early '30s.  There are other layers, as you can see here, with the muscular layers:

...the nervous system....

and the organ layer....

and finally, the skeletal layer.

Because they're probably 80-some years old, they are really fragile, and our poor gentleman's lower intestine is detached from the organ chart.  :D  But really, they're in surprisingly good shape!  No major tears or folds otherwise, which is miraculous!

I love it when I find stuff like this.  When we set out on Friday morning, I never thought that these "charts" would make their way to my collection.  Hooray for serendipity!  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks

Just ignore the "2010" part.  :D

Good morning, my dear Ephemeraologists!  And to my friends reading in the States, a very happy day-before-Thanksgiving to you!  :D

First of all, allow me to address my lack of posting.  Readers, it has been such a wonderful month for so many reasons, but it has also been ridiculously busy.  If you read last Wednesday's post you'll know why, but it hasn't let up since!  This was something that I hadn't anticipated.  I'm afraid it's going to be like this for awhile - you may only get 2-3 posts per week.  I hope they're posts you will enjoy regardless!  :D

Today, I would just like to say "Thank you!" to all of you, my dear readers.  Thank you for all of your input, comments, Facebook "likes", and sharing of ephemera.  I have "met" (and indeed, actually MET!) some of the most wonderful people because of this blog!  What an amazing age we live in - there is NO way I would've ever gotten to know most of you had it not been for Ephemeraology.  To know that there are others out there like me who have a passion for all things vintage, papery and patinaed, well, it's very comforting.  It's so much fun to "talk shop" with you about vintage Israeli gum wrappers, or European stick pins, or vintage clothing labels.  I love to hear YOUR stories about your favorite items, too!

I also want to thank Manto Fev, The Paper Flea Market and Silver Crow Creations for their continued awesomeness on the giveaway front!   You have these three lovely businesses to thank for anything you've won in the past year, and they're always ready to help me out.  Thanks, guys!  You're the best!  :D

Regardless of whether you're celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow or not, I wish you a wonderful rest of your week.  Thanks for sticking with me during this post drought!  :D

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Invoice me!

November has been an INSANE month - in a great way!  :D  I have accomplished the following since October 31:

  1. Hung my exhibit entitled "My Downtown" with the help of my friend Suze Fiebig (if you can't make it to see the exhibit, buy the book!)
  2. Began tutoring with FDL Literacy Services
  3. Gave a 20-minute presentation for the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, where I became a docent this year!
WHEW!!  Now that those things are behind me (the first time for all, anyway!), I can get down to making more art.  Now that my 18-month exhibit project is completed, I can start creating new pieces using my many, many, MANY piles of ephemera!  One of those stacks was utilized this weekend:

Some of you long-time readers may remember me talking about this huge stack of invoices that my friend Shelly Massey discovered at a great vintage store in Manitowoc during "Inspire my Life" (we were both instructors there), back in July of 2011 (Here's the link if you'd like to read the post!).  She was so nice to offer to split the stack, so we each wound up with about 100 invoices and receipts.  

Some of these are GORGEOUS, and I'll probably wind up using the letterhead designs in a collage somewhere (like this one, above).

But others are just, well, sort of BLAH.  But wait - there is a lot of creamy ecru patina to these pages!  I can't just throw them away (as you and I both know so well) - so, what should I do with them?


As you can see, that's exactly what I did! And I don't regret it for one second, because this is what became of those shredded documents:

I call the one on the left "PB & J" and the one on the right "BLT" (get it? They sort of look like sandwiches!).  An added bonus - I used those vintage Avon lipstick samples that I got from The Paper Flea Market as the "encaustic" color on the pieces!  :D

I am WAY into abstracts right now and I'm having so much fun.  I think I want to do many more of these - the possibilities are endless!  And thanks to Shelly's generosity, I'll be knee-deep in shredded paper for as long as I want to be!  :D

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Well Hello, Dolly!

(I'm being literal, here - I'm not saying it in the Principal Skinner sense!)  :D

I'M BACK!!!  After a too-long hiatus (illness, crazy-busy-ness, etc.), it feels so good to be back in the saddle.  Thanks so much for sticking with me!  :D

I have my mom in-law to thank for today's post and this wonderful Broadway ephemera:

Hello, Dolly, indeed!  :D

I love that I know own a Playbill!  You would think that somewhere in my ephemera travels and purchases that I would own one but this is the first!  That it has family history makes it even better.  In a delightful one-two punch, I now own the program, too!  The date on the Playbill is April of 1966, which was the month after Rose (my mom in-law) turned 20.  It is also the Chicago version, which makes sense - Chicago is far closer to Fond du Lac than New York!  The story is that Rose went to see the play with a friend of hers - I'm getting all of this info from Brian, so I'll have to get the full scoop the next time I see Rose.  :D She and my dad in-law were already engaged, but he was either already stationed in San Antonio with the Air Force or just about to leave at this point.  I'm sure this trip was a welcome distraction!  :D

To see "Hello, Dolly!" is fantastic enough but to actually get to see it with Carol Channing in the lead role?  PERFECT!  To me, she IS Dolly.  I'm sure I'll get arguments from you, my dear readers - maybe some of you prefer Barbara Streisand.  Or Pearl Bailey.  But for me, Carol's the quintessential character.  She has played this role more than FIVE THOUSAND times.  To put that in perspective, that would be like being on  stage every day for over THIRTEEN YEARS.  Maybe her love of the role is why she is still with us - in January, she'll be 92!

It's funny how different generations remember Carol from different things - I came to know her as Dolly in my twenties but growing up, she waszh the lady with the funny and raspy voisch from "Free to be you and me!".  :D

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Designing Woman

Graphic Design is one of those art careers that fascinates me.  I've always been a huge fan of fonts, illustrations, composition (which serves me well in collage!) and color (again with the collage).  Back when I was in high school and figuring out what I wanted to be "when I grew up", graphic design wasn't even on my radar.  I did rather poorly in my art classes and computers weren't really a thing yet, so I don't think it occurred to anyone that it was a path to take.  Instead, I chose accounting (I know.  It's weird for me too.)  :D

I have a lot of designer friends.  Let me rephrase that:  I have a lot of friend who are designers (they don't wear patches on their foreheads!).  :D  One of those friends is Evelyn McLean-Cowan, who I met a few years back.  She's done a lot of designing locally, and one of my favorite things she's done is the brochure for my friend Sue's B&B, Moondance.

Evelyn took my papermaking class in September and she brought some old paper samples and literature to use in the papers she made.  GENIUS!  Those samples that designers get from paper companies are always high-quality, perfect for papermaking!

So imagine my surprise when I got this HUGE stack of samples and brochures last week:


Some of these I will most definitely put right in my big papermaking bin.  Those neon papers especially - can't wait to see what kind of paper THOSE make!  I do hope to use some of the elements on the brochures in collages, too!  Thanks so much, Evelyn!  :D

Monday, November 5, 2012

Wear 'em Proudly

In this final political ephemera post, we're gonna kick it old-school today -

Metal tab pins!

I love these little guys!  I got these a while back at the same place, and I just think they're so neat.  My guess is that they were supposed to be worn on a man's shirt, and the tab on the top was probably bent to fit the inside of the front pocket.  Who cares if women wore them or not?  We all vote the way our husbands vote anyway (I am SO kidding!!!).  :D

This little set is a great representation of the elections of the Sixties.  In fact, they could all technically be for the 1968 election - we know that Nixon won the election, but it's unclear to me whether the Kennedy tab was for JFK or RFK - if it's the latter, then it would've been produced before June 6 of that year (the day he was assassinated - then again, this tab could even be for Ted Kennedy!).  In hindsight, most historians believe that Kennedy would've easily won the nomination for Democratic candidate.  After his death, it was the then-vice president Hubert Humphrey and Edmund Muskie ticket that garnered the Dem's nomination.  George Wallace also ran as an independent and won five states in the deep South.

I was only one month old when this election took place - in fact, it was exactly 44 years ago today, on November 5.  This was an election that took a toll on our country in a ridiculously stressful year of riots, assassinations and the Vietnam war.  Much like this election, I'm sure everyone was just glad when it was OVER.

And to that end, I will only say this - if you live in the U.S., PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get out and vote tomorrow!  You vote DOES count - every vote counts!!  If you are still undecided please take a half-hour of your time to read up on where the politicians stand on the issues (a great unbiased site is - they're the ones with the "Truth-o-Meter").  :D

I hope you enjoyed my week of vintage political ephemera!  I will be back with my "regular" posts tomorrow, sheerly out of voter fatigue.  I think we'll all need a break from anything election-related, don't you?  :D

Friday, November 2, 2012

Wee Wendell Wilkies!

Remember in yesterday's post, when I talked about how Thomas Dewey rallied for the Republican nomination for president in 1940, but he didn't get it?

This is the guy who ousted him.

Turns out it really didn't matter, of course - 1940 was the year that FDR was elected for his third term (and we all know he wasn't even done after that!).  Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that he didn't win, because Wendell Wilkie would've died in office (October 8, 1944).

Here's ANOTHER member of the liberal wing of the Republican party!  Sorry to harp on this but it just fascinates me that this exists, that there was a time in our history where politicians could actually vote against their party if they felt it was right.  I'm sure there was discourse because of it, but at least they weren't bullied for voting the way they felt was right.  And how's this for amazing - Roosevelt liked his politics enough to bring him aboard as an ambassador at-large.  WOW.

About these cinderella stamps - I can't even remember where I got them anymore - it's been quite a while! There are three different stamps but alas - they're pasted to the black paper.  I love that I own them, because to my mind, Mr. Wilkie's one of those blips on the history timeline.  Think I'm being melodramatic?  Consider this:  during Wednesday's "Jeopardy!" episode, not ONE person could name Walter Mondale's running mate in 1984 - and that was the historical Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to be chosen as a vice president!  You could tell Alex was annoyed.  :)

With the zillions and zillions of political ads running currently, it makes you wonder if we'll ever be able to forget any nominee, winning or losing, ever again!  :D

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dewey's your Man!

Isn't it interesting how we tend to forget those candidates who were not successful in their presidential attempts?  Here's one of them:

I got this fantastic brochure in the same lot of ephemera as these amazing artifacts from my friend Robin (in fact, you can see it front and center in the photo!).  I have been saving it all this time because I knew at some point I wanted to do a series about all of this political ephemera.  What better time than now?  :D

Of course, I'm sure most of us know about Dewey because of that famous photo of President Truman holding up the Chicago Tribune edition where they wrongly proclaimed that Dewey won the 1948 presidential election.  He was this close to becoming our president, that many folks thought it was in the bag.  *SOAPBOX ALERT*  This is a prime example of why it is SO important to vote!

Okay, I'm done.  :)  So, other than that, I really didn't know much about him except that I have quite a few Life magazines where they fawn all over him.  Then I got this brochure.

The first thing that struck me about it was the copy!  There is NO WAY, sadly, that campaigners could get away with a brochure like this nowadays - no one would take the time to read it!  But I did, and I'm glad, because I wrongly assumed that this was a brochure for one of his runs for president, probably 1944 (judging by the photograph).  WRONG!  Apparently there was a group of Wisconsin delegates who wanted him on the ballot in 1940 (that distinction eventually went to Wendell Wilke, who I'll be talking about tomorrow)!

Here's another thing that fascinated me - back then, there was actually a liberal faction of the Republican party, of whom he was the leader.  Say what?  Pardon me?  Can you EVEN imagine any Republican 'fessing up to this today!?  I guess Nelson Rockefeller (who I mentioned on Tuesday) was also part of this faction, which is why he didn't make it to the ticket in '76.  Incredible!!  Oh, to return to the days when our country wasn't divided in half....

Sorry, I digressed again.  :)  What I love about ephemera like this is that it's such an effective tool for learning history!  If I were a history teacher, and I could get away with it in my curriculum, I would much rather teach using this kind of stuff, rather than a history book.  THIS actually happened!  It's right in front of us!

I have learned FAR more from my ephemera in nearly every subject than anything I was ever taught in school.  Maybe if we study this historical political ephemera, we wouldn't be doomed to repeat mistakes of the past?