Tuesday, 21 January 2014

 A    V I N T A G E    J O U R N E Y 
Time flies past.
I hold the sand of moments in my hand.
Watch it all slip away,
Fall free.
Open my hand,  I know it’s not empty.
The sparkle of mica is still there.
In my eyes….
- Divya Agrawal 

I recently added another year to my life tally. Birthdays for me have always been a special time to rejoice, for all that I have and for experiences that time leads one through to make you, YOU! Time moves on, the world around us changes, we change. But, the present is always relevant, for it also becomes the past - a vital building block for the future.

The presence of technology in our lives has led to a dramatic change in lifestyles, in the way we design, write, express ourselves – to name a few. As I pen this piece, I reminisce about times not so far back. Of moments once in the present, now memories. Of a world not yet connected by technology and media. Of an era when our cities were still horizontal and we could ride a cycle carefree, on ‘our’ roads.

On this note, today I’d like to take you on a journey down the alleys of time, to revisit what used to be – the vintage & retro of now. I sifted through a wealth of material for pictures for this piece. Included are products that I found appealing for their design/ craftsmanship & aesthetic. Most pieces belong to the 1900’s, though a few date much farther back. 

1. 1950's Vespa advt: theniftyfifties.tumblr.com;   2. Paul Rand, Magazine illustration, 1962: 50 Watts @ Flickr
3. Travel Poster, Early 1900's: Boston Public Library @ Flickr;   4. Poster, 1971: butdoesitfloat.com/Polish-Posters2

The Vespa advertisement is so typical of the late mid 90's - breezy family outings on a scooter! I was pleasantly surprised to see the Travel India poster dating early 1900s. The scene is beautifully rendered and so expressive of the India of then.

5. Life Magazine, 1957, Christian Dior Dress;   6. Vintage Letter Box: Oldplank.com
7. Vintage Record Boxes, Vanity Case: Etsy (ModishVintage)

'The Lady in Gray' brought back memories of exploring a city steeped in history - Paris, with all its attractions & high fashion. 

Vintage products usually embody a high degree of craftsmanship. A likely consequence of them being hand made, in times when life was 'slow' and people could invest time and skill in creating them.

8. Suzani, Uzbekistan, beginning 19th Century/ earlier: David Sorgato;   9. Oriental fabric, mid/ late 19th Century: Tsutsugaki Katazome
10. Antique Rug: nazmiyalantiquerugs.com   11. Heirloom textile, Gujarat, 17th Century 

Innovations in textiles stretch far back in history. Handwoven, hand printed textiles like suzanis, ikats, palampores are infact cultural repositories, with patterns & weaving skills passed down generations.

12. Flint striker (steel inlaid with gold and jewels) India, early 17th century: asia.si.edu;  13. North African Jewelry,  The Philadelphia Museum of Art: curatedobject.us
14. Red glass necklace, 1960's: Etsy (BeeJayKay);   15. Silver Bangles, India, 1880:  collections.vam.ac.uk

The bird shaped flint striker just stole my heart - easy! The red glass bead necklace is stunning - notice the coin closure detail.

16. Art Deco radio, 1937: collectorsweekly.com;   17. Record player & Radio, 1956: oobject.com
18. Stereo Module Radio: srtajara.com;   19. Vintage Radio: Etsy

Radios can be works of art!

20. The first hifi by Dieter Rams & Hans Gugelot, 1950s:  Micheal Dent
21. Vintage Decorative bird: houzz.com;   22. Ceramic Clock by George Nelson, 1950s: smow.com  

23. Danish ceramic Creamer w/lid, 1970's: Etsy (mascara jones);   24. Mikasa Stoneglaze, Cream & Sugar set, 1970's: Etsy (ZoeDesignsVintage) 
25. Pitcher by Winslow Anderson, 1950's: Etsy (mascara jones);   26. Danish modern Bronze Birds, 1960's: Etsy (modernspecific)

I am a big fan of Fine China & have created a few Ceramic beauties myself - this Creamer is just what it took to get me smiling :) The color & form of the Mikasa Set blend so well to make it stand apart.

27. Lamp by Poul Henningsen, 1958: stardust.com;    28. Vintage clock collection: domayneonline.com.au

29. Primitive Cantback shelf: circa1820.com;   30. Antique scissors: Poly@Flickr;   31. Antique cast iron clothes Iron: Etsy (Corrnucopia) 
32. Vintage dip pens: Adriana Dirkje Bus-inia;   33. Primitive tin & wood pie safe: liveauctioneers.com

34. Restored Lounge chair by Adrian Pearsall, 1960's: 1stdibs.com  
35. USPS 2008 set of stamps featuring some iconic designs by the renowned American designers, Ray & Charles Eames. 

Furniture Design saw a shift to Modernism mid 1900 onwards. Characterized by clean lines and simplicity of design, iconic Modern pieces were created by designers like Marcel Breuer, Ray & Charles Eames, Adrian Pearsall, Isamu Noguchi. 

36. Vintage Pastels: ffffound.com;    37. Toy telephone by Playskool, 1970's: icollector.com  
38. Town building block set, 1943: daddytypes@flickr;   39. Vintage scooter: thestrong.org

These toys are eye catching, with their bright colors & simple forms - just what a child needs. Fortunately, wood toys are still available and kids just adore them.

I feel fortunate to have lived in the pre-internet era, of having experienced life ‘slow’, and, am really excited to be here in time when technologies like 3-D printing hold forth a promise of changing the face of innovation.

So here I am, looking at this new year in my life with anticipation & excitement – for the new experiences it holds and for the changes unfolding around us. With an eye on the future, I leave you today with this fantastic video “A day made of glass”, a must watch!

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