Friday, April 11, 2014

All Things Japanese

I've travelled to a lot of places in the world but the one place I haven't been yet is Japan.
Whether it's the bright lights of Tokyo or the calm of tea ceremonies, or the  image of vast hills of blooming ornamental cherry trees... I long to visit this land steeped in ritual and culture.
But for now the best I can do is dream and enjoy the many found things from Japan that I come across in my work. Top of the list for me has to be Kokeshi. Kokeshi are carved wooden dolls that come in all shapes and sizes. Uniquely shaped with no arms or legs and large heads.

 It is believed that kokeshi were "originally made during the middle of the Edo period (1600–1868) to be sold to people who were visiting the hot springs in the north-east of the country." (wikipedia) Traditional Kokeshi can be identified by their artist signatures or by their unique facial characters. 

Beware though, once you start collecting them it's impossible to stop!

Next on my Japan collectibles list is this enameled cigarette case.

These type in particular were popularized after WWII  as tourist gifts. Often they came in sets with a lighter and though they are not rare, they are a fun collectible and are fairly easy to find. Of course they can always be repurposed to hold things other than cigarettes.

 No collection of Japanese things is complete without at least a little paper, folded or otherwise.

I love 70's japanese postcards taken of course with film cameras, (those fuji greens!!) 
books of matches, always the most interesting, one of these has copies of block printed fish on it.
These post cards of a tea Ceremony are my favourite, not old but beautifully printed and frame worthy, and lastly folded paper dolls, the two on the far left are newer book marks.

This week as I was scouring the shelves of my local thrift store I found my final item, a beautiful Japanese laquer vase. I have seen lots of laquerware old, new and otherwise but this one is a first for me. By it's shape and style I'd say it's most likey sixties or seventies. It kind of jumped off the shelf at me and it is so bright and cheerful, I may have to hang on to it for a while.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Stop Drop and Roll

As a hunter gatherer I know that some days are good and some are not so.. It only takes one good find to make a so so month turn into a WOW month but the good finds are getting increasingly harder to come by. A year ago I could shop one day a week and find enough to sell for several weeks. Now I'm lucky if I find enough to sell after shopping three or 4 days a week. But I'm not meaning to complain, just trying to set the stage for todays topic.

Earlier this week I set out on the hunt and left 3 or 4 places empty handed. I finally hit on what I thought was pay dirt when I found a Polaroid Pro Pack camera. (if you've been following along you know polaroid is a true love for me) I was thrilled, so thrilled in fact that I neglected to check the battery compartment, something I always do when buying pack cameras. Naturally after forking over 10 dollars I got home to discover that the batteries were left in the camera and had spewed their nasty acid. "No matter", I said to myself, "I will clean it up and it will be fine." It wasn't. Now you might be thinking "it's only 10 dollars", but to a hunter like me who's profit margin is very often thinner than a split hair, 10 dollars is a lot. Anyway, my point being that as buyers and re-sellers it behooves us to (as my good friend Perry would say)
Stop, Drop and Roll! 

In my profession excitement can be a job hazzard, I need to cultivate an attitude of calm when I'm out shopping so I don't end up with a cart full of "it's only x amount of dollars", purchases. Of course it's sometimes unavoidable and one can't be too hard on ones self, but it is a learned skill and I for one am determined to learn it. So next time I'm holding an object that makes my temperature rise I'll be sure to repeat my new mantra...

Stop, Drop and Roll!

And If that doesn't work I may be heading off  to the nearest ten step program, ;-).