Wright is having a Mass Modern auction on July 13th and this Art Deco sled attracted our collective eye.
We make neon, among the many things we create as designers in our studio. Our work has been represented in magazines, newspapers, television, film. It may also be seen in books by the artist, and authority Rudy Stern. The New Let There Be Neon, and Contemporary Neon, include our work for consumer goods giant Procter + Gamble, as well as indie businesses and restaurants. The late, Mr. Stern describes our studio City Lights Neon (Cincinnati) as “one of the most innovative workshops in the country, known for its craftsmanship and high level of design expertise.”
These neon signs would make a great gift as an addition to either one’s personal bar or a commercial environment. They were originally made and used by a client. We have since cleaned and refurbished the piece with a new solid state transformer. They are assembled on painted metal frames and are ready to be plugged in.
This prosaic image is quite old. I assume it to be a lithograph. The image depicts a sheepherder and his flock of sheep surrounded by a lush tree lined landscape with a mountain in the distance. It is such an idyllic composition and is mounted in a beautiful old oak frame with dark stain. The frame has delicate metal detailing around the perimeter of the opening. It is just one of those pieces which exudes a certain serenity and calm. We have not taken it apart, although it has some modern brads as part of its assembly. Perhaps some clue of actual age might be discovered? Neither of us know where or when it became one of our possessions. It deserves to be displayed on a wall rather than stored in a box.
Measurements: image is 9″ x 6″ in 12 5/8″ wide x 9 5/8″ tall x 7/8″ deep frame
We purchased this signed candelabra in 1989 during a trip to the Southwest and Santa Fe. It is hand made, torch cut and welded, not a mass produced laser cut metal piece. The name of the artist has been misplaced and their signature in the steel unfortunately, is no more obvious. The two kokopelli-like figures arms reach toward the central candelabra which holds three 1″ diameter candles. The base has four 1/8 holes which may either be ignored or be used to firmly attach the piece to a table or other fixture. It has been gently used in the past, so some wax remains and adds to the rustic qualities inherent in this original, artist signed, rusted, torch cut steel piece.
Measurements: 24″ wide x 28″ tall x 3.0″ deep
We purchased this extremely rare ZoLO toy set at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1987. As designers, we recognized this as another example of 80s design as valid as the concepts and products being created by Ettore Sottssass and the group of Milanese artists referred to as Memphis. These were industrial designers who in essence re-invented what we considered Modern Design. The movement marked the end of the 20th century. Revered mid-century modern designer, George Nelson said in 1983, “Memphis is not in any atlas. It is a state of the soul, the soul at the end of the 20th century. If you didn’t know that the 20th century has a soul now you know.” True, Byron Glaser and Sandra Higashi, the creators of ZoLO were not among Sottssass, Matteo Thun, Peter Shire, George Sowden, Michele De Lucchi, Nathalie du Pasquier, Marco Zannini, … but their colorful, eccentric, pop, cutting edge toy emerged from the influences of that new international design called Memphis.
This original ZoLO was handcrafted in 1986, hand carved and hand painted, each box was a work of art but also contained the resources for imaginative works of art. The exterior sleeve states: “Lurking within this box are 50 twisty, twirly, squiggly, wiggly, knobby, blobby, and polka-dotty handmade wooden pieces waiting to be put together. Just release your imagination, and ZoLO will go wild.” “ZoLO can be anything you want it to be. Just open your mind, feel from your heart and discover the world of ZoLO.” We also have the original tri-fold postcard to be sent back to the Old Chelsea Station, NY postal address. It was included to gather a data base “as part of their continuing effort to develop products that inspire the hearts and minds” from the recipients including their contact information, “livelihood, amusements, favorite playthings, three wishes, comments & doodles.” It was obvious the creators were impassioned and having fun!
This, ZoLo “Designed by Raw Materials” is in excellent vintage condition. It is proto-typical.The original printed die cut cardboard sleeve still slips over the plywood box. The original makers attempted to clean up their still rough cut boxes with wood putty to mask the nails that hold the box together, note, this is original, not a repair. We count 55 pieces, including the fiber material drawstring bag which stores the smaller pieces. It was “played with” less than a hand full of times by us. The latex rubber on one piece has dried out over time, naturally and one curved connector was carefully repaired. This sculptural plaything is extraordinary, rare indeed, especially in its condition and completeness!
This is a wonderful modernist floral still life that is also a 26 piece puzzle. Quarter inch furniture grade plywood was used for the puzzle. The pieces appear to have first been cut then a light stain was applied to the tops and sides of specific puzzle pieces. It was made and signed by the artist “Kari.” We found it at an estate sale in the midwest assembled and placed in an acrylic “frame” with backing sold with frame which may be hung like a painting.
Measurements: approximately 8″ x 10″ x 1.25″
The wood pieces from which the circus pieces were cut double as the packaging of the puzzle. The puzzle was purchased in the midwest in the printed cardboard box in which it was originally packaged and sold. Made in Spain, it was designed by Craig Veser for Faroy, Inc., Houston, Texas. The box and the wood signature indicate it was made in 1982. A separately printed piece that was discovered inside also indicates a connection to VIA, with a Dallas, Texas address and defunct phone number. This circus puzzle and its animal characters are endearing, perfectly clean, never used. The edges of the wood from which it was cut, then painted the same character on both sides. The pieces show no rounding. The furniture grade plywood from which either side of the circus rings are made is 9/16″ and the characters are 15/16″.
This is different from flat wood or cardboard puzzles because it allows those involved, adult or older child, to work in three dimensions.
Of course, given the size of the puzzle pieces, we would not advocate or suggest that the puzzle be played with by young children.
In addition to the puzzle teeter totter and other circus props, the puzzle includes an elephant, tiger, lion, camel, bear, two horses, a panda bear, monkeys, and seals totaling 21 pieces.
Measurements: 14″ wide x 14″ long x 1.5″ (box) with 9/16″ deep background and 15/16″ deep characters
We discovered this sensitively made miniature violin at an antique “mall” east of Huntington, West Virginia in the middle 1980s. It was documented as being made by Joe Byrnside in Boone County, West Virginia, circa 1940s.
It is made of bent and carved wood, with decorative paint illustrating the maker’s signature J and B. The delicate metal “strings” are attached to the tail piece traveling over the bridge, up the neck and tightened over the tuning pegs. It also has F holes and a lovely scroll on which a short piece of old string, perhaps for hanging, is attached. The skill set shown indicates a true understanding of both the musical instrument as well as its construction. It is in excellent condition, all original to the maker’s vision and hand.
Measurements: approximately 12″ long x 3.5″ wide x 1.5″ tall