Designer Biography, Mid Century Modern

Mid Century Modern Designer Spotlight: Dorothy Thorpe

Dorothy Thorpe was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1901. She began her young adult life by attending the University of Utah as a Music major.  However, a chance finding of an empty beer bottle changed the course of her life forever!

Dorothy-Thorpe
Dorothy Thorpe with some of her glass pieces

As the story goes, Dorothy found a broken beer bottle or wine bottle, depending on which version of the story you are reading, lying in the street and had the brilliant idea to turn the bottom of the bottle into a drinking glass tumbler. Talk about true DIY works of art! She gave one of them to her brother who in turn took it to work at MGM Studios.  Clark Gable happened to see it and immediately ordered 6 dozen sets.  Dorothy C. Thorpe, Inc. was born!

She sold her pieces in a small Hollywood gift shop and before long her works of art were highly sought after by Hollywood Studios and stars and wealthy and famous people, including Princess Grace of Monaco and the Shah of Iran.

It’s important to note that Dorothy Thorpe did not manufacture glass, rather she decorated glass pieces that she purchased.  The finely etched detail of some of her floral work is so life-like it’s hard to believe she had no formal art training.

P1155406p_master
Art Deco Acid Etched Vase with Maple Leaf Motif by Dorothy Thorpe

To identify a truly authentic Dorothy C. Thorpe piece look for the sandblasted trademark like the one pictured below:

P1155408_master
Dorothy C. Thorpe sandblasted trademark

Some of her designs had paper or foil seals and have since been lost so it’s especially important to know something is really a Dorothy Thorpe creation before purchasing.

Most recently her Allegro Sterling Silver Rimmed glassware was seen on the TV show, Mad Men.  These glasses had a 1″ band of sterling silver all around the top.  The Allegro design was on decanters, pitchers, and several different types of glassware such as rocks glasses, footed cocktail stems, roly poly glasses and stemless martini glasses like these:

Martini Glasses

Dorothy Thorpe also decorated dinnerware for companies such as Crown Lynn in New Zealand as well as her own tableware lines. The design below is a glorious cobalt and azure wash with slightly offset gold metallic floral and leaf pattern.

Dorothy C. Thorpe China Set

Dorothy Thorpe’s beautiful creations are featured in museums and are highly sought after.  She was listed in “Who’s who in American Art. And even had done glass decorations and lamps for the Mormon Temple at Idaho Falls, windows for St. John’s Academy at Camarillo.

She died on September 4, 1989 in Carlsbad, California, but her timeless works of art still live on.

Below is a list of resources I used in writing this article and will provide much more in-depth information about the life and career of Dorothy C. Thorpe.

Dorothy Thorpe – Retro Solstice

Dorothy Thorpe Designs – The Hour

Who is Dorothy Thorpe and What Glassware Can Be Attributed to Her? – The Hour

Dorothy C. Thorpe-Mid Century Sand Artist Extraordinaire – High Class Glass

Dorothy Thorpe and Her Ivy Leaves Collection – National Depression Glass Association

Until Next Time,

Kathie

 

Advertisements
Cocktail Parties, Entertaining, Holidays, Mid Century Modern, Uncategorized

5 Hangover Remedies from Years Gone By…

 

 

So, was your New Year’s Eve quiet and tame or rowdy and full of good cheer?  If you had a bit too much celebration and are feeling the effects of the dreaded hangover here are 5 hangover cures from years gone by that may just still work!

1.  Hangover Heaven

med_hangover_heaven

Ok, this looks more like a scary Halloween costume than a hangover remedy, but famous makeup man, Max Factor, created this face mask in 1947.  When first created, this mask was meant for actresses to use between takes on movie sets to cool their faces from the hot studio lights.  However, a few hard-partying Hollywood types soon took it over to use as a hangover cure.  The plastic ice cube shaped squares were filled with water and it was kept in the freezer until use.

2.  Onion Soup Hangover Remedy

 

The onion soup hangover remedy was all the rage back in 1935.  In the above video you can see step by step how to cook this stuff up and it’s pretty yummy to eat too! It’s hydrating and the vitamin B in the onions is good for you.

3.  Tarrant’s Seltzer Aperient

10_03_001273a

Tarrant’s Seltzer Aperient was popular back in the 1840’s right into the 20th century. It was described as an effervescing powder containing bicarbonate of soda, tartaric acid, and potassium.  And while it did probably help get some fluids and minerals back into the body, it wasn’t a full proof cure, obviously, or we would all have it stocked in our cabinets today.  However, back then it was still being “kind to men who have tried to drink the town dry in one night.”

4.  Quaff-Aid

quaff_ad

Quaff-Aid was the hangover cure in the 1950’s.  The perfect hostess was encouraged to have these on hand so that you could “assure yourself and friends a pleasant time and a pleasant tomorrow…”  Basically, these little “Mighty-Mites” as they were called were brewer’s yeast that was rich in minerals and B-complex vitamins. It was so popular it even came in a convenient party pack.

5.  Brenda Frazier’s Hangover Bar Cure

tumblr_op9z9xRkyS1r0bqbdo1_1280

Brenda Frazier, the original celebutante, had a bar dedicated to hangovers at her 1938 coming out party at the Ritz-Carlton in New York City.  The head banquet man Adolphe Jeantet created the cure that guests clamored for.  A bottle of chilled Coca-Cola was shaken and then squirted into a glass of cold milk.  One sip and a nice long nap and you were good to go!

So, there you have it a look back at some of the old-timey hangover cures from years gone by.  What’s your favorite hangover remedy?

Until Next Time,

Kathie

Christmas, Cocktail Parties, Entertaining, Holidays, Mid Century Modern, Recipes

6 Steps to a Fabulous Retro Holiday Cocktail Party!

Holiday Cocktail Party

‘Tis the season for awesome Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties! If you love the 1950s and 1960s, can’t get enough of Mad Men, and would love to show off your Mid-Century Modern decorations, you should throw a Mid-Century Modern Christmas or New Year’s Eve cocktail party. Here are some suggestions on how you can throw a Mid-Century modern themed party:

  1. Set the tone right away with the invitations you send.

Here are some e-vites that will help set the tone for the party. Be sure to mention on the invitation that it will be a themed party. Since it is close to Christmas and New Year’s Eve, here are some e-vites you can send out quickly from paperlesspost.com

2. Decorate for the holidays and within your theme

DSCN0084_2_1400x

Since you are having a cocktail party, guests will be using barware and glasses, so consider updating your glassware and buy new items that will fit in with your theme. Here are some beautiful ideas for toasting at midnight on new year’s eve.

3. Serve drinks, appetizers, and desserts in the theme

photo credit: classic_film via photopin cc
photo credit: classic_film via photopin cc

Find some fabulous themed recipes online that will take your retro party up a notch! Here are some Mad Men-style retro cocktails that will be perfect.  And here are some recipes that you can make to accompany the cocktails you serve from Food Network.

And here are some tips for creating perfect cocktails from a previous post. Oh and this is a must read as well.  Tips on how to style your bar cart!

4. Play music in the background that fits your retro theme

photo credit: classic_film via photopin cc
photo credit: classic_film via photopin cc

Music is amazing for helping to set the mood for a party. Play songs like “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “The Chipmunk Song,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and “Christmas.” Make a playlist on iTunes, Spotify, or YouTube so you can start the music and keep the music going all night.

5. Play a classic Christmas movie

photo credit: tom-margie via photopin cc
photo credit: tom-margie via photopin cc

If you want to add extra ambiance, you could also have a Christmas movie from the 1950’s or 1960’s playing in the background. White Christmas (1954) and Babes in Toyland (1961) would be great choices. This will help put people in a holiday mood, and it will also give your guests something to do and to talk about.

6. Play some games

photo credit: freeloosedirt via photopin cc
photo credit: freeloosedirt via photopin cc

When the mingling dies down, create some excitement by playing vintage games. Pull out a deck of cards and play a good ol’ fashioned card game. Or look on eBay for classic board games like Yahtzee, Battleship, or Dominoes.

We wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season full of good cheer and vintage merriment!

Until Next Time,

Kathie

stencil.blog-post-feature

Christmas, Entertaining, Gifts, Holidays, Mid Century Modern

5 Ways to Make Your Home Mid Century Merry

MidcenturyChristmas

Welcome back to the blog! Decorating your home in a Mid Century Modern way can add a touch of whimsy and uniqueness to your home for the holidays. Here are some things you can do to add a little Mid Century Modern Christmas magic to your home this year.

1. Make homemade Christmas decorations.

There are a few reasons why you should make your own homemade decorations. It may be difficult to find Mid Century Modern Christmas ornaments, stockings, and other decorations in an average store. Another reason to make your own decorations is that was what was popular (and often necessary) to do back then. People were into making their own items back then even more so than they are now. You will also be able to customize your own looks and colors. These decorations do not need to be complicated. Here are some ideas for mid-century modern Christmas decorations from DIY you can make. This DIY Starburst Wreath by PMQ for Two is beautiful!  Click Here for instructions on how you can make your own!

DIY-Starburst-Wreath-10

2. Opt for a unique Christmas tree.

Instead of picking out a fake green evergreen tree, look for one that is white, silver, pink, or teal aluminum. If it is sparse, that is even better! Trees that were smaller and sparser were all the rage back in the 1950s. If you can’t find an aluminum tree in the store, you can always cover your tree with lots of tinsel, or even spray paint a tree to coordinate with your theme better.

31342393626_fe27d4bf0c_o
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/designmilk/

3. Choose designs you will be able to use all year round.

While choosing items to add to your home, it can be really fun to add items that are specific to Christmas and the holidays, but some items can add to your home all year round and be used for other holidays as well. For example, these vintage champagne glasses would be amazing to use for New Year’s Eve and any other special toast:

stencil.blog-post-image

4. Plan on hosting a party!

Once you have decorated your house in this special way, plan to show it off! You can serve fabulous cocktails in these green wine goblets that just scream Christmas!

stencil.blog-post-image (1)

Or if you want to bring a little gold to the party look at this gorgeous Vintage Bohemia Czech Crystal Cocktail set.

stencil.pinterest-post (4)

5. Go all out!

Let your theme extend into all areas of your celebration! Bake cookies for the holiday and sing carols by the piano. Give Mid Century Modern gifts and wrap your presents in fun retro wrapping paper. Make popcorn garlands and gather around the Christmas tree. Have fun with your theme and remember the simplicity and fun of the 1950s and 60s.

8303972505_48383fe0f1_o
Photo Credit: https://tinyurl.com/ydhjzkd3

Until Next Time,

Kathie

Entertaining, Holidays, Mid Century Modern, Thanksgiving

Top 7 Reasons to Have a Mid-Century Style Thanksgiving

MidCenturyThanksgiving_1

Happy November! This is the perfect time to start decorating your home with festive Thanksgiving flair. Here are the top 7 reasons to have a Mid-Century style Thanksgiving!

1. Mid-Century items add interest and act as conversation pieces.

Thanksgiving is one of the few times of year when you host friends and family at your home, so give them something interesting to look at and talk about. Items like this vintage mid-century Murano Art Glass Vase would be great conversation starters:

s-l1600 (5)

These items add fun and whimsy to every party.

  1. You may find more Thanksgiving items.

It can be difficult to find many Thanksgiving items in the store nowadays, so look for items like this vintage Autumn Leaf  serving platter to add to the holiday ambience:

24_57_9713e43a-7510-4ed5-bd36-d07fab779f0e_800x

  1. Your relatives will relate to the Mid-Century style.

Your older relatives may have first-hand knowledge of Mid-Century style, and using Mid-Century items will let them feel nostalgic. If they are bringing a dish to Thanksgiving, encourage them to bring it in one of their own unique vintage pieces. They will likely have a great story about the item!

  1. There are unique Mid-Century style items that we just don’t have now.

Items like this vintage mid-century modern cocktail set can’t be found in stores now:

DSCN9734_800x

These items are perfect for Thanksgiving and will make serving easier and more fun! Since hosting parties was all the rage back in the 1950s and 60s, most of these items are made for parties and for sharing.

  1. It is easier to mix and match items!

How many people really have enough place settings of one china pattern to use for one event? Most people end up having to mix and match china patterns. Mid-Century modern style barware and serving items are perfect for mixing and matching. By picking the same era of designs, they all coordinate, but then you have the freedom to mix items. These Fostoria Argus Ruby Rock Glasses

DSCN0625_2_1400x

would look great on the same table as these vintage striped rock glasses.

DSCN9508_2_1400x

  1. Mid-Century items are elegant!

Items like these vintage atomic star champagne coupes are so elegant and add a touch of class to any party:

DSCN0243_2_1400x

  1. These vintage pieces will never go out of style!

Vintage items are great because they have stood the test of time and they continue to be popular. These are classic, timeless pieces that will look beautiful year after year!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, and check back on the blog in a few weeks when we will give you some great Mid-Century Christmas design ideas, as well!

Until Next Time,

Kathie

Designer Biography, Mid Century Modern

Mid Century Modern Designer Spotlight: Fred Press

I’m back again with another short informational piece about Mid Century Modern Designers – specifically those that designed giftware and housewares.

I absolutely love drinking glasses from the 50’s and 60’s.  It was so colorful and fun!

So I thought it was interesting to learn that Fred Press was also an artist who designed more than glassware.

Fred Press was born in October of 1919 in Boston, MA.  His parents had emigrated from Russia in the early 1900’s.

He began winning awards for his sculptures in the 1930’s and studied art at the Vesper George School of Art.  He and his brother founded Contemporary Arts, Inc. and many of his sculptures were reproduced and distributed through that company.

In the early 1950’s Press moved to New York City and was the chief designer for Rubel and Company.  Over the next 3 decades he held this position and really transformed the giftware industry.

DSCN9420
Fred Press Orange Trojan Horse @ Stone Creek Boutique

He was such a versatile and prolific designer in the 20th century.  As you can see from the drinking glasses below his designs were bold and colorful:

DSCN9674
Fred Press Glass Tumbler Coat of Arms @ Stone Creek Boutique

Fred Press died in 2012 at the age of 92.

If you would like to learn more about Fred Press and his artwork you can visit the Fred Press Artwork Website

You can find the items featured in this post and more at our store Stone Creek Boutique.

newsletter

Until Next Time,

Kathie

Designer Biography, Mid Century Modern

Mid Century Modern Designer Spotlight: Georges Briard

It’s been forever since I’ve had a new blog post!  Life has gotten in the way of, uh…well…my best laid plans.  But, I’m back with another new post and this time we are focusing on Mid Century Designers!  Specifically Georges Briard!  I love, love, love his glassware designs.

gbspanishgold
Georges Briard Spanish Gold Drinking Glasses @ Stone Creek Boutique

If you love mid-century housewares, Georges Briard is a name you should know! He is one of the most well-known designers of mid-century home goods. He was an artist and an award-winning designer of mid-century housewares including dishware, glassware, and gold-plated serving dishes. Here is Georges Briard’s story.

Georges Briard was born Jascha Brojdo in 1917 in the Ukraine. His family moved to Poland when he was four and he then emigrated to Chicago in 1937 after he came to visit his physician uncle. He studied at the University of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago. While he was is Chicago, war broke out in Europe and both of his parents died. In a new country without an allowance to pay for his college education, he was granted a scholarship to finish his degree. After graduating with his MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago, he enlisted in the United States Army. While in the Army, he served on General Patton’s staff as a Russian interpreter. He was discharged from the Army in 1947 and moved to New York City.

It was in New York City that he began his career as an artist and designer. When he was first starting out, he worked with Max Wille, whom he had met in art school. While Brojdo was on a trip to Maine, he started painting metal serving trays and selling them. These trays were a huge success. He signed some of his very first pieces with the name “Brojdo,” but then started using the name Georges Briard as a pseudonym after Wille came up with it. Brojdo was also a painter and would save using his own name on his artwork, and started using “Georges Briard” as a commercial designer. He used “Georges” to sound French and “Briard” was after a breed of dog that Wille had recently lost. You will see this signature on pieces like this:

s-l1600 (1)
Georges Briard Square Serving Tray Golden Celeste @ Stone Creek Boutique

His designs became incredibly popular in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. His notable designs were first produced with Max Wille at the M. Wille Company, and then he later partnered with Philip Stetson. His signature collection of dishware and glassware was originally sold at Neiman Marcus and Bonwit Teller, and now you can buy vintage pieces here:

Google Logo

Click Here to sign up for our newsletter!

 

In 2004, he won the Frank S. Child Lifetime Achievement Award from The Society of Glass and Ceramic Decorators. He won this award in honor of his extraordinary contributions to the glass and ceramic decorating industry. His pieces are truly amazing to collect. Pieces like these are easy to recognize by his amazing design:

s-l1600 (2)
Georges Briard Serving Tray Sonata @ Stone Creek Boutique

He died on July 30, 2005 in New York City when he was 88 years old. The best way to honor this legendary designer is to enjoy and share his amazing designs!

If you would like to learn more about Georges Briard, you can read Designed & Signed by Leslie A. Pina.

Until Next Time,

Kathie