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!

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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

 

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Christmas, Entertaining, Gifts, Holidays, Mid Century Modern

5 Ways to Make Your Home Mid Century Merry

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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!

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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.

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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:

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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!

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

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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.

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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

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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:

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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:

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  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:

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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

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

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  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:

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  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.

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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:

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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.

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Until Next Time,

Kathie

Entertaining

7 Must Haves for Your Bar Cart

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For me, bar carts conjure up images of class and sophistication.  A time when cocktail parties and dinner parties were the major social events in a person’s social calendar.  When men wore suits and the ladies dressed in their finest cocktail dresses and pearls.

When we see images on television and movies from the 50’s and 60’s era there always seems to be a bar cart lurking in the corner just waiting for the spontaneous cocktail hour – always elegantly stocked and stylishly adding to the decor of the room.

During the 1970’s homes were being built with built-in bars with all the amenities. Wet bars anyone?  And thus the bar cart became lost in the new modern conveniences offered in the new homes.

However, in recent years the bar cart has made a resurgence!  Like most classic items, they fade away for a time, but always come back because they are just that great!  The bar cart allows you to always be ready to serve, ready to inspire, and ready to add just a bit of glamour to your home!

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read
my full disclosure policy.

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Stocking your bar cart is a matter of personal opinion,  as each person has their own preference depending upon their personal tastes.  But, a few essentials will make serving your guests with classic cocktails a breeze!

  1.   Cocktail Recipe Book – This is always to good to have on hand for spur of the moment cocktail requests.
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With over 1,000 recipes this cocktail guide will provide with endless recipes in which to amaze your guests!

2.  Bartender tools set – this is essential when creating tantalizing concoctions!

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3. Cocktail Napkins – There are some really cute cocktail napkins available.  Some you can even have personalized with your own home bar slogan or name.

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4.  Mixers and spirits – You should have at least 3 base spirits so you can create a variety of cocktails.  You can create hundreds of recipes with Whiskey, Vodka, Tequila, Gin or Rum.  Choose your favorites! For those just beginning you can purchase one bottle of aromatic bitters to have on hand.

5. Cocktail Shaker – You’ll want to have a cocktail shaker to properly prepare those drinks that require shaking.  Depending on the style you choose for your bar cart you can tailor your cocktail shaker to that look.  For instance if you are going for a vintage look you may like to purchase something like the one below:

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Or you can find something fabulous and contemporary like this one:

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6. Cocktail Glasses – You’ll want to invest in some gorgeous glassware for you new bar cart.  As with your cocktail shaker, the direction you take will determine which type of glasses you want to include.  Vintage:

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Or something more contemporary or modern:

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Of course you can always marry vintage with modern and create your own unique look!

7.  Swizzle sticks, wine glass charms and other fun accessories – A few unique touches made with inexpensive accessories can go a long way to tying your look together.

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Have fun and let me know what your favorite items you like to have for your bar cart.

Until next time,

Kathie