I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

He's not English!

My "English" gentleman is not English. He's German. When I wrote yesterday's post I failed to take a really good look at the beautiful statue before I started writing about it.
On the bottom of one of his feet is an old worn sticker.
It has the words "Marolin" and "Germany"  with Papiermache" written in the middle.
So I have spent the last few hours researching the word "Marolin" and Wow!... no wonder this hare has an attitude.
He's got quite a history.

When  I took the ribbon off to retie it, I noticed that it looked like his head was separate from his body. It was as if you could turn it and twist it off. I turned the head carefully and when I did, some of the brown paint broke away from the body, so I stopped immediately. I got some Mod Podge and started to fill in the neck area with it, to keep the loose brown pieces in place.
That was when I realized that he was looking at me with disdain.
I knew that this was a rare hare.
And I didn't want to do anything to ruin his value. He knew that I knew he was SPECIAL.

Well come to find out... He is!!
It all began in the Thuringian Forest nearly 100 years ago where Mr. Richard Mahr created nativity figurines made out of papier-mache at his parents home. The first figurines had a serene look with a Nazarene style. Later, in 1920, a new style arose when the young talented designer, Mr. Julius Weigelt, joined the company. His style can be seen, even today, on all MAROLIN products. Mr. Richard Mahr was always open for new talents and designers. He supported his new young employees in every way he could. His instinctive sense for business advanced the company even during the years before World War II. MAROLIN became known worldwide as a company for handcrafted Christmas items made from papier-mache until the break of World War II. After World War II, MAROLIN started out with lots of positive promises, but the division of Germany stopped most of these developments.

Their home-business being in the way of the INFAMOUS WALL the family was told by the East German Government at that time, to vacate within 6 days. They were told, that they could only take some personal belongings. The family used their six days to bury all their famous molds underneath their homestead. Than they left, leaving everything behind; business; home; all belongings.
Only after the WALL came down and their papers had cleared and they finally got their property back, were they able to start again.
So, finally, 45 years after the end of World War II, around 1990, the earlier supporters of MAROLIN products began arousing the efforts of their activities with their strong interest in collecting the handcrafted papier-mache items and one-of-a-kind Christmas figurines. The traditional molds used to create these figurines were the most desired and collected German Christmas items. 


And as for the hare's body...

As early as the middle of the 19th century, papier-mache was used to create dolls, animals and figurines. The content of the type of papier-mache used in Thuringian toy and doll areas is still today kept secret. Each cottage industry workshop continues to protect its secret mixtures. The papier-mache contains certain amounts of clay, kaolin, plant-glue and paper pulp. Figurines with a height taller than 4.9 inches are poured into a form to create a hollow body. Since plaster of Paris is the liquid poured into these forms, it sucks up the moisture in liquid and pushes it against the walls of the form. After 6 hours the form is opened and the figurine can be dried. If necessary the figurine can be perfected by modeling dried, pressed material on the imperfect parts of the figurine. Small figurines can also be created this way. The papier-mache material is pressed by hand into the form and then touched up for drying. Large figurines can be additionally fortified by thin wire. The drying process takes place in a stove at 70°C. So it takes two types of artisans to create one MAROLIN figurine: the pourer and the hand-pressed artisan. The two create one figurine, step by step. Lastly, the most important step in the creation of a MAROLIN papier-mache figurine is completed with the delicate skill of the painter. The figure should gain depth, shine and everlasting impression when the coat of a paint called patina is attentively applied. Even today every MAROLIN figure gets the same artisan attention it was given in the past. The cottage industry of the Thuringian area of Germany is proud that the company never lost its original methods established by Richard Mahr and continued to preserve the art of creating papier-mache handicrafts. 
 (Thanks to The Christmas Haus online for this information.)

And then... 
I found another one. He's an Easter Hare. He is suppose to be carrying a cart filled with Easter candy. No wonder he is so filled with determination and importance
His head is a separate mold, so you can turn it from one side to the other. And excuse me... but did you notice the price? I know that my hare doesn't have the cart attached but, holy smokes, I paid $6.00 for this little guy.  Here, with the cart, he is valued at $110.00 I'm starting to trust my eye for valuable antiques.I knew that he was a Hare of importance.
I also found a sitting hare for $140.00 and a large Easter Hare container for $198.00. Same company with a similar sticker. I'm just not sure if he's one of the really old molded hares or a newer one. I think he is an older model because of the sticker and the wear on him.
 
You just never know what you'll find in a thrift store in Reno, Nevada. 
I'm not going to restore him... for a while, anyway. I think that any antique is more valuable when it hasn't been restored. What do you think?  
Although... he is not going to be sold again. He's mine now.  
Attitude and all.
 I will tie the ribbon around his neck again and set him in a place of honor. He came from Germany and found me. What are the odds? 
It doesn't really matter how old he is or what I could sell him for. I just love this guy. 





Monday, April 29, 2013

The Dream of being a Showgirl and a Place called Junkee.

For most of my life I thought that Reno, Nevada consisted of Virginia St and the casinos. I had only seen the downtown Casinos under the sign that read "The Biggest Little City in the World" on North Virginia St. My parents took me there when I was very young and I would look though the windows of Harrah's and Harvey's watching my dad play some nickles for me in a slot machine. I thought it was all fascinating. The lights, the people..... It was a place that never slept.
 I even wanted to be a "showgirl" at one point in my life. When I took an aptitude test in high school the results said that  I could either do well as a mechanic or a showgirl. Since I could sing and dance and I was very tall, I didn't think that being a mechanic would fit my image or bring me the excitement that I so desired at 17 years of age. I turned my nose up at what my dad would have called a good, solid profession with good skills and dreamed of being an actress or a singer... or a SHOWGIRL. But, my parents won out and in my first year of college, I met The Prospector and the rest is history. I never became a mechanic or a SHOWGIRL. But it's OK...maybe in my next life.
So last Tuesday my retreat friends and I drove to Reno for the day. We didn't gamble or go to the shows. We didn't even get near the downtown Casinos. There is much more to Reno.
But it still makes me wonder if I should have become a showgirl and had my moment on the "wicked stage".  Oh well, enough of the "What ifs...". It's a little late to think about where I would be if I had become a SHOWGIRL.. but it still sounds exciting.
Reno has 225,000 people in it now and twice as many if you include the Sparks area. Las Vegas is the only town in Nevada that's bigger. Reno is in a high desert valley along the Truckee River. The Discovery of silver in 1859 led to a mining rush in 1863 and when a railroad station was established in 1868 the little town finally came into its own. Charles Crocker, the railroad superintendent, named the town RENO after a Major General Jesse Lee Reno, a Union officer killed in the civil war. Mining remained the political power until 1931 when the state of Nevada legalized open gambling and more liberal divorce laws. "I'm going to Reno." became synonymous with "I'm going to get a quick divorce."
The arch was erected on Virginia St in 1929 to promote the Trancontinental Highway Exposition that year. The mayor asked folks for a slogan and when a $100. prize was offered, a guy from Sacramento won with:
~RENO_ THE BIGGEST LITTLE CITY IN THE WORLD.`
This  photo, above, is probably how it looks when my dad played nickles for me in the 50's, but this is how I always remember it.
Bright, exciting and wild. I still feel this way when I go up there.
Well, this is probably more information about Reno than you ever cared to read about, but it's an interesting town and it has changed a lot in the last 50 or 60 years.

So last Tuesday my friends and I drove to Reno for the day. We didn't gamble or go to the shows. We didn't even get near the downtown Casinos. There is much more to Reno than gambling and showgirls.
We drove on the new freeway from Carson City into Reno.
It makes short work of driving up or down the highway. It's now called I580 and is a monumental piece of highway construction. It's not finished below Carson City but it sure is nice traveling up to Reno.

This is the wonderful metal artwork that is being use on the overpasses and onramps.
This is the Fairview Drive overpass where the freeway ends in Carson City. They will continue the freeway to the south when funds allow.
Isn't this creative? Who has miners, cowboys and wagon trains moving across their overpasses?
 Who has huge mine openings with trains coming out of them under the overpasses?
and steam trains on the off ramps and metal horses on the tops of the hills? Nevada does!  It's a sight to see. Each a different piece of metal art and so much a part of Nevada's history.
We first drove to a place called Junkee on S. Virginia St.
 This is a clothing exchange and antique shop that redefined "thrift shops". It was loaded with "pre-owned" clothing, antiques and amazing old stuff. It looks like a small place until you start moving from one room to another. It goes on forever. We all found stuff that we couldn't live without and came away feeling like we nailed some very good buys. 
I found a wall plaque that just talked to me. I don't usually buy wall plaques but this one was pretty and I knew it would look wonderful on my living room wall. The plaque has a 10 inches diameter and is beautifully made. It's not hydrocal (Hydrocal is a product composed mainly of plaster of Paris and a small amount of Portland cement.) or wood. It's more a ceramic base and it's hand painted and antiqued on the raised flower design. There's no name or info on the back. It has a old metal hanger that is very secure. It was only 4 dollars.

Then I spotted THE HARE. Look at him. Someone had tied the ribbon around his neck and you could tell he was feeling quite spiffy with his green "ascot". 
 Look at that attitude. He's a very proud gentleman.
 He has character.
There is a small problem with the top of his ears, as if he was dropped on them and someone did a bad patch job. I will do a little DYI with my acrylics and he will be as good as new. He was $12.00, reduced to $6.00, so I thought I got a wonderful deal. 
He's happy and I'm happy. He has a new home and told me that he would like to keep the "ascot". I think he might be English.
If you're interested, this is all you need to know about the Hare. He is not a rabbit. There is quite difference.

Again, it's late... so I will continue the day in Reno tomorrow. 
Sweet Dreams.