17th August 2007

Advertising Giants

Advertising Giants

Neato Coolville has done it again with another amazing post. This time it is a collection of giant advertising characters, including several Paul Bunyons, a couple of Big Texs, a spaceman, and even a lumbering Alfred E. Newman. Be sure to check them all out.

posted in Art, Midcentury | 2 Comments

12th August 2007

Perkins Pancake House Menu

Perkins Pancake House

Everyone here at the Junkyard Clubhouse love a good flapjack. So I was quite thrilled to see Neato Coolville‘s post about the Perkins Pancake House menu. It’s a great example of the wonderful design sensibilities of the the midcentury. The colors work well with our blog, too. Neato Coolville has full scans on the inside menu as, well.

Perkins Pancake House

posted in Art, Design, Food, Midcentury | 3 Comments

11th May 2007

The Majestic Kitchen Rooster

Ceramic Rooster

There are many things in life that are not for me to understand, and chief among them is the ubiquitous ceramic kitchen rooster. It’s one of those things that for many years I didn’t even think to question, but once I did set to wondering, I became amazed and mystified by this seemingly-simple kitchen tchotchke.

You’ve seen these a hundred times before, and I’d wager you haven’t given them a lot of thought, either. But, they’re kind of weird. For starters, the rooster is always depicted with all the noble bearing of a Roman general. These roosters don’t look like they’re just the big man around the henhouse, they look like they’ve just come back from conquering half of Europe. And they’re not cheap — the one pictured here has a $375 price tag. Who is spending nearly four hundred dollars on a ceramic chicken? Granted, it’s a very, very nice ceramic chicken, but it seems a bit odd that this would be happening all the time without a few questions being asked.

Questions like … who makes these? Somewhere out there, someone is making a living off of making ceramic roosters. Someone is a ceramic rooster artisan. Someone learned how to make ceramic roosters from their grandfather, and comes from a long line of rooster-makers. Perhaps there is a village in Italy that is renowned for its collection of fine chicken portaitists.

When I first started to ponder the kitchen rooster a few years ago, I started photographing them whenever I saw one. I finally gave up after I hit a few dozen — the suckers are all over the place. But here’s the kicker — I never saw two that were alike. They have got to be made from molds, but why have I not seen any duplicate chickens? The variety in the ceramic rooster market is simply astounding.

I don’t have the answers, and frankly, I don’t want them — I like a little mystery now & then. So, the next time to cross the path of a very fancy ceramic kitchen rooster, ponder for a moment where he came from, and where he’s headed. And be thankful you aren’t a peasant in some tiny European village he’s just ransacked.

p.s. — I do appreciate the irony in this questioning of ceramic roosters coming from a woman who runs a huge site dedicated to ceramic drinking cups made to look like Polynesian gods.

posted in Art | 8 Comments

24th April 2007

Anastacia Campbell Photography

Golden Gate Bridge, at its very spookiest:

Fade to White, Golden Gate Bridge - © 2007, Anastacia Campbell
Fade to White, Golden Gate Bridge – © 2007, Anastacia Campbell

Anastacia Campbell is a Bay Area-based photographer, and her stuff is great. You can order prints direct from her website. If you like what you see, be sure to vote for Anastacia at the Blogger’s Choice Awards — she’s been nominated for Best Photography Blog!

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24th April 2007

“I am 8 bit” art show

There’s a great set of 8 bit video game inspired art from an art show called “I am 8 bit” on Flickr. Check it out.

I am 8 bit

[via Wonderland]

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20th April 2007

The Art of The Girls

I stumbled upon The Girls Productions website quite a while ago and I instantly fell in love with their art style. They keep a blog where they keep us up to date about their new art, and they recently posted their Mario Bros. inspired piece for the I am 8 Bit show. Check out their blog and all their wonderful artwork!

I Am 8 Bit

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19th April 2007


Miniature Fabergé Chair, sold by Sotheby's
Miniature Fabergé Chair, sold by Sotheby’s

Last night in a fit of sleeplessness, I came across this chair, which was just sold under auction at Sotheby’s. It’s just a smidge over 2″ tall. It was created by Fabergé sometime between 1899 and 1903. I think it’s just stunning. I don’t know if it’s 2.8 million dollars worth of stunning (that’s what it sold for), but I do find myself utterly enchanted by it. I’ve always been on the wee side myself, which I think makes me a bit drawn to all things undersized.

It’s the work of Fabergé workmaster Michael Perchin, and is based on furniture designed in 1839 by Leo von Klenze for Tsar Nicholas I for the new Hermitage in St. Petersburg. It’s crafted out of gold and enamel, with the surfaces ground to resemble the grain in mahogany. The front is a removable drawer. Miniature furniture by Fabergé is very rare; other similar pieces, including a miniature table and desk, are in the collection of Queen Elisabeth II.

It got me started looking through the famous eggs that Fabergé made for Russia’s royal Romanov family from 1885, right up until everything went kerplooie for them in 1917. I thought that I’d looked through the Fabergé eggs before, but it turns out I hadn’t — I recognized a few of them, but I definitely hadn’t seen all of them, and didn’t know exactly how intricate some of them were. I always thought of them as little boxes, but I had no idea the wide variety and creativity in their construction. For instance, I wasn’t aware that some of them had clockworks, and even automotons — chirping, wing-flapping birds!

Peter the Great Fabergé egg
Peter the Great Fabergé egg

The history of the eggs is very interesting, particularly seeing them in the context of what was happening in the Romanov family through the years, how World War I impacted everything, and of course the whole Rasputin brouhaha. After the Bolsheviks took over, the eggs sort of scattered to the four winds, and some of them are still missing, or have parts missing. The ultimate Easter egg hunt, I suppose.

The eggs are the very definition of ornate, and at first glance are just too much. However, these haven’t been executed by clumsy hands — no Bedazzler atrocities here — every detail is so finely crafted, so mind-bogglingly precise, it’s hard not to get sucked in. Find some pictures that let you really zoom in on the detail — it’s breathtaking. No really — I found myself holding my breath even just looking at them on a computer screen, I’d probably seize right up if I ever got to see one in person. I can’t think of anything else that I’ve ever seen that has so much care and fine detail in such a compact space, just for art’s sake. Nobody is making things like this anymore, and that’s a shame.

The Fabergé eggs have been documented pretty well on the Mieks site, including lots of great up-close photographs from different angles, and even some video (the video of the Clover-leaf egg in particular makes a big difference — photos can’t capture how delicate and translucent the egg is).

posted in Art | 1 Comment

11th April 2007

Cut Paper Art of Peter Callesen

Today I stumbled across the website of a Danish artist, Peter Callesen. Callesen’s media of choice is paper; simple, white paper. He’s done some very large installations that are impressive, but by far my favorite pieces are his simple works done out of a single page of standard A4 paper (A4 is the most common size of paper outside of North America; our 8½x11″ sheets are an anomaly).

Half Way Through, by Peter Callesen
Half Way Through, by Peter Callesen
Detail of skeleton

Callesen cuts shapes partway out of the paper, and folds them into objects that remain attached to the paper. The hole where the paper was removed remains as a sort of shadow, or as its own element in the piece.

In Down the River, a wall of water cascades off the edge of the paper, and a tiny canoe with two paddlers is headed for it. In Angel, the removed paper leaves a shadow of a tiny angel, surrounded by beams of light; the paper that was cut out has been formed into a cage whre the angel now sits — and the paper appears to have never been removed from the A4 sheet. Closet has a full 3-D wardrobe, with monsters crammed into it; the shadow left behind in the paper sheet shows a creepy menagerie and hints at the contents of the closet.

Callesen’s website has dozens of truly inventive pieces — some are astounding in their intricacies and elaborate forms, while others are simple and clever, and all the more compelling for it. Below is the one I think is the most stunning, in terms of its beauty:

Cradle, by Peter Callesen
Cradle, by Peter Callesen

There are so many fantastic pieces at Peter Callesen’s website that I wish I could put them all here — instead, I’m going to insist that you go over to Callesen’s website and see them for yourself. Here is Peter Callesen’s website, and here is a link directly to his A4 pieces.

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8th April 2007

Ancient Artifacts

Pac Man Skeleton

Rare fossils of the pellet-eating omnivore Homo pacius , commonly known as Pac Man. [Via gaygamer]

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2nd April 2007

Pondering Possibilities Presented by Pretty Plastic Particles

So, the other day, I became temporarily obsessed with these little plastic nuggets:

Just one word. Plastics.
Just one word. Plastics.

I have fond childhood memories of filling up little metal frames with these plastic bits and melting them in the oven to make stained-glass suncatchers. But for the life of me, I couldn’t remember what the heck they were called. A lot of Googling time only brought up a company that makes Jewish-themed ones, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t making stained-glass dreidels and menorahs when I was a kid. It was more like mushrooms and butterflies and frogs — y’know, good ’70s stuff. Just when I was ready to give up, I found ‘em — they’re Makit & Bakits. And they’re still making them!

Kindergarten-level glazier
Kindergarten-level glazier

Well, that meant a jaunt to my friendly neighborhood craft store was in order. Sure enough, there was a very small selection of kits. They even make glow-in-the-dark ones now. I had to buy one. I picked out this little flower one, just because the colors were more interesting than the ones in the other sets. It rang up at $1.35 (!). It was definitely at least $2, maybe even $3, worth of fun. That’s value, my friends.

I cheated and mixed the colors on the petals, because I like it when the nuggets blend together like that. I’m happy enough with how it turned out, but I don’t know what I’m going to do with it; it will probably live a prostrate and nomadic life, moving about the house from one flat surface to another along with random scraps of papers and other doodads, until I throw it out.

So, now what? Here’s what — I’ve got a whole mess of those little plastic nuggets left. They seem to have designed these kits to come with enough pellets to recover from a spill onto the particle abyss that was a ’70s shag carpet. I think I might actually somehow have more of these plastic bits than I started with. It’s the melting of the plastic bits that’s the most fun with these — the frames are kind of ass — so I can’t just throw these out, I’ve got to melt them. But how? In what shape?

My current thinking is that I want to lay them out in a disc shape and melt them, and then, while they’re still warm, shape them into a little bowl. Kind of like they do on television cooking shows with grated parmesan. But I can’t help but think that this is worth pondering a little bit more.

Got any ideas?

posted in Art, Crafts | 6 Comments