Serious thrifters need to know their stuff, which is why this week’s challenge is all about the gorgeous history of some gorgeous pieces.
Item 1: Vintage Blue Mountain Ashtray
- Jackie’s Price: $6
- Retail Price: $20
- Source: BASES Family Thrift Store
There was no such thing as car seats when I was a child and if my parents saw a tray of California rolls on their dinner table they would have thought they were some kind of strange centrepiece.
What we consider “normal” changes so quickly, we often forget what came before it, which is I why I was immediately drawn to this Blue Mountain ashtray.
The manufacturer of this piece, Blue Mountain Pottery was an Ontario based company founded in 1947 that sadly shut down in 2004. With its gorgeous two-fold glazing technique, the pottery was a staple wedding present throughout the 1960s and 70s. Still today, Blue Mountain pieces are sought after the world over–there is even a collectors club dedicated to the company’s work.
Not only does this piece represent a piece of Canadian history, but also a time when cigarette smoking was so widely accepted that ashtrays were a part of everyday décor. When was the last time you saw an ashtray at Homesense?
Though I’m glad my kids will never have to ask the waitress to be seated in the “non-smoking” section (and of course by waitress I mean waitress-shaped robot), but I also feel sorry that the will never experience the pure joy of rolling around in the back of a rusted out Chevrolet Blazer with exterior wood panelling because those adult-sized seat belts were more of a suggestion than anything.
And thanks to this ashtray, I will always remember that.
Items 2 & 3: Vintage Huronia Pottery Canada Vase & Canuck Pottery Bud Vase
- Denise’s Price: $6
- Retail Price: $71
- Source: Garage Sale
a) We have a very hipster corn snake. b) My daughter does not recognize vintage pottery. c) I’ve run out of room upstairs. d) All of the above.
My collection of mid-century modernish pottery decorates our corn snake’s habitat. There is even a lovely vintage piece used as a water dish. I’m not too precious about things and I think if they have managed to survive 50 – 70 years, what can a snake do to it?
More Canadiana plus history repeats it itself: Jackie and I are rivals similar to Blue Mountain Pottery and Huronia Pottery. However, I haven’t heard any stories of Blue Mountain Pottery exposing and shaming Tom Hreck for any secret addictions. (Me? Addicted to Pepsi? Not!). Being pre-internet probably saved a lot of friendships.
Huronia Pottery was founded by Tom Hreck, a Czech immigrant, who had worked at Blue Mountain Pottery as mold maker. Huronia Pottery was in made in Meaford, Ontario, until Tom Hreck’s death in the mid-1970s. This pottery is known for its unique reflow flame glaze technique with a vertical flame stripe compared to horizontal stipes of other potteries. That’s nice and all but can you believe this vase still has the sticker on it? It was most likely made mid-1960s to early 1970s.
Canuck Pottery was established 1938 in St. John’s, New Brunswick. This twin bud vase is from the Evangeline Ware line and made in the 1950s and made from Bay of Fundy clay according to a 1940s advertisement. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the factory in 1963 and they moved to Labelle, Quebec in 1964 until they ceased business in the 1970s.
Both of these items are unique due to the handcrafted technique with no two pieces being alike. Just like Jackie and I are unique and special in our own way! I feel like I’m setting myself up to be roasted with that line but it will just be a usual day at the office.