B is for….Brutalist ~ Selling Vintage A to Z

I hope you enjoyed the first post in my new Selling Vintage A to Z series:  A is for…..Anthropomorphic. For this second post, I’m covering another topic that I touched on in the blog years ago: Brutalism or Brutalist style.
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B-Selling Vintage

I’d seen the word “Brutalist” here and there on Etsy and it seemed to get a lot of attention. I decided to do research to make sure that A) I could identify the style myself and B) that I would be using the keyword correctly.
Brutalism began as an architectural style.

2017-05-14

(All photos above are from brutalism.online as shown in the watermark.) The buildings are: (clockwise from top) 1. Habitat 67 from the 1967 World’s Fair in Montreal, Quebec, Canada 2. One Police Plaza in NYC and 3. Freeway Park in Seattle, WA.

The Brutalist architectural movement was a spin-off from the modernist movement of the first half of the 20th century and had its heydey from the 1950s to 1970s. The style had its fans…and its detractors. It was controversial.

Concrete was used a lot, often revealing the texture of the boards that were used in the forms. Le Corbusier used the French phrase “beton-brut” or ‘raw concrete’ to describe his work…and from this French phrase, the term “Brutalist” was coined.
There is much, much more to the architectural style and history. If this interests you, I found a great website called BRUTALISM:ONLINE

What fascinated me was how this style spilled over to smaller objects of the time. I’ve seen the word “brutalist” applied to jewelry, wall decor, furniture, sculptures and other home decor items. And this is where it gets interesting for us sellers of vintage.

Examples of Brutalist style

Let’s look at some examples because this is how I learned. Brutalism may be hard to describe in just a few sentences but you will soon begin to recognize it when you see it. Think repeated geometric forms yet often asymmetric and abstract. Rough texture. Earth tones. More organic and natural vs machine produced precision.

We’ll start big with furniture and then go smaller.

BrutalistCredenzaLane Brutalist style credenza or dresser from QuinnCASA on Etsy

BrutalistDiningTableSkyscraper Dining Table by Pasadena Antiques on Etsy

As you can see, there can be some big bucks involved if you find Brutalist style furniture, especially if there are designer names attached. But that top credenza or dresser is by Lane..a popular mid century furniture maker whose pieces are not ultra rare.

See more Brutalist style furniture here.

Wall decor, tabletop sculptures, lamps and clocks were also influenced by the movement.

BrutalistWallBrutalist Torch Cut Sailboat wall sculpture by VieuxFaireGoods on Etsy

BrutalistTreeBrutalist tabletop tree sculpture by ModHouseCA on Etsy

And this clock below is one of my favorites…I would die to find one in the wild. It’s by Syroco and it’s PLASTIC!
BrutalistClockSyroco Brutalist style wall clock by Vintage by Viola on Etsy

See more Brutalist style home decor here. Take a note of the prices.

One of my favorite categories that showcases the Brutalist style is jewelry. I have only found a handful of pieces myself. This was the most recent one. This pendant is not a high ticket item but it is signed by Napier and it definitely has that Brutalist influence. It went into my own jewelry box. 🙂

DSC_0015There are so many great Brutalist jewelry pieces. *sigh* Names to look for are Robert Larin and Guy Vidal. There are also many Scandinavian pieces.

BrutalistPendantBrutalist Pewter and Moss Agate Pendant by Vintage in Bloom (a familiar face!) on Etsy

BrutalistLarinRobert Larin Brutalist jewelry set by JanEleven on Etsy

BrutalistVidalGuy Vidal Statement Necklace by My New Discoveries on Etsy

See more Brutalist style jewelry here. Take a note of the prices.

Selling Tips

Okay, so keywords associated with this style would be:
brutalist, modernist, mid century, organic, torch cut, abstract, asymmetric, textured, burnished
You may have noticed that some sellers use Robert Larin-style or Guy Vidal-style. I don’t recommend that if the pieces are not signed by those makers. Technically it’s keyword spamming. And it’s not necessary. The word “brutalist” alone will get you the views and buyers you need if the style fits.


Now, I do understand this style is not for everyone. You may look at these pieces of decor or jewelry and think to yourself “who would pay that kind of money for that piece of ugly??”. But that’s the point of a vintage education.
You take the time to look at different styles and niches and you train your eye. You stop dismissing things as “ugly” and start seeing the value in them.

What do you think of the ‘brutalist’ style? Have you thrifted anything brutalist? Is it a new keyword for you?


Thanks for joining us on the latest installment of our series. Stay tuned for the Letter C!!

A is for…. Anthropomorphic ~ Selling Vintage A to Z

I thought I’d start the series off with a word we’ve discussed on the blog before, although it was about 2 years ago. But it’s still a good one!! Anthropomorphic collectibles are still very popular.
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A-Selling Vintage

Anthropomorphic collectibles are all those fun things you’ve seen for years but maybe didn’t know the name for. Now you do.

According to the dictionary “anthropomorphism” means “ascribing human characteristics to nonhuman things”.

It’s all around you. Really. Anything by Walt Disney. Yup. Mickey…he’s anthropomorphic.
Thomas the train? You got it.
Mr. Peanut? An anthropomorphic classic!

I will hold the teabag tea rests (Anthropomorphic tea rests from my personal collection.)

But really, anthropomorphic items are quite collectible! Kitschy and cute, these salt and pepper shakers, tea bag rests, planters, teapots, jam pots…the list goes on…were found in your local Five and Dime in the 40s and 50s. They were also given out as prizes for games such as Bingo.
Most of these novelty items took the form of vegetables, fruit, animals or utensils with smiling faces.

Anthropomorphic Planter

Or…maybe not so smiley. I think I narrowed this planter down to a turnip…but I’m still not sure if the headscarf is for a particular purpose, like a toothache. I was imagining this planter being given with a cheery plant as a Get Well gift. Hmm. I listed this cutie awhile back and she sold the same day for $24.
As shown earlier with the example of Mr. Peanut, sometimes the anthropomorphic item was for advertising purposes.

Handy Flame Salt and Pepper Shakers

These salt and pepper shakers depict “Handy Flame” and were used by the Indianapolis Gas Company (other companies, too, I believe) to promote and spread the word about cooking with Natural Gas. I had the creamer that matched the set but a buyer asked me to separate it out so they could buy it on its own. They sold for a combined total of $26.

So why is this good to know if you sell vintage? Well, because vintage anthropomorphic items sell..and sell quickly. Plus you’ll want to use “anthropomorphic” as a keyword in your listing or as a hashtag in your social media promoting. I’ve also seen #foodwithfaces as a tag on Instagram.
For kicks, I took a look at some of the highest priced kitschy anthropomorphic items and it seems that the maker to look out for is Py / Miyao. There is even a collectible guide I found that may be a bit hard to track down but I found a few copies on Google. The author is Belinda Evans.

PY-MiyaoSometimes the pieces are just marked “Japan” and may originally have had a Miyao sticker, so it pays to do your research. As you can see on that book cover above, one of the telltale signs of Py seems to be the shape of the eyes, with that triangular cutout in the black. Just a tip. Py made other designs as well and distributed to companies like UCAGCO and Lefton. You can read a bit more about them here.

Let’s finish up with a look at some items on Etsy that show the range of products that fit under the “anthropomorphic” umbrella.

AnthroWinkingCat

Enesco Winking Cat teapot by Bob’s Good Junk on Etsy. (One of the biggest shops on Etsy for anthropomorphic items!! Great stuff!)

AnthroLemonPlatesSnack Plate Set by Brooklyn Street Vintage on Etsy

Not just for the kitchen, anthropomorphic items can also be found in jewelry.

AnthroCatPin

Cat Playing the Accordion pin by Green Kitten Vintage on Etsy

And the anthropormorphic theme also extended to linens and tea towels.

AnthroTowelEmbroidered Tea Towel by Upswing Vintage on Etsy

And of course, you can DIY your own anthropomorphic items!

 

AnthroTransfer

Happy Fruits Transfer Pattern by Atomic Dog 67 on Etsy

So the next time you’re strolling the thrift store aisles or scanning the tables at a yard sale and you feel like someone is watching you…you might want to take a closer look!


What about you? Have you collected anthropomorphic items before? Have you bought and sold them? Any favorites?

Thanks for joining me on my first installment of Selling Vintage A to Z. Next up will be another term we’ve discussed here…although again, it was awhile ago.
B is for…..Brutalist 

Selling Vintage A to Z ~ Announcing a New Blog Series

I am super excited about this post. I have dabbled in the past with various “Vintage Glimpse” or “Vintage Education” posts…but with no real focus. Just items or brands that I had come across that I wanted to learn more about and so I shared my research with you. The idea for a vintage dictionary was also bouncing around in my head but it was only recently that the whole idea gelled together!

Selling VintageI don’t have to explain again to you my struggles with this blog. I love it and love writing it and I love the interaction I get with you..my blog peeps. Finding a focus or direction for the blog…a PURPOSE…I guess is what I’m talking about…has always been the challenge.

I was talking to another vintage blogger about the struggle and the conversation made me focus in on one important thing: who is my audience? I believe, for the most part, my audience – you fine folks – are other sellers. You love the thrill of the hunt and live for that buzz you get when you reach for that REALLY. GOOD. THING. on the thrift store shelf or yard sale table. You share your finds with others and sell either online or in person. I get you. You are my tribe.

True, I get random visitors through Google who want to know about Oneida and the Betty Crocker catalog or how to identify their stainless flatware pattern. But mostly, my visitors and readers and commenters want to know more about vintage, where to find it and how to sell it.

So that is the direction this new series will take. Sure, it’s fun to research old stuff. But let’s take it a little further. That’s why this series is called Selling Vintage ~ A to Z. We’ll go through the alphabet letter by letter and identify trends, items, keywords and vocabulary related to vintage. Knowledge is power, right? So if we learn about all things Anthropomorphic (next week!), then we know when we see salt and pepper shakers in the shape of carrots with faces…maybe we shouldn’t pass those up. And have you seen the word Brutalist tossed around? What exactly is that? And should you be looking for it?

If you’re not a seller, no worries! Many of us who sell vintage are also collectors and just love vintage! Maybe you’ll find a new area or niche to collect! 

Sound good? Please, also, feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment below if there’s a term or phrase or item you’ve wanted to know about and I’ll try to fit it in. Thanks!

Look for Selling Vintage ~ A to Z ~ A is for Anthropomorphic next week!

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