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Fishink’s early influences and a Vintage Fair

March 25, 2019

From time to time I have mentioned the strange, chance happenings, that lead me to or from, writing a blog post. Today was one of those.

I’m sitting researching a classic Danish designer who made wooden toys in the 1960’s.  His work reminded me of some little figures (above) that I wrongly remembered as a child as being Gnomes but were actually Vikings, that I’d see sitting on my grandparent’s sideboard when I was a small child.

It made me think about my grandparent’s house and the kind of Ercol or G-plan style furniture and objects that surrounded them. My Grandfather was a tall, broad man who’s hands were that of a giant (at least four times the size of mine) and who could turn his own hands to anything, being particularly skilled at making things out of wood. He had a tiny shed in the back yard and I used to wander in and watch him at his work bench, marvelling at all his tools lined up neatly hanging on the walls. Turning the handle of his sanding-grinding-stone just to hear the noise of it revving up as it span around with my nose full of the smells of oils, tools and wood.

In his spare time my Grandfather would make nail and thread pictures and intricate wooden carts to be pulled by the ceramic shire horses he admired. My Grandmother was skilled with fabrics and would spend time sewing clothes or making rag or latchhook rugs, very similar to those pictured below. They both had other professions but enjoyed making new things for their home and gifts for the homes of their children and friends too.

Thinking about these things, it suddenly struck me that, their house and the items that they made / collected over the years, were the very things that had formed my interest and fascination with fifties and sixties objects. They were not only inspirational themselves, but were the very crafts people and artists that had helped influence the designer-maker I am today.

They were kind people, warm, generous with their time and would help anyone at the smallest request. They gave my parents and my aunt and uncle respite at the weekends by shipping my brother and I and four cousins away to their small caravan in Wales. How we all fitted in I don’t remember, but nothing ever seemed too much trouble or was ever a problem.

Thinking about their now vintage home, I suddenly thought that the Manchester Vintage Home Show was usually on around this time of year, I googled it and lo and behold, I discovered it was about to start opening it’s doors in about 15 minutes time !!! So of course I had to go.

I’ve covered this show for a few years now. I can’t explain why, but there’s something warm and reassuring about the fair that makes me think of my grandparents and that close association sits comfortably within me. It’s the perfect venue too… Victoria Baths.

Seeing this plate from the Homemaker range reminded me that we used to eat from these as a child, again I didn’t realise that Woolworths used to sell them. Another give away as to why I like this style of design today.

Given the choice (and money) I would totally live in a sixties styled home today. Look at that furniture, warm and rounded, it’s so far away from the angular, hi-gloss kitchens that people like today. Who remembers Observer books ?

Very tempted by this little proud chap on a seventies plate too.

Of course there’s good and not so good pieces there, but on the whole most items are authentic and a curiosity if not a joy to behold.

Hornsea Pottery.

John Clappison fish mug here and Squound had a lovely array of coloured glassware and lamps.

This compact-case, or shell-like seat made me smile, not my taste but I could see someone totally falling for it.

Lots of great fish ceramics, and some blue and red ladies adding some classic style to the day.

Another tempt, this magnificent man in his flying machine.. with dog riding the tail seat.

I’ve seen how this fair has grown and grown in popularity, a fabulous event.

What do you recall from your parents or grandparents homes that you enjoyed ?

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Heather Van Munching permalink
    March 25, 2019 9:55 am

    The egg-shaped turquoise swivel chair that my brother and I used to spin around on… and the G-Plan sideboard and round glass table, which I used as a lightbox during Sixth form art homework by positioning an aglepoise lamp under the glass. Great article!

    • March 25, 2019 10:12 am

      Ahh priceless memories Heather. Thanks for sharing and making my week start with a smile.

  2. March 26, 2019 12:56 am

    We had two swivel chairs too and they were fab fun! I was gutted when we got rid of them! :o( Thanks for reviving old memories Craig! xx

  3. March 27, 2019 5:23 pm

    Wow, this would have been fun to attend. Great displays. I have one of those bee-topped ‘honey jars’ . I offered it to my brother who has an apiary, but he declined–my gain! The show reminded me of all the great vintage items at my local thrift shop… I’ll be going there today. I do see a lamp base that looks very similar to one in our local shop… Stylish lady in the red coat…. I thought some of the ceramic pieces were your work!

    • March 27, 2019 8:44 pm

      I love the sound of your local thrift shop Joy, I’d be in there all the time if it’s as good as this lol I bet the prices are better too. No sadly the ceramics aren’t mine, similar styles of illustration I must admit. Happy shopping !

  4. Jo Bennett permalink
    April 22, 2019 10:15 am

    I grew up with all this. My parent’s house was very much sixties inspired. I particularly remember waiting for the bus to take me home from primary school in Shepperton, Middlesex, and looking inside a house near the bus stop. Inside the sitting room was one of the green Chinese ladies, and I was always bemused by this. Why green? How weird!

    I didn’t dislike the sixties but it’s not my favourite era when it comes to taste, but then every era has its good and bad!

    Jo, Hampshire UK – artist/writer/wild west & ghost nut/renaissance soul/mental health &lifestyle blogger
    Creating My Odyssey http://www.jo-b-creative.blogspot.co.uk

    • April 22, 2019 4:58 pm

      Thanks Jo for your thoughts on the sixties. Yes as you said all eras have both good and bad, It’s just finding what makes us smile that matters.

  5. Achi levin permalink
    May 6, 2019 2:18 pm

    Wow! Love the Rowland Emett’s dish.

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