Are you an Antiques Master?

Could you become Britain’s next Antiques Master? The BBC are searching for passionate amateur antiques aficionados to take part in the second series of their quiz hosted by my good friend Eric Knowles and much-loved comedienne and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig. Contestants battle it out over a series of exciting challenges using amazing antiques to prove that they have the all-round knowledge to win both the title and the trophy of ‘Antiques Master 2011’. If you think you’ve got the general and specialist knowledge it takes to be the best, then why not apply? Be quick though, as entries close on 14th February. Call 0161 244 4160, or send an email to antiquesmaster@bbc.co.uk to apply. Click here to see an episode on BBC iPlayer.

Read More

It started with a question, and I never expected the answer to turn out like it did. Last week’s amazing visit to the Ajeto Glassworks in Novy Bor, Czech Republic, brought me into contact with a vibrant, charming and talented young Australian glassmaker called Jasper Dowding (above). Even though it seemed to pass in minutes, we spoke for hours, enthusing about Czech glass and contemporary glass design. Highly knowledgeable, Jasper is already accepted internationally as a skilled glassmaker and designer with great potential. His fine studio work is stocked by top tier galleries such as Vessel in London, and a selection was displayed at the Saatchi Gallery’s stand at the Victoria & Albert Museum’s ‘Collect’ event. I’ve always admired the early studio works of the influential designer Rene Roubicek – particularly the one shown here in an original photograph I own. I have always presumed that the applied, yet integral, bubbles required great skill to make, so I asked Jasper what the secret was. Rather than explain, he suggested …

Read More

All New Updated Fat Lava Info!

Any of you Fat Lava fans who haven’t come across Kevin Graham yet are missing a major trick. Kevin has been collecting and researching West German studio and factory ceramics for well over a decade now, and runs the highly popular and successful ‘Pottery & Glass Forum‘, which is free to join. I’d encourage you to join, as it’s the best place to exchange information about a subject we all love with like-minded people. I’d also encourage you to check out his publications, which are positively bursting with information. Kevin’s first two books were ground-breaking in their own right, and he followed them up with an expanded database of shape numbers and manufacturers on a CD ROM. Now, he has updated both of those once again. ‘Spritzdecor to Fat Lava II’ improves on the first with 18 more designer profiles, 8 more factories, new information on over 20 factories, 60 new photographs and much more. Fitting with our period of austerity, it’s also 10 euros cheaper at 49.95 euros. The third volume of ‘West & East …

Read More

I’ve just got back from visiting our stand at the wonderful Winter Olympia Fine Art & Antiques Fair in London, where I’ve been supporting this year’s National Antiques Week. As you can see, the campaign has enjoyed a terribly smart stand, courtesy of the venerable LAPADA antique dealers’ association. If you don’t know Olympia’s legendary fairs, you really should. Top dealers from across the country exhibit the very best of their stock, and are on hand to help and talk with you about antiques and collecting. You’ll see everything from ancient Roman glass to Georgian and Victorian pieces, right up to the best in mid-century modern. Apart from the new ‘Masterpiece’ fair, this is the top fair in the country, and even if your pocket doesn’t quiet stretch to some of the eye-wateringly beautiful pieces for sale, I can guarantee that you’ll get a lot out of a visit. The fair began on Monday, and ends this Sunday, so there’s still time to go. Despite the rather dreadful economic …

Read More

This Sunday was spent at the last glass fair of this year – the National Glass Fair at the Motorcycle Museum just outside Birmingham. This fair is perhaps the most prestigious and best known of the superb fairs run by Paul Bishop & Christina Glover of Specialist Glass Fairs. But there are plenty more planned for next year, so click here to find out more. I knew this fair was going to be busy from the moment I arrived, as the car park was packed to the gunnels. The same term can be used to describe the four large halls packed with glass from the 18th-21st centuries – they were full all day. For photographic evidence, just look at the image above! And people were buying. Glass is rising dramatically in desirability, and has become a real boom area over the past few years. Not only that, but with interest rates offering such tiny returns on cash in the bank, many had clearly decided to invest their cash in something beautiful …

Read More

In June this year, I wrote about the KlokHeta after a couple told me about their example of this weird and wonderful space-saving Deco device. For those of you who don’t know what it is, you can read the post by clicking here. One of the marvellous things about the internet is the amount of people that can potentially see a blog post. One of the many who read it was Francis Naylor, who works for Schneider Electric. He told me that Schneider bought a company called Yorkshire Switchgear in the 1990s, and that they were the original manufacturer of the KlokHeta. One of his colleagues even remembers repairing the heating element of an example that sat in a Director’s office! But the most amazing part of his email was the attachment — an original 1930s catalogue! You can see the cover, with its evocative period image above. Francis very kindly offered to email me a scan of the catalogue, which shows an illustration of the piece, lists the finishes available, and contains …

Read More