Book Corner

Hi there, this a procrastination blog post since we didn’t find anything horrible last Friday. It was my job to look through all of our reserved pictures to do a Friday Finds post  (formerly called W.W.T.T.?) [We wanted to call the blog “What Were They Thinking? which was already taken; hence The Second Hand Roses were born!]  Unfortunately I’m a coward and procrastinator, which can be a deadly combination. So, instead of doing the Friday post first, I’m doing a book review, with a bonus thrown in for good measure.

I promised in the Spaghetti Poodle post to review the only known book on the subject (at least according to Amazon): Spaghetti Art Ware Poodles and other Collectible Ceramics by Wanda Gessner.

Amazon has new and used copies; I ordered it and paid about $20, including shipping. First off, I would be suspicious of the pricing guide since the book was published in 1998. We all know that with the uncertain economy, prices ain’t what they used to be. The author reproduces the marks and paper tags and lists manufacturers and importers in the introduction. She also includes a brief description of common materials used–porcelain, red clay, or ceramic material, along with a brief description of production techniques. For those of you who have been wondering, the spaghetti is made by pushing ceramic, clay, or porcelain through a tea strainer or similar device and pressing it onto the body, or swirling it to make curly fur. The figure is fired after the painted decoration is added. Often, these figures are only fired once, which would explain why the paint is often chipped or flaky.

After the brief introduction, the book features 101 pages of pictures and descriptions, lots and lots of pictures (400+) which is just what collectors like. The first section details spaghetti poodles and dogs, then other animals, holiday figurines, and finally miscellaneous. Through the whole book, I looked for my poodles, and found one or two, but for the most part my collection wasn’t in her collection. Which makes me wonder how many more spaghetti artifacts are out there.

If spaghetti art ware is your thing, then I would recommend this book; especially since spaghetti ware books are few and far between. It isn’t a complete description of what is out there, but it’s better than nothing.

The next review is of an excellent guide to jewelry called appropriately enough fun jewelry by Nancy Schiffer.

This book was published in 1991, so again the price guide is no longer accurate. But as the editorial review states, “Fun Jewelry contains over 400 beautiful color photographs showing over 1000 pieces and an explanatory text which identifies all marked pieces”. Amazon has it for sale for about $9 (used) + shipping. This is a must-have book for people who enjoy jewelry, whether it’s vintage costume or the real deal. This book details “fun” jewelry made by most important designers including: Tiffany, Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels. It also describes “costume” jewelry made by Eisenberg, Miriam Haskell, Trifari, or Sarah Coventry. It has something for everyone.

There are about 150 pages of pictures, lots of pictures along with descriptions. The jewelry is classified by subject, so there is a “Swimmers” section with fish, amphibians, etc., a “People” section with human associated subjects, “Beasts” with animals, “High Flyers” with bird jewelry and so on. This book is amazing in its collections and pictures. I’m sure it isn’t complete; there have been so many jewelry makers over the years, but it isn’t from a lack of trying. I would highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in jewelry.

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