August 20, 2011

Kitschy Vintage Plaques and Missing Wheel Pieces

Bought these two plaques at a thrift shop in Parksville, B.C.  Jenny Jones, above is spinning flax from a distaff, and the Welsh Woman is spinning with a great wheel.  There were some other plaques for sale as well, of ships or tavern scenes.  The hook at the back showed they are made in England.  A friend of the family tells me that these things were popular in B.C. for home decor in the 1920s.  I find them amusing, with their rough patina, inexpensive metal, and coarsely realized images.

Strangely, the great wheel is depicted without a spindle or maidens nor a bat head as an alternative to maidens.  I don't think this is a limitation of the medium, more likely a lack of understanding on the part of the artist regarding the way a great wheel should look.  And to have the Welsh woman holding out a rolag on top of a wool handcard with one hand and putting her other hand on the wheel, that pose is completely staged.

Around the same time I found these plaques, I drove through Ladysmith, B.C. and saw a great wheel set outside an antique shop to serve as as advertisement.  I was going down the highway at 70 km/h, so I can't be sure, but it looked as though the spindle and maidens were turned at an odd angle.

In an antique shop down the road in Chemainus, B.C. I saw most of a Canadian production wheel.  I say most because while the bobbin and spindle were there, the flyer was missing.  Imagine if you didn't know any better and thought you were getting a complete, functioning wheel.

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