Friday, 25 June 2010

The Day I met Paula & Susan C

While perusing the newspaper one morning in April, I ran across a list of upcoming authors visiting the Dallas area, making personal appearances and signing books. As luck would have it, Paula Deen's name was included in the listings. Paula Deen of The Lady & Sons in Savannah, site of the 2010 QCI Meeting!

Admittedly, I am far from being a foodie nor am I frequent food channel follower of Paula's cooking show, but I am very interested in homes, decorating and design. To my surprise, Paula was beginning a book tour to promote her new book on Savannah Style, a book on Southern design, not another cookbook!

With that, the date was marked on my calendar because surely, we could use a signed book for a gift at the meeting. I envisioned waltzing into the book store and leisurely visiting with Paula about the upcoming QCI meeting in Savannah.

Signing Day arrives. I drive to the book store in a suburb north of Dallas, park and walk into the store well over an hour before the signings were to begin. I was directed to the second level of the very sizable store and as I began to climb the stairs, the noise level began to rise. If my jaw could have dropped to the floor, it would have as I saw the line of people, mostly women, snaking around the second floor and snaking between countless rows of book shelves! Young and old they had all come to see the anointed queen of cable cookery!

It was time to reassess my carefully laid out plan and move to Plan B.

Time passed and I became best friends with my line buddies. Cooking, travel, teenagers and politics were all discussed as we were directed to tighter and tighter positions by the store's staff. It also began to get much warmer as people were amassed. Word was passed that 600-800 books were in the store and available for signing....and no provisions or pyjamas!

More time passed and applause erupted, followed by cheers and squeals on the opposite side of the building. Apparently, the queen was in the building, but in my location between the shelves, who knew! The decibel level began to lower as an employee, over the intercom, requested for all of the noise makers to be quiet to hear an announcement.

Paula was in the building and would be out momentarily, but first the rules..."due to the large crowd," Paula would only sign her name, "no personalization." Secondly, "photos can only be taken outside of the cordoned area around her table," not when you are getting a book signed.
Sighs from disappointed fans sweep throughout the shelves.

"Hi Y'all!" was the next sound and unmistakable voice of Paula Deen that we all heard loud and clear. More applause and cheering followed. Paula, in her best Southern drawl, apologized for the rules and hoped everyone would understand her dilemma and the limitation of her hand.
Who wouldn't be understanding of her circumstances after that sweet, syrupy apology? Whatever!

The snake began to, ever so slowly, make forward movement. It was a very interesting trip through the rows and rows of book titles on the shelves and the reading helped to pass the time.
Wow, were there some edgy and salacious titles!

Rounding the last corner, I could finally see Ms. Deen. I readied my camera and took a few pics as open views became available between the line of bodies. One last shot and I had to pocket my camera, according to the "store police!"

As Paula signed, I don't recall exactly what I said, but she mentioned that her husband was standing in a nearby corner and that he'd love to sign books or be in a photo.
On to Plan C.
Before leaving my house earlier that day, I penned a small sign about the Q Club's 2010 Savannah meeting, so I drew it from my purse and approached Michael Groover.
In my best Southern drawl, I too asked for understanding. To his credit, Michael was easily won over into helping me fulfil my Plan C mission.

He personalized a number of Paula's books and, bless his little heart, posed for pictures, one holding the hastily made sign promoting the QCI's Savannah meeting!

The sign could have just as easily been promoting a competitors cookbook and I think he'd have obliged my request! He was a good sport!

Perhaps, we'll run into Paula or Michael while we're in Savannah this October? I might have to try out her restaurant, The Lady and Sons, for a helpin' of some delicious Fried Green Tomatoes!

Take care now, ya hear. See y'all in Savannah!

Monday, 21 June 2010

The Normandy Decors of HB Quimper & Henriot Quimper by Maggie B

Living as I do in Normandy I am very taken with the "Normandy" decors.
In the 1920's both the Grand Maison de la Hubaudiere, under the ownership of  Jules Verlingue and Louis Bollore, and the Henriot faiencerie produced items destined for sale in Normandy.
(HB produced pieces for other regions of France also, these included Provence, Pays Basque, Auvergne, Pyrenees and Savoie amongst others).

Holiday souvenirs were very popular items and many of the Normandy pieces were decorated with an apple motif to represent the wonderful apple brandy, Calvados, which is still produced in the region today.

Broad red and green brush strokes for the border are another motif that was sometimes used on HBQ Normandy pieces.

The Henriot factory wares produced specifically for the Normandy market, were marked with an interlaced PB and the name of a town or the region.

The man and woman featured on these pieces would be depicted wearing regional costume.

A large pair of beautifully painted Henriot Quimper vases - the man wearing the distinctive Normandy black cap and the woman a tall coiffe, made from Normandy lace.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

QCI Arizona Chapter, Lunch @ Chez Nous, Scottsdale by Cerelle & Nina

QCI members who reside in Arizona recently got together for lunch at Chez Nous, Scottsdale.
Charter QCI member and 2nd VP Cerelle, and Sojourn in Savannah 2010 co-host Nina, are happy to blog about the great time they had.
Firstly, by way of introduction, Cerelle had this to say:
I am one of the original Quimper Club members, having joined when Lucy and Katie sent out their first invitations via Lucy's eBay ad. Bill and I were so excited and drove over to Santa Monica for that first meeting. We were absolutely dazed by all of the beautiful faïence! The sales at our annual meetings do that to me every time!
As I was, for some time, the only collector of Quimper that I could find in the Phoenix area, I decided I would just have to "create" some. Nina was enticed into joining me on the trip to Quimper for the 2001 meeting. I gave her a membership so she would feel part of the group and started her out with a little Quimper gift. The rest is history! Here she is, helping co host this exciting meeting coming this fall in Savannah!

Hope was another friend of both of ours, so I gifted her with a small piece of Quimper and we persuaded her to join as well. She and I travelled to Dallas for the meeting and she loved it all, and purchased another piece of faïence at the sale. Happily there are now THREE members in Phoenix, well, quite properly 2 and a half, as Nina is in the area only part of the time.
We had a grand get-together at a new restaurant here in Scottsdale featuring crepes, shades of Quimper! The French couple who own Chez Vous are friendly and the food is great.
What a charming touch of France so close at hand.
We ate and laughed and chatted about all of the great things planned for Savannah. Everything from the historic setting to the shops and the tours and the boat ride all sound wonderful. We are really looking forward to our Sojourn in Savannah!
It seems that Nina couldn't agree more, this is how she remebers their day together:
It’s been said that when two or more QCI members get together they will usually find a creperie or bistro for a bite to eat.
Recently Cerelle, Hope and I met in Scottsdale, AZ at the Chez Vous Creperie and Gelato.
It’s a new spot that has just opened, and it was perfect for a mouth-watering jambon savory and leafy salad. The young French couple, Richard and Isabelle Horvath, who run the restaurant were visiting Scottsdale last year, liked the area so much that they decided to uproot from France and give life a try in Arizona. With their new life and venture here, comes a new enchanting eating opportunity for all of us here in the Southwest.

We had the right prescription for a delightful time together. Great company, weather, restaurant, French food and conversation about Quimper, it doesn’t get any better. Cerelle, one of our featured speakers at the Savannah meeting in October chatted with us about her collection and thoughts she will share at the fall meeting.

She has recently acquired some new pieces with interesting stories before their arrival into her amazing home.
For those who have seen it, Cerelle and Bill’s home is more like a live-in museum. Every time Hope and I visit the there, we see a new piece, learn something new or hear a different tale.
Cerelle will be sharing many of these anecdotes with us in Savannah.

We hope that you have enjoyed reading about the activities of the Arizona members and some of Cerelle's collection, come back again next week for a preview of some of the Quimper that will be on show during the private homes tour in October.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Alluring and Endearing: Children and Quimper Pottery.

The December 2006 issue of the QCI Journal featured an article by Quimper expert and author Sandra V. Bondhus, entitled Alluring and Endearing: The Appeal of Children.

In it she wrote:
"Depictions of children have universal appeal to collectors worldwide and in every field of interest. Faience devotees are no exception.

She continues..........In Breton culture there was a profound love for family life and a deep seated affection for children. Large families were prized and children were considered precious treasures.
Many of the scenes bretonnes included children as well as adults."

"Each scene appeals to innocence with a joyful naivete. How can we resist such sweet renditions of the potter's art?
 Perhaps this is why so many French faience collectors enjoy the addition of children's pieces to their collections and why some even choose to focus solely on this very special area of collecting".

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A few of my favourite Louise R

From time to time we will be featuring "one off, taster" blogs from QCI members who would like to try their hand at blogging.
This blog comes to us from Louise R who has been a member of QCI for 10 years.

Well, here goes, this is my first ever blog!
I've been collecting Quimper for about 25 years. I first saw it on my late father's dresser, some lovely, very old bowls (they disappeared when he died, probably thrown out by my stepmother or sent to the thrift shop, Gulp!)
My Dad was French, an antique dealer at Covent Garden Market in London. It was here that my son, Eddy, bought me my first piece of Keraluc pottery. It was a lovely vase in cream and brown with dancers on it. I was a dancer then too so loved it, and began to investigate Quimper ceramics.

I started, as I'm sure we all did, buying little domestic pieces, sometimes damaged, mostly cheap, bowls and plates; cups and saucers. As the collection grew I became more interested in the artists of Quimper, Keraluc and Brittany generally, especially the mid-century pieces from Fouillen and others.
My partner, Bryan, is a similarly enthusiastic collector of Japanese Woodblock Prints, and we have trawled fairs, brocantes, depot ventes, car boot sales and vide-greniers in France and Britain looking for bargains. Sometimes finding one, but often finding pieces that were quite expensive and completely irresistible!
I'm running out of space to display stuff in my small flat, shelves are full, as is every available bit of wall and flat surface. There are crates under the bed and sofas, I think it’s time for a sort out but I'm not sure if I dare!

My latest find was a huge HB Quimper vase. It stands 16 inches (41cm) tall and is decorated with peacocks and flowers, it dates to circa 1920. I discovered it in an antique shop in Suffolk, stuck at the back of a shelf behind some lamps. I clutched at Bryan, 'Look at that!' I breathed. 'Wow', he said, and we bought it along with a pretty HB Quimper jardiniere with a biniou player on it.

More goodies were found recently at bi-monthly fair at Kempton Park racecourse, a real dealers market. It starts at 6:30 a.m. but the atmosphere and prices are great!
There are quite a few markets and fairs around London and the South East area, not all of them well known or advertised, especially to visitors from abroad. I'd be happy to hear from anyone visiting London who would like to know where the best fairs and markets are being held, and to act as a guide. Hopefully we'll have a good summer with lots of outdoor events.
I hear that the 2011 annual meeting is going to be held in Quimper, Brittany, France and I'm delighted as I can't get to the US meetings, so will really look forward to this one!
Best wishes to you all,
We are linking this post to "A Few Of My Favourite Things Saturdays" a meme graciously hosted by Laurie @ Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie, where there are always lovely things to admire.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Visit the Mighty 8th Museum with Tom S.

During the next 3 or 4 months we'll be telling you about some of the events and visits that will take place during the QCI Annual meeting in Savannah, GA. October 24th -27th.
Over the years the number of QCI members who bring their partners/ friends/ siblings to our gatherings has grown.
One of them even coined the group name "tag alongs" to describe the invited guests.
As a previous "tag along" in Philadelphia and Dallas, Tom Slonaker has this year been upgraded to "involved husband" and is offering a treat for history buffs and aficionados of classic war planes alike on Tuesday morning (26th October).
The Mighty Eighth Air Force, founded in Savannah, was the greatest air armada ever assembled.
Tom has planned a visit to the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum, where you can see a B-17 up close and inside, and also the fighter planes which protected the bombers over Europe during World War II.
For those who want to celebrate the Allied victory—and would enjoy the planes and paraphernalia, there is much of interest here.
The Mighty Eighth Air Force operated from the United Kingdom and helped to defeat the Nazi aggression of World War II.

The men and women of the Mighty Eighth are celebrated by a beautiful 90,000 square foot display building just 30 minutes drive from the Hilton DeSoto, Savannah, in Pooler, GA.
The tour will take about two hours, transportation will be provided and lunch will be available.
See your QCI Registration materials for further details or contact the organisers by email @

Thursday, 3 June 2010

N. S. & S mark, mystery solved at last?

In my previous post I blogged about how new QCI member Cary had requested help in identifying this mark N. S. & S which was on a jug that she had inherited from her grandmother.

Trisha J, who was the first guest blogger here on the QCI blog in March 2009 and is a member of the QCI Web Committee turned detective, and with the able assistance of google may well have solved the mystery after all these years.
Firstly she left two comments on that last post:
It seems that Nathan Straus and Sons owned a company that sold crockery to Macy's and they even owned Macy's at one time. so this seems possible as it matches the mark and the history of the piece.
The list above of defunct department stores in teh US is pretty comprehensive and none of the stores have the initials N.S.& S. the mystery continues.

Trisha also sent me this information that she uncovered regarding the company based in New York City in the 1800's.

Straus & Sons.
Nathan Straus & Co Marks.
L Straus & Son - New York City, New York (USA).

1869 L Straus & Sons (LS & S) was founded in New York City by Lazarus Straus in 1869, as importers of crockery. (Henderson shows Straus' first name as Lazarus and Rontgen has it as Lewis.)
1924 it became Nathan Straus & Co, and in the 1930's it closed.
In 1874 Nathan Straus (Lazarus' son) convinced the company RH Macy to permit the Straus firm to have a small glass & chinaware department in their store.

The first china and glassware to be sold by Macy's.
The company made and imported porcelain and glassware from Europe including England, France, Germany, and Czechoslovakia (then Austria).
L Straus & Sons had factories or offices in London, Paris, Limoges, Rudolstadt, Kamenicky Senov, and Karlovy Vary.
The Karlovy Vary operation was a porcelain factory in Stará Role (Altrohlau, Bohemia, Austria) and Kamenický Šenov was a glass factory.
LS & S purchased porcelain from several European factories including Moritz Zdekhauer in Stará Role (Altrohlau).
LS & S had a decorating studio in Limoges, France.
LS & S claims it invented the condensed milk or marmalade jar.
Additionally it was a financial backer for Oscar & Edgar Gutherz's factory in Stará Role (Altrohlau).

Isn't amazing what you can discover just by "googling" some words?

So, it seems that the oral history that accompanied Cary's piece is probably correct.
Grandma did purchase her little jug at Macy's and even though it doesn't bear the Macy's star mark it most likely came from that store.
Well done Trisha, and thank you on behalf of Cary & Quimpernuts everywhere, who always enjoy learning more of the fascinating history of Quimper pottery.