Old glass bottles are sometimes found on a bottle tree in the South. Image courtesy of Atlanta Auction Co. and Live Auctioneers Archive.

Colorful bottle tree a spirited Southern tradition

Old glass bottles are sometimes found on a bottle tree in the South. Image courtesy of Atlanta Auction Co. and LiveAuctioneers Archive.

Old glass bottles are sometimes found on a bottle tree in the South. Image courtesy of Atlanta Auction Co. and LiveAuctioneers Archive.

SKIPPERVILLE, Ala. (AP) – Before Cheryl Leatherwood’s father died last year,his greatest pleasure was to sit out back of the family’s Skipperville home and watch the hummingbirds in flight, fighting each other for nectar and territory.

It was the one activity his failing health allowed him.

After his death, the family began cleaning out a garage where he stored a variety of items. That’s where Cheryl Leatherwood came across his collection of glass bottles – cobalt blue milk of magnesia bottles, old Dr. Pepper and Nehi drink bottles and a Five Points Soda bottle from Clio, Ala. Instead of throwing them out, Leatherwood decided to use the bottles for a special piece of garden art – a bottle tree.

“He would love it,” she said. “My daddy was raised a tenant farmer’s son, so this kind of folk art was right up his alley.”

Bottle trees, referred to by some as “haint” trees, have evolved into art for Southern gardens but have a history that may go back as far as glass
itself.

History and bottle tree buffs believe the use of bottle trees may have come out of Africa or even ancient Arabia (think, genie in a bottle). People
would place the bottle trees outside the entrance of their homes to trap evil spirits. The most common thought is the spirits could not resist the
lure of the bottles as the sun shone through them.

The spirits would enter the bottles and become trapped. Blue bottles were believed to be the most powerful in trapping the spirits. And if you’ve ever heard the eerie howl of wind blowing over an open bottle, you might understand why someone would think such a tree trapped spirits.

The idea of bottle trees spread to Europe and eventually to North America by way of African slaves.

Bottle trees are simple creations in their most basic sense. A tree – often a crepe myrtle – is stripped of foliage and most of its branches. Bottles
are slipped over what branches remain with their necks facing the tree’s trunk.

Today, people use a variety of colored bottles – green, red, blue, brown – and even clear bottles. As an alternative to an actual tree some people use a piece of wood with long nails driven into it or simply drive metal rods into the ground around an old stump. But there are a number of online companies that provide the base of a bottle tree welded from metal rods.

They’ll even sell you the bottles if you don’t have your own.

Leatherwood wanted something different. She wanted something that flowed, so she turned to artist Ronald Godwin of Brundidge, Ala. It was only the second request Godwin has ever had for a bottle tree.

Godwin said he tried to design the bottle tree with the placement of the bottles in mind and how they will accent the metal sculpture.

“I don’t do anything that looks traditional,” Godwin said.

His creation became a tribute to Leatherwood’s father. Metal rods twist to form the shape of a hummingbird.

It was a perfect fit, Leatherwood said.

The bottles and the metal itself shine in the sun.

“It is glorious in the sunlight the way it reflects off the polished metal,” Leatherwood said. “… I love the idea of something being in Southern culture and heritage and bringing it to today and bringing it with an artistic touch.”
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Information from: The Dothan Eagle, http://www.dothaneagle.com

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP-CS-11-01-09 1312EST

NC Arts Council accepting art fellowship applications

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – If you’re a North Carolina artist in need of some money, here’s a chance to get $10,000.

The North Carolina Arts Council is accepting applications for the 2010-2011 Artist Fellowship awards until Monday. The awards are for visual arts, crafts, choreography and film or video. The award is $10,000.

The Legislature funds the program, which supports creative development of North Carolina artists and new work by them. The awards allow artists to set aside time to work and to buy supplies and equipment.

Artists who have been year-round residents of North Carolina for at least a year immediately prior to the application deadline may apply. Students are not eligible.

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On the Net:

2010-2011 Artist Fellowship Awards, http://www.ncarts.org/fellowships.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-ES-10-31-09 0402EDT

Ancient relics in box given to Nebraska government office

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Outstanding checks and unclaimed wages, not 2,000-year-old pottery and tribal spears, are usually what lands in the Unclaimed Property Division of State Treasurer Shane Osborn’s office.

But that’s exactly what the office recently got in a safety-deposit box it was given by a bank. Osborn’s office said earlier this week that the box also included an Egyptian mask from 2500 B.C.

An appraisal of the items pegged the value of the items at more than $200,000.

Osborn’s office conducted an extensive search for the owner. He was eventually found living at a hotel in Oregon where he was relying on food stamps.

He had run an antiques business in Lincoln before falling on hard times and eventually forgot about the safe-deposit box.

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On the Net:

State Treasurer’s Office: http://www.treasurer.org/index.asp

 

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 

AP-WS-10-29-09 1104EDT

This 13-inch-long 1795 Spode tureen was too useful to throw away, so it was repaired with 23 staples in the lid and 33 staples in the bowl. The repair must have been expensive, but a tureen that matched a dinner set was saved. The tureen was offered for sale at The Ames Gallery of Berkeley.

Kovels – Antiques & Collecting: Week of Nov. 2, 2009

This 13-inch-long 1795 Spode tureen was too useful to throw away, so it was repaired with 23 staples in the lid and 33 staples in the bowl. The repair must have been expensive, but a tureen that matched a dinner set was saved. The tureen was offered for sale at The Ames Gallery of Berkeley.

This 13-inch-long 1795 Spode tureen was too useful to throw away, so it was repaired with 23 staples in the lid and 33 staples in the bowl. The repair must have been expensive, but a tureen that matched a dinner set was saved. The tureen was offered for sale at The Ames Gallery of Berkeley.

Recycling and reusing is not a new idea. In the 18th century, well-to-do European and American families bought made-to-order dinner sets from China that were sent across the ocean in ships. It took a year to get the dishes, and if one broke it was even more difficult to get a replacement. So plates were repaired by the best system known. Small holes were drilled in each broken part and metal rivets were inserted in the holes. Then the rivets were bent to force the broken parts together. Animal glue was added to fill cracks or holes. The finished piece could be used, but it had what we now consider unsightly repairs. A few collectors today like examples of “waste not, want not” from the past. Sometimes the repair made the piece resume its useful life. Sometimes the repair created a “make-do,” a new item made from old recycled parts. An 18th-century Chelsea porcelain teapot with a replaced spout of silver, a broken candlestick transformed into a pincushion by the addition of a cushion top or a kitchen grater made from a tin cup with newly punched holes are good examples. There are modern make-do’s, too. Necklaces, pins and purses made from the pull tabs on aluminum beer and soft drink cans, cut-up cans made into rattles and colored telephone wire woven into African baskets can be bought in gift shops. They all have value because a few collectors appreciate that thrift and necessity can create interesting things that tell a story.

Q: I have a table made by the Imperial Furniture Co. of Grand Rapids, Mich. There are impressed and chalk numbers on the bottom. Can you tell me when it was made?

A: The Imperial Furniture Co. was founded in 1903 by F. Stuart Foote and was sold to Bergsma Brothers, another furniture manufacturer, in 1954. The plant closed in 1983. Imperial specialized in making quality tables – library tables, card tables, desks and even office suites, most of mahogany, some of cherry. Bookcases were added later. In the 1940s, the company made wooden airplane wings for the government. The numbers on your table indicate the style and finish. Most vintage Imperial tables sell for about $200 to $400.

Q: I have a Swirl Mixer made by Rochow of Rochester, N.Y., that belonged to my grandmother. It was a Stanley Home Products hostess gift. The mixer is swirled white, cream and clear hard plastic. I would like to know how old it is.

A: Stanley Home Products was founded in 1931 by Frank Stanley Beveridge and Catherine L. O’Brien in Westfield, Mass. Home cleaning products were sold door-to-door by sales representatives. The “party plan” was introduced in the late 1930s. Hostesses invited friends to a party that included a demonstration of Stanley products. The hostess could choose a gift from the Stanley representative. Stanley became part of CPAC of Leicester, N.Y., in 1995. Stanley’s headquarters are now in Agawam, Mass. Its products for household cleaning, personal care and “wellness” are sold through home parties, the Internet and directly from sales representatives. Your plastic Rochow Swirl Mixer was probably made in the early 1950s. It’s worth $10 to $15.

Q: I received a Shirley Temple doll carriage as a young girl, probably in the late ’40s or early ’50s. It is tan wicker with a metal frame and hand brake. The carriage is lined with fabric. Shirley’s picture is on a small metal plaque on the side of the carriage and her name is written on the hubcaps. What is the carriage worth?

A: Shirley Temple, the famous child actress, was born in 1928. She made her first movie in 1932. Ideal Toy Co. made the first Shirley Temple doll in 1934. Ideal also held the license for the doll carriage, which was manufactured by F.A. Whitney Carriage Co. of Leominster, Mass. That company was founded in 1858 and was the first American baby carriage manufacturer. It made two different styles of Shirley Temple doll carriages, the wicker one like yours and a wooden carriage with an oilcloth hood. Your carriage was probably made about 1936. Thousands of items picturing Shirley have been and are being made today. If your carriage is in excellent condition, it could sell for $250.

Q: I have a vase that says “Wisc. 415” on the bottom. The Wisconsin Pottery Association says it is a piece of Pittsville Pottery. It’s glazed so it looks like a pale red apple. Do you know anything about this kind of pottery?
A: John Willitzer, a Catholic priest, founded Pittsville Pottery in Pittsville, Wis., in 1931 to provide work for people in his parish. The pottery was incorporated as the Wisconsin Ceramic Co., but it’s usually called Pittsville Pottery. It was in business until 1943 and made vases, a dripless pitcher and other items.

Tip: The best care for an opal is to wear it. This helps restore moisture to the stone. Do not oil it. If you soak an unused opal in water, use distilled water. Do not store an opal in a safe deposit box.

Terry Kovel answers as many questions as possible through the column. By sending a letter with a question, you give full permission for use in the column or any other Kovel forum. Names, addresses or e-mail addresses will not be published. We cannot guarantee the return of any photograph, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The volume of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, Auction Central News, King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

Need more information about collectibles? Find it at Kovels.com, our Web site for collectors. Check prices there, too. More than 700,000 are listed and viewing them is free. You also can sign up to read our weekly Kovels Komments. It includes the latest news, tips and questions and is delivered by e-mail, free, if you register. Kovels.com offers extra collector’s information and lists of publications, clubs, appraisers, auction houses, people who sell parts or repair antiques and much more. You can subscribe to Kovels on Antiques and Collectibles, our monthly newsletter filled with prices, facts and color photos. Kovels.com adds to the information in our newspaper column and helps you find useful sources needed by collectors.

CURRENT PRICES
Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

  • Jimmy Carter ramp walker, large smile, red hair, peanut-color body, windup, 1970s, B.J. Wolf Enterprises, 5 inches, $25.
  • Chicago World’s Fair 1933 key to the city, pictures three buildings, Hall of Science, Fort Dearborn and The Tower of Water, gold tone, 8 1/4 inches, $30.
  • “Vote Ike” slogan button with ribbon, “Eisenhower Citizens Committee,” white with red letters, 1952, 1 3/4-inch button, 5-inch ribbon, $65.
  • Will Rogers “A Connecticut Yankee” movie window card, cardboard, 1931, 14 x 22 inches, $150.
  • Ronald Reagan-Tip O’Neill “The Great Political Feud” mechanical bank, figural, Tip with gavel taps coin into Ronald’s head, aluminum, 1983, 5 x 9 inches, $200.
  • Cherokee River Indian cane basket, dyed weavers on broad diagonal bands, oak handle, 13 x 16 inches, $375.
  • Windsor mammy rocking bench, cherry arms, black paint with stenciling, 19th century, 28 x 48 inches, $430.
  • Up-to-Date Baking Powder mechanical match dispenser, cast iron, National Mfg. Co., 1897, 3 x 5 x 3 3/4 inches, $510.
  • Oswald the Lucky Rabbit doll, stuffed velveteen body, felt ears, glass eyes and nose, cotton tail, Dean’s Rag Book Co., c. 1931, 5 x 7 inches, $2,280.
  • Thirteen-star U.S. flag, cotton and wool, handsewn, stars arranged in circle with central star, one star in each corner, nine stripes, 1850s, 40 x 68 inches, $2,705.

Just published. The new full-color Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide, 2010, 42nd edition, is your most accurate source for current prices. This large-size paperback has more than 2,500 color photographs and 47,000 up-to-date prices for more than 700 categories of antiques and collectibles. You’ll also find hundreds of factory histories and marks and a report on the record prices of the year, plus helpful sidebars and tips about buying, selling, collecting and preserving your treasures. Available at your bookstore; online at Kovels.com; by phone at 800-571-1555; or send $27.95 plus $4.95 postage to Price Book, Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122.
© 2009 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.

Image courtesy Gallery Brown, Los Angeles.

Nov. 7 LA gallery event to benefit Linda Blair’s animal rescue charity

Image courtesy Gallery Brown, Los Angeles.

Image courtesy Gallery Brown, Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES – On Saturday, Nov. 7, Gallery Brown and internationally acclaimed pop artist Steve Kaufman will present “Art Goes To The Dogs,” a benefit for film star Linda Blair’s animal rescue charity, the World Heart Foundation. Blair will be present at the event, which will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the gallery, located at 140 South Orlando Ave., Los Angeles.

Steve Kaufman, “the former assistant to Andy Warhol,” will feature all his colorful images including Marilyn, The Rat Pack and Michael Jackson, plus homages to Lichtenstein, Picasso, Dali and van Gogh. See these famous icons come alive on canvas.

The Linda Blair World Heart Foundation is a non-profit, 501c3 charitable organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating abused animals from the harsh streets of the Los Angeles area and the overcrowded and overwhelmed city and county animal shelters.

The fundraiser is open to all, and there is no charge to attend. The evening starts with complimentary valet parking, followed by cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and a silent auction that will feature Steve Kaufman’s 36-inch-tall RCA Dog, one of a limited edition of 20 (see image on invitation shown below). Additionally, 10% of all show sales will go directly to the Linda Blair World Heart Foundation.

LA art fans won’t want to miss this exciting opportunity to meet both Steve Kaufman and Linda Blair on Saturday, Nov. 7. For further information on the event, to inquire about the artworks in the exhibition, or to leave a bid on the RCA Dog in the silent auction, call 323-651-1956. Visit the gallery’s Web site: http://gallerybrown.com.

Visit Linda Blair’s World Heart Foundation online at www.lindablairworldheart.org.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Image courtesy Gallery Brown, Los Angeles.

Image courtesy Gallery Brown, Los Angeles.


Image courtesy Gallery Brown, Los Angeles.

Image courtesy Gallery Brown, Los Angeles.


Image courtesy Gallery Brown, Los Angeles.

Image courtesy Gallery Brown, Los Angeles.


Image courtesy Gallery Brown, Los Angeles.

Image courtesy Gallery Brown, Los Angeles.