At Past and Present Home Gallery, we know that antiques and vintage items are viewed very differently than they were a few decades ago. As collections are passed from generation to generation, sometimes the stories that made these collectibles so interesting are lost. That’s why we love telling these stories from the past so they can be appreciated in the present. One such story we stumbled upon recently is the unique history of “flow blue”, which, put simply, is a type of china with a specific decorative glaze. While items within this category can be incredibly different from one another, they all share the same origin:
Flow Blue: A Very Beautiful “Oops”
As trade between the East and West grew in the 1700’s, Western markets fell in love with the beautiful blue and white china being imported from the Orient. These hand painted pieces depicted a variety of romanticized scenes in a bold, cobalt glaze on top of stunningly white porcelains. Imported pieces were extremely expensive and so only the higher classes could afford them. To capture a part of this growing trend, European potters were determined to recreate the process for their customers.
Some historians state that it took 100 years for the Western manufacturers to create a white porcelain and cobalt glaze that could compete against the Eastern china. And even though it may have taken that long, things didn’t turn out exactly as they had planned. When European potters finally found the right salt-glazed earthenware that sparkled like its Eastern cousin, they eagerly applied the newly formulated cobalt oxide glaze. But when fired in the kiln, the blue glaze bled out of its stencil or “flowed” creating a blurry effect. Although this was definitely not the intended result, the public adored these items and snatched them up in a hurry. During its peak in the mid and late 1800’s it is estimated that more than 1,500 different “flow blue” patterns were created and manufactured.
Antique and Vintage Flow Blue in America
Here in America, we often saw the “factory seconds” of the European potters. These items bled “too much” out of their original stencils and the European public was not as thrilled by them but American markets were eager to add them to their collections. However, during World War I, the flow blue market decreased significantly all around the world and many European manufacturers stopped shipping to North America altogether. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that the trend was rediscovered in American markets and items were re-manufactured, sold, and collected.
Stop by Past and Present Home Gallery to view our own collection of flow blue—some pieces dating all the way back to the late 1800’s, along with other collectibles like Red Wing. Also, “like” our Facebook page to keep in touch with us and be the first to learn more about the one-of-a-kind items we have.
Can’t wait to see you at Past and Present Home Gallery, the antique store with character!
At Past and Present Home Gallery we hear it all the time:
“What do I get my Dad?”
So if you’re shopping for Father’s Day, his birthday, or any other special occasion, here are our top ten recommendations for telling Dad how much you love and appreciate him.
#10: Fishing Lures
We have an extensive collection of fishing lures that have come from all over the world. These small pieces of art vary from antique to rare to vintage one-of-a-kind. Shop all three levels to find our full selection and pick out the perfect pieces for Dad.
#9: Cast Iron Banks
These beautiful pieces of nostalgia are great additions to Dad’s collection. Our store features original and vintage reproductions depicting a variety of subjects as well as classic mechanisms and the more intricate devises.
#8: Beer and Bar
Put the finishing touch on Dad’s Man Cave with memorabilia fixtures from his favorite brews like Grain Belt, Miller High Life, Schmidt, and Hamm's. Our selection includes everything from steins and pitchers to beer taps and pool lights.
#7: Les Kouba Art Print
Send Dad home with an iconic piece of Minnesota art in a print from artist Les Kouba. Kouba’s art depicts the breathtaking wild life of our state as well as nostalgic scenes from hunting and fishing trips. Shop our collection and find prints of all sizes from Kouba as well as other well-known artists.
#6: Animal Mount
Whether Dad loves hunting or fishing, an animal mount hanging on his wall allows him to enjoy all of those happy memories while the season is closed. Choose from a variety of mounts including buck, fish, pheasants, and caribou. If there’s not enough room for a full sized mount, try an antler or horn set instead. These smaller pieces make a beautiful statement while leaving room on the wall for Dad’s other favorite memories.
#5: Antique and Vintage Toys
Speak to Dad’s inner child with vintage and antique toys. Past and Present Home Gallery has a large selection of car models, pressed tin, antique cast-iron, and more from the best toy makers from yesteryear like Tonka, Tootsie, Arcade and many others. Also, check out our brand new selection of Roy Rogers memorabilia.
#4: Man Cave Stuff
Shop our 700 square foot Man Cave for the perfect piece for Dad’s space. Our collection features a wide variety of new and vintage signs, neon, rusty gold, and unique collectibles.
#3: Cast Aluminum Statues
You will find a unique selection of cast aluminum animals from eagles and bears to buck and buffalo. These fantastic statues are finished for indoor and outdoor use which makes them the ideal statement piece down by the dock, in the flower bed, or inside by the hearth.
#2: Sports Collectibles
Whether Dad is into playing sports or being his team’s number one fan, Past and Present Home Gallery has an extensive selection of unique memorabilia pieces he doesn’t have yet. Our collection includes items from all of our Minnesota sports teams and others. Make Dad’s day with a one-of-a-kind fan piece for his Man Cave.
#1: Display Case
Does Dad have an award-winning collection that’s bursting at the seams? Find him a new display cabinet that showcases his beloved collectibles with pride. Our store features a large selection of antique and vintage cabinets in all shapes and sizes that are sure to fit Dad’s tastes and your budget.
Still can’t find the perfect gift for Father’s Day? No problem. Pick up one of our hand-made greeting cards with our gift certificate tucked inside. That way he’s sure to find the perfect gift at Past and Present Home Gallery, the antique store with character!