Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Build Love Not Walls

Our Christmas windows this year were inspired by current events and by our December charity.  We have had lots of conversations over the past year with clients, friends, and family, many of whom are parents, about things that are happening in the world.  Many times during the course of these conversations, parents have talked about the ways in which they are discussing current events with and explaining world issues to their children.  With these conversations top of mind, the 'Build Love Not Walls' window came into being.  The idea was to present our message with very big (but not huge) kid's alphabet building blocks.  We began by cutting wood and assembling the nine plywood blocks.  Next we made stencils for the letters and cut, painted and attached them to the blocks.  The house was taken over as a window workshop for a few days.  When installing the blocks in the windows we wanted to literally build 'love' and tumble 'walls'.  This afternoon at 3 when the elementary school next to the shop let out, it was great to see so many kids looking at the windows with their parents.  I heard a couple of kids yelling "Build love!"
This year, our December charity is UNHCR Canada.  The Canadian UN Refugee Agency helps refugees and other displaced people "survive, recover and rebuild better futures".
86 cents of every dollar donated to UNHCR goes directly to uprooted families.  As of this month, the monthly federal stipend for the first wave of Syrian refugees comes to an end as they enter their second year in Canada.  If you would like to donate to the UNHCR, please click on the link above.  It's easy.  During the month of December we will be donating 10 percent of the profits from each sale to UNHCR.

Christmases Past

Creating our Christmas windows has always been a fun part of the holidays, and we are just about finished with the building and installation of our 2016 holiday windows.  They should be done and posted a little later this afternoon.  Never let it be said that we rush Christmas!  In the meantime, here are some images of Christmases past at Michael Thomas.    


 2008 was our first Christmas in Port Hope, and the idea was pretty simple- a tranquil winter scene with a forest of birch trees.  The tricky part of this installation was hanging all of the trees.

2009 was one of my favorite windows and also one of the most complicated.  It was the window of an Art Deco department store for deer. "Deer & Co. The Department Store for Deer" was selling Santa's by the lb., reindeer games and designer hoof wear.  Corny? yes, but it's Christmas.  Hermie the dentist was on 5. "It's cute, it's cute, she thinks it's cute".  I designed, constructed and painted the set, and then installed piece by piece.

2010 was very experimental.  I wanted to do something different with light and color and came up with the "Oh Mason Tree" idea.  I wasn't sure if it would actually work as I envisioned it until it was installed.  The tree was created with rows of mason jars filled with colored water and then back lit.  In the end I was happy with the result, especially at night.

The 2011 Christmas window was conceived with our charity of the season, The Children's Aid Society, in mind.  I wanted a window that would be playful and colorful.  I started with the material this time as inspiration.  I bought yards and yards of red and green felt, not sure exactly where I was going with it.  Felt has a nice nostalgic feel, childlike simplicity and warmth to it.  I wanted to take this somewhat old-fashioned material in a modern direction.  After cutting lots of masonite and felt, lots of painting (the lime green trees were a last minute addition) and lots and lots of spray adhesive, the modern forest with red doves flying overhead was finished just in time to bring in the month of December and the Christmas season.

For 2012 we once again looked to our December charity, which was Habitat for Humanity, for inspiration.  Habitat For Humanity's vision is a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live.  We wanted to keep it "Swedish simple" this time.  After painting the back wall a beautiful shade of pale gray and building the house framing with 2 x 4's, the outside was lit.  Then the kids' Christmas decorating began.  As one of the children hung the lights, the other got ready to place the gold star atop the tree.  Soon after, the snow began to fall and Christmas was complete.

The inspiration for the 2013 Christmas window started, as it had for the last few years, with our December charity in mind.  That year, it was CANFAR (The Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research).  CANFAR is Canada's only independent charitable foundation dedicated to eliminating AIDS through research.  By funding promising HIV and AIDS research and promoting prevention through educational campaigns, CANFAR is working to end AIDS globally.  So the inspiration started with CANFAR and thoughts turned to the eighties and one of the brightest creative talents of the era, Keith Haring.  He grew up in Pennsylvania and moved to New York City in 1978.  He had a brief but brilliant career in New York from 1980 until his death in 1990 at the age of 31.  The Madonna and Child were taken from the cover art he did for the "A Very Special Christmas" series of albums.   In the window, we had Pennsylvania represented with a variety of Moravian stars, the iconic advent symbol.  The lit star came from the Moravian Bookshop in Bethlehem, PA.  It is the oldest bookshop in the U.S. (true) founded in 1745, and I have great memories of working  there during high school in the eighties.   I have always loved the image of the Moravian star and if you visit Bethlehem at Christmastime, you will see them in the doorways and windows of many homes particularly in the historic downtown area.

2014 was the year without a shop.....

2015 was our first year in our new home and our December charity was Habitat for Humanity Hamilton.  We decided to go old school and traditional with handmade wreaths and garlands, fresh fruit, early antiques and art, and packages tied up with string.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

1970's Chest

Seventies chic, custom five-drawer chest of white laminate over wood with lucite and chrome pulls.  There is a matching two-drawer bedside stand available as well.  32" w., 21.5" d., 42" h.  American, c. 1970's  $595.00 for the chest, $195.00 for the stand

Mid-Century Arm Chair

Handsome and very comfortable mid-century arm chair with a walnut frame and caned back.  The tan and black herringbone upholstery is new.  29" w., 33" d. 29" h.  American, c. 1960's  SOLD

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Curtis Jere Seagulls Wall Sculpture

A flock of seagulls.  Graceful, sweeping, signed and dated wall sculpture in polished brass and chrome by Curtis Jere.  This very beautiful piece may be hung in a variety of positions from vertical to horizontal.  27" h., 28" w., 4" d.  American, c. 1981  $350.00  

Buddha Lamp

We have seen some interesting Buddha head lamps over the years, but none quite like this one.  It is in the style of James Mont and features a large ceramic Buddha head with a natural matte glaze which sits on a lucite base.  The finial is also lucite.  34" h., 18" diam.  American, c. 1970  SOLD

Curtis Jere Racing Sailboats

"I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it's because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it's because we all came from the sea.  And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears.  We are tied to the ocean.  And when we go back to the sea - whether it is to sail or watch it -  we are going back from whence we came."
(Remarks at the Dinner for the America's Cup Crews, September 14, 1962)
- John F. Kennedy
If you are tied to the ocean and go back to the sea to sail or just to watch it, you will appreciate this magnificent Curtis Jere wall sculpture.  It depicts three racing sailboats on the water.  It is very large and beautifully patinated.  It is signed and dated.  55" l., 33" h., 10" d.  American, c. 1977  SOLD

Friday, November 25, 2016

Small Business Saturday

Thank you for shopping small and local!

Chapman Table Lamp

Very fine and handsome table lamp by the Chapman Lamp Company with a brushed brass and leather wrapped columnar base and the original marbelized lamp shade with gold interior which is in excellent vintage condition.  35" h., 16" diam.  American, c. 1960's  $295.00 On Hold

Stakmore Faux Bamboo Folding Table and Chairs

Faux bamboo + Faux patent leather = Real cool.  With the holidays approaching, add some hip to extra dining/ seating.  This faux bamboo dining or games table has a patent leatherette top and the chairs have patent leatherette seats and caned backs.  The set is so good looking it seems a shame to store it away.  However, if you have to, the table and chairs all fold for easy storage.  The set is very well made and while the table and chairs fold, they are very sturdy.  Table, 34.5" square 29" h.  American, c. 1960's  $695.00 for the set

American Eagle Lamp

This classic candlestick lamp has a brass base, crystal ball, American Eagle with ball and chain and a brass arrow above which sits a candlestick.  The black tole shade is decorated with a gold laurel.  16.5" h.  American, c. 1960's  $150.00

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Peter Hvidt and Orla Molgaard-Nielsen for France and Daverkosen, Modular Tables

This pair of modular tables was designed by Peter Hvidt and Orla Molgaard-Nielsen, manufactured by France and Daverkosen, and retailed in the U.S. by John Stuart.  Each table has a shield-shaped top and three slim patinated brass legs.  They may be used as side tables, stacked, or used together as a small coffee table.  Originally they were sold individually and could be arranged in a variety of ways as seen in this post.  Each table is stamped with the maker, manufacturer and retailer's mark.  Danish, c. 1952  $450.00 for the pair