Saturday, January 28, 2012
Whoa! These are some BIG photos, aren't they? They look even bigger with my little duck salt and pepper shakers magnified so, but I like big and bold (it took me several days to learn how to accomplish this), so I'll leave them alone...
I have to tell the story of these little ducks...when I was little, my Grandma Launius in Essex, Missouri, had a set of these ~ more like the ones in the last photo. I remember playing with them (I was not a baby-doll-playing child; I preferred animals, so I probably made up little scenarios for the ducks to act out)...Grandma DID have a Shirley Temple doll that belonged to my aunt (left in Grandma's care when my aunt left home and got married)...Shirley had an elaborate wardrobe, little shoes and socks, the whole shebang; but she also had little tiny TEETH, and she creeped me out. I politely played with Shirley occasionally to please Grandma...(as that's what little girls were supposed to do), but I was always more than ready to put Shirley back in her box (with her little teeth) and find something less nightmare-inducing to play with. But I digress...back to the ducks. Anyway, they lived on a little knick-knack shelf in my Grandma's kitchen, and after I outgrew playing with them, I didn't give them too much more thought. When Grandma's health declined and she moved in with her sister, I remember she took me (newly married) around her house, offering me whatever I'd like. The ducks were no longer my taste (my sophisticated, 1970s, 20-year-old taste), so I passed on them...I don't know what eventually became of my little ducky friends.
Fast forward to 2008...I was looking online at watercolor artists, and came across Chris Beck...I couldn't believe it ~ there were Grandma's little ducks! Well, at least some just like them. Chris had used them, as well as other whimsical little figures, as still-life subject matter in many of her vibrant watercolors...I immediately e-mailed her and told her how happy it made me to see them, and she kindly sent me a pair! Sadly, those were lost in the fire, but as soon as I had my wits about me again (sort of) and began to accumulate art materials and "inspiration", the ducks were one of the first things I sought out on eBay (yes, there are many of the funny little fellows still around).
Now I have several sets again (both of the sets in the above photos are from the 1940s and were made in Germany), but I also have some in "lusterware" that were made in Japan. I still haven't fulfilled my goal of doing a watercolor of them, but it's on my list for this spring!