"an elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections" (James Atlas)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

All things old in Ballarat

I had a lovely day in Ballarat this week. Getting over there was a little hair-raising, what with trees down, winds blowing, the threat of rain, and potholes large enough to swallow a small car. Luckily, my car and I are made of tuff stuff, so we got to Ballarat and found it it to be 3 degrees warmer than Gisborne! This first stop, as always, was the Mill antique shed. I've loved antiques since way back, and remember dragging my mother around a few shows in Germany, until she too got the bug. Sensibly, Mum kept her interests strictly to jewellery. Antiques weren't as accessible in Germany as they were when I came to Australia; often they were sold in the kind of shop you wouldn't dare enter without a sizable wad of dosh, or if you were lucky, you found something affordable at a flea market. My first 'antique' was a bangle given to me by a colleague for my 18th birthday. Her husband was an antique dealer, and I had admired his collection when I visited them. The bangle was a brass bracelet covered with a rose fabric all around it. It's faded now, but I've still got that bangle.
Yesterday's rummaging around the Mill yielded a small carnival glass dish. It's not in very good nick, but the pattern is a little unusual and the glaze is pretty. It'll do for serving smarties. I've developed a taste for certain types of glassware, mainly carnival glass - both the orange and amethyst variety, but I like only particular patterns, mainly Art Deco ones. Both the Mill and the Ballarat Antique Fair, which was my next destination, had some excellent examples. I also saw something I hadn't taken notice of before - a few examples of a kind of 'depression' glass, but not the typical green depression glass, it was more a lime-yellow type, some with an opalescent glaze, and more ornate than normal depression glass. It also glows in UV light! There were some fabulous pieces, for example a cake stand, probably from the 30s, with stylised thistles on the plate. Just stunning. Must keep my eyes peeled for more of this. The American pieces are usually prettier, I guess they made more of it. Another stunning item was an Art Deco uplight lamp, made from copper, with four pieces of glass protruding from its sides, which glowed beautifully . Oh, was I smitten! The exhibits at the fair were of very high quality, and yes, overpriced, but then, one doesn't get to see so many exquisite things in one spot very often. Some of the stands were devoted to 'vintage' items, and one lady had a wall full of 'flapper' dresses from the 1920s, real museum pieces, with lots of beading, and so fragile! There was also a velvet, emroidered opera coat from the early 20th century, and I was sure it had my name on it, until I saw the $1800 price tag!
My last stop was at MillRose Cottage in Ballan, a new-ish quilt shop. It was like entering Aladdin's cave, so much bigger than expected! Rows upon rows upon rows of fabric, you would truly need a trolley! I restrained myself, but the girls and I are going back next month, so watch out!