Monday, March 14, 2011

Gems from K Road

While we didn't get out and about quite as much as I would have liked during our week in Auckland, we did venture into town to do some op shopping one day. We spent most of our time on K Road where I got a strange but awesome sleeveless wrap-around dress. Strange because it has these Chinese-style buttons/closures but the print and overall style of the dress aren't all that Chinese - well I don't think so anyway, but I'm hardly schooled in these matters.

I really love the print on the fabric, it makes me think of pohutakawas, even though the flowers are more of a pink-y red than a real pohutakawa flower. I especially love the dress because it's so unlike anything I already have in my wardrobe (this was one of the reasons I had to justify buying it to myself).

I also got this great 80s bright teal coloured handbag. It was hanging behind the counter, supposedly on hold for someone, but after a bit of consideration the woman decided she'd kept it on hold long enough and seeing as I was there, ready and willing, she'd sell it to me.

These old fashioned flouncy petticoats reminded me of one my Mum bought me when I was very young. It was very very full and flouncy and had pink flowers on it. She sewed some pink ribbon onto it as straps and I would dance around in my 'tutu' and think I looked pretty great. Which I did.

In St. Kevin's Arcade I popped into a shop with lots of china and intriguing retro bits and pieces, which turned out to be a very fortuitous stop. It had quite a bit of Crown Lynn 'lolly ware', including some tea cup and saucer sets in the plum colour glaze.

Just in case, I asked the woman behind the counter if she had any single plum saucers as I had a plum cup I'd 'rescued' from a beach holiday house many many years ago. It was in amongst all sorts of old odd tea cups and mugs, and, purely because I loved the colour, I decided it was too good to be wasting away at the back of a cupboard amongst far inferior and chipped ugly brown cups. At the time I didn't know it was Crown Lynn.

The woman said, 'Hmm, you're lucky, I do have one single saucer. But how generous am I feeling today? Because you know the plum colour glaze is quite rare and the cup and saucer set is $45...Okay, you can have it for $10 cash.'

After paying for the saucer I noticed that she had a poster for the City Gallery Wellington's Crown Lynn exhibition hanging on the wall so I said, 'I can't wait to see that Crown Lynn exhibition at the City Gallery, are you going down to it at all?' and she said, 'I've been! I went on opening night because the lolly ware in the exhibition is from my collection!' (The woman's name is Alison Reid, her shop is called Aunt Mavis, and there was an article about the exhibition in The New Zealand Herald recently that features her).

I was quite excited by this revelation, so we chatted about the exhibition and her collection (when she gets rich one day and owns a mansion she's going to have an entire display room, but at the moment all her Crown Lynn lolly ware is kept in a cabinet) and how I was up from Wellington because we had a show in the Auckland Fringe (she let us leave some flyers which I was conveniently carrying a stash of) and it was a very nice time. She wrapped my saucer in tissue paper and popped it into a brown paper bag to which she then stapled an illustration from an old children's picture book. So cute!

And when I got back to Wellington I was able to reunite my plum colour glaze cup with its plum colour glaze saucer.

Where it can now take pride of place on my tea display bookshelf:

Three out of the four other coloured cups it sits with are Crown Lynn and I'm pretty sure the fourth one is too, but it doesn't have a stamp on the bottom. All of the saucers they're sitting on have different little pictures on them (one has geese, one a maritime theme, another a farm scene, and the fourth a Parisian looking street with a woman in a pink dress leading a poodle past a cafe) and say 'Alfred Meakin England' on the bottom. So even though the colours of the cups and saucers go quite well together, they aren't actually a set. I got all the cups and saucers at my high school fair one year just because I liked them and they were being sold as a set, it wasn't until much later that I realised they weren't a proper matching set. I wonder what happened to the actual cups?

I love old stuff. So many things you just can't know about it.

(I am going to try to get to the Crown Lynn exhibition this coming weekend, I want to be able to have plenty of time there so I haven't had a chance yet. But soon, sooooon. Apparently the City Gallery is selling Crown Lynn socks as part of the exhibition merchandise. I might have to get some.)

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