Small Talk

A Rare Gem: The Architecture of the Art Deco Jewelry Store

A Rare Gem: The Architecture of the Art Deco Jewelry Store

When Mulvaney & Rogers were approached to create a work for T/m’s collection, they were immediately drawn to the decadent styling of art deco interiors. Full-size art deco architectural motifs were a blend of patterns from ancient cultures in Mesoamerica and Egypt and machine-age geometry. For their miniature jewelry store interior, the artists gathered inspiration from the Netherland Plaza Hotel in Cincinnati, the transatlantic ocean liner Normandie, and the Nieman Marcus department store in San Francisco.

Mulvaney & Rogers’s room setting is a luxurious two-story interior complete with gilded railings and doors, a jewel-shaped display case, and richly adorned walls. From the faux-painted marble floor to the golden domed ceiling, every detail reflects Art Deco design. Mulvaney & Rogers also designed the interior and exterior lighting to give the appearance that it is dusk outside. Up next: jewelry shopping.

Steeped in History: The Montereau Tea Set

Steeped in History: The Montereau Tea Set

Tea time, anyone? Children’s toy dishes and tea sets can be found in a variety of materials, from wood and tin to porcelain and plastic. When porcelain became widespread in the 19th century due to technological and scientific advances, factories began producing toy tea sets and doll accessories. Tea sets became especially popular in the mid-to-late 1800s when Queen Victoria popularized “taking tea.”

Due to the lack of documentation, it is often hard to track the origin of these sets. Lucky for us, this child-sized set in T/m’s collection is marked “Montereau” and “LL,” indicating the set originates from a Montereau pottery shop in the Oise region of France. The yellow-glazed earthenware has crisp, black transfer patterns and hand painted rims. We bet a little girl saved this “good china” for a special occasion.

A Rare Gem: Collaborating on the Art Deco Jewelry Store

A Rare Gem: Collaborating on the Art Deco Jewelry Store

The jazz age of the 1920s and 1930s effectively put the final nail in the coffin of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. During that time, the world saw the rise of a new type of popular music, new fashion trends (that still appear today), and a new form of art and architecture known as Art Deco. While our hometown of Kansas City has many examples of Art Deco buildings, our favorite example is our 1:12 scale miniature Art Deco Jewelry Store.

Specially commissioned by T/m’s co-founder Barbara Marshall, the Art Deco Jewelry Store is the product of a collaboration between several miniature artists. Kevin Mulvany and Susie Rogers (best known as just Mulvany & Rogers) built the architectural space and jewelry counter. María José Santos created the miniature couple and dapper salesman figures. Robert Ward beaded the magnificent chandelier. Last, but not least, Lori Ann Potts is responsible for the miniature “bling” inside of the jewelry cases. Stick with us as we zoom in on the details of this jazzy miniature!

Batteries Not Included

Batteries Not Included

Think of all the toys you’ve played with that came with the caveat, “batteries not included.” Bummer, right? The sheer disappointment that ensued after opening a new gift only to realize its inability to function without batteries isn’t easily forgotten!

While battery-operated and other electronic toys continue to captivate kids (and adults), a trend to revive analog or “slow toys” has emerged. Combine that with recent consumer safety issues from toys made abroad and the result is Americans are once again smitten with the wooden toys of yesteryear. One of the perennial favorites, Lincoln Logs, has returned 80% of production back to the U.S. after being made in China for nearly 60 years. Pennsylvania-based Channel Craft has built an entire catalog of toys that your grandparents or even great-grandparents likely played with. Can the simple joys of tops, train whistles, boomerangs, and yo-yos divert our attention from Angry Birds or Nintendo 3DS? Maybe for a bit. One thing’s certain: they’ll still be around when electronic toys’ batteries run out of juice!
Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Let’s Go Fly a Kite

For centuries, kites have remained one of the most universal outdoor toys. A symbol of childhood and freedom, the playthings can be found everywhere from suburban America to Brazilian favelas to the villages of Japan. A new exhibit at the V&A Museum of Childhood prominently displays a colorful kaleidoscope of kites from Kabul, Afghanistan.

Kites from Kabul is a partnership between the museum and British charity Turquoise Mountain. Established in 2006, Turquoise Mountain’s Institute for Afghan Arts and Architecture teaches young Afghans traditional arts and crafts like calligraphy, ceramics, and jewelry-making. Videos and photographs of the children who made the kites accompany the installation. A product of the intersection of art and play, the kite exhibition aims to foster greater understanding of Afghan culture.
Photo: Andrew Quilty/Oculi, V&A Museum of Childhood.

 

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