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Tag Archives: ALEXANDER BACKER

Retro Framed Chalkware Figures

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The figures were in really great shape and needed just a little touch up. The background was faded to gray.

Mel and I came across these at an antique store in San Jose. As I am sure you all know by now, I love chalkware. I can’t ever get enough chalkware pieces.

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Both figures had wear on their nose and knees.

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The figures are painted in a pearl yellow paint.

I was not aware how faded the backgrounds were until I removed the figures.

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You can see the original aqua color behind the figure.

After I repainted the backgrounds the figures pop!

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Shazam!

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These will be breathtaking when finally hung on the wall.

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This kitty likes vintage wall fish!

So, funny story…..I was hanging one of a hundred fish for Mel when one fell, shattered and stabbed me in the leg while on the ladder. I fell off the ladder and crawled to the nearest first aid kit and put a tourniquet on. I texted Mel while I was bleeding out and advised her that one of her fish had mortally wounded me. Her concerned response was “which fish broke?”.

The first time Mel saw a ceramic fish it was at a thrift store. At that very moment she fell in love with those little ceramic pieces of joy! From this point on Mel has spent every waking moment searching on Ebay and antique stores for the little critters. She must have almost 100 of these sea creatures by now. She decided to use our large wall space in the bathroom as her canvas to express herself. It is really hard to find ceramic fish that are not busted and glued because so many of them have fallen and ended up destroyed. Ceramic fish can run between $15-$300+ depending on the rarity of the fish. A word of advice to anyone thinking of hanging these little guys, when nailing them to the wall make sure you also use wall putty to adhere them to the surface. Mel’s favorite maker is Deforest but she also likes Freeman, Lefton, Bradley and Ceramicraft. We both agree that the chalkware fish are not as well detailed or as nice.

Ceramic fish were really big in the 40’s & 50’s for those folks who wanted to accessorize their bathrooms with something unique. Mel has a really great book that shows a lot of different kinds of ceramic fish and also different makers. It gives you pricing and also ideas on how to stage your fish (Ceramic Fish, Mermaids & Seahorses: Bathroom Decorations of the 1940s & 1950s). It is really amazing how many of the people we run into in the antique shops collect these. I am not sure when enough will be enough but if wall space is any indicator then we have a long road ahead of us.

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