Strange Things That I Collect: Heads

The other day in our house, a family member was overheard saying: “Why in hell are there so many heads in this place?”

To which I responded: “What are you talking about?”

I mean, sure, I’ve been known to purchase the odd figural head or two.  Case in point: this Bjorn Wiinblad candleholder for the Rosenthal porcelain company:



Come to think of it, I have two Wiinblad heads.  The other is a dark blue candelabra which I have chosen to use for a plant, despite my black thumb:


In case you didn’t know, Wiinblad was a very successful mid-century designer and ceramicist known for his whimsical faces and forms.  You can see his influence in Jonathan Adler’s Utopia line, for one.  And once you have one Wiinblad head, you’ll want another to keep it company.  In fact, I just realized I have a third:



There it is! Left of the papier mache head by mid-century artist Gemma Taccogna . . .



. . . and to the far left of my 19th-century plaster phrenology head:



Okay, okay.  So that’s a fair number of heads.  But when you see a 19th century phrenology head, how can you NOT buy it? Besides, I think that about does it . . . unless.  Wait.  I forgot about the Indian bronze:



Oh, right — and there’s my silver memento mori skull:



But in all fairness to me, that shouldn’t count.  It’s a skull, not a head, after all.

So okay — I have a lot of heads.  But it’s not out of control.  It’s not like the house is totally over-run with noggins.

Oh, CRAP. I suppose I should mention my wood hat stand/wig mold.  He’s BFF’s with my antique marionette head:



See how they really put their heads together?  You know what they say — two heads are better than one. Or seven.

So yeah, you might say I have a thing for heads.  You might also say that I’m unstable.  Go ahead, mock me.  Do your worst.  I’m not threatened.  I have a guardian angel watching over me . . .


. . . a guardian angel head, that is (meet my vintage papier mache mold).

I need help.





Strange Things That I Collect: Buttons

Meet Matilda, my vintage Wolf dress form. She is quite fit. She is also sporting my collection of antique and vintage buttons.


I started collecting buttons around ten years ago.  My first were your standard Victorian metal picture buttons.  How fascinating, I thought, that people used to wear cunning little works of art on their clothing:


The picture buttons were like marijuana, my gateway drug into the seedy underworld of button collecting. I once had a neighbor who thought it would be a kick to buy her children a pair of “male” rabbits. A month or so after she brought them home, she had a litter of bunnies on her hands. And so it is with buttons: a seemingly innocuous handful breeds and multiplies. From picture buttons, I moved onto French painted enamels and Japanese Satsuma porcelains:



And of course, one thing led to another, and I was suddenly hoarding French Metal buttons produced for the Paris Opera Company. (These, by the way, are my favorites):


I even took a detour into Greek/Roman mythology:


After awhile the size of my collection began to grow alarming, so I moved onto other collecting pursuits.  Of course, if I ever decide to resume, Matilda would be happy to oblige: