Whether their mission is to save the world or simply make it to school on time, the heroes of comic books have long attracted the attention of readers both young and old. Rising to popularity in the 1940s and ’50s, kids often purchased the addictive series-style stories with money from their piggybanks. For many, these childhood treasures sparked a lifelong love of collecting the thin paper books. The best-loved copies may have dog-eared or worn pages from being read and re-read by the glow of a flashlight under the cover; however, some collectors prefer to keep their titles in pristine condition for posterity. Today, rare and highly coveted titles fetch top dollar at auctions, while numerous others continue to bring smiles to new generations of readers.
Limoges boxes are a curiosity whose intrigue has transcended time. Taking their name from the city where they (and numerous other fine porcelain pieces) were created, they were originally used by French aristocrats to carry snuff. In the latter half of the 20th century, Limoges boxes—which come in whimsical shapes such as an artist’s palette, a teacup, or a lighthouse (as shown above)—made a return when it became en vogue to use the pieces as pillboxes. The trend continues today with boxes being crafted by an array of French companies as well as vendors around the globe. Want to tell if your box is authentic to the area? Check the bottom for a stamp that reads Limoges France.
Special thanks to Fabulous Finds Antique & Decorative Mall for use of these pieces for this feature.
Josiah Wedgwood had been operating his pottery business in Staffordshire, England, for over a decade when in 1774, through numerous experiments, he came up with the ideal formula for an unglazed stoneware. He called the new pieces Jasperware because their hardness resembled a natural jasper stone. Now, some 246 years later, the Wedgwood brand’s Jasperware is an iconic and easily recognizable collection. The pieces feature white reliefs of varied forms—from Greek goddesses to George Washington—and have been produced in a variety of colors, including lilac, yellow, green, black, and blue. However, if you’ve heard of “Wedgwood Blue,” you can guess which became the most popular and still remains emblematic. Dubbed the “Father of English Potters,” Wedgwood’s legacy lives on as porcelain place settings and decorative pieces, including Jasperware, are still produced in England today and exported around the globe.
While glassware is often a beloved collectible, it’s rare the pieces are as functional as they are fashionable. Jadeite fits the bill for both. Mass-produced during the 1930s and ’40s in America, the green, milk glass-style pieces became known for the spark of color they brought during some of the country’s toughest times; moreover, Jadeite was affordable to make. Diners and restaurants liked the thick material that could stand up to forks and sinks alike, and it began to catch on with consumers. While some department stores carried Jadeite, many people grew their collections piece by piece as oatmeal, flour, and other pantry staple manufacturers placed a cup or saucer inside a bag, enticing buyers to continue purchasing their goods to acquire a full set. Jadeite has experienced a resurgence in popularity over the past 15 years, meaning you can find newly produced goods at home stores. However, if you’re on the hunt for a more authentic piece—perhaps one with the coveted “Fire King” or “McK” (for McKee Glass Company) marking—you’ll need to be among the first to arrive at your neighborhood estate sale.
When it comes to traditional style, blue and white are, perhaps, America’s favorite color pairing—and the tabletop is no exception. Flow Blue china has been a staple in homes across the country since the mid 1800s. Named for and identified by its blue ink, which appears to bleed (or “flow”) to give a blurred effect, the design can be found on a wide variety of pieces from vases to teapots. The look is achieved with the addition of ammonia or lime during the glazing process; however, it’s uncertain whether the first instance of its creation was intentional or a happy accident. Whatever the case, it caught on and was highly popular through World War I. Landscape scenes, chinoiserie, and florals are among the most prevalent depictions. Because it was widely produced in the United States, pieces are readily found in antique shops and loved ones’ treasured cupboards today.
If you’re like us, you stick to iced tea and cold brews throughout the long warmer months—which can extend well into October in Arkansas—but by the time the temperatures finally drop in November, it’s time for a hot cup of tea. And while tea comes with a long list of health benefits, herbal varieties are also a multi-sensory experience; just consider the vibrant colors, complex flavors, floral undertones, and comforting warmth a mug exudes. Pour yourself a cup and get cozy this fall.
Shot on location at Abbi’s Teas & Things in Little Rock
Woodworking is a skillset not learned in a single front-porch sitting, but rather experienced over time through years of practice. Chisels, files, and planes bring to life forms that only the mind can see when the element is still in its rawest, most organic form. Be it a functional piece of furniture or a beautiful vessel, from an unwieldy piece of wood comes a work of art. Slowly, over time, the craftsman chips away at his medium until his vision takes shape.
Fishing is not a sport for the impatient. That fact might be doubly true for fly fishing, a variation that requires even more attention to detail, knowledge of the environment, and practice than the live-bait variety. With 9,700 miles of rivers and streams in Arkansas, our state is one of the best places to try the sport year round—just take a trip to the White River, the Little Red, or the Norfork to see for yourself. And while fly fishing might be more challenging than other outdoor activities, there’s beauty in the waiting.
Like many crafts now practiced in leisure, embroidery was once a widely known, practical everyday skill. Even those who didn’t need to be able to sew, tailor, or mend their own clothing picked up a needle and thread for fun. Want examples? How about this: Queen Elizabeth I would take part socially with other world leaders. And word has it that Hollywood heart throb Henry Fonda turned to the craft to relax between takes. Need a little “help” getting started? Check the schedule at Gingiber in Springdale or South Main Creative in Little Rock to catch an upcoming class.
Embroidery materials courtesy of Cassy Lee Art, Susan Sullivan, and South Main Creative
While canning seems like a thoroughly Southern tradition, the practice of preserving perishables is essentially as old as civilization itself; in fact, historians believe certain methods originated around 2000 B.C. But more recently, at the turn of the 20th century, Southerners became particularly prolific canners, picklers, and makers of jellies and jams. If you can get your hands on some extra produce—be it tomatoes from your own garden or a bounty of cucumbers from the farmers market—now is the perfect time of year to try your hand at this age-old process.