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  • 06 Nov 2015
     Moorcroft Pottery – What a find!!! Last week at the Denver Brass Armadillo, I spent about 45 minutes just browsing through the store and found a piece of Moorcroft art pottery.  It’s an incredibly beautiful vase, near mint condition, and it was quite inexpensive.  What a find! Moorcroft vases, lamps, ginger jars, etc. can be expensive as it’s a very labor-intensive creation process.  The story of Moorcroft pottery and the intricate, detailed workmanship that go into creating each piece is truly an amazing art form.  Moorcroft Pottery has been in business since 1897 and that one fact sets them apart from other pottery businesses.  It all began with William Moorcroft being employed as a designer for a Staffordshire pottery manufacturer.  His famous process is called “tubelining” and is much the same process used today.  William Moorcroft submitted a piece of his art pottery at the World's Fair in 1904 and won a Gold Medal with a pottery called “Florian Ware”.  In 1913, Moorcroft opened his own business in Stoke-on-Trent, England. With much recognition and success, he was appointed as Potter to Her Majesty the Queen in 1928. What an incredible honor that must have been!  Moorcroft Pottery creates beautiful masterpieces for art pottery lovers all over the world. Each year, Christie’s Auction House dedicates an entire sale just to Moorcroft pottery.  Many Moorcroft pieces are permanently shown in national museums as well as the Victoria & Albert Museum in the England. I won’t go into the details involved in creating this type of pottery but you can see a wonderful demonstration for yourself by going to this website: .  The video is hosted by Eric Knowles, a well-known TV antiques expert on BBC.  Several books have been written including “Behind the Glaze” by Neil Swindells which covers William Moorcroft’s life story and his work.  Keep your eyes out and you may just find a piece like I did or some other wonderful find.  The Brass Armadillo never fails to amaze me with the variety of antiques and collectibles. You just never know what you’re going to find!   
    1370 Posted by Betty Jean Shearin
  • 22 Jan 2015
    Being a dealer at the Denver Brass Armadillo and an avid collector, I recently had the opportunity to visit Tucson, Arizona. Naturally I wanted to check out a few of the antique shops there. Making the rounds of several shops, it was only natural to notice the subtle, and not so subtle, differences between the Denver Brass Armadillo and the shops in Tucson. While none of the Tucson shops are as large as the Brass, several shops are centrally located to one another and that helps cut down on driving from one to the next as well as finding parking. However, parking is an issue as there are very, very limited spaces available. Many of the shops appear to be sole owner/dealer shops or shops with a very limited number of dealers. I visited four so called “antique malls” of which the largest had approximately 30,000 square feet and a reported 200 dealers. The others were quite a bit smaller.   None approached the size of the Denver Brass Armadillo.   While the Tucson shops have ample inventory of glassware, dishes, jewelry, Native American and Western memorabilia, and other smaller collectibles and antiques, the supply and selection of antique furniture was very limited with almost no Victorian or Early American pieces. Most furniture was Southwest design or mid-Twentieth Century style. The limited furniture antiques may be explained by the fact most of the shops have only limited floor space and there just isn’t space for furniture. All of the shops have some locked display cases similar to the Brass, but gaining access to a case is not as convenient as the Brass’s individually locked cases. To inspect and closely examine an item in a case in the Tucson shops, it is necessary to go to the front counter and request a staff member to unlock the case. This is very inconvenient and time consuming, not only for the shopper, but also for the shop’s staff. On several occasions I had to wait 5 or more minutes before someone could locate a key to the case and come and unlock a specific case. Looking for antique dolls? There is a doll museum at Christine’s Antiques which houses hundreds of dolls. It’s quite impressive with dolls of all designs, ages, compositions, size, and value. If you are a doll collector, or just have an interest in dolls, it is worth a trip to Christine’s Antiques on Speedway Boulevard in Tucson. If you have the opportunity to visit Tucson, be sure to check out the antiques. You will definitely meet some really nice and friendly folks!!!
    1040 Posted by Betty Jean Shearin
  • 03 Oct 2015
    Over the last 100 years or so, there have been many glass manufacturers making a multitude of glass items.  There were glass items made to serve a particular purpose and for daily use in the home.  Then there were the pieces considered to be “art glass”.  Satin Glass falls into that category.  Satin Glass was first made as a decorative pressed glass in the 1880’s in England, and subsequently produced in the United States by Hobbs, Brockunier & Company of Wheeling, WV; Mount Washington Glass Works of New Bedford, MA, and the New England Glass Company of East Cambridge, MA.  Today, Satin Glass pieces are usually made by individual glass blowers or private glass makers.  Satin Glass is easily recognized as it has an opaque, dull matte finish, thus resembling satin linens and hence the name Satin Glass. The “satin” finish is a result of the glass being treated with hydrofluoric acid or some other abrasive acid. Some pieces have decorative surface patterns which are produced when tints are added during the glass molding process.  To obtain the desired coloration, each piece is typically tinted with a pastel color with blue being the most common color.  Satin Glass that contains pink, blue and yellow striations is usually referred to as rainbow Satin Glass.  My first purchase of Satin Glass was at the Brass Armadillo about 15 years ago.  Below is a picture of my first Satin Glass purchase.  I think you will find Satin Glass as beautiful and desirable as any other type or style of decorative glass.  I sure do. Take a look around the Brass Armadillo.  You will find quite a variety of this wonderful work of art. One final note, Satin Glass requires rather delicate handling as any other piece of art.                                                                                           
    887 Posted by Betty Jean Shearin
  • 27 Jan 2015
     Are you a mineral collector, rock hound enthusiast, or just simply love fossils, beads, precious stones, and jewelry? Then you may be interested in checking out the renowned Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase held yearly in Tucson, Arizona, since 1954. It claims to be the largest of its kind in this country, attracting the world’s top mineralogists, gem experts and dealers, plus tens of thousands of visitors and collectors. Actually, there are over 40 separate gem and mineral shows spread throughout the greater Tucson area during the “Tucson Show.” Shows are held in many locations, and, since Tucson has great weather (usually in the 60 to 70 degree range), they are in huge tents as well. This year the “Tucson Show” is being held January 30th through February 17th. At the “Show”, you will find some the best and most expensive gems beads, minerals, fossils, and jewelry in the world, as well as many, many items priced under a dollar. Many major museums and private collectors attend displaying the outstanding specimens in their collections. The first several days of the Show are heavily attended with typically over 50,000 people attending. However, every day is well attended with the last two days also heavily attended as many dealer and vendors greatly reduce prices to avoid having to carry home inventory. This is a bargain hunter’s paradise! Entry to most of the shows is free and free parking is typically available. Free shuttle transportation is available between many of the shows. Only a few Shows, such as the show at the Tucson Convention Center, charge entrance fee and/or parking fee. However, be advised that hotel rooms are at a premium during the show and advance reservations are recommended. In fact, many of the shows are at hotel and motels with many vendors using hotel rooms as display areas each day. If you are seeking precious or semi-precious stones, gems, fossils, minerals, or rocks of any kind; or if you just like to rummage, you will have multiple choices at the “Show.” Plan on being amazed and overwhelmed -- It is truly a spectacular event!  
    865 Posted by Betty Jean Shearin
Antiques - Collectibles 957 views Jul 30, 2015
Annual Santa Fe Indian Market

Santa Fe Indian Market

The Annual Santa Fe Indian Market, which is in its 94th year, will be held August 22nd and 23rd, 2015, on Santa Fe’s Historic Plaza and surrounding 14 city blocks. Over 1,000 Native American artists and craftspersons will display their handiwork and compete for juried prestigious awards. In addition to the more than 700 craft booths where you can buy directly from the artist, there will be Native American food, music, dancing, and all around fun and entertainment for everyone. The week preceding the Indian Market is filled with a series of events featuring Native American music and dance, literature, film, fashion, and lectures, all of which lead up the Indian Market on the weekend. The Indian Market is an excellent opportunity to learn about and experience Native American culture.

The Santa Fe Indian Market is sponsored and managed by the Southwestern Association on Indian Affairs (SWAIA) and allows Native American craft work in various art areas: Jewelry, Pottery, Sculpture, Textiles, Paintings, Carvings, Beadwork, Baskets, and Diverse Arts (drums, bows, arrows, etc.) All exhibitors must be recognized Native Americans and their wares must be hand crafted by Native Americans.

Regardless of whether you are an experienced Native American Art collector, or a person who enjoys Native American art and decorations, or someone who wants to learn about Native American cultures and traditions, everyone will enjoy the Indian Market.