Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Top Three Magazine Issues for Antique Ornament Collectors

Better Homes and Gardens, Country Home
December 1986. This issue featured ornament
collections belong to Olive Vollmar of
Missouri. Back issues must be purchased
from independent dealers.
      Have you ever purchased a magazine that you just couldn't let go of? No matter how many years passed, no matter how dated the content, there's just something special about the way it makes you feel when read it from cover to cover. Well, I've kept a few and some of these I even inherited from my mother-in-law for the exact same reasons; she couldn't pitch them and neither have I. Now my daughters read them every year and pour over the photographs dreaming of yesteryear and hoping the current Christmas is just as inspiring.
      My mother-in-law kept an old edition of Country Home because it featured a ornament collector from Missouri, Olive Vollmar. One year, I traveled with Betty, my mother-in-law, to meet Mrs. Vollmar. She was hosting a special tour and discussion for the members of the St. Louis Herb Society or perhaps it was with the Botanical Gardens members, I'm not quite sure. Anyway, Betty invited me to  travel with her because she knew that I needed a little personal R&R away from my newborn and that I loved all things Christmas.
Early American Homes, December 1997.
      We had a wonderful time talking with Mrs. Vollmar and looking in every corner of her home. She had a simply magnificent collection of Christmas antiques, such that I have never seen before in all my life. In fact, I have never even seen it's equal in a museum. She had dozens of six foot feather trees that rotated in musical stands, Dresdens that most folks have never recorded in books, blown and molded glass from the Thuringian Mountains, scraps from the post-Civil War era, beaded ornaments from Czechoslovakia and Christmas kugels hanging from the ceilings of her kitchen! A few of these decorations were featured in the 1986 December edition of Country Home magazine and I suspect this is why Betty had kept it. However, it also inclued several romantic articles about the High country in Colorado, children's gifts and beautifully decorated homes featuring early American antiques.
      By the time I purchased a December issue by Early American Homes in '97, (same publishers below) enthusiasm for crafting antique reproduction ornaments was well established in the Grimm household. This edition featured feather trees decorated with ornaments authentic to the time of their crafting plus contemporary Belsnickles by American carvers. And as if this wasn't enough,  the publishers also featured a stencil of an angel copied from a German fractur for a charming Christmas tablecloth!
Early American Life, Christmas Edition, 2005
      In 2005 Early American Life published an excellent Christmas edition featuring antique Christmas ornaments displayed on feather trees, contemporary holiday artisans, antique chocolate molds and historic furnishings. The Christmas, feather trees photographed in this issue came from the home of Darla and Jerry Arnold who had been collecting antique ornament varieties for forty years.
      All three issues have permanent places among the stacks of craft catalogs and patterns at our house. And soon, I will post ornament projects inspired by their pages.

 
Darla and Jerry Arnold display their vintage Christmas collection at the Golden Glow museum, 2011.

Vintage and Antique Ornament Links Online: 

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