Saturday, May 3, 2008
Oh heavenly Zinc!
We're crazy about zinc! It's non corrosive, it's rather pliable, can be written and re-written on, and the color is oh, so French. Our fascination first began with miniature zinc pitch pots from the early 1920's, which you can still see today lining the garden shed walls and under window sills in the South of France. When discovering these old beauties, we often have to dig through muddy crates and dirty boxes.
This is because they were originally seen as economical starter pots and often tossed in the barn or off to a pile when their purpose was spent. But the more digging we have to do the happier we are....the thirll of the hunt! Today, these bent and sometimes crooked pots are a wonderful sight to the eyes, their imperfections offering a glimpse into their history and their wonderfully-imagined travels. Since they won't rust or deteriorate, it's only logical that garden ornaments were quickly fashioned from this material. Today's beautiful antique discoveries hail from France and England where the damp and wet gardens would not wreak havoc on these gems.
European cities saw the introduction of zinc around the 16th Century, but France began its love affair in the late 1800's (1850-1880). What you typically see now in the surviving antiques, (pots and weather vanes) is the version that came about in the early 1900's, around 1915-1920, when the technology on zinc mining and production drastically changed, making it more affordable and more accessible. Lucky us!
Today's zinc creations have come a long way, baby: A chic chalkboard in today's modern world evokes the calming colors of a French village of yesteryear. And the uses go on and on! Add a burlap strap and we're swooning...
Zinc and bulap tags--magnifique!
and add a tag to your garden lunch table and you've got oh-la-la farmhouse chic! Friends in Southern France are amazing artists and have created these beauties and so much more....coming soon on our next container (due in late June) are new varieties of garden tags and XL zinc chalkboards!