Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Buried Treasure 2010 - The "Kilner" Jar
Seth Apter of The Altered Page is once again hosting a revisit of ancient posts - by invitation!
I've only been blogging for a little over a year and a half, but I had to look back and find one that I thought would be worthy of sharing. This one is particularly pleasing to me because it opened the door for me for some wide-spread interest in old paper - the way I like it.
The piece of Old Paper Art I'm sharing this time I actually covered in three separate posts, and I'm including the text from the finished product - but for the mat and frame. I sold this piece as soon as I hung it at the Western Heritage Art Show in March of this year. It had hung in a local gallery (where I had it matted and framed), but it didn't sell. I think it's a matter of exposure, really. The more people see how unique the art is, the more people are intrigued by what I've done with it. Unlike collage art or 'ledger' art, mine has to have something to do with the paper itself. These pieces of true ephemera are a tiny snapshot of business as it used to be. Business owners hired excellent artists to portray to the buying public the best image they could, for if the print advertising and packaging did not sell the product, it usually did not sell.
I like using original art work for most of my old paper as often as possible, but oftentimes I have to resort to utilizing the old advertising or packaging art. I particularly enjoy using glass as the subject for a couple of really good reasons: It is transparent. If it is colored glass, it tends to glow and reflect light, as well as project it. Because it is transparent the text can be seen through the image of the glass, which gives the impression to the viewer that the glass is 'in front' of the text, hence I've killed two birds with one stone without breaking the glass!
I also include a short narrative with each piece that I complete, giving viewers a word snapshot of why I chose it, and the history of the company and subject if possible.
In an earlier post here (Kilner paper) and HERE, I gave you a glimpse at what’s involved in getting my art onto a piece of old paper, and it always starts with – the paper. I purchased this piece on eBay from a gentleman named Tom Caniff after finding out that although there were no glass fruit jars listed as line items on this billhead, the primary business of the Kilner Brothers was to make jars for the preservation of food of one kind or another. Mr. Caniff also sent me a picture of a Kilner jar, but it was simply not detailed enough to use as a model.
The company had been doing business since 1857, and a Kilner (John) was making glass storage containers beginning in the year 1792. When John died in 1857, his sons took over the business. They continued to make glass containers until at least the turn of the century when many small glass firms were merged to create the United Glass Bottle company and the patents held by the Kilners were purchased.
With the help of a long time collector of canning jars, Larry Munson of Devon, Montana, I was able to portray the “Kilner” jar they produced. My last Paper Treasure Hunt and Photo Expedition involved a trip to Larry's for an afternoon of filling my camera with photos of over seventy varieties of fruit jars including the photo I took of the Kilner jar in the previous post that I used as a model for this piece.