About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Friday, May 20, 2011

E is for Esoteric or Ethnic

Looking at the most esoteric corner of my figure collection we come to the ‘Cloth, Fabric and Other Materials’ box…

The commonest, and probably encountered by most of you, are the little families of six worry-dolls from Guatemala, you whisper your troubles to them and place them under your pillow, in the morning you’ve still got all your troubles but at least managed to trick yourself into a worry-free good night’s sleep!

Like the Erzgeberge stuff from Germany, these follow a strict pattern and while colours and styles of doll or box vary, the pattern has remained unchanged for decades or longer; six figures (Mum, Dad, Gran? and Kids - 1 Teenager/2 younger or vice-versa), in a yellow-stained box with red and green decoration in broad strokes.

Made from scraps of material, and wound-cotton thread on wooden splints, with soil for hair glued to a brown-paper head and with the odd bit of wool, they are between 20 and 30mm.

In Bulgaria we find the Martenitsa or friendship cords, given (Mimi will correct me here once she’s read this!) both at specific time of the year, and when you just want to say; Hi, or; Thanks, or; I love You…

They began basically as twists of red and white wool, but over the years have had little things added like the faux-ceramic elephant or wooden broomstick seen here, or can be formed into more elaborate shapes themselves as in the two little figures.

I would imagine that over time so many have been fashioned both privately and commercially, that you could fill the British Museum with them before your collection could be called comprehensive, so just a small sample here!


Finally; A pin-badge which I was told is from a US Election campaign, sometime in the 1970’s from the condition of the piece? Any US readers help here? I’d hate to discover it was French…I’d have to burn it! (Joke; you miserable sods). There is an outside chance it could have something to do with the SDP? Or what I always thought (prior to the US tale); a football team mascot/thing?

I’ve also photographed a Peruvian Nativity scene in pottery, with figures in 10/15mm, as this is a round-the-world post. I think you hang it from a Christmas tree.
Three weeks ago I saw a jointed wooden worry-doll figure from…Nicaragua? That looked like one of those toys that collapse when you depress the underside of the stand, but he was only about 30mm and mounted on a card.


Anonymous said...

Don't know about the origin of that particular red, white and blue wool figure, but I certainly recognise the style. Instructions for making them appear in "Dean's Bumper Book of Things to Make No.3", compiled by Violet Williams. That's from the mid-sixtes, and if memory serves they appear in one of the panels on the book's cover ... although I think the ones pictured there are made in single colours.

Course, the design itself is probably much older than the sixties. Maybe they were originally made with straw?

Maverick Collecting said...

Thanks Toad, that's facinating and the most esoteric sort of Info. I would have thought anyone would come up with!!!

I'd imagine it's the right theory as well, in 'simpler' times people would have had a go, although the speed they sell 'Crafting' sets on the shopping channel, some people are busy doing similar stuff today!