The mantelpiece is an ever changing composition. Change one thing and everything changes. When the picture is taken that moment is held.

Life is stilled. A still life.


This is a shop window for the ok corral.


We created the ok corral because there are so many lovely things but we didn't want to keep all the lovely things - just some of them.

By Joy Jolliffe, Aug 16 2018 02:54PM

This is the August mantelpiece. A little late but it is holiday time. I'm experimenting with slow living.

This combination of colours; the flowers on the tray, the weathered sea shells, they seem to have transcended into some kind of beautiful ancient mix. I can't quite put my finger on it but faded vintage chintz can do that too. Also frescoes from pre-history, fractured images on flaky plaster.

Faded pressed flowers from Victorian holidays, dusty shell boxes and pictures made from sand. All of those things through the decades seem to be present in this picture. Atmosphere. Do I mean atmosphere?

Natural and man made. All beautiful things.

By Joy Jolliffe, Jul 5 2018 03:34PM

Text and tins, that appears to be the theme this month. I love tins and texty things and there are always lots of both at the OK Corral. Read the tins!

Britton's for Fine Foods is my current favourite. It's a little piece of social history, a tin that's covered in information. The dark blue lettering on cream is period 'grocer's shop' style. The font too, decorative and confident for a business that had been established for decades, tempting you to buy. The potato crisps stored within contained potato and edible oil. That's it! There's a one shilling deposit on the tin too encouraging you to return it, so no waste and less landfill. The words speak volumes.

Flour, Tea and Coffee are self explanatory but the two styles span decades. The old flour tin, a Worcester Ware piece is classic, no quintessential, vintage kitchen ware. Isn't it interesting that the much later Tea and Coffee canisters mimic it's colour and feel. I guess, once you've got a winner, you stick with it.

The small, rectangular tin is decorated to look like a box. I thought it was a box at first, with poker work border patterns. The body colour imitates that of lightly grained wood too. The side panels have poker-work-style illustrations and the lid bears the motto: 'A stitch in time - saves nine'. Granny is sat in a big ole chair mending, the pot plants are in flower, the cat is content. All's well with the world if you just make that stitch in time!

The in/out board must have a history too. It's hand lettered, very attractively and hand made too. Made by a small hotel/guesthouse owner? A man with a shed? A little device for reception, to try to keep tabs on the summer visitors? All or any of those. I'll never know for sure but that's why I like the old things, they make you think.

By Joy Jolliffe, Jun 8 2018 08:38AM

Zoom in to the tangerines. I think our eyes do that anyway with this particular still life. An arrangement of colour, texture, pattern and form. With the Most Modest nod to the classic Dutch still life and interiors paintings. The light in the room is soft and forgiving and the creamy white background has helped too.

The blue glass comport is softened subtlely by an all-over treatment that leaves the exterior dull and the interior still shiny. The incised pattern of overlapping circles varies the transluscence still further. Orange and blue? You can't go wrong there.

The pale wood of the vintage vegetable masher sits in between and helps hold the little unit together. A perfect still life within a still life...

Moving on, another lucky combination happens on the far right of the mantelpiece. The elegant, painted floral comports sit comfortably with a gritty rustic pot. This time it's the two tulips that help to make it work. The pot is truly rustic and truly gritty and I love it. It has a rough surface and lots of impurities and colour variations in the clay. And then you see the pale blue line that runs almost all the way around the shoulder and that takes it from the ordinary to the magic. I don't know who made it but I do know it's beautiful.

The ruby red borders on the two comports are edged with a fine gold pattern adding to the deep warmth of their colour. Each has a delicately painted spray of flowers using a perfectly chosen palette of colours. There's a chalky yellow and a soft turquoise in both that'll make your heart sing.

Next, we have the tale of two pots, but only one has a happy ending. The blue and white Poole coffee pot was a gem. Did you notice the past tense there? We do love this deep dark blue range and were very pleased to discover a little clutch of pieces. We always give our china finds a gentle handwash and that was when a piece of the rim simply fell away into my hand. I hadn't noticed the repair and I'm glad that we found it before a disappointed customer did.

The Kiln Craft tea pot has the happy ending. It's big, it's balanced and it's pristine clean. The 'Bachuus' border print is period perfect and the lid closes tight with a neat little twist.


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