Monday, April 18, 2011

Love, Love, Love : Vintage Game Pieces

Everyone has a junk drawer, box, or (ehem) entire home filled with all the odds & ends that they just can’t get rid of. Ever since I was little, I would save anything and everything small and colorful in special place. For years, I have been gathering loose game pieces. My collecting started years ago with Bakelite and vintage plastic dice. Each happy die and dot was a mini piece of art to me. I finally capped off my collection when I found the perfect gumball machine to display them in and filled it to the top.

It took a lot of quarters to fill this machine!
I also love pawns – plastic, metal, and wood in every shape size and color. They remind me of being sprawled across the floor with my friend Kim after school and engaged in a friendly game of Parcheesi, Monopoly, or Boggle. At the end of every school year, I have the students in my 2nd grade class pull out the loose pieces from games that have seen better days and save them before retiring the boards. I also keep an eye out for vintage games at tag sales and people are always passing bags of “treasures” to me. When there's a plastic pawn or wooden die, it's a welcome surprise.

There’s nothing more exciting and inspiring to me than spreading out, sorting, and playing with colorful pieces of anything. Whenever I hit a creative roadblock or feel the urge to organize, I will break out my cafeteria trays, spill out my materials, and sort the day away. This usually leads to new inspiration and ideas. It also makes me hungry because the colors look very “candy shop” to me!
Tray o' Play
Most recently, one of these spill & sort sessions inspired my “Fun 'n' Games” rings made from wooden nickels and a collage of game pieces.  I sold them for the first time at the Prospect Heights Fair. The school fund raising event was attended by lots of kids which meant lots of little fingers kept picking up and playing with the rings. I find that my materials, being upcycled and vintage, bring out a lot of nostalgia and people have a tendency to pick up and play with the jewelry or share stories about the items. As a designer, that's a big perk - I always love hearing these personal connections. 

wooden pawns & wooden nickels

wooden letter dice and wooden nickels
Clusters of pawns remind me of mushrooms or little people.

Once I attach the adjustable ring backings, I will have a whole new batch of rings to share at my upcoming shows:
Saturday, April 23rdNew Beginnings Trunk Show with Folk Couture by Grace Napolean – Bethel, CT
Friday and Saturday, May 6th and 7th – Twist – Northampton, MA
Saturday, May 21 – Shop the Archway – DUMBO – Brooklyn, NY
Swing by and play!


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  2. I love the dice in the gumball machine! And the rings, of course...