The Coming and Going.
It is easy, once denoted, to practice, polish, perform and ‘Piccadilly’ (the English influence upon old New England design) domestic waste paper basket design... in the old New England home and
Once one is ...sensible... about that (waste paper basket design): Just look around, after entering the home, for their waste paper baskets and one will... “ahhhh....” “see them”. Or not.
And, of course... “oh no”.
Do I care if you toss your nose drip soaked Kleenex into a ‘that’?
I do denote the ‘that’ and do, there after, ‘carry on’. I do not have to ‘remain calm’ for... “WHY?” would I become excited or panicked over ‘obviously bad taste’ in waste paper baskets? Those sign posts assure me that it is, simply, ‘worse from there’. When I am in a home, usually upon the “look around” “please” ritual, I notice if the waste paper basket ‘is’ a ‘something’ AND ‘has it been emptied?’. Yes... that is a touchy spot. I won’t go there. It is your job to ‘do that’. I just look around.
So if the waste paper baskets ‘are something’ from a design perspective, I do notice and consider this trail sign to suggest this ‘are something’ waste baskets... are something... to a bigger door of many other ‘THINGS’ ‘in there (the home) being an ‘are something... too. A...
Yes... that. Two crafts will follow with you after this (waste paper basket design awakening) essay. You will notice waste paper baskets and their design. You will do something about yours. Both are ‘not very hard’.
Waste paper baskets are ‘household furniture’. There are two kinds (design formulas) of waste paper baskets. There are the waste paper baskets designed and made to be waste paper baskets. And there are the ‘conversions’. A conversion is an object that had an original usage... and intended usage... that caused it, due to its design, to be high jacked to become a waste paper basket because it
“WORKS GREAT” for that... usually accompanied by a
“LOOKS GREAT” design (aesthetic) denotation ... too.
Both sorts are fine. It is a design quality thing from there on. “Good taste”.
So what is ‘good waste paper basket taste’ in the old New England home; the ‘those homes’... the old white houses on the village’s upper main street? Yes... those homes. These are the ‘those homes’ that are the beacon light of old New England Wasp decorum. So what is?
Well.... just getting in the door to ‘see’ is a stumbling block for most. They ‘don’t let people in’. And I know that. So, boys, if your showing up in camo cargo shorts, trail sandals and a pair of sunglasses hung at the neck of your ‘includes girth’ sized Polo Shirt... For girls: Do not put the sunglasses in the hair. Okay?
This is touchy. I am talking about sighting old New England home waste paper baskets in their natural setting. It is a lot harder to do than one might ‘figure’. And I love it when YOU ‘figure’. Usually you doing that does NOT include ‘waste paper basket’ ANYTHING. You know what I mean: The ‘you know’ when you ‘go figure’.
So there now. And I usually discern the two kinds. The more carefully and costly the manufactured waste paper basket, the ‘easier to’ discern. Usually they are subdued and bright, clean and crisp but ‘toned down’. No glare, no shine, no refraction. Usually a decoration of standard and subtle New England theme. Or subtle... natural... New England.
An example of the first is... a quality made... painted deep red... deep oval heavy metal of deep standard form with, for example, a toned down (faded) “old” (faux) “(Clipper Ship) print” ...and only that print, ‘mounted down’ to the front side. ‘Mounted down’ is different from ‘glued down’. ‘Glued down’ looks like a ‘glued down’. “Mounted down” is an ‘at time of manufacture’ mounting down of the decorative print. Old New England homes do not decorate with glue gun crafting. No they do not. They “bought it that way”; their waste paper baskets. I am not speaking of ‘crafted’ waste paper baskets. I seek ‘bought it that way’ waste paper baskets. GOOD ONES.
Enhanced decorative messaging... stepping up from these old New England home classics... are the preferred old money statement of ‘natural’ waste paper baskets; ...old... baskets made of natural New England materials. For example... ‘made of Birch Bark’. Preferred are the ‘old’ (1880-1930) ‘souvenir’ type handmade tacked and sewn, sweet grass rim wrapped, all bark bottom and woven sweet grass handled... waste paper baskets. They are the ‘ones brought back from summer’... at cottage or camp... ‘on the lake’ or ‘in the (White) Mountains’. “By Uncle Harry’s second wife (“THEY BOTH DRANK”) when they ‘stayed here’ after (the first world) war. Faint ‘wood burned’ inscriptions stating, for example “Franconia Notch Woodstock N.H.” are a plus... especially if dated, say, ‘1909’. That the basket has actually been used (lightly) in the home for... ONE HUNDRED YEARS... needs to be understood too. IF you ‘can find one for sale’ “IT” will be ‘surprisingly expensive. Either ‘play’ (get your wallet out) or
Good ones are NOT easy to find. But they absolutely send the right message. There are some very expensive birch bark waste paper baskets. Very expensive. For very rich people. But I do not want to touch that right now.***
*** : Being very short: The most desired birch bark New England / Maine waste paper baskets are those handmade, hand decorated and hand signed by Tomah Joseph, a Passamaquoddy artist associated with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Campobello. They are the number one. They must be signed and dated. They must be perfect (condition). Hard ...very hard to ‘see’... even ‘in museums’. Scarce and expensive in the market. They are a ‘ten thousand dollar waste paper basket’. Don’t worry, you will know when your are ‘around one’. If there is one in use in a home you are visiting... “queue”.
What is an example of an acceptable conversion? Well... commonly, one finds ‘old kegs’ (antique small barrels) used (“converted”). Popular and findable. Most prefer the refinished ‘go anywhere’ but the New England antiques collector cult seeks ‘original paint’ and ‘original surface’. These get expensive. Not ‘very expensive’. Just ‘expensive’. The ‘an old refinished’ surface is the easiest (and most affordable) to find. Subtle, classic and ‘easy to understand’, these nestle in ‘anywhere’. I cannot find enough of them. Usually twenty-five, forty-five, sixty-five... dollars... and rising. If you find one and like it... buy it. They ‘don’t grow back’ (turn up). Don’t get too picky: It is just a waste paper basket.
At the start of today’s chapther I stated ‘its imitators’. There is a new grouping of design... crashers. Smitten with the discernment of waste paper baskets, the household design furniture object... and the need climb the domestic ladder of ‘old New England’ merged with an aura of ‘old money’... more and more sightings of cheesy ‘new’ waste paper baskets posing as ‘old New England’ waste paper baskets... are, well... “about” and “foisted” from... well... faux old New England Homes. I know the difference. It is simple. Old ones... are real ones... and they are hard to “GET”, “FIND” and “BUY”. New ones... posing as old ones... do not show the home and its decorator ‘best’. Got it? Ok then... again: If it is phony, it shows that (its phony design) to the people who know and ...those are the ones you least want... “noticing that”. Just buy the expensive old waste paper baskets, put them appropriately in the home and shut-up. That is the way it has always been done. Costly, I understand. Perhaps checking grandmother’s home for her old waste paper baskets may ease this.
The bigger point of this essay is that I have tried to convey the suggestion that one actively apply an observant design based awareness to ...everything... and, too, that design observation to ‘all’ as a galaxy of unity... too. Starting with squirt guns and waste paper basket I have... merely suggested... and now hint at... that denotation of design is not only appropriate for an antiquarian eye but is absolutely needed to be applied to absolutely every object one encounters or chooses to encounter. I, for example, “LIVE” within design and its observation. I ‘never leave’. But:
Yes; there is an on and off switch that you... may... use. It is okay to take ‘time off’ with your ‘art eye’ and go to a proverbial beach in dirty flip flops and a cheap folding chair. Just understand that ‘the real ones’ (old New England Wasp decorum) ‘don’t do that’... ever. Polishing your apple eye for old New England design... is the eternity. If it is not ‘you’... then ‘don’t. No one will miss you.