Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Here's a Fish, There's A Fish.... and Another....and Another....and Memories

My bathroom is a huge aquarium. Well, not a real aquarium, but it does sort of look like one.  

I didn't start out having a "thing" for collecting fish wall plaques, it's something that stems from my childhood memories. My aunt and grandmother had some ceramic seahorses and a couple of fish wall plaques in their bathroom. I always liked the seahorses.  

My mother had a set of Miller Studio fish wall plaques. These cute green ones with the boy fish wearing a top hat and walking stick and the girl fish with big red lips and a parasol. I have Mama's well dressed fish hanging on the bathroom wall, but I also have a spare set of these cuties packed away "just in case".

I saw lots of Miller Studio plaques when I was growing up. In Spartanburg, SC, where I was born and lived until I was almost 7 years old, there was a store out on the "superhighway" (Hwy 29 - a big modern dual lane road) called Wadsworth's China Shop. This store was an early forerunner of Michael's and Garden Ridge. They stocked decorative ceramics like vases, wall plaques (ceramic & chalkware....I remember Miller plaques hanging in their packaging), candle holders, dish garden containers and flower pots of every shape and size. They also had artificial flowers. In addition to all that, they had everyday dinnerware sets and finer china sets. They carried Hull Pottery kitchenware, so I'm sure they also had Hull decorative pottery too. Outside the store, they carried concrete planters & birdbaths. OH, and even back in the 1950's, Wadsworth's was open on Sunday! Going there was a special Sunday treat!  I don't have a picture of Wadsworth from back then, but here is what it looks like today. The only thing about the building that has changed is the sign.

When you walked in the front door of Wadsworth's, there was the cashiers desk in the center. It was a big square counter, open in the center, with 2 sides for "checking out". At each side on the counter, there was a huge stack of newspaper, spread out open to be easy to wrap up the breakables. Boy, those ladies could wrap fast, too. The front side facing the door had floral displays made by the ladies who worked there. The "back side" or farthest side of the center counter was lined with those old fashioned drink coolers that you slid the big metal top from side to side to choose your drink. Those were the COLDEST drinks! The floor in this building was good old hardwood which had places all over the store that creaked when tred upon. The counters and walls were all pine panelled. There was no central air conditioning back in the 1950's, but they did have 2 huge "air conditioners" hanging overhead at the back corner on 2 sides of the store. A few months back, someone opened an antique shop in the old Wadsworth building. I got my husband to stop there just so I could walk through. I'll have to say, the "feel" of Wadsworth's is the same in 2010 that it was in the 1950's.......AND the floor still squeaks!

Now you know how my bathroom aquarium collection got started, although it took MANY years to come to fruition.  I inherited the much admired "well dressed" fish couple from my mother and the seahorses were given to me by my aunt when I expressed interest in them. That's when I decided to paint the bathroom a shade of aqua and start my hunt for other fish wall plaques. First, I found some cute fish cabinet knobs, but they looked out of place on the white cabinet doors. I decided to try my hand at being "artistic" and painted & stencilled around each fish knob.  I was pretty satisfied with the result.

I have two large Miller Studio fish that I found at separate times. One of these came with 2 baby fishes. I have them displayed as a family above the mirrored vanity. They didn't come with "bubbles", but I remedied that with the use of some I found at a craft store.

There are surprised Miller fish staring at me every time I shower. 

Swimming around my tub are three schools of fish. There is a pink and purple Miller set, 

and a ceramic set in pink and aqua, 

and swimming against the traffic flow above and below is another Miller Studio set of four in pink and white. This set did come with its own bubble.

I love my black and gold ceramic set, marked Norcrest Japan, as well as the big black Miller fish. 

Rounding a corner, nose to nose, is a cute ceramic set of fish in yellow and green, marked Freeman McFarlin Originals. When I found these, I saw one fish was missing part of a tail fin, but I love the look and really never notice the flaw.

Above the doorway is a playful set of yellow and orange koi and a single pink, purple and aqua fish. All three of these fish are from Miller Studio.

This is a great set of Nesco ceramic angel fish that came complete with bubbles.

There are 2 wall cabinets in the bathroom. Atop one cabinet are two ceramic angel fish planters and in the center is a gray angelfish figurine. The two planters are labeled "Japan" and both have the original 59 cent price sticker from Rose's dime store.

On the top of the second wall cabinet is my latest Goodwill store find. It's also a ceramic planter, made by ARDCO.

Packed away in my storage building is a box filled with at least this many fish and seahorses. I just don't have enough wall in my "aquarium" for all of them to "swim" at the same time!

1 comment:

  1. I'm a collecting nut so I enjoyed this. Hey, you asked about the new more serious blog...here's the link: http://moontunnel.blogspot.com/