Monday, August 9, 2010
More Pretinted Pieces
I have seen lots of these cute little animals dressed in military uniforms. As you can see, this one is unfinished, and was intended to be a pillow top. This one I do think was done with crayons, and ca. 1941. It came stamped, and the coloring was done probably to a picture of a finished piece. The colors are more regular and thicker here - not subtle shading as would have been the case with the ones that might have been airbrushed. I think that these little figures were designed to help children to feel a sense of comfort and to have something to understand where their Moms and Dads had gone in the military. It probably also helped to teach them to have a sense of patriotism.
The thing that I find interesting to remember is how important it was to decorate everyday household items. Today we do have decorated items for the household, but in general, I think there is not as heavy an emphasis on decorative items for literally every room in the house.
Women were encouraged to have hobbies - tole painting, crewel embroidery, wood burning, copper engraving and many other things to keep them occupied in their homes, and they were encouraged to come up with new and exciting meals for their family. Although we don't tend to see the pretinted pieces any longer in the 50s, we do begin to see stenciled pieces, and pieces stamped for embroidery that are painted with tube paints. In fact, the tube paints became sort of a status symbol, and if you had an entire canister of them, you really had something. There were paint parties held in homes along with the Tupperware parties and women were encouraged to do this type of sales at home. Mary Kay Cosmetics was really hot during this period too, and it was interesting that it was considered a very acceptable type of employment for women to sell cosmetics and things like Tupperware. I was thinking that some concessions had to be made because a lot of women were left widowed at the end of the war.
It is interesting to think how the "things" that graced homes changed so much with the times and how the things that were used, the way women dressed, and the things they did with their lives truly reflected the ways that women were viewed in society at any given time.
Today the pretinted items have returned, only they are not precolored but you can find stamped pieces that are meant to be colored with crayons, and women are designing their own pieces with crayon work. It has never become a highly popular pastime the way it once was, but there has definitely been a revival.