Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Grandmothers Wax Fruit.

   When I was a kid, I always looked forward to going to my Grandmothers house. Grandma Dolly was a loud,out spoken,strong and loving woman. She had 9 children and a husband that died young. She worked many jobs to make ends meet, but she managed to raise all those children all on her own. She was a plain women, wore cotton house dresses, long braids in her hair, wrapped close to her head with pins.She never wore make up or jewelry. Yet, she had a love for beautiful things . She had flowers all over her garden. Climbing roses and beds full of iris and wild daisy. There wasn't tons of money, so most of these flowers were gifts from her kids or starts from a friend. I remember one spring when someone of us grand kids picked some of roses. She went into a rage. We all had to line up and stand until someone confused. I don't know if anyone ever did, but I remember how mad she was. She bought antiques and trinkets at yard sales. One thing that always caught my eye, was a cut glass bowl of wax fruit on the kitchen table. Her house had no dining room, just a huge kitchen with a round old dining table on one end. She valued that bunch of fruit as much as one would have valued a sterling silver epergene. When she died there was an auction of her things, I wanted that bowl of fruit, I was not real old, my mother tried to buy it, but one of my fathers sisters out bid her. I guess that was OK as I can now visit it at her house.Isn't it funny what we remember from our youth?
   Well needless to say ,I have had a love for wax fruit every since. I find it at yard sales, house sales and antique shops. When I first started buying it, it was hardly worth a few pennies. You could often buy a bag full for $1.00. Today it has re-gained popularity and is much more pricey. I have a huge baskets full in my shop for sale and I am asking $3.00 each piece. Just email me with you want me to send you some.

When I am not using my silver epergene, for parties with fresh flowers, I keep it full of wax fruit.

This is a large oval shadow box frame full of wax fruit in and elaborate bowl.

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It even has a pickle.

   I have a few glass parlor domes that are also full of wax fruit. And one of my favorite pieces is a oval gilt frame full of the stuff. I bought it many years ago in and antique shop in Kansas City, Mo. The fruit is all arranged as if it is coming from a very fancy basket.It even has a pickle. I paid a lot for the time, but was one of those things I didn't think, I could live without. One set of three glass domes have an interesting story as well. I bought the large center one at an auction. It was cold and raining. I bought a rug, just to wrap up in. But I stayed and stuck it out as I wanted that old glass dome full of wax fruit. Well I got it and I have loved it ever since. Years latter, I was at an antique shop and spotted the two side domes full of fruit. There was a lady looking at them and fighting with the shop owner for a much better price. My heart was beating fast as I wanted them so bad. I waited till that lady walked away and I went in for the kill. I whispered to the shop owner,"how much," and when she said the price, I said, I'll take them. The other lady was so mad. But sometimes you just have to.
   I don't know what it is that draws us to certain items. This time it could be my childhood memories of my Grandmother. What ever the reason, collections are fun.
   Wax fruit  dates back as far as the Pharaohs of Egypt. Wax fruit was made and placed in the tombs when the Pharaohs died. It remained popular until the 1900's, when plastic fruit soon took it's place.
  The original wax fruit was sometimes made by dipping real fruit into silicone  to create a mold. Paraffin was poured into the molds. When it had hardened, it was trimmed, polished and air brush painted. Later clay molds were made by artist. Paraffin wax is mostly found as a white, odorless, waxy solid, with a high melting point. Paraffin has been used for years by ladies who can fruit and make jellies. It was melted and poured onto the top of the jams to seal them. It was also used in home candle making. It could readily be bought at any grocery store.Ladies often became very good artist. They made paper flowers and dipped them in the  wax.Wire and wicker baskets were also dipped into this melted wax and used as flower and fruit containers. Country ladies, who lived  far away from towns, were often very clever. Today these creations are highly sought after by collectors, like me.
   I hope you enjoy my wax fruit collection. I also wish you could come by some day for a real tour and see it in person. I will always leave the lights on, and yes, Sissy Dog will be there to meet you with a jump and and kiss. Keep collecting.

The center dome I found at a country auction. Years latter I found the two side dome as an antique shop. These date back to around 1870's.

This large glass parlor dome has wax fruit, flowers and a wax basket to hold them.

I have over 100 pieces for sale in my shop, Richard's Great Stuff. Email me if you are interested. $3.00 ea.