Thursday, October 1, 2009
Owls in Decor
I received/ won the Victorian owl tray pictured above at our good friends' White Elephant Christmas party. You ask yourself, " At what kind of white elephant party would you end up with this stunning hand-painted brass and glass tray?" Generally, at these kinds of parties, people re-gift ugly or humorous items which they had mistakenly purchased or had been gifted by a friend. People pick, steal, and trade items until everyone ends up with their final gift. As we all know, every person's trash is somebody else's treasure, and vice-versa. Our friends, Oscar and David, threw a very different kind of White Elephant party, because they donated all the gifts themselves and the items were all very cool and collectible. For the sake of extra space and a little variety in the decor, they wanted to purge some items that they no longer couldn't live without. They donated these beautifully wrapped gifts to the party for their guests to open, covet and eventually fight over. Since Oscar and David are some of the most fabulous, mod taste makers in town, the tug of war was fierce. I took the owl tray from the person who had opened it. My dear friend, Annie Sperling, took it from me AFTER I had told her how much I wanted the tray. Now it was war. Luckily the 3-strike rule can work in your favor at a White Elephant party. This is the rule that the item can only be taken 3 times. My dear husband, Senor Amor, triumphantly stole the tray back from her when it was his turn to play. That's teamwork for you!
As I was gazing at the tray the other day, I started thinking about the history of owls in decor. Most people these days associate owl motifs with Kitsch. I understand how, during the post-war era, the mass market was flooded with Owl cannisters, cookie jars, clocks, and any other household object you can imagine. They were no longer the dark and mysterious owls of the Victorian era. They were now happy creatures, who sometimes bordered on insane. Does the wise old Victorian owl shake his head in disgust at the exploitation of his own kind? I do not know the answer to this because I appreciate and love interesting owl motifs from the Pre and Post-Kitsch era. Owls are coming back to design in a big way.Just look around you and you just might give a hoot!