Terms to help new collectors of pottery

When I started to buy and sell pottery, there were some terms that I picked up pretty fast that I use quite often.  These terms are pretty common and help describe the manufacturing process of the piece.  Here’s some of the terms:

Pinholes—these are faults in the surface of a ceramic body (or even the glaze) that resemble pin pricks.  These are not very big at all, and there is usually no other damage around them.  Air bubbles are the most common culprit that causes these.

Bloating—this is the permanent swelling of a ceramic piece during the firing in a kiln.  It’s caused by the expansion of gases like air not being able to escape out of the piece.

Iron oxide—this is a common oxide in glazes and some clays that generally gives the item a reddish color.

Biscuit pottery—this is also called Bisque pottery.  This is pottery that has been fired, but no glaze has been applied to the piece.

This is only a few of the terms out there.  What have you heard?

Furniture terms that could make you think they mean something else

Like pretty much every area in the vintage and collectible world, furniture has its own vocabulary.  There are even words and phrases out there that would make you think they mean something completely different.  Here’s a few of them:

Dovetail—this is a term in wood working that’s used to designate a method of joinery. This is used a lot to join corners of drawers and cabinets.  It’s a series of cuts to make a tenon or tongue that looks the shape of a dove’s tail that interlocks with alternating similar cuts piece of wood.

Vitrine—this is a French term for display or china cabinet.  This type of cabinet has large sections made out of glass so that you can show off the items stored inside.

Escutcheon—this is an ornament plate that surrounds a keyhole on a piece of furniture or a door.  These plates come in a wide variety of motifs.

This is only a tiny amount of what is out there.  What have you heard?

There are many different types of tables to consider decorating with

Dinner tables, coffee tables and even side tables can be seen in pretty much every house nowadays.  Did you know there are many, many different types of tables that you can decorate your house or apartment with?  Here’s a few for you to consider:

Flip-top table—This is a table that has two leaves, and the leaves are one on top of the other.

Pie-crust table—This is a small, round table having a top with its edge carved or molded in scallops. This type of table is common in 18th-century English furniture.

Gate-leg table—A gate-leg table is a type of table that was first introduced in England in the 16th century. The table top has a fixed section and one or two hinged leaves on the sides.  This type of table also has two legs that swing out to hold the leaves up.  When the leaves are not in use, the legs fold in and the leaves fold down below the fixed section and hang vertically.

This is just a small sampling of what’s out there.  What kinds of tables have you run across or have used?

Antique furniture parts and pieces

There are many different parts and pieces of furniture, and it can get confusing (especially when you first start to buy and sell it).  Here are some parts and pieces of what I have run across over the years:

Cabriole—This is a double-curved form used in legs (and even feet). The upper portion of the leg curves outward while the lower part curves inward.  This makes an S shape on the legs and is very distinctive.

Bombé—This is a French term for the outwardly curving shape of a piece of furniture.  The most thought of form is that of a chest.

Armoire—This is a clothes cupboard, and this can be a pretty sizable piece of furniture.  In most cases, an Armoire is a type of wardrobe.

Marquetry—This is a decorative technique in which different woods are inlaid into the body of a piece to create an image.  Flowers are a common motif; other images are used though.  Most of the time the inlay work is done with various woods—other materials like mother-of-pearl, ivory, and even tortoiseshell, have been used.

What types of parts and pieces terms have you run across?

What are some parts of a Ceramic piece?

When it comes to a ceramic piece, you can hear some pretty interesting vocabulary words that describe what it’s made of.  Here are some of the words that I have heard over the years:

Bisque – this is clay that has been fired once, and it is an unglazed piece.

Terra Cotta – it is a brownish-orange earthenware clay body.  It’s commonly used for ceramic sculpture or even architectural ornament.  It’s an Italian word that means “baked earth”.

High Relief—it’s a strongly raised or even deeply carved pattern.  This style of carving can get pretty detailed.

There are a lot of words that you will hear that describe what a ceramic piece is made of, or even a specific part of an item.  What kinds of words have you heard?

A small slice of the different types of glass on the market

When you start to get into antiques and collectibles, you will find out there are a wide variety of items out on the market.  It could be just about anything, really.  It could be a specific item, or even a broader area like glassware.

Here are a few of the different types of glassware that I have heard about over the years:

Confetti—this is paper-thin elements of glass that can be worked into either a fused or blown glass piece.  Sometimes you will hear someone call this “shards” and you could find this in something like a paperweight.

Drapery Glass—this is glass sheets that has dramatic folds, kind of what you find in the hanging drapes of your house.

Millefiori Glass—this is an Italian word meaning “a thousand flowers.” This commonly refers to glass items that are made from a lot of murrini slices.

Beveled Glass—this is cold glass (usually a clear, thick plate of glass) with an edge that have been ground and polished to an angle other than 90 degrees. Light is refracted from this, and a prism-like effect is often the result. Bevels come in a variety of sizes, shapes and geometric configurations, which are called “clusters” that is incorporated into leaded glass work.  More often than not, you will find this in windows and even mirrors.

What other types of glassware have you heard about?

What are some different parts of furniture?

When I first started selling vintage items, I quickly found out that there’s a name for just about every piece out there-even for furniture.  I quickly started to learn the names of these pieces when I started to do some basic repairs to the furniture that I bought.

Here’s a few of the terms that I have learned over the years:

Bracket foot–a bracket foot is used on a chest, a chest on chest or even a cabinet. This is a foot that has a straight corner edge and curved inner edges.  Sometimes I hear these curved inner edges “scalloped edges”.

Caning—caning is a wood piece that consists of rattan (or even sugar cane) that is made into wicker.  There are a wide variety of ways this is used including seats of chairs, patio furniture, etc.

Partner’s desk—a partner’s desk literally looks like two desks that were put together to make one.  It’s a desk large enough to seat two people that are facing each other.  Each side has their own drawers or cupboards.

What are some of the terms that you have either run across or heard?

What is a cross-collectible?

For many years now, I have heard the term “cross-collectible”.  The real question is this:  what exactly is a cross-collectible?

It actually is very simple.  A cross-collectible is an item that can fit into several different types of collections.  A good example of this is an enamel sign.  It is a perfect fit for any sign, enamel, and advertising collector.

A great example of an enamel sign is this one for CYCLONE FENCE.

cyclone-fence

The great thing about this sign is that it doesn’t take up a ton of room no matter where you display it.  You can see the sign in my Etsy shop here.

Another area that falls into cross-collecting is petroliana (or anything related to gas).  I have an item that is a gas related that fits the bill as a cross-collectible, and it’s this great EL RECO paperweight.

EL RECO Gas Stations Figural Paperweight

Not only is it advertising for a gas station, it also is perfect for a desk and even a cast iron collector.  You can see this great paperweight here.

There’s quite a few items that are cross-collectibles.  What items have you run across?

More pottery vocabulary words for the beginning collector

When you dive into the world of antiques and collectibles, you will find out how things are made.  Here’s some of the words that I’ve picked up over the years about how pottery is made:

Greenhouse—this is the place where pots are kept to harden before they go into the kiln.

Feathering—this is an effect that’s obtained by moving a feather through wet slip decoration.

Salt glaze—this is an effect by throwing salt into the kiln when pottery is being fired.  The salt vaporizes during the firing and a fine orange peel surface is left on the pottery.

What kinds of words have you run across when you are out at your favorite place to shop?

Vocabulary words for the furniture collector

There’s always some terms that you pick up along the way when you either collect a certain area or are a dealer.  Furniture is the same way, and here’s some great vocabulary words that I heard along the way:

Attached Back Pillow: This is a pillow treatment that can’t be taken off the upholstered piece.

Butler’s Table: This is an oval wooden tray on legs whose four sides are hinged to fold out flat when it is set down.

Case Piece: A piece of furniture like this provides interior space for storage.  It could be something like clothing or bedding.

Commode: Today, this means something completely different.  It used to be a low chest that had either  drawers or doors (some sort of cabinet on legs) which usually stands against a wall.

Nest-of-Tables: These are small tables that are used every once in a while and are graduated in size so that they slide beneath one another.

These are only a handful of the words that you will run across.  What words have you heard?