Wednesday, August 12, 2009

VTT - Scuola Mazzon Postcards & Funny Face Potholders



I have had these Scuola Mazzon art postcards for many years, but I didn't realize what they really were until I started thinking about what postcards resembled the Funny Face potholders. I had assumed that "Scuola Mazzon" was the artist's name. I just recently realized that "Scuola Mazzon" is Italian for "Mazzon School." These four postcards show work by four different 13- and 14-year-old students--Ezio Sgarbi, Graziella Pozzi, Eugenia Caimi, Giorgina Lanzi. The art was done between 1950 and 1954.

The Mazzon School was an art school for children founded in 1929 by the Italian artist Galliano Mazzon (1896 - 1978). According to a British Museum webpage (with text quoted from Martin Hopkinson, 'Italian Prints 1875-1975'), "Mazzon challenged accepted academic methods, banning his students from copying from nature, and encouraging spontaneous expression of the emotions, fantasy, the imagination, and dreams."

There seems to be a difference of opinion about whether the school encouraged "spontaneous" expression. A review in Art Digest of a 1955 Mazzon School exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art says that "the teaching method represented in these pictures, emphasizes not the spontaneous approaches encouraged in more creative American schools…but more formal, flat decorative patterns which give most of the paintings here a handsomely stylized quality--and, it must be added, a rather similar style as well: with a few exceptions the paintings seem more like a one-man show than works by 15 or 20 children."

The Coates & Clark's Book No. 312 with "Funny Face" potholders on the cover is © 1955. The Funny Face Potholders Kit is © 1960 by Lisbeth Whiting Co. I found both of these items on eBay.






I didn't get these items at the same time and didn't realize at first that the kit was based on the same faces as the book. The potholders in the kit use thicker yarn and instructions adapted for children "ages 6 to 16." The next picture shows a side-by-side comparison of the designs.

funny face potholders

The inside of the book's front cover is shown below. this page includes instructions for the designs of the man and woman wearing feathered hats.

vintage face potholder pattern
click image to enlarge and read this!


Vintage Thingies Thursdays

26 comments:

  1. Well, those potholders would certainly make cooking more fun for me! They're so cute and cheerful!
    Those postcards are pretty interesting. Critics sure can be cruel and harsh, can't they? The paintings were made into postcards, so they obviously had some merit!
    Happy VTT!

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  2. The information about the art school is very interesting. I love learning new things on VTT. Those pot holders are awesome!
    I'm giving away books to 8 winners, so check it out if you like to read!

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  3. I've never seen these before...very nice

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  4. A most intriguing post about art that I never knew. The ideals of the Mazzon School were some that were introduced in my elementary days. Creative writing classes where we would sit and listen to classical music and then write or draw whatever came into our heads. At that time in the 1960's it was radical teaching and some parents did not like it.

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  5. Thanks for the info on the art school. I love kids art - so spontaneous and kids have such a gift for colour!

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  6. These would definitely put a smile in your kitchen. Very cute!

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  7. What interesting information, and love the potholders. Those are so cute and cheery. It amazes me how each week I learn something new, and see new things...I love that about Thursdays!
    Have a great VTT!

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  8. You would have to smile back at the smiley faces. I love vintage crocheted potholders. Happy VTT..have a wonderful weekend.

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  9. Well, did you MAKE any of those pot holders?

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  10. The potholders are so cute! I love how you show something vintage along with a postcard to go with it.

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  11. hehehehe.. again another super cute potholders! one can never stop smilling seeing this cute potholders in the kitchen! hehehe Happy VTT

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  12. Oh the Funny Face Potholders are terrific, I need some to hang in my kitchen!

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  13. i love those funny potholders..thanks for including the pattern :)

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  14. This week's VTT seems to be full of interesting history lessons to go with the vintage treasures! Thank you for sharíng.

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  15. Wow, that is really neat that oyu had the items and then realizedthat they were related. What a special treat!

    And I jut love the instructions, and those cute retro housewives at the top getting excitd about their potholders! Cute!

    My husband would appreciate your site, he just loves vintage postcards. When we go to antique stores he usually beelines to find boxes of them and just looks through them while I shop. :)

    Blessings!

    Nicole

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  16. How neat, so cute. I have never heard of these before.
    Molly

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  17. Well, I've learned something today. Nice background info on your vintage finds!

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  18. I like the way you connected postcards with book on potholders then the kit. Wow! Interesting post. Thanks

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  19. How fascinating! Thanks for sharing about these whimiscal items.

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  20. Great postcards - I had no idea Coats and Clark produced them! Learn something new every week!
    Cheers!

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  21. eeeek. Look at the potholders! Those are adorable!!

    Sometimes when I come to your blog, I wonder what a very charming life it seems you lead...:)

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  22. What a neat post! thanks. And I think I remember those potholder kits... oh MAN. Of course, I was not even born at the time . . .
    Cass

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  23. Very interesting! Those images are so colorful and "fun". It'd make being in the kitchen all that much more fun too.
    Enjoy your day!

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  24. I love the postcards and I'd be extremely happy if I could produce art like that, spontaneous or otherwise.

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  25. These are adorable! They made me
    smile. Postcards are cool!

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