Fall for Squirrels

By Karen Parr-Moody

 

My friend, Katie, collects squirrel motifs to sprinkle throughout her well-decorated home. It’s an obsession she traces to childhood, when her grandfather gave her a T-shirt advertising Ale-8-One, a ginger-and-citrus soft drink popular in the Southeast. The shirt features a squirrel on the front with the slogan, “Share it with a Squirrel.”

 

(The song lyrics to the Ale-8-One commercial went as follows: “You can give it to your girl/Or share it with a squirrel/Buy it by the case/Pour it in your face.”)

 

“It’s totally random, but that’s where my obsession started,” Katie says.

 

After seeing Katie’s love for squirrels – and its many collecting and decorating possibilities – I, too, began gathering up squirrel motifs as voraciously as these little critters gather nuts in the fall.

 

In the photo, right, is a match striker I found at Jason Parker Counce’s original GasLamp booth, JPC Designs, Booth B-309, several years ago. I use it to hold toothpicks or flowers (in the photo it is holding a Grand Dame rose).

 

In the photo, left, is a brass squirrel nutcracker that I found at an estate sale in Kentucky. I don’t actually use it to crack nuts; it’s just used for cuteness.

 

Of all times of year, fall is the season of the squirrel. So that’s when I add squirrel flourishes to my décor. You can, too, with some help from GasLamp.

 

In the photo, right, is an early American pressed glass water pitcher, circa late 1890s, featuring a squirrel motif ($195; Booth B-315). It is from Greentown Glass, which made the same pitcher in versions featuring a heron motif and a racing deer and doe motif. The Indiana Tumbler and Goblet Company of Greentown, Indiana, made Greentown glass from 1894 to 1903.

 

Early American Patterned Glass (EAPG) – sometimes called pressed glass – was initially produced in the U.S. in the 1820s. It was a result of the invention of glass-pressing machines that used cast iron mold molds to form shapes, making pressed glass less expensive than blown glass or hand-cut crystal.

 

There were many well-known EAPG factories that joined the fray from 1850 to 1900, when pressed glass reached its peak of popularity. Important manufacturers include the Boston and Sandwich Works, McKee, Atterbury & Company, Heisey and Fostoria.  

 

Such glassware came in patterns and was used in table settings. With the advent of affordable crystal, EAPG fell out of favor. However, when the Great Depression arrived there was a new call for inexpensive pressed glass, which collectors now call Depression Glass. There were several thousand patterns of early pressed glass, but the glass made during the Great Depression only numbered in the hundreds.

 

This brass fireplace – or stove – accessory set in the photo, left, is graced with squirrels, starting with the squirrel motif on top of the stand ($133; Booth B-204). Then the shovel, brush and poker also feature the motif on their handles (the tongs do not). The 5-piece, foot-tall set is by Crofts & Assinder of Birmingham, England, which has been creating such items from 1875 to the present. I just love the touch of fun those squirrel details add to this set, which would be darling beside one’s wood stove or fireplace.

 

If you don’t have one single squirrel in your household, then you are missing out on a darling creature that will bring a hint of whimsy to a shelf or table. Just think how cute one would be when set among the acorns and walnuts of fall.

 

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