It seems to be part of the territory, with many if not all homesteaders, that we like to collect things. It could be practical things like canning jars or antique pillows. It could be things you keep for aesthetic value like old broken farm implements, unique thimbles or unusual rocks. It could even be something as immaterial as ideas or skills, or even philosophies. My husband and I collect lots of things. We are definitely not as simple or practical as some other homesteaders are. We collect mostly antiques: children’s books, taxidermy, working farm tools, frames… One of my absolute favorites is our antique spoons.
They can be practical and aesthetic. Each one has a different feel to it; the antique bowls are often designed and suited for specific foods. I use most of the spoons my collection regularly in place of our normal, more utilitarian spoons, but some of them are too fragile or special to put to daily use.
So on this chilly and rainy Michigan day I thought I’d share some of my favorite spoons from my collection in the hopes that it might inspire you to share some of your collections as well.
Some of the spoons are simple and tarnished. I’m drawn to them by their simple curves and design. The spoon on the right is some sort of Victorian melon spoon, I believe. It has smooth scalloped edges for cutting into the fruit, but isn’t pointed like a grapefruit spoon would be.
This one was an amazing find in New Hampshire. The photo is pretty bad, but it has a ship as well as decorative fish and a scalloped shell for the bowl of the spoon. It’s from the early Victorian era – maybe slightly earlier.
These three spoons are new acquisitions that show three distinct periods. The left is Asian-influenced early Victorian (1846), the center is a floral high Victorian and the right is a simple turn of the century Art Nouveau lily pattern. I love that each one is a very clear example of the aesthetic preferences of the eras from which they come.
The two spoons in this photo are polar opposites of each other. The right is a fruit themed jelly spoon handed down to me by my mother from her family. I don’t know much about it, but I’m pretty sure it’s a mid-Victorian design. The simple spoon on the left is probably my oldest one – some time in the late 18th century. It’s simple and delicate design and dark patina lead up to a small design on the handle that alludes to the era so beautifully depicted in the Jane Austen novels.
One of the most lighthearted spoons I have ever found is a contemporary children’s spoon depicting a little bunny holding a daisy. I couldn’t help but share it – it’s just so cute! It’s also a small spoon, so it’s particularly nice to use when eating ice cream.
Do you collect anything Practical, Impractical or Immaterial? Why do you collect them?
Want to read more from Tanglewood Farm? Check out Emily’s blog over at A Pinch of Something Nice where she writes about her experiences with her gardens, her livestock and her leased historical home in SE Michigan.