Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Inspiration | Vintage Labels

There are days when I just can't sit still at my desk all afternoon. So I get up. Stretch. Make a cup of tea. Walk the dog. Sometimes all those things still don't cut it. I'm restless and in need of inspiration. Last week I had one of those days. Consequently, I decided to bundle up and venture outside and into downtown Vancouver. My little feet landed me at River Maiden, a teeny coffee shop at 701 Main Street. They serve Stumptown. The barista is an aspiring graphic designer. It's a nice place. Latte 'o perfection in-hand, I ambled back onto the street.

This might come as a surprise to many, but Vancouver, Washington is a gem of a place when it comes to antique stores. We have several. And I, although likely biased, think they are good ones. My next stop was one of these such stores. It's called Old Town Antique Market. It was there I found these beauties.

I've always been a sucker for vintage prints, but these are especially tantalizing. These are wooden crate and can labels that were never used for one reason or another. Sometimes the crop wouldn't be as large as the farmers anticipated, so they'd have a lot of labels left over. The unused labels were stored in the packing houses or at the print shop until they were recovered in the late 1950's as cities were expanding and the old buildings were being torn down.

"If only it could talk..." That's what I always think to myself when I acquire a new old thing. These labels would probably tell us of their birth on an loud clanging press with a dirty press-man hovering overhead. They would explain the smell of the ink and the crispness of the new paper that has since become frail. They would talk of the anticipation of seeing the world post- being slapped on the side of a crate and the ensuing disappointment of never being pulled from the palette. Then, they would recount, years later being discovered by construction workers and cleaning crews, finally brought into daylight and fresh air after decades of musty, quiet living. Eventually, they would recall the look on my face when I uncovered them in the antique store. The twinkle in my eye as I admired the color scheme, hand-crafted type, painstakingly perfect illustrations, print quality and pristine condition. Now, they look at my desk from their perch. So when I do get restless and inspiration-less I just gaze their way. Then I stretch, make a cup of tea, walk the dog and get back to work.

1 comment:

  1. Love the labels but love the way you write even more! Was having a bad day and my face needed to find an unexpected smile appear. THANKS for being exactly who and how you are.