In a life ever-pursuant of “the deal”, some incidents stand way above the others. We found a McCoy vase once for ten cents at the local flea market. It took some clear eyes as it had been painted flat navy blue and was in a box of worthless planters. It was easy to clean and well worth the effort.
Cannot remember all we bought from Mrs. Green. She was on the main drag in our little town and as she prospered, we followed her to two other storefronts. Then she was just gone, although we did all we could to keep her in business. In retrospect, it is difficult to believe that she actually prospered when she sold what she had at the prices she did. I always say to people who know what their stuff is worth, that I want to buy from people who don’t know what their stuff is worth. It is then that I can take a place at the table.
A couple of days ago in a former post (Less is Sometimes Not More) a hasty image of a framed mola was thrown in to illustrate a discussion. Here is a better image.
We paid $3.75 for this very complex mola which features a snake and the word “culebra”. These originated in only one place, the San Blas Islands of Central America, and the best older ones incorporate symbols of American culture like the Coke bottle or cigarette packs. There are lots of cheap, very elementary ones around now, and they cannot compare to these fine complex statements.
Mrs. Green had no idea what she had. She told us that her husband went with his truck to NYC and bought “lots” somewhere (storage lots?) and brought them back here to sell. She should have done some research, but the idea of doing that was plainly out of her world.
In this detail you can see the stitching that allows fabrics lower in the fabric package to be revealed. On the snake’s head there is simple running stitching to define it. An interesting addition to this are the two frogs, one that cuts across the snake. They are created in the reverse applique technique, with a patterned fabric in this case (molas usually feature bright clear colors) and then appliqued on top of the picture plane.
Compare this with a flea market find from a few years ago (and you can find even simpler ones in places like museum stores):
The first image is 17″ x 13″, the second is 14″ x 11″. The same kind of running stitching is used to define the heads in these animals too.