Inspiration comes not only from our painting subjects but very much also from the materials with which we create art.
Vintage tins have a unique rustic charm to them. Personally, using vintage typewriter tins as watercolor palettes recalls the same kind of playful nostalgia as seeing toy wagons made out of plastic baby powder bottles, or fetching little earrings of sappy santan leaves. I am from that generation that still experienced a good deal of typewriter use (I used to own a beautiful, teal Remington!) and saw the transition of home computers from massive 5-piece assemblies to the sleek little laptops of today. These old, charming typewriter ribbon tins are a reminiscence of the manual, often arduous yet utterly satisfying process of typing out 50 pages of a term paper - alike in many ways to the process of creating art in today's digital world.
Be inspired by these little items of history! Each vintage tin is unique from the logo designs and the retro typography, down to its patina, nicks, dents and closure quirks. These tins were sourced from the US, from shops that say some of these are as old as circa 1920s. I cleaned them to remove loose rust, then sprayed them with clear acrylic to stop further rusting, preserve the patina and make it more hygienic to use.
If you have not bought vintage items before, please note that the tins listed here are actual vintage with reference to their age, i.e. not just 'vintage-style' or 'retro' with reference to their design. Most vintage items cannot be expected to look flawless, on the contrary, the patina that can only be achieved with age - that wear and tear, that's their exact appeal. I do my best to be honest with descriptions and take photos that best show their condition, so please do check all photos and read the descriptions.
There are two gorgeous tins of this kind in stock, please check the photos to see which tin the stock numbers refer to (look for the piece of paper on the photo). Both tins have the same design: a cornucopia spilling over with what looks like documents or leaflets, symbolizing copies aplenty! They differ in the actual tin construction and logo treatment below this cornucopia.
VR00#81 looks to be the older of the two, from circa 1930s based on similar tins I have seen during research; the style and aesthetics of the logo treatment of Mittag and Volger seem consistent to this age. The bottom of VR00#81 has a stamp that indicates it contained a #55 Medium Heavy Black Record ribbon for a Remington Portable. It is also stamped, "Follo's News Stand Lancaster, Wisc." The tin is marked as made by Decorated Metal, N.Y.. This tin was cleaned then lightly sprayed with clear acrylic lacquer. Photos best show the condition, which is pretty good for its age - the print is intact, clear and sharp; and some age-consistent patina mostly on the inside.
VR00#93 looks to be a little newer, from circa 1949 based on trademark information I have seen online about the logo treatment. The bottom of VR00#93 has "Mittag & Volger Inc." printed on it, along with "This ribbon is fully guaranteed by the manufacturer, Mittag & Volger Inc., Park Ridge, N. J., U.S.A.". In the middle space, it has a stamp that indicates it contained a Black Record 60 Medium ribbon for several makes of Remington, please check the photo for all the models listed. This tin was only cleaned of loose dirt and dust, but is otherwise in its original, unrestored state. Photos best show the condition, which is pretty good for its age - all the print is intact, no visible dents with only minimal scratches and ink stains.
PLEASE HOVER/MOUSE OVER THE PHOTOS TO SEE UP CLOSE. The photos are part of the description, they best communicate the degree of ageing and patina.
Diameter: approx. 2.4 inches | 61 mm
Height: approx. 13/16 inches | 20 mm
Number of wells: 21
Volume/well: +/- 0.98 mL
One lot includes:
1 piece vintage typewriter ribbon tin
1 piece 21-well white plastic palette
2 pieces white plastic mixing palettes
As with the other travel palettes, this palette is designed with the objective of being able to carry as many colors as possible in a small case. Think of it as an upgraded dot 'card'. It is ideal for working on smaller pieces or journals, on works where one would not normally lay down big washes or use big brushes, or as a secondary travel palette when bag weight/space is a priority. It is NOT designed to be used as a main palette and will be insufficient as a studio palette, or for use with brushes with tips wider than 8mm. I recommend this palette if your journal is 5"x 8" or smaller, with round brushes size 6 or smaller, filberts and flats with widths of 7mm or smaller.
The paint palette is handmade by manually pouring liquid urethane on manually cast moulds. The moulds were cast from 3D-prints of palette configurations that I custom-designed and modelled specifically for each type of tin in my shop. Because of these manual aspects of production, you might find imperfections such as an occasional bubble or uneven bottom. I will ensure that none of the flaws affect the usability of the palettes.