Sometimes the stars align to bring someone into your life at the perfect time and that is how we met Christine Pearson. It was at the end of a long day traipsing around Ardingly Market and for a change, we hadn’t had a very productive visit. Walking back towards the car we stumbled across one of the very last stalls, with a breathtaking rainbow of colourful vases, pots and glassware. Christine is so infectiously likeable that we cheered up immediately as we oohed and aahed over the amazing selection of vintage decorative vases from West Germany. A German native with a slight Northern twang, Christine travels back and forth to Germany every month to keep up with demand for these trendy West German vintage and retro vases that have become so popular thanks to the popularity of the mid century aesthetic.
We chatted with Christine for a long time about her family, her history and how she has grown her business and we knew that we absolutely had to feature her as a part of our Meet the Trader series. We are also delighted to be able to bring you a selection of Christine’s vases through our curated online marketplace.
How did you get started?
I’ve been dibbling and dabbling as a hobby since I was about 30 years old. I’ve been collecting since then and now it’s time to move some of it on by selling it! Car boots in Germany are very popular and they are lovely, it all started when I was living there. They have a lot of antique markets in big cities like Frankfurt, Cologne and in East Berlin. You find the best things from people who do house clearances . I still go to Germany every month but I’ve also got a friend who goes to the other car boots and does house clearances for me and I just come over and pick whatever I want from that.
Do you mind all the travelling?
People always tell me I need to slow down! But I’ve got a son in Germany and a son in the UK so I get to see them both a lot going back and forth.
What was the first piece you ever sold?
It was quite a few pieces actually. It was years ago before anyone had ever really heard of these types of vases and I went to Chesterfield flea market and was just absolutely surrounded by people. People were used to seeing these vases in the dull browns and the greens, but I had lots of reds, yellows, bright greens and royal blue and people were blown away!
Are there any particular styles that you are drawn to?
Sixties and seventies vases mainly. The British seem to know about this pottery from after the war when men in the Army lived in Germany with their wives and families. There were two large companies at the time, Bay and Scheurich, mass-producing this pottery and a lot of it was brown, dull and not very colourful. Then some of the smaller companies like Silberdistel started to experiment with the colours and structures of the vases and those are the ones that seem to attract people now. The more colourful, the better!
Are you tempted to keep pieces for yourself?
You should see my house and you would know the answer to that question. Yes I have multiple storage facilities, one of which is my own home!
Have you ever had any spectacular finds?
I’ve had a few things, yes! One of the best ones was English glass by Michael Harris, who used to do Mdina glass in Malta and then he opened his own studio on the Isle of Wight. It was such a lovely piece, I used to call it the lollipop vase because it was very narrow and then it balloons out. They’re also known as fish vases. I found one of these pieces once for just €20 and sold it for a lot more!
What do you do when you’re not working?
This is my hobby! I’ve learnt in my life not to do things that don’t make me happy and I love doing this.
What is the best thing about your business?
I hate being controlled by anybody. I’ve never been able to sit in an office, I’ve always needed to be out and about and I love doing this. I meet people, I learn something new everyday and that’s it.
Where can people find you and your beautiful vases?
I’m going to be at Shepton Mallet, Malvern, Brighton car boot sale and the Mid Century Shows over the next few months. And of course on Layer too!
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