Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Baskets, Beanies, and Mata Ortiz

I really dont collect anything. I am assuming dust and pet fur dont count as valuable collectibles. I am always the skeptic when people pay high prices for items that have little use in their everyday life.

A decade ago  an Iowa friend was extolling the value of buying every Beanie baby that came on the market. I tried not to laugh. when I went to her house and found a beanie baby Christmas tree and these Tyco toys lining all the shelvin in her little room-I felt like crying. How could someone believe these mass produced would be worth more than gold. TV propoganda and society gulliblily prevailed.  Now every thrift store has these stuffed animals for 25cents and not even a new  puppy will play with them.

Then there are the Longenberg Basket parties.  These are valuable because they are made in America?
 There is a building shaped like a basket where they are made? They are madde out of wood not plastic?Housewives in Illinois can take turn hosting these parties and making money off their friends? I dont getit-there are no unuusual designs-they are outrageously overpriced. You can get the same basket to do the same thing at Micheals or Hobby Lobby for $5.00 or a Resale shop for 50cents.  Yet you can walk into every other home in the Midwest and there is a collection of these baskets hanging gaudily from the walls or falling from all the shelves in the kitchen. Why are women buying these overpriced baskets.

Recently my friend Therese, an artist  and I went to a pottery workshop at the Chiricahua Desert Museum in Rodeo, New Mexico.  There were probably 100 attedning this desert event which featured pottery making from the town of Mata /Ortiz. After watching  the pigments ground from rocks an brushes made from human hair, we became more enamored of these pricey pots for sale. We heard the history of this reborn lost art, we met the artists who also worked as bus drivers, and laundry workers. The wedding vases, squatty pots and figurines started at $50. Less than half of what they sold for at other museum gift storesand about the same price if I made the difficult journey to this mountain Mexican vllage.

Other particpnts in the workshops gatthered at the sales counter and display-we had to have an original Mata Ortiz pot...these could be worth alot some day. I bought a pot  with a road runner and cactus in hues of green and brown.  Therese opted for the traditional wedding vase. I cant tell you how much we paid as our husbands might read this; but they were a good investments

I now have them proudly on diplay in our home. this is the Southwest we dont collect anything like overpriced  Beanies or  baskets....