Oh celluloid, lesser stepsister of vintage glamour bakelite, I love you. I first fell in love with you a million years back at an Art Deco exhibit and sale when I stumbled upon a display of deco era swirly celluloid flower place holders. They were so pretty and tiny and I loved that their exclusive purpose was to finish off a gorgeous fancy fete worthy table. I had never seen anything like them before. I have yet to find those place settings again (and, of course, I've been searching high and low for them for years).
I was given one of those little cream floral place holders as a gift once from a nice man who owned an antique store specializing in deco pieces. He only had the one, and he was very kind to gift it to me. I had it for years. Sadly, it ended up suffering a freak accident falling into a lamp and turning into a fiery little ball. To say I was heartbroken is an understatement. Odd how you remember silly trinket mishaps of your past. Celluloid is highly flammable. Lesson learned. Have you seen Inglourious Basterds?
I adore old celluloid pieces. It's much more common and less valuable than bakelite, and I love that all sorts of figurines, jewelry, buttons, boxes, toys, and everything in between was made out of it. I prefer my celluloid pieces to all of my bakelite finds. It is much more delicate, the colors more faded out than bakelite, and I love how it ages so beautifully. Celluloid artifacts were essentially Depression era dime store finds, pendants and purses were picked up at Woolworth. I think that makes me appreciate these pieces so much more. I was reminded of my fascination of all things celluloid after watching the Wizard of Oz the other night. Munchkin Land is overflowing with giant dreamy celluloid blooms that I couldn't take my eyes off of. Wonderful Glinda's bubble would be made out of cotton candy pink translucent celluloid for sure.
In my pastry obsessed brain, I'm constantly drawing design inspiration from celluloid finds. Floral celluloid broaches and necklaces always translate to blown or gumpaste sugar flowers and filigree to me. They have always remind me of sparkly candy. Two of my favorite things. I have a million saved images and celluloid pieces at home that will eventually end up as edible adornments.
I know that one day I will find those dreamy place holders again. I'm crazy enough to pay just about any price for them, because they have such a lasting memory to me. I would even be happy with a picture of at this point. A girl can dream. I hope you find these little pieces inspiring too!