This funky candle holder was purchased by my mother somewhere in Wisconsin (probably in Madison) sometime in the early to mid-70′s. I remember it hanging on our back deck.
Our deck was a magical place: it ran the length of our house and overlooked a large backyard, complete with a rock garden, a tree swing, a crabapple tree, tons of tulips, perfect peonies populated by ants, and small vegetable garden where lettuce thrived and rhubarb stood sentry. All of this was perfectly maintained by my parents. Our backyard abutted The Woods, in comparison a wild and scary place, where there were raspberry thickets, several trails, and weird “hippies” wandering out of them at strange times. The fact that The Woods contained bears is either 100 percent true or 100 percent false: maybe there had been sightings or maybe this was just a way to keep me, my brother, and our friends from going down into them too far, un-attended.
The point is that our house was a modest ranch from the front, but in the back it was kind of an unexpected wonderland. Our deck presided over all of it. I could pretend the deck was a stage and the trees of The Woods were my audience; they were always quick to give a standing ovation. I could recline on the lounge chairs to sunbathe with my mother, like her, balancing those teeny-tiny sunglasses over my eyes. I could wave down to my father as he made short work of the grass on his riding mower. Before my parents divorced, we ate out on the deck most nights of the summer: steak my father had grilled, and salad my mother composed from that day’s garden pickin’s.
Throughout it all, this blue candle holder hung from an over-hang located above a huge rectangular bin my mother jokingly called “the coffin.” This was built with wood by my father and held all the patio furniture and cushions during the winter months. In the summer, the coffin’s white smooth surface double-timed as a perfect serving area for hors d’oeuvres when my parents were entertaining.
The candle holder was one of many unique items with which my parents decorated our home. I didn’t give it much thought…until I saw it again as an adult. In an attempt to clear out her basement last year, my mother offered it to me along with several other items. It took it gladly and with reverence. And gradually, I have fallen in love with it, both for its sculptural quality and for the little slice of our family’s past that it represents.
The foil sticker, though somewhat compromised by age, led me to an internet search. This is apparently enamelware made of steel produced mostly in the 60′s and 70′s: the splotchy or bubbly glaze is typical of Hanova of Pasadena, which also produced planters, bowls, plates, etc. You can see a lot of different styles and colors of this great enamelware here. It hasn’t been easy to find out too much about the company: except, in response to a post on the wonderful A La Modern website, someone wrote in saying that Hanova was her father’s company and that it was a hobby of his in retirement.
That’s about all I know. I love that it’s made in the USA. I love that it’s blue (my mother’s favorite color) and love how it looks in our 1965 home. We have it above our fireplace (though we tried it out in several other locations until deciding on this one).
Do you happen to have any Hanova? Do you know anything else about it?
This post kicks off a new “vintage” section here at the home tome (see categories in the header above). In the coming months, I am going to feature some of our favorite finds from yesteryear.