Folk Art

Make-Do Chinese Export Mug Thayer Collection
  • I've always loved the early make-do repaired pieces because show us how precious things were to our ancestors. Although a make-do is a utilitarian object that has had repairs to make it serviceable or turn it into something else they fall into both the categories of Folk Art and Decorative Arts. I find that so many of them are great folk art because they really show the creative ability of non-artists who make the most of an accidental break.

    We are always accused of being a throw-away society (and I agree with that accusation) but the ultimate in green living is to waste not, want not. When something broke, our ancestors fixed it or repurposed it into something usable. “Waste Not Want Not” is the philosophy behind make-do objects and also the name of the only book I’ve found about Make-Do. The book is by Donald P. Naetzker. It is out of print but sometimes found on used book sites. When I can find a decent copy at a good price, I offer it for sale.

    This is another make-do from the collection of the late Robert Thayer. It is a Chinese export bulbous belly mug that lost the original handle. Some creative person refitted it with tin strap handle and, voila, good as new! Well, maybe not as good as new—I like it better! 5" tall by ~ 5" from handle to far inside edge of mug. Pretty good condition with a chip on the inside edge by the handle and a few firing pinholes. 19th century. The last image shows the Thayer collection that I was just lucky enough to buy for the second time.

    #6691    $295

    Reference: Naetzker, Donald P., Waste Not, Want Not: The Art of the Make-Do, 1986.