Collecting: Three Potato Four

the moment i laid eyes on three potato four, i was in love with janet and stu's sense of style and the way they pulled all their beautiful vintage products together, so i was thrilled to hear (but not surprised) that they had a few collections themselves and double thrilled they are sharing some of them here. Here are their thoughts:

why you collect these items and how your collection started?

We really like how signage combines our love of industrial design with our love of typography. It's also a collection we both like so it's always fun to look for new pieces in our travels. Stu's nerf collection is something that I, as well as many others, tease him about. It's something he likes for the nostalgia (from his childhood) and the packaging design. He says that it makes him smile and that's the most important part of any collection. At one point we had his entire collection on display, but....

I love to collect all kinds of paper and when we were living in new york, i found a shop called Champion Stamps and became obsessed with stamps, especially those from the Netherlands, Japan, and Israel. I love the bright colors and, like many people say, they are mini works of art. The wood animal menagerie I've always collected and love that they each have such strong personalities. The tin can collection was started when we were living in a small apartment in new york and didn't have room for big plants. The tin cans were the perfect size and a great way to reuse and recycle. Some of them are old but a lot of them are from chinatown and various asian supermarkets.

how do you display them or would like to display them?

Each signage piece has its own place in our home. "Pick Your Own" hangs in the kitchen, "Transoceanic" in the living room (near some wooden whales and a fish tank). We also have some great old handpainted wooden "For Sale" signs that hang in our office for now, but will definitely be part of our storefront in the future. The tins cans sit perfectly on the window ledge in our kitchen, where they get a lot of sunlight.

what are your favorite pieces in the collection, is there anything unique?

Stu: "Transoceanic" was a sign that I instantly fell in love with, however, the subway roll sign is equally loved. Being a big fan of all subway and transit-related items, this took the cake. I like how it reminds us of where we started and the great times we had living in NYC and Brooklyn.

Janet: My favorite pieces are my stamps from the Netherlands. I have a big stamp book where I keep them all and the photo is just some of my favorites from the collection.

what piece are you most looking for, and what piece would complete your collection?

We recently found a very old and worn handpainted wooden sign with light blue frame and light blue lettering that read "Donnie's Sno Cones" with a simple child-like illustration of a snow cone. It was a perfect gift for our friend Donovan. I'm hoping to find something like that, but with "Stu's". I don't have a common name, but if Donnie's Sno Cones is out there, I have hope.

besides this collection, if you could collect anything in the world, what would it be?

Stu: Right now, I'm interested in collecting old science-related items (kits, charts, books, lab equipment, etc.) and anything mass transit related, particularly from foreign countries. But, if I had the room, I'd like to collect pieces of old antique amusement park rides, like bumper cars, rocket ships, boats.

Janet: I would love to collect more vintage children's books for Holly.

Jan Halvarson


Holly said...

OMG! Thank you so much for sharing such wonderful collections! I especially loved the tin cans used as planters. What a great idea! Definitely something I will have to try for my kitchen.

Unknown said...

Oh, wow. Those Nerf boxes brought back a flood of happy memories. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

awesome. i am so in love with these typographical elements that people have collected in their homes. I have so many little pieces, but it has never occurred to me to arrange them visibly as a collection. which I will do straight away! ;)

Jan Halvarson said...

degan - i know they look great don't they!

Anonymous said...

Where has this store been all of my life! I really want that green shelf in the second picture.

Anonymous said...

oh! i'm so jealous of those wooden animals! i have a collection of my own.

jon said...

wow- those stamps are soo awesome!

lisa solomon said...

yup. good stuffs.

Heather Moore said...