Thursday, January 10, 2008


eeewwww--those plastic flowers are SO tacky!

I have heard this many times from people when they see the original plastic
flowers that some lady head vases are still found with. I personally love them
because they remind of times gone by, but it is definitely a personal preference.

Way back in the 1950's-60's when these ladies were being imported to America,
their purpose was to hold flower arrangements from the florist shop. They were
sold in cases very inexpensively so florists could purchase cases of headvases,
fill them with beautiful arrangements and still make a profit. In fact, I'll bet many
of these ladies were just thrown away after the live flowers inside died since they 
didn't cost that much to purchase in the first place.

I once talked with a woman that grew up with headvases stored everywhere inside her
home, literally. Her mother was a volunteer at the local hospital and she would buy
cases of head vases at the local Woolworth store, bring them home and fill them with
plastic flowers that she'd also purchased at Woolworths. She took great pleasure in
delivering the colorful arrangements she had put together at home to the many ill
people she saw everyday at the hospital.

I have spoken with several people over the years that said they were members of
their local garden club which would also purchase cases of head vases to fill with live
flowers to sell as fundraisers for their club.

Over time, florists realized that the vase portion of most of the ladies was too small
to hold enough flowers to make them profitable since the size of the vases was steadily
decreasing due to rising production costs. The vases ended up in the back rooms of old
shops and many collectors have found these unused treasures covered in dust.

One collector takes great pride in collecting those ladies that have survived all these
years with their original plastic flower arrangements intact. Patti Johnson of Nevada

has an amazing collection of lovely lady headvases with every variety of color you can imagine
with vintage plastic flowers and netting artistically arranged to match the colorsof that particular 
ladies wardrobe, eyes or hair. I am certain that some ladies were even decorated to match the 
recipient's decor!

Patti currently owns approx. 300 gorgeous ladies, most with their original flowers intact
and she has completed several sets in her five years of collecting--no small feat! All of
the photos in this article show just a small portion of Patti's personal collection.

Patti bought three ladies at an auction and says "she was hooked." So next time you come across
a vintage lady filled with those "tacky plastic flowers," give me a holler and I will put you in touch
with Patti--I think she'll be able to give her a good home!


pam said...

Ok, the plastic flowers did it! I remember WHERE I have seen these before! It was in my great grandmas house. She lived to be 104, so I knew her my whole life, but she only lived alone for part of my life. (I was a kid when she had her own house) I remember seeing these in her bedroom! It took the plastic flowers to jog my memory! Thank you, this has bugged me for months why I had a memory of these!

LadiesoftheHouse said...

That's so cool! And what a blessing to know your great grandma your whole life like that. So now do you wonder where those headvases ended up??

pam said...

I am gonna go "peek" in my grandma's bedroom next time I am at her house. I think if they went to my actual grandma (not great grandma) I would have a more vivid memory, as I spent most of my childhood hanging out there. But great grandma had eight kids (something like that anyhow) so who knows where they are now. I remember them though, clear as could be. And as for tacky plastic flowers, great grandma used to gush over them, "Oh those are just lovely!" You know that that generation, the concept of creating fake flowers was amazing. And plastic was still so new everyone loved it. Cool post :) I even asked my dad today if he remember "vases of ladies head with plastic flowers in them at grandmas" and he laughed and said, "Now how in the world did you think of that?! Yes, I do recall them now that you mention it! She used to go shopping every week to the 5 and 10 stores and such and she always bought something like that!"

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the head vases with plastic flowers with us. I am a collector of head vases with plastic flowers as well and they are my pride and joy. I love to go "hunting" for them on Ebay and antique malls. I really admire your extensive collection.