I hope you had a happy Memorial Day Weekend and that things are going great for you on eBay. As you read this, Mo (Maureen) and I are on our way to LA to set up our booth for Book Expo America. Check it out at BookExpoAmerica.com.
- Lynn Recommends: Live Boot Camp 4-Part Payment Plan Ends in Two Days
- Special Announcement: USPS International Rate Cheat Sheet – Special Ends Tonight!
- Feature Article: Mideke, another American original
- The Queen’s Update: I am teaching three Classes at eBay Live!
This ezine is published once a week.
May 29, 2008 Volume IV, Issue 21
I have been on a clean-up my life and house kick ever since the kids were gone for that week in Florida. I have gone through my china cabinets and my kitchen cupboards and have started selling anything that I don’t use. And in my kitchen, that is quite a lot!!
I listed wedding presents last week that I am never going to use! Waterford champagnes and crystal ice buckets. What surprised me the most was how well all of the ice buckets did on eBay. So, always pick up interesting ice buckets at garage sales and thrift stores if they are priced reasonably–I would say $5 or so.
Check out this one that was up to $22.50 when I wrote this ezine and it still had 4 hours left. And it had a broken handle that needed repairing. You just never know!
Click here to see the final price.
When I was going through my kitchen cupboards, I found a Mideke coffee mug that I had bought at a thrift store in August of 2003 in Cathedral City for $1.99. I was going to keep it because he was a famous potter from Bellingham and a friend of my Grandmother’s. And I couldn’t believe that I had found it here in Southern California! But boy am I glad I decided to sell it–I don’t drink coffee anyway!
You won’t believe what that sold for! It is the most expensive coffee mug I have ever sold. Check it out here.
So that got me thinking. Why don’t I write about another classic American potter this week (remember last week was Vera Russell)? So Louis Mideke it is this week. Please check out my feature article to learn more about him and see what his various signatures look like.
Don’t forget that if you are going to be attending Book Expo America in Los Angeles on May 30, 31, and June 1st, I will have a small booth in the larger Midpoint Trade Booth #607. Please stop by and say Hello! I am also doing two book signings–both on Friday.
Also, Live Boot Camp in La Quinta is about three months away! There are LESS than 16 seats left and the 4-part payment plan ends soon. I don’t want you to miss out so please check out the Lynn Recommends section for more info.
Once again, I am super excited to announce that I have been selected to teach two computer labs and co-teach one seminar at eBay Live this year in Chicago. Please read the Queen’s Update section to learn more. I want to see you guys in those seats!!!!
Here’s to Successful eBaying!
Special Four-Part Payment Plan ends in Two Days!
Check out this email that I got from Judy while I was out garage saling this past Saturday morning–she is there in the center back of the photo!
Lynn & Mo,
Thank you guys for saying such nice things about me on your March teleconference! I love listening to your CD’s when I’m garage saling. On this one you guys were talking about coffee mugs (which I love too!) and Lynn mentioned something about cat mugs. Anyway, I just bought a bunch of cat items. I normally would have walked right by that table, I paid less that $1.50 for each item so I’m hoping they do well.
Back to the nice things you were saying about me… listening to you guys brings back good memories. I remember how much I enjoyed your Boot Camp last year; I think I should go back this year. It was a great vacation for me (and I never go anywhere).
One more question, I think I joined the Queens Court in February. Could I buy the CD teleconferences from the beginning? I love listening to them in the car. (It’s eBay all the time for me these days)
Hope you are having a great weekend. Thanks again for everything…
Judy (Marsh) salesbytrudy
Aren’t you ready to enjoy eBay and Learn how to do it full time all in one 3-day weekend!
…and it looks like Judy may be returning to join us in La Quinta this September for Live Boot Camp. Won’t you join us too?
The invitations have gone out for the ONE and ONLY Live eBay Boot Camp of 2008. It will be held (once again) at the amazing La Quinta Resort here in the Palm Springs area. Our four-part payment plans expire on May 31st so DON’T MISS OUT.
If you are a Six Steps to eBay Success, Boot Camp in a Box Lite, or Full Boot Camp owner–you are eligible for a special price as promised. Let us know if you need another invitation.
To get the best room rates for my students (and myself!), it will be held the weekend after Labor Day: Friday through Sunday, September 5th-7th, 2008.
Click here to learn more.
There are LESS than 16 seats left so I encourage you to reserve your seat as soon as you can!!! And this is months before the event–you know that this will sell out completely by September. I don’t want YOU to miss out.
It was wild to sell those two sets of Norwegian coins for over $350 per set (from ezine volume 4 issue 20). What a smart grandmother I had! And then to ship them back to their country of origin–what a strange place eBay is!
And we do ship a lot of items internationally. As I have always said, the only way to ship economically overseas is by USPS. So, when the USPS raised their rates on May 12th, I knew that I needed to redo the USPS International cheat sheet that comes with all my Boot Camps, is a gift at Live Boot Camp and comes as a download with the USPS shipping DVD.
If you already own any of these products or are a Queen’s Court Member, you will be receiving an email this week with a downloadable file of this handy information.
Photo of the chart.
If you want to own it laminated with the extra information on the backside, it is available for purchase here. By the way, this chart will save you hours each week. I use it at least once every day if not twice a day. We will even ship it for free! Now that is something the USPS Will NOT do! But hurry, this special offer ends tonight.
by Lynn A. Dralle, ‘The Queen of Auctions’
When my mom saw how much my Mideke coffee mug sold for, she decided to sell some of her Mideke pieces. Here is one of those pieces. A lovely bowl that I remember being in our house when I was growing up.
Click to see what it is up to.
With all these Mideke pieces being talked about, I decided that it would be a great time to do an article about Louis Mideke and his wife Jean, who was also a potter.
I grew up hearing about Mideke and what a fan of his work was my grandmother! She often bought pieces from his studio. They were friends and both had their businesses located off of Sunset Drive in Bellingham, Washington. I don’t think I ever met Louis but from what I have read about him, he was quite the character…just like my Grandmother!
I had moved back to Bellingham in 1993 to run my grandmother’s shop and one day in 1994 we got a phone call from Robin Reynolds, owner of The Good Earth Pottery in the Fairhaven area of Bellingham. Louis Mideke had passed away in 1989 and Jean in 1993. When the estate was closed in 1993, hundreds of pieces were found throughout the attic, house, and grounds. A small selection was reserved for museum donations and the larger selection was purchased by Robin and sold at the Good Earth Pottery. After about a year of handling the pieces, Robin wanted to sell the entire collection.
Off went my Grandmother and I to see Robin. We ended up buying what remained, about 200 pieces. There was nothing that made my Grandmother happier than spending money–on stock for the store! As we packed up box after box, Robin mentioned that she had put together a packet of articles about Louis and Jean and that she had worked on it with Louis’s son Michael. Robin gave us this packet to hand out to anyone that purchased the Mideke pieces now located at Cheryl Leaf Antiques.
Line sketch of Louis Mideke done in 1958
When I decided to write this article, I searched all over my office for those papers. Couldn’t find them anywhere. How was I going to write this one? I got on Google, but couldn’t find much of anything about the Midekes. I decided to start cleaning my office–about time anyway—and there on a shelf was the pile of articles!!! Yippeeee!!!
I immediately tracked down Robin Reynolds who now lives in North Dakota and asked her permission to share all this wonderful information with you and she said, “Of course!” She said that we should also credit Michael Mideke with helping to draft the articles and the timeline. Robin is a very talented artist and now works with the clays in North Dakota. Check out her amazing website here NDClay.com.
So here we go….Courtesy of Robin Reynolds and Michael Mideke
This first section was written by Robin Reynolds in 1993:
Jean Mideke 1911-1993
Louis Mideke 1908-1989
Many Whatcom County residents knew Jean and Louis Mideke as an extraordinary couple who made many valuable contributions to the art and life of our community. In 1981 Louis was honored as a “living treasure” by the Municipal Arts Commission in Bellingham, Washington as a potter whose work was characterized by his use of local materials; distinctive, utilitarian, and elegant.
Jean Mideke’s early work sculpting clay and jewelry fabrication culminated in a later period of lost-wax bronze birds and jewelry of exceptional quality. Perhaps less productive than Louis, Jean “subsidized” the pottery until her retirement from teaching in the mid-1960s. “Although Jean and Louis worked independently,” says their son, Michael, “they almost always worked cooperatively, constantly providing each other with critical and technical support.” The Midekes closed their Sunset Drive showroom in 1985 and announced the pottery was sold out.
I was an apprentice potter when I met the Midekes in 1980, not long before the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. The following years of “shop-talk”, exchange of St. Helens glaze formulas, and socializing seem balanced in my favor as I recall the combined effect of Mideke’s sharp humor, opinions, and philosophic gems. Their generosity stands in contrast to Louie’s (as everyone called him) reputation for crustiness. In her Living Treasure Tribute speech, former Arts Commissioner, Marian Boylan related, “Louis is like a good loaf of sourdough bread; crusty on top and soft as a marshmallow inside….leavened by many years of hard work and mellowed by the gentleness of his temperament and soul.” Perhaps he was not unlike what he found true in pottery; that a round pot has many sides.
“Early in his career,” according to Michael Mideke, “Louis entered pieces in shows and won some honors, but this aspect of the “Art” business did not appeal to him. He felt pottery should be useful, beautiful to see and touch, and accessible to the people. As in everything he did, Louis was a self-educated potter. He gathered his inspiration from books and museums, grounding himself in a tradition that was predominantly oriental.”
Louis used local materials as both clay bodies and glaze ingredients for endless experimentation and record keeping. He also believed his pottery ought to be smooth enough to sit on the finest mahogany surface without scratching, according to his former student and friend, Bob Jeffcott, who also said Lou believed one pot in a thousand was museum quality.
Once he got started, pottery dominated the rest of Louis’ working life. But he was never exclusively a potter since he continued to work in metal and wood. Louis’ health became increasingly fragile from the mid-1970s and during the 1980s arthritis began to hamper his wheelwork. Eventually this, in conjunction with the demands of firing, became more than he could manage and pottery production ceased.
Perhaps understanding the Mideke legacy is better navigated in an answer given by Shoji Hamada, a world-renowned potter, when he was asked how he felt when one of his pots was accidentally broken or otherwise lost. He replied, “What is important is not how you feel when you have or see the pot, it is in what remains when the pot is gone.”
1993 Robin Reynolds www.ndclay.com
Robin and I discussed Louis’ signatures and we think that the one with the tree was one of the earliest. Sorry, I don’t have a photo. Also, remember that he didn’t always sign his wood or metal pieces.
Then came the MIDEKE block stamp as shown here on the base of my favorite Mideke vase.
Cross vase and signature.
Then came the Mideke script signature as shown here.
His real autograph!
Chronological Notes–Robin Reynolds and Michael Mideke
1908 Born in Grandview, Washington to a farming family.
1923-1940 Keeps a diary, honing his skills as a writer. Photography was another active pursuit in Washington and later in Alaska. The surviving snapshots reveal a sensitive eye and a solid sense of design.
Circa 1927 Comes to Bellingham. Meets the Hibners. Works Northwest jobs: mills, fields, sheep ranches, steamers, and forest fire fighting. Dreamed of Alaska and announced a determination to be his own man.
1929-1930 Heads North. Later to call these his “energetic years.” Homesteads in SW Alaska, a year on Glacier Bay, runs the length of the Yukon River in a rowboat, works for the Lammers Exploration Company, and dredges gold around the Arctic Circle. Comes south winters and gravitates to Bellingham and his ten-year correspondence and courtship of Jean Hibner.
1938 Marries Jean Hibner.
1938-1940 They go north. Jean worked as a cook for a small mining camp where Louis was foreman.
WWII Bremerton, WA. Works as a shipbuilder; instructor-welder.
1943 Son, Michael, born.
1947 Family moves to Bellingham. Louis was still off on occasional expeditions with Lammers, but they grew shorter and more local–Wyoming, Idaho, California, and British Colombia.
1948 Buys the Sunset Drive property. Louis immediately sets to work improving the place and putting in a garden. But “work” was no fun and money scarce, and in the evenings he whittled whimsical things by the fireplace.
1950 Gets his hands in clay and once he got started, pottery dominated the rest of Louis’ working life. His work in metal and wood continues, and from time to time his excursions into metal left the wheel briefly idle. The first studio in the laundry room.
My metal mideke lamp.
1951 Wins the L.T. Butler award for excellence at the Northwest Craftsmen’s Show in Portland Oregon.
Peter Volkous invites him to work in Montana at the Archie Bray Foundation, but it unthinkable for the solitary worker to join the “Wildman” at the Bray scene.
Beginning with commercial clays, he quickly shifted to local clays…from natural inclination and to save money. This step dictated the development of locally-based glazes.
1953 Converts an elderly chicken house into a studio. Fires wares in a small electric kiln.
1954 Sales shop open for business.
Wins Clay Purchase Award, Henry Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle. Northwest Craftsmen’s Exhibition.
Continues to work with local materials. Midrange electric firing vitrified clay bodies.
1964 Meets Bob Jeffcott and uses trapline clay from Jeffcott’s tile plant near Everson, WA.
1965 High fire, reduction kiln (gas) installed at Jeffcott’s allowing him to work in porcelain and stoneware. Although commercial clay bodies, local materials continued to play a significant role in his work. Commercial bodies allowed him more time making pots than he’d previously spent processing local clays.
1967 Moved kiln to the backyard at Sunset Drive.
Mid-1970s His health was increasingly fragile.
1974 Retrospective show at the Whatcom Museum of History and Art in Bellingham, WA.
1981 Designated a “living treasure” by the Municipal Arts Commission, Bellingham, WA.
Arthritis hampers his wheel work.
1985 Business at Sunset Drive closes in March
1989 Dies, survived by wife, Jean, son, and two grandchildren.
1993 Jean dies, survived by her son, one sister, and two grandchildren.
Here is another piece of Mideke that my mom has up for sale on eBay this week.
This next interesting quote comes from an article written by Mary Kay Becker for “Northwest Passage” in November of 1971….
“Though his work has been exhibited and sold from coast to coast, you might live a long time in Whatcom County without knowing of him. “I don’t beat a very big drum,” he told us. A small sign almost hidden by shrubbery marks the location of his home and backyard workshop (open Wednesday thru Saturday) at 1906 E. Sunset Drive. Visitors interested in high-quality pottery can there observe the process as well as the product.
Hanging on the wall as you go in is a handmade poster, sent to Mideke by a “fancier” in Greenwich Village and inscribed with a quotation from Hawthorn: “Men are earthen jugs with spirits in them.” Here, in the front of the shop, the finished pots are for sale – a few shelves of pitchers, bowls, cups, and jugs. In the back is the work area where squarish lumps of grey Washington clay the unfired beginnings of the pots emerge whirling and wet. Under the guidance of Mideke’s hands and tools, necks are narrowed, lips flare out, and eccentric contours are smoothed into symmetry. Fingers, as well as eyes, find a feast here.
Mideke’s setup includes three wheels, a large and a small kiln, and row upon row of glass jars containing the materials from which he compounds his own glazes, experimenting frequently to find new effects. An old favorite is the crackle pattern produced by shrinking of the glaze around the pot during firing, the basic techniques for which were perfected by the Chinese a thousand years ago……
His own total production he estimates in the neighborhood of 100,000 –” more than there’s room for in Whatcom County, I guess”. Outlets in Seattle and Berkeley have spread his pottery far and wide. Some he has seen reappear in second-hand stores, and once his signature was found on some shards of pottery that washed up on the beach.”
Wouldn’t Louis Mideke be surprised at how well his pottery is still selling and that it is being traded worldwide (mostly due to eBay)!
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR ON YOUR WEBSITE? Yes, you may – just as long as you include all links as they are and append this complete blurb with it: The Queen of Auctions and eBay Power Seller, Lynn Dralle, publishes ‘eBay Tips & Tricks’ a weekly ezine with 10,000+ subscribers. If you’re ready to jump-start your eBay business, make more money and have more time, get your FREE tips now at www.thequeenofauctions.com
I am excited to announce that I will be teaching one class (Twice now!) and co-teaching another class at eBay Live! I have been asking eBay if I could do this for years and finally my dream is coming true!!! The classes are 90 minutes long each.
I can’t believe that eBay Live! in Chicago is just 21 days away. Yikes! I have so much to do. In addition to the classes, we will be in a 10′ by 20′ booth–Booth #538. Carmen, her husband Jason, Mo and I will be manning the booth. Mo’s sister Mary Beth will also be helping out. Can’t wait!
The first class that I am teaching–on my own–is called “How To Research Quickly & Effectively When Selling Higher Profit Margin Items.” It is a computer lab course. I have the dates and times now for all the classes. This one will be taught on Thursday, June 19th from 10:00 to 11:30 am and then again on Friday, June 20th from 1:00 to 2:30 pm. I just found out that this class will be held in a room that has 25, 50, or 75 computers.
To get the larger room here is what needs to happen. Because there are no advanced sign-ups for any sessions interested students CAN go to the Agenda Builder after they register for the conference and build their agenda, showing they will attend your session.
The more people that indicate interest through the Agenda Builder, the larger the room they put the session in. They are not held to their choices, however, so if they change their minds no one will hunt them down! Here is more about the class:
I will bring in ten unique items–typically higher profit margins from the antiques and collectibles category. As an example, a flatware set (just one piece), dinnerware set (just one piece), antique vase, etc., and show them on the computer where to go and find values and identify patterns fast! I will use Google, PriceMiner, eBay and Replacements.
The computer lab classes are workshop classes where attendees can get hands-on experience. They are limited to 100 attendees sharing 50 computers. Lab presentations are similar to Seminars, but have more step-by-step instructions and screenshots/images, so attendees can follow along on the computer. I hope to see you there!
The second class that I am co-teaching with Herb Oberman is called “From One Item To A Truckload – How To Source High-Margin Items Locally.”
My section is about shopping garage sales and thrift stores. This class will be held on Friday, June 20th from 10:30 to 12:00 noon.
Here is more about the class:
If you are looking for ongoing sources of merchandise that are not imported, or want to see how you can make significant profit off of low-cost items, this is a must-attend seminar! Join Herb Oberman and Lynn Dralle aka The Queen of Auctions, to learn more about locally sourcing high margin items that have not flooded the eBay Marketplace. Herb will talk about finding companies in your area that sell products at rock bottom prices which you may then resell on eBay. Lynn will show you how to quickly and effectively shop garage sales and thrift stores to find those unique items that can sell for big bucks on eBay.
It is a Seminar. These are lecture-style classes for large groups of attendees. Seminars look like your classic presentation – with a mixture of bullet point content and screen shots/images. Can’t wait to see you at either one!
eBay PowerSeller and third-generation antique dealer, Lynn Dralle, is the creator of Boot Camp in a Box, the home-study course where you can learn to implement the Dralle Method to maximize your eBay profits.
If you liked today’s issue, you’ll love this step-by-step course that is guaranteed to be the most complete and enjoyable guide to selling on eBay that MAKES YOU MONEY.
Read all about it here.
The Queen of Auctions also offers articles, teleseminars, how-to books, tracking guides, DVDs, eBay Boot Camp training, and other resources to help entrepreneurs make their eBay business a six-figure sales machine. Click here to learn more.
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