Welcome to Cynthia Shaver Asian Art Appraiser Newsletter September 2022,
The month of August I was obsessed, and still am, with the valuation of the more than 800 textile properties from the collection of textile artist Peggy Osterkamp. Working with this artist has been a privilege, viewing the top 20% of quality of whatever cloth it is. This collection was put together over six decades, always with the curated eye of a textile artist. What a pleasure and challenge this project continues to be.
The origins of the collection are primarily Japan, India and with ikats of Afghanistan, and a sampling of Chinese minority textiles. Yesterday I researched Philippine abaca cloth, or fiber made from pineapple. One example was a ‘sculpture’ purchased in the Philippines made from pina or abaca, a blouse with exaggerated puffy sleeves, likely made in mid 1900’s by local artist. This is labeled ‘Imelda Marcos’.
Another property is a Japanese obi made from silk and wasp nests in a checkerboard fashion. Yes, wasp nests. This was purchased from artist. At first I wondered how such a fragile material could be used for clothing, afraid to touch. I watched a YouTube video on wasp’s activity and their nests. The nests are quite sturdy and needed a cleaver to separate so no worry about fragility for use in obi.
The sale, the Peggy Osterkamp Collection, will be held at Building C, Fort Mason in San Francisco, November 19 & 20, 2022. Thus far, the fair market values range from a stunning, 2012 made linden obi with calligraphy purchased from artist for $6,000, to an Indian cotton and mirror hanging door ornament for $20. This has been a wonderful experience for me, my eyes have been served a visual feast, and I have sought advice from colleagues all around. Imagine how it feels to have someone paying me good money for my fifty years of experience handling textiles. This is my ‘down the yellow brick road’ moment. I take my work seriously, and realize and appreciate the trust involved.
Included in the collection, are many Japanese cotton fabric sample books. One has pages only of stripes, another has only plaids, yet another made from a new blank sample book with only the best of the indigos by one of the known fine Kyoto textile dealers, think a Levi fabric sample book. There are at least five Japanese boro, from large to small, beautiful examples of blue patchwork cotton cloth. Each one as they were pulled out for examination took my breath away. Usually I see one or two examples. Here were many, all very fine samples of the genre.
Another example of my awe was entering her studio and suspended from the ceiling was a Japanese hearth hook, a bamboo pole with fish as balance, a hanging tea kettle with iron, long tweezers to attend to the ashes in the fire. All of these components are usually seen separately on display or for sale and all are collectable. That all parts were represented made me see the artist involved, Peggy Osterkamp, she saw ‘the how to use’ part. Many stop at the beauty of one object, the jizai or carved hook, or maybe the iron teapot with signature on lid. Here on display was the eye of a working artist.
Her own work will also be for available to purchase. Peggy is known for her teaching, her weekly blog, with her work not offered for sale so there is no history of sales. She has ruffles made from silk, small samples (both cloth and paper) of indigo dye experiments, beautiful, matched fabrics arranged on a scroll and so much more. I’m not able to include photos, but please go to peggyosterkamp.com to see her work.
Thank you for your time,