Thursday, December 12, 2013

Shadowbox-ing and the Kramer shelf

My "Kramer Shelf"
The "Kramer shelf". That is what did it for me. That is what got me obsessed with mid-century shadow boxes.

Sometime around 2009, I was looking at some pictures of a Facebook friend's swanky '60's house and saw this ridiculously cool shadow box. He called it the "Kramer shelf". I knew he must be referring to Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld but I never recalled seeing that in the show. I was surprised that I couldn't remember seeing it since I had watched Seinfeld pretty much every day for five years. Well, after that I started paying closer attention and sure enough, there it was. It pops up in a couple different episodes. Jerry's wacky neighbor uses it to display "Macaroni Midler", "Fusilli Jerry", and "Ravioli George".

Screen shot from "Seinfeld". I can't remember what episode this is from but I know it makes an appearance in the episode where Kramer turns his apartment into the Merv Griffin set. 

From that point on, shadow boxes really started to jump out at me on craigslist, at estate sales, and at thrift stores. I accumulated three of them before I finally found myself a Kramer shelf on craigslist (first picture in the post). I went to look at it and the guy selling it turned out to be a fellow hot rodder and mid-century modern furniture collector. I spent a good bit of time touring his house, checking out his furniture collection, and looking at his custom cars. We struck up a deal and I finally went home with my very own Kramer shelf. It definitely needs some work but I am happy to have one.

Detail of my Kramer shelf.

More detail.

One of the mirrors from one of the little planter things on it.
I think most, if not all, of my shadow boxes were made by Illinois Moulding Co.

My affinity for MCM shadow boxes doesn't stop at the really wild ones. I still have three of the four that I have ever bought. I sold one to a friend of mine. My good friends Dustin and Tara, who are also crazy about vintage stuff, were kind enough to send me some pictures of their collection of shadow boxes. Do you have any cool MCM shadow boxes? Let us know! Show us pictures!

Found this one on craigslist. It was at the 99 cent sock store on S. Jefferson Ave. in south city St. Louis, MO. I sanded it down and repainted it.

I found this one for a very reasonable price at an antique mall in Quincy, IL

This was my first shadow box. I found it on craigslist in Edwardsville, IL. I sold it to my pal John.

One of Dustin and Tara's.

Another of Dustin and Tara's

And another from Dustin and Tara

Same one as above.

I think Dustin said that this is one they recently sold. Looks great in its new home.

I spotted this one in an antique mall in Michigan when I was visiting Dustin and Tara in 2012. I guess the "Kramer" version is a little easier to come by up north.


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