Vintage Piero Fornasetti "Key To Dreams" Insulator Paperweight.
This is a great piece from Italian designer Piero Fornasetti's line of ceramic insulators, cleverly repurposed into paperweight pen rests and decorated with wonderfully wry designs.
This is the English-language version of The New Key to Dreams, a post-Surrealist legend to dream interpretation. If you dream of a mushroom, it may warn of deception....a butterfly, of wantonness....and so on.
Dimensions: Height: 3 3/4" high x 2 1/2 inches wide
In applying gold trim and decals to an industrial object, Fornasetti was challenging the notion that form follows function but, instead, form or, in this case, a decoration can be added to an object to create "varying degrees of irony, wit and tension" making people rethink the way they looked at the world (Wilk in Mauriès 1991, p. 5).
This insulator was probably produced by the Ginori factory for Fornasetti's studio.
Dimensions: Height: 3 3/4" high
Mark: Fornasetti, Milano - Made in Italy.
See: A related paperweight in form and design at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Museum number:C.67-1985
Fornasetti Decorated Insulators
What designs did they come in?
According to Mauriès (1991, p. 280), Piero Fornasetti made paperweights with electrical insulators in 16 designs.
Listed below, then, are the known designs.
There are variations to these designs but I am assuming that these variations would not be counted as separate designs. These designs can be labeled as 1). Calendars, 2). Alphabet, 3). The New Key to Dreams, 4). Clocks, 5). Fishing, 6). Pipe smoking, 7) Musical Instruments and 8) Butterflies.
What insulators were used?
It's likely that the insulators Fornasetti used were made by Richard Ginori and may have never been used on a line. In the foreword to Mauriès book (1991, p. 5), Wilk writes that "Fornasetti ceramics are, in fact, blank forms designed and made by the firms of Eschenback or Richard Ginori, among others, with Fornasetti decoration applied." Since Eschenback did not make insulators and Richard Ginori did, Ginori seems a likely source. The insulators used are U-1668 and U-1714
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