On SeeSaw Facebook this week

SeeSaw is now on facebook, with links from our archives PLUS interesting things I've found around the web. Here's what's been on this week. 

SeeSaw on Facebook here




"In 1936 a Harlem postal worker and activist named Victor H. Green decided to develop a guide that would help African Americans travel throughout the country in a safe and comfortable manner. The Negro Motorist Green Book (also called The Negro Travelers' Green Book), often simply known as The Green Book, identified places that welcomed black people during an era when Jim Crow laws and de facto segregation made it difficult for them to travel domestically without fear of racial backlash.

The Green Book listed businesses and places of interest such as nightclubs, beauty salons, barbershops, gas stations and garages that catered to black road-trippers. For almost three decades, travelers could request (for just 10 cents' postage) and receive a guide from Green. Eventually the guide expanded to encompass information about Canada and Mexico."


Perfection salad and something from the oven Laura Shapiro photo liza cowan
Perfection Salad and Something From The Oven by Laura Shapiro


Perfection Salad, and Something From The Oven, two fascinating books by Laura Shapiro. I heard Laura speak at the University Of Vermont last Spring. I first read Perfection Salad when I was doing research on Jell-O. Turns out Laura is also obsessed with Jell-O images, so she is now the proud owner of a set of Jell-O placemats that I made. 

Here's an interesting early article about Perfection Salad.


perfection salad, jello mold, mid century cooking
Mid Century Cooking from Mid-Century Menu


Here's a link to an interview with Ruth Clark who blogs at The Mid-Century Menu. Interview in


More on Mid-Century Cooking. 
"Today, foodies typically look back on this era with an upturned nose, preferring to mock its foods rather than eat them. So when Ruth Clark took the obvious, and daring, step of actually making these retro recipes for her fascinating website The Mid-Century Menu, it’s not surprising she received a bit of hate mail. Clark typically cooks one vintage meal per week, which she documents through scans of the original recipe, photos of her re-creation, and detailed tasting notes (often featuring amusing photos of her husband, Tom, attempting his first few bites). Her blog is an everyday cook’s version of the Julie & Julia project, featuring the food that real people made in mid-century America.


"Clark recently gave us her experienced take on the marvels of mid-century eating, and the lessons contemporary cooks can learn from it."


New: vintage inspired place mats from Small Equals

seed pack place mats from
Seed Pack placemats

New from my company, Small Equals, three new products using vintage images. These are made in Vermont by Flashbags, using recycled paper, plastic laminte and machine stitching. 


4 seedpacks no text
four seed pack vegetable placemats


Faithful readers of this blog will know that I have been collecting vintage ephemera for years. These images come from seed packs in my collection. The originals were produced using stone lithography, a process which, because it is printed using tiny dots of color, allows for enlargement beautifully. I think the images are very exciting as they grow larger. I hope you agree. 

flower place mats from
Set of four flower placemats
Jello placemats from
set of six place mats with yummy vintage Jell-O images

My love of vintage Jell-O images is well known. I have used these images for place mats before but they were out of production for a few years. Now back, in limited edition, these will certainly create conversation and inspire the appetite. 

All products availble at my online store

Four Color Process: the inner world of dots and comic books


Comic Book, detail. Four Color Process. From a blog by Half Man Half Static

My regular readers know I've been a bit obsessed with making and or blogging about large scale reproductions of fragments from printed ephemera, particularly chromolithography, stone lithography and other early to mid 20th Century color-print processes.


Needle girl face detail. Cowan ephemera collections

Mid 20th Century Needle book. Detail. Liza Cowan ephemera collections.

I recently discovered the blog 4CP (four color process) by John Hilgart, the blogger known as   HM/HS Half Man Half-Static, A Curator of lost items. (Great name, by the way.) HM/HS writes in an early early essay In Defense Of Dots: The lost Art Of Comic Books: 

"Who is responsible for this art? At the level of a square inch of printed comic book, no one was the creative lead. 4CP highlights the work of arbitrary collectives that merged art and commerce, intent and accident, human and machine. A proper credit for each image would include the scriptwriter, the penciller, the inker, the color designer, the paper buyer, the print production supervisor, and the serial number of the press. Credit is due to all of them, to differing and unknowable degrees, for every square inch of every old comic. The hand of fate created this art, and it guides our hand as we search for 4CP images: We move a tiny Ouija board pointer across mid-Century comic books, looking for beautiful ghosts."

4cp.posterous from
Comic Book, detail. Four Color process. From

Jello, door handle, chromolithograph, recipe, dots, enlargement, liza cowan ephemera collections,

Jell-O booklet. Chromolithography. Detail. Liza Cowan ephemera collections. 

"However, in the decisive, paradoxical twist, four-color process created a form of depth even as it fought against illustrative realism. Whereas contemporary reproductions of mid-century comic art are truly closed and flat, old comic books are visually leaky and deep. Four-color dots perforate the flat surface of the universe, opening onto nowhere – some uncharted cosmos."


Comic Book, detail, enlarged 4 color process, dots,
Detail of Comic, 4 Color Process, from


snapdragon seed pack, stone ligthograph, detail, pink, flower, abstract flower, detail,, liza cowan ephemera collectiosn
Early 20th Century seed packet, stone lithograph. Liza Cowan ephemera collections


windows, comic book, 4 color process, dots,
Comic book detail, four color process, from

Read the whole essay HERE and make sure to spend some time in the 4cp archive for amazing images and really well thought out and well written articles. 

The Pudding's spoiled. Jell-O saves the day in the early 20th Century kitchen.


Jello recipe book, can't cook, cover, Liza Cowan ephemera collections

Daniel, the wonderful new intern here at Pine Street Art Works, has been busy scanning my rawther large collection of vintage Jell-O recipe books. Here, from an undated  early 20th Century book, are some illustrations of how terribly wrong things can go in the kitchen. Jell-O is here to save the day!


Jello recipe book, her pudding burnt, jello illustration, recipe illustration, kitchen mistakes
Her pudding burnt.

  Jello recipe book, her pie went wrong
Her pie went wrong, too. Nothing goes wrong with Jell-O

  Jello recipe book, a corner in a busy jello workroom
A corner in a busy Jell-O workroom.

  Detail workers in jello workroom

  Jello recipe book, jello for serving with meat, in the big shipping room, jello illustration, men pushing carts of boxes, workmen in factory early 20th century
In the big shipping room.

  The jello girl, always ready to serve
The Jell-O girl, always ready to serve you.

  Jello recipe book, jello girl with kettle
The Jell-O girl, Elizabeth King.

  Jello recipe book, the pudding spoiled
The Pudding's spoiled. Why didn't I use Jell-O?

 The young bride or housewife who has never learned to cook


Set your table

Time to set the table. Holiday festivities are coming up, and then there's just plain every day gorgeousness. Check out what we've got for your table.

Table top at PSAW and AO! Glass
Here's what's on the table: Jello Placemats, made by Flashbags for Pine Street Art Works. Goblets by AO! Glass. Vase by AO! Glass. Mid century condiment bowls. Boxed sets of stationery as guest gift.

In the background: Ginny Joyner food illustration prints, mid century botanical school charts.

Also available for you table: Shinzi Katoh tea pots, Liquid Cardboard tabletop sculpture, more mid century vases and dishes, pottery from Paige Russell.

Did someone say party?


If you know me, or follow this blog, you know I'm a bit over the top about my Jell-O ephemera. I have almost every Jello recipe book ever made, starting at the turn of the last century. And I know that many of you come to SeeSaw for my Jello images. One of the top google searches that brings people here is "Jell-O and condensed milk", as well as searches for Jell-0 ephemera, Jello images, and the like.

Now I have some Jell-O images from my collections available as handmade handbags by Flashbags, and reproductions which are fine- art laminated by Silver Maple Editions, here in Burlington.

  • Hello jello silvermapled blog
  • Jello ice cream powder fine art laminated blog
  • Jello flashbag web
Jello flashbag web

Jello Desserts From Around The World.

In this week's mail: the great Jello book I blogged about recently.

This booklet, Desserts From Around the World, is from 1909, almost a hundred years old! It features very Eurocentric versions of people from around the globe and the Jell-0 recipes they've inspired. Here's the centerfold.

 jello desserts of the world centerfold. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections

so you can see the details better:

Jello deserts from around the world centerfold, detail. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections.

Jello. The model is Elizabeth King. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections. Li


This one is the Paris Jello eaters. The Eurocentric version of Parisians is, of course, pretty accurate, Paris being a fairly European city.

Jello Desserts, Paris. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections

The view of Eve in the Garden Of Eden- eating apple snow Jello - is a riot. I love her garment made of fig leaves. And the text - check out the embedded assumptions:  "Whether woman has always been privileged to prepare man's food for him or not, and to persuade him to eat, is a point on which history furnished unsatisfactory information." But hey, in 1909 women in the United States couldn't even vote.

Jello Desserts. Eve in the Garden Of Eden. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections

There are additional pages for the Indians (i.e. Native Americans), "now a vanishing race," as well as natives of India, Hawaii,  Japanese, Russia, "oriental countries," and Holland. With enough encouragement, I will post some of these pictures.



You know how it is with auctions? The racing pulse, the quickened breath, the agony of that last bid? Well, maybe you don't, but folks, it's the thrill of the hunt - online. How convenient is that?

Last night I bought a Jello recipe book for more money than I've ever spent on one. Seriously. But in 30 years of Jello collecting I'd never seen it before. When it arrives in my mailbox I will scan it for you, but right now, here are some scans from the auction. I know from my site stats how many of you come here looking for Jello images, so enjoy.


Jello desserts of the world

Jello simple jello process

Notice how similar it is to this centerfold in the "jello for dessert" booklet I featured a little while ago.


Jello for dessert centerfold

Do you love vintage Jell-O? I'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment.


I was browsing around the website COLORlovers, looking at how they analyze color trends in magazine covers and blogs and I was inspired to take a look at the color trends in some of the art I've been looking at and posting lately.

Coloraid The last time I did something like this was when home computers were a gleam in their inventor's eye, during my first (and only) year at The School Of Visual arts in New York City in 1968. We used Color-aid paper. Yumm.

Now I use a design software that I love but almost nobody I work with has heard of. It's called Swift Publisher, and although it has only a fraction of the horsepower of Adobe Illustrator, which everyone recommends, I find it flexible and, best of all, I actually know how to use it.

Like most design software, it has a way to copy color from one place and put it in a designated location. Nifty. I depend on this feature for most of my digital color choices.

I did this mainly as a color exercise, but it turns out they're fun to do and quite nice to look at. I hope you enjoy them.

Colors of Jell-o for dessert
colors in Jello recipe booklet.

This Jell-o booklet was printed by chromolithography, which separates (and combines) colors in many many layers of printing plates, often dozens of layers. The way they combine, and the way the light hits the colors and the eye decodes the message is both subtle and tricky - think of a pointillist painting. So in this Jell-0 cover, it looks like there's lavender, but there isn't an actual lavender ink. These are the colors that separate and combine to make the final impression.

Colors of diamond dyes egg detail blog

Diamond Dyes booklet. Circa 1890's. Wells Richardson & Co. Burlington, VT

This is a detail from a Diamond Dyes chromolithographed booklet, circa 1890. The colors I've defined don't necessarily reflect the colors of ink that were used to make this chromo. I'm sure there's a way to figure that out, but darned if I know it. The colors I've extracted are from a digital scan, as all of these images are. The colors, at least on my screen, are faithful to the original, but they are still digitized. So if two layers of ink are superimposed - layered on on the other, they will read as a third color. Even to the scanner. Still, its quite interesting, I think.

Colors of kitchen american gas blog
Ad for American Gas Association, Saturday Evening Post 1940

This 1949 ad uses different printing technology. Using a four color printing process, the inks combine to create colors from only four colors: cyan, yellow, magenta and black. The finished print, of course, is defined by the original work, in this case a painting, probably guache.The colors of the kitchen are a simple yellow, blue and white palette. The greens are only in the out doors. I've written about this ad before in this blog. It's one of my favorites and I keep coming back to it. Also, the American Gas Association has a google notifier, and last time I posted this ad I got a really nice note from them, so if you are reading this from AGA, hello!

Color fields for liza leger

Liza Cowan aka Liza Leger from FAKE!Paintings by Liza Leger et. al.

This is a digital photo (by Dok Wright) of a painting by me, Liza. The colors are paint in the original, and they look pretty faithful to me. I paint using mixtures of only five colors: Cadmium yellow medium, cadmium red medium, cobalt blue, titanium white and black. I get my neutral grayish greens and etc. by mixing all three colors plus white.

I was having so much fun with my color game that I introduced it to my children. I showed them how to do it and they each came up with one.

Color fields wg

Photo by Liza Cowan 2002

Older daughter, WG, decided to do this photo I took of her many years ago. It was a digital capture, so the image was pixilated in it's inception. She chose to design her page with the colors right up against one another in different sizes.

Color M gw blog

detail from Alphabet Of Country Scenes. 1875, McLaughlin Bros. NY.

Younger daughter GW did this one, another chromo, and I love how she made the colors different sizes. Lively composition. I didn't discuss options of box sizes with the children, nor did we explore using different shapes or placement. We'll save that for another time.


I now have thirty two jello recipe books. Plus doubles. Yikes! The strange thing is that my Jello mania is a strong as ever. My heart skips a beat when I find a new book, or a better copy of one I already have.

Jello bride cover blog
Jello, 1916. PSAW ephemera collections.

I finally got a a good copy of this beauty. Notice how beautifully and delicately rendered the lace is, while the jello-y streaks in the back are so painterly and quick.

 Jello dainty front blog

Jell-0 The Dainty Dessert. Cover.  Not dated. PSAW ephemera collections.

Jello dainty back blog 

Jell-o The Dainty Dessert, back cover. Not dated. PSAW ephemera collections.

Jello dainty dessert blog 
Jell-o The Dainty Dessert, centerfold. Not dated.PSAW ephemera collections.

Jello for dessert cover blog
Jell-o for  Dessert. Cover. Not dated. PSAW ephemera collections.

Again, the contrast between the delicately rendered figure and the painterly wash background.

Jello for dessert center blog

Jello For Dessert, Centerfold.Not dated. PSAW ephemera collections.

Jello rhymes lucille patterson marsh blog 

Jell-o Rhymes. Not dated. Illustrations by Lucille Patterson Marsh.PSAW ephemera collections.

Jello rhymes lp Mash hey diddle diddle blog

Jell-o Rhymes. Illustration by Lucille Patterson Marsh. Not dated. PSAW ephemera collections.

"The factory is light, bright, beautiful; the workers happy, prosperous and content, and the product which they turn out by the tons and dons day after day, never varies in its excellence and purity"

Lucille Patterson Marsh, born in 1890,  was a prolific American 20th Century illustrator. Her clients included Ladie's Home Journal, GE, Cosmopolitan, and later, book illustrations.

Lucille patterson marsh GE ad 1931

Lucille Marsh Patterson, 1931 GE Refrigerator Ad.

Jello wonder dishes cover
Jello Wonder Dishes, 1930. PSAW ephemera collections.

Jello six delicious blog

Jell-o  6 delicious  flavors. 1924. Back Cover. PSAW ephemera collections

Jello 6 delicous trip blog

Jell-o 6 Delicious Flavors. Detail. 1924. PSAW ephemera collections.


Yesterday I posted a couple of details from Jello recipe books. I'm enamored of the way the details of the lithography breaks down into dot patterns. Here are some more.

Jello girl what 6 famous detail Jello Booklet, detail.
You can see that someone wrote over the "W" with pencil. People leave mysterious traces of themselves.

Jello girl red detail blog Jello recipe booklet, detail

Jello a door hand detail Jello Recipe booklet, detail

Jello telephone detail
Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Jello and hand detail blog
Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Jello house jello built detail blog Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Jello girl gv Jello recipe booklet, detail

Jello hands and letters Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Marbled jello Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Spanish jello detail blog Jello Recipe booklet, detail

Sew and stitch detail blog Needle pack, detail. made in Japan.

Sweetheart needle detail Needle pack, detail. made in Japan.

Needle detail head
Needle Pack, detail. made in Japan

Needle face close
Needle Pack, detail

Needle girl face detail
Needle Pack, detail. made in Japan.

Broadway needle face
Needle Pack, detail. made in japan

Broadway needle kitten close
Needle Pack, detail, made in Japan

Happy home needle book detail blog Needle pack, detail

Rolling chairs-women detail blogAtlantic City Rolling Chair Postcard, detail

Rolling chairs-detail blog Atlantic City Rolling Chair Postcard, detail

Corset-secret-open detail blog Corset trade card, detail

Diamond dyes detail blogDiamond Dyes Trade Card, detail

Eureka health corset detail blog Corset trade card, detail


Here are some more images from my Jello Ephemera Collection. We'll start with the 1916 recipe book, which is all about the new bride starting her family life with Jello.

Jello bride cover COWAN EPHEMERA COLLECTIONSJello Recipe book 1916. Cowan ephemera collections

Jello =their first dinner at home cowan ephemera collections

Jello Recipe book 1916. Cowan ephemera collections.

"Though the honeymoon is not yet over and everything she does is still perfect, the young housewife who is no cook has gone through a period of awful trepidation while preparing that first dessert."

This was in the day when young ladies of a certain class didn't live alone before they were married, and most likely had household help doing the cooking.


Jello surprising father and mother blog

Jello recipe book. 1916, Liza Cowan ephemera collections.

"In her old home she had never been taught to cook, as so, when her father and mother, making their first visit to "the children"miss her from the room for a moment and then witness her triumphant return, bearing a tray with tea things and napkins and spoons for two, and two beautiful dishes of Jell-o upon it..."



Jello another caller blogJello recipe book, 1916. Cowan ephemera collections.

"Father and mother and other "company" have come and gone many times  before baby arrives, and the lovely bride, looking hardly a day older, has become a proficient housekeeper."


Jello bride centerfold COWan ephemera collectionsJello Recipe book, 1916, centerfold. Cowan ephemera collections.

Jello -a treat for old schoolmates cowan ephemera collectionsJello recipe book, 1916. Cowan ephemera collections.

On this beautiful summer afternoon three of her schoolmates - all happily marries- gather at her home to live again their girlhood life and exchange confidences regarding the whims of their husbands and the cleverness of their babies..."

Jello girl schoolroom recipe book cowan ephemera collections


The Jello girl made her first appearance in 1904. She was Elizabeth King, whose father, Franklin King, was an artist at the ad agency that made the Jello Ads. The Jello girl remained a staple of Jello ads for forty years. She appears at the end of the Jello Bride Recipe Booklet, as well as on the front cover.

"Attention, children! Some day you will be buying groceries, and if they have continued to go up in price, you will do well to consider the cost of different articles of food."

Jello girl no matter where you live COWAN EPHEMERA COLLECTIONS

Jello girl what 6 famous cooks say of Jello cowan ephemera collectionsJello Recipe book. 1912. Cowan ephemera collections



Jello girl all doors open cowan ephemera collections

Jello Recipe book. 1917. Cowan ephemera collections

Jello a door opens detail

Detail. Jello recipe book 1917. Cowan ephemera collection.

Look how beautifully the lithography tolerates enlargement.

Jello girl recipies new talks about jello americas most favorite dessert cowan ephemera collectionsJell-o Recipe book. 1918. Cowan ephemera collections.


Jello girl the kewpies  recipe book cowan ephemera collections

Jello Recipe book, 1915. Cowan ephemera collections.



Jello america's favorite dessert cowan ephemera collections

Jello Recipe book. Date unknown. Cowan ephemera collections

This book has more gorgeous beautifully printed images than any other. And the copy I have is in brilliant shape. The rest of the images in this post are from this book.


Jello america's favorite detail blog

Jello vintage recipe book cowan ephemera collections orange

Jello girl raspbery




Jello house jello built COWAN EPHEMERA COLLECTIONS

Jello recipe booklet vintage centerfolCowan ephemera collections.




I’ve been collecting Jello ephemera for thirty or more years. I used to find recipe booklets at yard sales for a dime, but that Jello_icecream_powder_small_for_blowas then. Now they are a bit pricier, and harder to find, although with eBay anything’s possible, with patience and determination.

Jello started advertising heavily at the beginning of the 20th Century. The early booklets are lush with chromolithographed color. The Jello really does seem to shimmer off the page. Jello was an innovative advertiser throughout the 20th Century, and my collection goes right up to the seventies.

My collection will stay intact and is not for sale unless I have doubles. I do, however, make reproductions and have them mounted by Silver Maple Editions, for sale at Pine Street Art Works.

I only reproduce images from ads in my collection, in limited editions, and only those before 1925. Although it is possible to find good scans of Jello, and other, ads on some websites, I  find it somehow unseemly - if not unethical - to sell copies of electronic copies of copies of art.The parade of simulacra must not be allowed to get too rowdy.

Hello_they_all_want_jell111_3 The back cover of this booklet - of which the above Jello Ice cream Powder was an insert - shows the Jello girl on the phone to the grocer, who is pictured on the front of the booklet answering the phone. Phones were a new technology, and using them in the advertising shows just how modern and up to date the product is. The telephone cord in the picture becomes a real life green string which is threaded through the  green hole on the upper right.

If this ad were  being made today, the girl would be using her Blackberry to call the grocer. If we called the grocer anymore. "Hello, City Market, send over a box of Jello please."