Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

March 14, 2013

Treasure Hunting Report: A FAB New Collection

My newest (still modest) collection happened accidentally.  See this tray?


It's a FAB Originals tray.   FAB trays were manufactured in the 1970s using "carefully chosen decorator's fabric" (so says the label), sealed in a clear polyester composition. 


The surfaces are mark proof, stain and alcohol resistant - durable, but not unbreakable.  Best of all, they were handcrafted in Barrie, Ontario by Hardy - Glenwood Products, with very little mechanization in the production.  I have read that they were produced in the 1960s but other sources say 1970s.  This quite detailed history of the company indicates 1970s.  Apparently they stopped production during the oil crisis in the mid 1970s because the resin became too expensive to produce.  With bold, retro fabrics trapped under a clear surface, they seem like little time capsules to me. 



I found the one above on a dusty shelf at a thrift shop, during my recent visit to my hometown.  Some of the FAB trays are a touch . . . tacky, but I thought this one was quite pretty and on-trend.  I photographed it, researched it, but dawdled when it came to listing it in the shop.  Then I saw these photos of a FAB collection on SF Girl By Bay:


I started to have that creepy, antsy "I want it, I want it" feeling.  The next day, I found this at a Value Village in town, and I may or may not have dove for it:


I was so giddy to find a second FAB tray and was officially, embarrassingly, overcome with greed.  With a Gollum face, I scooped the first tray from the etsy pile (which actually meant asking Mom to send it from Thunder Bay).  They are officially mine and I want more.  Although there are some designs I might pass on, I think this will make for a cheery collection!

Etsy
Etsy
Etsy
Source

Caren, the gal behind the ambitious collection above, says that at the height of production, Canadians were churning out 1000 of these per day, for domestic sale and export to the US.  Here's hoping that means I can grow my collection easily (and inexpensively!).  I'm still so surprised that the colours and patterns of my two trays grabbed me because, to be honest, they don't really jive with the townhouse, but there's just something inexplicable about them that makes makes me smile a goofy grin when I see them.  What is it??  In any case, I think the retro fabrics will look perfect with my 1960s fashion posters from Hungary.  It's fun to throw a little something unexpected into the mix sometimes.


Is there anything that you collect or love that just completely surprises you?
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16 comments

  1. Those are completely adorable! I'm so attracted collections like that--I love the idea of gathering enough to have a really varied but coordinated composition. Good find!

    Are you headed to Congress this year? Victoria has the largest, and to my mind the best, Value Village in Canada--I betcha you'd find some of these there. If you aren't, I'll keep my eyes open for you.

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    1. I also like how they're similar bur so different - they seemed to really go to town picking fabrics for them.

      I am headed to Congress this year! Thanks for the tip about Victoria's Value Village - I will be sure to leave a lot of room in my suitcase :D

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  2. Love these trays so much! So pretty! Love that they are from Barrie too. Will have to keep my eye out to start my own collection...

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    1. I am always so excited by anything made in Canada! I hope you're able to find some, I'd love to see photos if you do :)

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  3. These are awesome! Perhaps you should find a way to do this yourself...hmm..

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    1. It's likely totally doable with the resins available at craft stores, but will probably cost a ton (isn't resin expensive?). But that's a great idea - I might have to give it a go!

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  4. I love the way they look on the wall. So cool :)

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    1. Isn't that collection of the wall fabulous?? On the wall their ruffled edge really pops, too.

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  5. Love, love, love, love! What a fantastic and interesting new collection! Can't wait to see what other pieces you come up with.

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    1. I hope this isn't one of those things where I find two and then that's it!! I found them within weeks of one another, so it gave me hope. I'll keep everyone posted.

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  6. Awesome. I just listed these!
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/126505994/retro-fab-tray-set-of-two-floral-resin

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  7. More FAB

    https://www.etsy.com/listing/126522480/retro-fab-tray-floral-resin-tray-1970s

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  8. I guess a collection that I have that surprises me would be tiny rubber duckies. lol. I just happen to come across one while on vacation in Vegas and just love em. They have themes though...devil duck (with horns), lucky duck (with 4 leaf clovers), etc etc. I only have 4 or 5 but I love them.....I would really love to find a printers drawer to display them on the wall and really get into finding more.

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  9. That is such an unusual collection!! I imagine they look quite stunning together. Good luck on the quest to find more :)

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  10. I have one it is a deep green mottled flower pattern, label on the back very worn but is the same label shown here, plate number is 481 perfect condition, surprised that company no longer exists. it makes a lovely tray, so glad I checked out this site, Eva Annable Grimsby On annableeve@gmail.com

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