View Full Version : Conversation pieces

06-22-2009, 12:51 AM
Does anyone know about the magazines that often talk about various jewelry/utensils/bowls as conversation pieces?

Such as: " Buy this bowl. It will make a perfect conversation piece at your next party!"

So I'm asking you, what conversation pieces do you own? What conversation pieces have people given you and what have you done with them?

Conversation pieces can be almost anything, but I would like answers from people who have gotten particularly ugly ones.

06-22-2009, 02:04 AM
Not everyone would consider this ugly, but I do. Many years ago my in-laws took great pride in giving me a clock. It is about 24 inch diameter and is all face, no case at all, intended to hang on the wall. The base is (I think) particle board, and is covered with sand in various (gaudy) colors adhered to glue in a Native American design. They went on and on about driving 20 miles each way down a dirt road to the village where this was made while on vacation. They were sure I would love it because I like Native American art. It is not Native American art. It is one groups' rip-off of another groups' design style into something to be sold to tourists who know nothing of Native American art. It has never started a conversation (except between my husband and myself) because it has lived for 30+ years in the garage. Since my FIL is deceased and MIL is house bound, I will never again have to bring it into the house and pretend I like it.


06-22-2009, 02:09 AM
Have you ever considered giving it away/donating it/throwing it away?

Thanks, that was quite humorous!

06-22-2009, 02:11 AM
My study is a conversation piece. It is an antique reproduction of a Napoleonic room. The rest of my home is ultramodern in design and furnishings. As you can imagine my study generates lots of conversation.

If that doesn't work I resort to lighting up the floor to ceiling blue neon light sculpture that hangs on the wall in my living room.

06-22-2009, 03:02 AM
I've had more than one person think this was ugly, though I love it:

My husband had a bookcase built for Mother's Day in 2005 for me. It is basically an old style wooden coffin, minus the lid. He never got around to making that yet. Visitors look twice, then three times before asking "Is that really a coffin?"

Kathie Freeman
06-23-2009, 08:39 PM
My favorite conversation piece is a big (like maybe 1 gallon or more) coffee pot from Burma circa 1940. It is made from hammered copper, very heavy, in 2 sections with the top and bottom sections joined in a dovetail pattern. The lid is held on with a chain and there is a silver cap and a band of silver wrapped around the tip of the spout. I've never actually made coffee in it, it just sits on my hearth and brews conversation.

06-23-2009, 11:43 PM
We have an actual coffin in our living room. It's black with silver handles. We use it as a coffee table and for storing photos. It gets a lot of attention from guests.

06-24-2009, 01:45 AM
Hairless cats. I have two and everyone, from the plumber to dinner guests to people walking by on the sidewalk, comments on them.

06-24-2009, 02:43 AM
Most commented upon in my house is the absence of a television; secondly, the gargoyles.

06-25-2009, 06:38 AM
I have an absolutely beautiful sort of sculpture/relief-kind of thing made by my son, picturing a face without eyes. It is his interpretation of youth, how they are blind to life. (Well, it came with a long and involved story about how young people are perceiving things to be black-or-white, and how they have a hard time thinking about the future because when you are very young, even 30 seems an incomprehensible age).

Anyway, It is the one art-piece I own, and therefore very dominant; thus a perfect conversation piece.

06-26-2009, 01:04 AM
Wow. Thanks!!

I like the one with a hairless cats.

06-27-2009, 08:18 PM
My parents have a cabin on a lake that has a very "cabiny" feel and look. My Dad used two large cedar trees (stripped of bark and sealed) as the support beams inside of the house. People LOVE the trees in the house. It's very beautiful and interesting to look at. He also used cedars for the handrails on the stairs and in the loft.

On one of the trees he sawed the branches down to 3 or 4 inch nubs and he hangs things (fishing gear, hats, lifejackets etc.) on the tree.

Also, on he took an old spicket and screwed it in to the side of the tree. It looks like the tree's been tapped for something, and that usually leads into some type of conversation.

06-28-2009, 02:08 AM
The most memorable "conversation piece" I ever saw was on sale in an antique store in a tony shopping district. I think it was supposed to be a coat rack. It consisted of a shield-shaped board covered in red and gold brocade and it had five cow horns mounted on it like hooks. The horns were grouped around a macramé owl. It was so tacky that it crossed right over into the sublime. I wasn't tempted to buy it, though.

06-28-2009, 02:19 AM
I don't actually own it, but there was this awesome bowl I found in a shop in the Luxor Hotel in Vegas. It looked like cream-colored marble, was about three feet in diameter, and probably weighed close to a hundred pounds. It had this padded mallet that you hit it with and would make this deep "gong". But when you would run the mallet along the edge, like you do with your finger and a glass of water, it would produce this amazingly loud humming sound that you could feel throughout the entire store and inside your body.

It was the coolest thing EVER!! There was absolutely no use for it, except as a conversation piece, but that was almost 10 years ago and I STILL want it!

06-28-2009, 05:36 PM
I own a Zulu Assegai (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assegai), courtesy of my Grandmother that owned several despite strangely never having left north-east England apart from three weeks in Norfolk in 1958. That's one of my most precious possessions. There's also a gigantic 48 starred American flag, that has been machine stitched and is quite clearly very valuable. It decorates the whole of one wall, the opposite being a 5 foot print of one of Zladislaw Beksinski's more unnerving paintings.

I also found some sort of harpoon when going through my grandmother's attic a few months ago, I don't really know how to transport it without getting blown apart by the metropolitan police.

06-28-2009, 06:22 PM
I have an ugly boomerang from Australia, but then doesn't everybody?

Oh, I forgot, I also have a beautiful Bouzouki that I bought in Greece. I like to collect musical instruments.

A typical conversation in my house:

"What's this? Oh it's an ugly boomerang. Oh, I see you have a two guitars! And a beautiful Bouzouki!! Do you play them?"