Amusing Myself With Patina

Last week, while Ken and Ned tore apart my space in the Hudson Supermarket

(www.hudsonsupermarket.com), I, who am so easily bored, wished for something

interesting to do while I waited for my turn :  to put it all back together again. 

I looked around, sighing, till I spied patina.  I love patina.  Endlessly fascinating,

patina, with its layers, textures and colors,  never lets me down. Here are some of the

patina-rich objects which were moving this way and that in my booth….

  

Above, a rusting farm thing, posing as a sunflower and an appealing tear in a canvas-

covered trunk. I guess this kind of beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And since, in this

instance, I am the beholder and I am alone, no one can dispute my claim.

  

Layers of paint on a diminutive (6″ x 6″) radiator cover and more farm things. Sometimes

I wonder what I would sell if it weren’t for farms and factories.

     

Above, left, is my favorite thing from July Brimfield, a zinc cupboard (no, not a fridge!)

from a defunct silver manufacturing company in Pittsburgh. The photo (below, left) is a

close up of the round industrial table in the photo (above, right). Hard-packed sludge…

ya gotta love it. (I am alone, no one can dispute me!)

       

I have a passion for these roof drain caps (above, right).  The shape, the color, the wire. 

Apparently, not everyone shares my enjoyment, as these sturdy little  gems were usually

tossed in the garbage, making them difficult to find. My pickers in Pennsylvania, who have 

the most discerning taste, had this nice bunch of 15 in their barn. 

Linen-covered French books (above) all in a row. Pretty toppers for a rustic work table.

I used them in my last blog to display my Vichy baskets. Today, when I was taking more

Vichy photos, I wished the books had been safe at home, instead of  in Hudson where they

were at risk of being sold!  I know that I have to let people buy my stuff. But, I don’t have

to like it.

      

Big cabana pins and a vane with peeling layers of old paint. I have hundreds of pins in both

Hudson and Bournebrook.  The staff in both centers say that all day long  they hear the

swoosh, swoosh, swoosh of the pins being pushed back and forth as customers look for the

one with a favorite number. Grain sacks, of course, are central to any discussion (of mine!)

about patina with their many weaves and beautiful old repairs.

Time spent admiring patina is never wasted.

Vichy, Please !

One of the things that I love about Brimfield is seeing old friends, many of whom started out

as, and remain, favorite dealers. A Wednesday treat is seeing Jackie Lantry of Bliss Farm

Antiques who sets up in the third pavilion in the New England Motel field. Although mainly

a purveyor of wonderful French antiques, which she shops for right at the source, it was the

German grain sacks that pulled me into her booth the very first time.

This time, she brought a fabulous collection of diminutive straw baskets (above), each

containing a glass to hold the health-giving Vichy water that, since 50BC has been luring

those seeking to “take the cure” to Vichy, France.  The backdrop in these photos is of old

French linen-bound books and French linen cloches, more of the treasures that went

straight from Jackie’s booth to my truck. Not shown here is the lovely daybed, one of many

special pieces of furniture I have been lucky enough to snag from this friendly and fun

dealer over the years. 

I had a few little straw things of my own (above), the Vichy basket on the right a previous

purchase from Jackie.

     

Because she loves history and loves what she sells, Jackie is among that vanishing breed

of dealers who really knows what she sells and, even better, has the gift of telling the

stories in such a compelling manner that, in spite of heat and other many distractions, I

remember them later!  The baskets (above) in the photo on the left, with the tops that 

slide open on their leather straps, are better, have more value, than the ones on the right

with the hooks.  But,  in the photo on the right, the cork lining in the open basket on the

left, makes it the best of that bunch.

              

Blown glasses are best. Colored glass is better than clear.  An etched Vichy label (above)

is better than one painted on (below).  The numbers on the back side (photo above, on

the left) would allow just the right amount of water to be consumed according to a

Victorian doctor’s orders.

  

I am certainly willing to overlook this clear, painted-labelled glasses’ lesser value in favor

of the charm of its cute little handle!

My collection is beginning to be quite abundant, thanks to Jackie’s French sojourns.  But,

maybe just sitting here looking isn’t enough. Maybe I should be asking Jackie to bring back

a case of that Vichy Water on her next trip to France.  Taking the cure might be just the

thing for breezing through the crazy  heat and humidity of Brimfield in July.

–If you feel the need to take the cure, the antique cure that is, it won’t be necessary to

go all the way to France.  Take a quick, easy trip to www.blissfarmantiques.com  instead.

Amazing Grace

–If I were the betting kind, and someone asked what one word described July  Brimfield

to most people, I would have to put my money on “hot.”  Or maybe “humid.”  

–But, I am going to take the high road.  I won’t complain, at least not now that I am

luxuriating in my air-conditioned house.  Besides, I came home with two truck and trailer

loads of  exceptionally fabulous stuff, saw old friends, made some new ones and was so

impressed, once again, with the good humor and kind hospitality of the dealers. 

–In addition to the things that they brought to sell, bottles of water, sandwiches, ice-

soaked towels, a chair in front of the fan were proffered.  These offerings, many times made

by dealers I had never before met, were gratefully accepted… and not only refreshed my

body and spirit but added to my store of experiences that reinforce my belief that

people are good.

–As I sit here now, thinking and writing , I realize that I’ve changed my mind.  The only

word that I could put my money on to describe Brimfield would be “gracious.”

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

In all my years of selling antiques, I have only known one dealer who didn’t have

a house full of favorite things. She is a smart woman who knows her product.  And

that is all it is to her…a product.  She  can admire it and place it in her inventory,

but keep it?   Not  her!

   

Me, on the other hand? I love everything way too much to sell!  The grain sack

(above) is my oldest. I certainly can’t be expected to sell that!

 

This grain sack (above) ?  Please!  It’s one of my favorites.  I can’t sell that one

either.  I loved the one (below) so much that I hid it so no customer would see

it in the grain sack room.  I have some large piles of  “Private Stock” (all too

wonderful to sell) which I occasionally delve into when someone needs

something special,  like a ram or a bee skep.  I got so anxious about this sack,

that I made it into a purse so no one could talk me out of it!  Not that I ever carry

a purse.  But, still.

All antique dealers have their lists of the things they should have bought and

the things they wish they had not sold.  Most have houses full of their favorites. 

Many keep only the best of the best.  I only keep what makes my heart sing.

That makes it the best of the best for me.

“What Are Those Things?”

A customer came here the other day, a set decorator I’ll call D, who I really like

a lot. She was looking for mostly workbenches and industrial pieces for an up-

coming movie she is designing.  She brought her friend along, another set designer

from California, who I will call S.  After my house, they were continuing on to the

Finger Lakes where they both have family. 

As we wandered through the house, on the off-chance that something for the movie

was lurking around inside, S asked “what are all those things you have everywhere?

I love them!” 

  They were, of course, grain sacks.

But why had she never seen grain sacks before?  A set designer! From California!

Well, she just hadn’t!  But, now that she had made this miraculous discovery, she

wanted two for some chairs.  So, while D and Ken went out to the barns to check

out the big stuff, S and I went to work picking out the two very best sacks in the

bunch.

This was no easy task given the hundreds of choices and, at some point, S said  “I

wish you only had two!”   We started with the new-old stock (like the ones above),

which most people who are new to grain sacks prefer for its less well-worn presence. 

      

And, graduated quickly to the old-old sacks.  S is a set decorator, from California,

after all, and was thrilled with the old hand-worked repairs, the darnings and

patches that I love.

    

We tried different ones on the back a chair,  made piles on the floor and, in what

felt like no time ’cause I was having such fun,  found the perfect two. 

Customers always offer to help put the grain sacks back on the shelves and I always

decline.  There’s nothing more relaxing than being alone with my grain sacks, folding,

stacking on the correct shelves : wreathes with wreathes, plows with plows. A bonus

that day was finding Mitten, sound asleep and not even pretending to help. I guess I’m

not the only one who relaxes around grain sacks.

Wishes On Grain Sacks

A few weeks ago, a friend, one who started out as a customer, came to my

house to get some grain sacks. She drove a distance, at least 8 hours one

way, to get here. Before she came, she emailed that she was so excited about

seeing me. My exact feelings went right back to her. I like her so much and,

when we finally saw each other, we smiled and hugged, talked, laughed and

went crazy looking at grain sacks. It was a perfect few hours before she had

to be on her way, each of us making promises to see each other again soon,

expressing wishes that we lived closer to each other. 

The really unusual thing, for me, is that we had never met in person till that

day! Our entire  relationship was made of air…. words in the air via the

computer and boxes of grain sacks sent through the air from me to her.

Without computers, the internet and google we probably would never have

met. And what a loss that would have been.

Some of my favorite grain sacks state “God Bless Our Crops and Animals”….

A few ask for the  blessing of the owner’s handiwork….

I hope that someday, among the piles of my treasured textiles, I will be able to

say that I have a grain sack that expresses my wish :  “God Bless My Friends”

Grain Sacks. They’re Everywhere !

I always think of myself as a seller of industrial furnishings, with a little bit of

mercantile, a little bit of painted country, a little bit of European and a lot of funk,  just

to keep it interesting.

And, while I’ve been buying and selling grain sacks for 13 years,  in the last year it

seems like they have really taken over.  They’re everywhere!   

They are certainly all over my house.  And, I  have a large grain sack room where I store

the hundreds of sacks in my stock. 

Of course,  my spaces in Bournebrook and Hudson Supermarket are brimming with

sacks, as well.

One of my favorite times is when I happen to be in one of my spaces when someone from

Germany comes in and spots the sacks.  They are always so pleased to see these items

from home and to think of the names of German towns on furnishings across America.

I fell in love the day I saw my first German grain sacks in a pile of junk  in a  guy’s attic. I

knew that something good had happened, in fact  I felt like I had hit the jackpot!  But,

even then, I had no idea that  they would fill my space and life in this way.

A Circle of Friends

It started with my friend, Jennifer (www.jenniferlanne.com), procurer of much that

is good.  She  purchased a  banner that practically shouted, because of its 15′ length,

“Elm Tree Farm”.  She had the “Farm” part made into a huge pillow for herself and gave

me, pal that she is, the rest of the banner.  I picked up her finished pillow from our mutual

friend, Jerry, the upholsterer since I would be seeing her before he would. 

While I still had it,  Diane, a friend and customer of both Jennifer’s and mine,

from Washington DC, was at my house and took a photo of a bunch of us holding Jennifer’s

pillow. A few days later,  Diane  showed the photo to yet another friend, a picker (also

named Diane, so we’ll call her Diane #2), who is from Pa. and from whom both Diane (#1) 

and I buy.  Diane #2  was, with good reason, crazy about the pillow and called me right

away. To make an already-too-confusing story short, I had Jerry make “Tree” into a pillow

for Diane #2 using a plain grain sack for the back.  Above is what it looked like on my sofa. 

–Lucky me :  I have “Elm” tucked away, so there might still be a pillow in my future.

–Too many people?  From too many states?  Too many Dianes?  Too many pillows? Never!

Storm Of Colors In Hudson

June 12, 2010.  Put it on your calendar!   ‘Cause that’s the day that

Earth Angels, Hudson Supermarket and I are finally coming together 

in one giant colorful explosion of art, antiques, food and fun.

Above, Chris, Cassandra, Able, Ken, me, artist Jennifer Lanne, artist

Kitty Babendreier, and Earth Angel’s Jen O’Connor make the final

arrangements for an Artists’ Showcase, to be held at the Hudson

Supermarket, Hudson, NY.  It  promises to be an event to remember.

Featured in magazines such as Country Living and Where Women

Create,  some of today’s most talked-about  artists will be showing

their work which includes  paintings, mixed-media,  jewelry and

wearable art, textile pieces, vintage shadowboxes and more. The

antique dealers of the Hudson Supermarket will be ready with

fabulous items to charm and amaze. Me? Grain sacks, natch !

Not to be missed is The Cafe at Hudson Supermarket, where the

incredible Chef Chris will be rustling up the most delicious food.

Plus, cupcakes! Worried about that second helping? Walk it off on

Warren Street where dozens of antique and other very intriguing

shops await.

Above, on the right, is Kathy. She’s royalty, the queen of some small

country that no one has ever heard of.  And yet, her invitation to

come and enjoy the day with us is as warmly extended as if she were

everyday people, like you and me. We hope you can make it!

Information :  www.earthangelstoys.com

Directions :  www.hudsonsupermarket.com