Sunday, July 28, 2013

"Never go on trips

with anyone you do not love."  ~ Ernest Hemingway

And I would think this vintage trailer would be a true test of that!
This is a Serro Scotty Trailer.  The company was founded by John Serro of Irwin, PA, in 1957.

The campers were manufactured until 1997, but the company was reborn as Serro Scotty Worldwide in 2006.  This is from the Scotty website: "Beginning as a teardrop camper, Scotty trailers grew to include the 13’ and 15’ Sportsman and HiLander  which became the backbones of the Scotty line-up.  A Scotty trailer grew to be more than a RV but a lifestyle.   The home of this lifestyle was the family-owned campground 'Scottyland'  where Scotty owners gathered, camped together and became family.  Large clubs sprang out of this and their camping together became known as  'Scotty Time'.  The original campground is still open in Rockwood, Pennsylvania, and welcomes all campers."
Also, "[t]oday, the vintage Scottys are treasures – lovingly restored special gems.  They tell of a time of camp-outs gone by, laughs laughed, and stories told.  New clubs have formed welcoming both vintage and modern Scotty campers."  And, just in case you want to join this lifestyle, my friend George of White Whale Antiques has one lovingly restored for sale...$1500.  If you are interested, contact me, and I will put connect you with George.  Anyway, check this out...
 

 It is supposed to sleep four...maybe...everyone needs to cuddle up...
There is a mini kitchen...stove, icebox, sink...and matching utensils even!




 Storage is designed strategically!

George has collected some wonderful accessories...check out these mugs...and, by the way, this trailer is selling furnished!

Of course, there are cookbooks...
 
and stories to read and to write...
 So, if you want to join the "Scottys", here is an opportunity,
 and, even cats can stay!
 
Keep in mind, many are buying these little charmers for "pop-up" stores...or fun backyard retreats...or hitch it up and see the USA!  In San Diego, Helene Cornell has reworked a couple trailers into "motel" rooms...an article called her a trailer queen, who turned "canned ham" into "glam," and there is rejoicing in this rejuvenation.   American Express (which we now accept) has helped to fund her "passion"...here is a video if you are interested...
So, maybe George's trailer will inspire your passion...but here is a neat quote from the novel The Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz, "Mom, camping is not a date; it's an endurance test.  If you can survive camping with someone, you should marry them on the way home."

Sunday, July 21, 2013

"Some changes look negative on the surface

but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”
~Eckhart Tolle

An article in the NY Times this week gives some credence to what I have been saying about this antique world.  Even in the high end world, the interest in traditional antiques has faded...as the man says, "Ack!"
They are featuring a grasshopper weathervane in the article which has a price of $425 and says "negotiable"!  Not some priceless antique!
 
Interestingly, a grasshopper weathervane actually has a neat back story since an original is atop Faneuil Hall in Boston.  It was made in 1742 of gilded copper with glass eyes, and it was created by Shem Drowne.  Peter Faneuil had the building erected at his own expense for a central marketplace and a town hall.  He selected the grasshopper because it was the trade emblem for a merchant exchange.  It is a copy of the weathervane on the Royal Exchange in London which was founded by Sir Thomas Gresham whose family crest was a grasshopper because the name Gresham means "grass cricket".
 
But, when "the Hamptons" have scaled back antique shows due to lack of interest, you know buyers of all kinds have changed not just those whose budgets have forced them to seek bargains.  And, they want things that are unique.  Still, there is something to be said about the old being repurposed.  Old furniture is made from wood not glued sawdust, and glass is crafted with care.
 
So, this antique/vintage market brings a new perspective to retail.  Does the item have a purpose~not I need this so I have every one in the collection.  Will this piece of pottery hold water so I can put flowers in it?  Does this piece of furniture need to be painted--not everything needs white paint as even Rachel Ashwell discovered--or will it work well as it is?
 
Many people comment that our shop has so much "stuff", but, in the Pinterest world, stuff drives the market.  The younger consumer is used to seeing things flash by and has no problem with overload.
 
Antique/vintage stores have blended into the regular retail world.  The stuffy musty shops are slowly being replaced by shops with an Anthro or Pottery Barn vibe...and those big name stores have copied many of the antique shop concepts...check this photo from Pottery Barn...could be an antique shop...
Or, take this chair from Anthropologie...an old chair with an old frame...below is the description from their site...oh, and the price - $980!  Do you think they'll do better?  Nope!
"The brainchild of designer, artist and our friend Leslie Oschmann. An American ex-pat living in Amsterdam, Leslie is endlessly inspired by forgotten treasures found at local flea markets across Europe, never taking for granted what many pass by. Old furniture parts, canvas mailbags, discarded fabric scraps and oil paintings are all transformed into everyday works of functional art, like this frame chair."

Sure, there will still be the high end shops, but, if the shows in the Hamptons have lost their appeal, the local neighborhood antique shop that will "emerge" in the 21st century will be a different kind of shop...a shop that blends traditional with repurposed and not just shelves of dishes, glassware, etc etc etc.  Key in the mix will be the styling they see in the shops...how does it fit the décor...is it too "precious" for a home with children...is it affordable?  Is the shop more than old stuff?  Does it have appeal even though they are used to shelves lined with stuff in box stores?  Bottom line...what can I do with it because the new generation is not into dusting a shelf sitter!  If it has purpose, if it has a "look",  it remains valuable to the new generation of buyers.  As Coco Chanel said, "Fashion changes, but style endures."

Sunday, July 14, 2013

"Every day each of us wakes up,

reaches into drawers and closets, pulls out a costume for the day and proceeds to dress in a style that can only be called preposterous."  ~Mary Schmich

I brought in drawer liners...I thought with all of the climate changes that it would be good to keep a fresh scent in closed areas or even on linen shelves.  Then I got to thinking about the drawer...
Drawers were not common in furniture until the 17th century.  In medieval Europe, a "coffer" held clothes.  That was just a simple wooden box with a hinged lid, and it may or may not have had feet.  Once again, the nobility had these chests in their homes.   This is a 1700s French oak chest.
An early transitional phase was the installation of one drawer beneath this main compartment.   This was called a mule chest.  It is usually wider than it is high and deep. A mule chest has drawers in its base and a hinged top, beneath which there are either two short drawers or one long one. This form, introduced in England in the 1600, was popular for 100 years in England and colonial America.
A number of early pieces from the seventeenth century were made of oak and manufactured in England.  The French designed in walnut, and many pieces from both countries have survived in the real antique world and sell for thousands of dollars.

When I was researching, I found this description to distinguish between a chest of drawers and a dresser..."Chest: - usually made of wood between 5"-6" in height with 4 to 6 stacked up drawers on each other (chest of drawers). Definitely taller in height than dresser but narrower with no mirror on it.   Dresser:- similar to Chest, but visibly wider but a lot shorter and carries mirror to help you dressing up. A dresser's mirror should display your waist line from 3 to 6 feet away. A chest is too high to do this even if you add a mirror.  If you put a mirror on top of it, it will show your face/head only. (not suggested) Dresser drawers are usually no more than three in stacks but with two rows totaling 6 drawers."  Got that? 

Anyway, some people do really creative things with drawers besides stuffing them with stuff.  Tejo Remy is a Dutch designer, and his theory about creating is: "By making everything our material the world is our toolkit, we transform the familiar and 
incorporate the circumstances. By applying this as a kind of design rule we create our own freedom.”  Obviously, these drawers have been freed from their chests or dressers! 

But, the chest of drawers continues to be a popular item for contemporary designers. The design below was done by Remy in 1991 and is called the "You Can't Lay Down Your Memories" chest of drawers, built up from 20 second hand drawers sourced from local flea markets in Europe tied together with a jute strap. This method means no two productions are the same. The Museum of Modern Art acquired one of the earliest made.  But, if we did this in the shop, you would wonder if we were seriously sniffing/smoking those drawer liners!
Anyway, if you need to free up a musty smell, stop in!  We have a variety of drawer/shelf liners, and they are pretty also!  And...made in America!



 

"When you're a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you're not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You'll know it's there, so you're going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back." ~Steve Jobs

 

 







Sunday, July 7, 2013

"Give me insight into today and

you may have the antique and future worlds." 
                                  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

When the antique and future worlds combine, it is a wonderful moment in this business.  Rather than have things languish on shelves, they find new days, new lives, new friends, and I recently had a bride-to-be looking for some vintage glass for a wedding next year.  She is on the hunt for hobnail, a glass that kept Fenton in business for many years, and, as I unpacked some, I wondered where the name originated.

Fenton Art Glass Company has been in existence since 1905.  Brothers Frank and John Fenton painted decorations on glass blanks made by other companies.  They worked in an old glass factory in Martins Ferry, Ohio, but, when they were unable to get the glass they needed, they decided to start their own factory (note how things were done pre-China days).  The new factory was located in Williamstown, West Virginia, and opened in 1907.
The past couple years have been financially difficult for Fenton, which was still being run by a Fenton...George Fenton, Frank's son.  An article from a local paper chronicled the saga..."We're still very optimistic and hopeful that USGlass, Inc. will be establishing operations here soon," said George Fenton, president of Fenton Art Glass. He said USGlass would have manufacturing and sales operations at the Willliamstown facility and would license sales of Fenton glassware and molds. 

But, back to "hobnail".  Fenton started selling milk glass hobnail in 1939.  It was a big seller, and it allowed the company to expand.  Carnival glass established them as competitors in the hand-made glass industry, and hobnail came along when many factories were failing with the Depression.

Initially, only 2 items were made...lamp founts for a lighting company and barber bottles for L.G. Wright Glass.  Wright found some old molds from Northwood/Hobbs Glass and worked a deal with Fenton.  Here is a photo I found of barber bottles.
 
 L to R:

Fenton Cranberry opalescent
    hobnail barber bottle for L.G. Wright,
Canary hobnail bottle by Hobbs and
   Brockunier, white opalescent hobnail
bottle by Hobbs.

Then, a perfume manufacturer rep saw the barber bottle on a Fenton rep's desk in Chicago, and the Wrisley Perfume bottle was created.  It had a smaller neck and a wooden stopper to keep prices reasonable. 
These lines enabled Fenton to survive, and by the 1940s, the entire Hobnail line was created.  It not only came in milk glass, but it also was offered in blue, topaz, and cranberry.  But, why "hobnail" and not bumpy bubble glass (would be my take)?  It gets its name from the studs or round projections that supposedly resembled the impressions made by hobnails, a large-headed nail used in bootmaking.

By the way, to distinguish Fenton, check the bottom...Fenton has what I call a rolled edge...
 
here are examples of 2 hobnail cat "boots"...one in blue and one in milk glass...

The earlier white milk glass has an opalescence to it while the later lines are pure white.  These pieces are from the 1940s-50s era. 






So, we celebrate the collectors who buy to use...especially the younger ones like Amanda, the bride-to-be, who appreciate the value of things of the past and want them to be useful because..."It's not good because it's old, it's old because it's good." ~Anonymous