Saturday, August 5, 2017

"Anybody can buy.

 It takes an artist to shop.”
Jennifer Finney

Every now and then, you know I have to vent about being in business.  I read several articles this week about the demise of shopping malls, iconic stores, and consumer buying.  All in all, it felt like the phrase I sometimes use...stick a fork in is done.  Has shopping been so "Amazoned" that we are losing another cultural motif?  I have had my shop 26 years now, and I confess that I am a little overdone myself.  This is an excerpt from one of the articles about the death of malls..."the grandmothers and goths, the flirting teens, the mall walkers and mall rats. They're all online now, face-to-screen, interacting in ways impersonal and impulsive. It's a different sort of marketplace, unsurpassed in its efficiency and with its own code and culture, but without the skylights, the sweet smells, the splashing fountains, the ethereal Muzak--all of which are still around, but you have to look hard to know it."

That got me thinking about what is missed when you just look at the flat screen...and many times the smartphone index card sized screen.  You cannot appreciate the colors or the shapes of vintage pottery.  A fellow dealer who visits every summer always brings me a tote of some wonderful pottery from out her way in the Midwest.  Consider this piece of Abingdon Pottery, a pottery that was established in 1908 by Raymond E. Bidwell as the Abingdon Sanitary Manufacturing Company. It started making art pottery in 1934 and stopped production of art pottery in 1950. Abingdon Pottery was known for its plumbing fixtures and its dense, white vitreous china, resistant to hairline cracks and chips, yet here is a wonderfully shaped vase in this coral color that seems so soothing.  Now, here it does look nice but to feel the cool porcelain on a warm day and see the shape up close and personal...a different experience.
Or consider a Royal Copley vase with the coral blended with the now popular gray and a touch of white.  Royal Copley china was made by the Spaulding China Company of Sebring, Ohio, from 1939 to 1960.  Just the colors alone attract the eye...
I am wondering if the younger generation is losing touch not just figuratively with life.  Another article on smartphones and the younger generation quoted a 13 year old...“We didn’t have a choice to know any life without iPads or iPhones. I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.”

So, as I put out vintage pottery, I wonder what the vintage shops will be like in another 26 years.

There has been all the chatter about making America great again...what about the shops that are preserving what was great in American arts and crafts and supporting those artists who are creating even as we speak?  What about the shopkeepers who are still searching, cleaning, displaying for your pleasure?  We agonize over cheap Chinese labor, and then we expect these shopkeepers and artisans, the protectors of our past and the creators of our future, to work for pennies also.  

So, if you love to shop and not just point and click, step away from the screen and head out into the wilderness of stuff!

     "If you wait until you have enough money to decorate and make your home your own, it will never happen.  If you wait until you can afford to buy everything new, you are missing the point.
It is the old, the new, the hand-me-down, the collected, the worn (but loved) things in your home that make it your own."
  Stacy Risenmay

1 comment:

Antique Paperie Co said...

I echo the words you have written in this post! Having 3 teenagers, with 3 cell phones {and no sense of adventure} I wonder what they can find so fascinating on a cell phone that they cannot find in a great piece of literature, an afternoon trail walk, or around the table Sunday's after church. When I hear someone say "Oh, it's cheaper on Amazon" - well, yes, it could be. Where is the joy in "the find"? The younger generation has no idea. And another thing - there is no accounting for good taste. Made in China and $3? A knock-off? No thanks. I hear my daughter say all the time "It looks the same, pay the cheaper price" -
but it isn't the same....I'll enjoy the small town shop owner and her wares that no amount of late night "google searching" and "get it here cheaper" websites can hold a candle to.
It's in my line of work - paper art - as well - sure you can buy a card wholesale for 50 cents, sell the card for a buck, but does the receiver of that dollar card get the same amount of pleasure from the cheap card? I think not. It's 10 times harder for paper artists like me to sell a $5 card than it is a $1 card. And that is a shame. We cannot work for pennies. But remember what those mall walking grannies used to say? Honey, you get what you pay for. Great post!