Sunday, May 31, 2009
What do you think?
BTW...the blanket chest I purchased at Fricker Auctions is below. Made in northern Indiana, likely in a Mennonite community and by a maker who has some connection to Soap Hollow, Pennsylvania.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Two of our road trips took us to Cincinnati. Last Friday, we headed there to the Queen City Club for the season finale dinner/lecture of the Decorative Arts Society of Cincinnati. We've been members of that group for years, but now that we don't live in Cincy, we don't get there very often. But the speaker was our good friend Sumpter Priddy, so we simply couldn't miss this one. As is usually the case, Sumpter talked of Southern furniture. And he wowed them. It's always fun to be at a lecture when the folks in the chairs have little exposure to the topic at hand--there are often audible gasps, ooohs, and aaaahs. Sumpter's talk was no different when he threw images of great Southern things on the screen, such as the Martin Pfeninger bookcase viewable here. In our minds, this rivals the Newport desk-and-bookcases in terms of design and execution.
Our second trip to Cincinnati started as a trip to Kentucky, but was cut short. Be sure to read our next column for more about our morning spent at Main Auction Galleries, Ohio's oldest auction house.
Then, this past week was auction week at Garth's...the 3rd annual Ohio Valley Auction. Some of the surprises included a segration-era, cast-iron drinking fountain sign that sold for over $7,000, and a blown and cut glass compote that brought over $5,000 (catalogued as Anglo-Irish, but some thought early Bakewell of Pittsburgh). Keep an eye out for Don Johnson's review in an upcoming issue of Maine Antique Digest.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Empty the stepback cupboard in the dining room, unloading china, candlesticks, and tapers, and haul it upstairs to the bedroom, where it suddenly becomes a bookshelf/linen cupboard. Shift a piesafe into the same position, fill the lower shelves with china and stuff the upper shelves full of towels. Take the linens out of the linen press and - ta da! - you can fit a Cuisinart, griddle, stand mixer and all sorts of kitchen paraphenalia into it.
Perhaps because we have such a small space, we're very appreciative of this. We've often looked around our little house and wondered how non-antique people could live here. We're constantly emptying yarn and knitting needles out of a blanket chest only to move it over by the stove and fill it with stove pellets or sticking a quilt on the back of an extra windsor from the dining room and poking it into a living room corner to serve as a seat for visitors. It's nice to be freed from constraints about what forms go where and how they can be used. Case pieces are essentially big wooden boxes and there are no rules about where they can go or what you can put in them, and many antique chairs are just that - chairs - and you can put them wherever someone needs to sit.
Okay, around our house, there are a few rules, because taking things upstairs means hauling them up a ladder into a loft. This morning, we're going to get a chestnut cupboard up the ladder (mercifully, it's two pieces), but if we don't post by Wednesday or Thursday, someone should probably come looking for us....
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
We noted in our current column that Andrew’s employer, Garth’s Auctions, not only uses FSC-certified paper, but also moved to a slightly smaller catalog format that allows them to use considerably less paper. Andrew just learned that Garth’s has taken another small step by moving to paper that is 50% recycled (25% post-consumer content). This “small” step will, over the course of a year, save:
56,000,000 BTUs of engery
7,400 pounds of CO2 emissions
38,000 gallons of water
3,605 pounds of solid waste
We don’t put this out there to brag about one of the companies who helps us pay our mortgage, but merely to show that it really isn’t that hard to make a difference. Something as simple as choosing paper can really help the antiques industry “walk the walk” when it comes to being green!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
But we like to think that this recent move is representative of a larger industry trend: change. Change is good, folks, and it's necessary to maintain a healthy business. The antiques industry has been doing business the same way for a very long time, and as a result, has seen its collector base age and dwindle, putting its long-term viability in real question.
We need to rethink how we do things, from the ways we evaluate and price objects, to the methods we use to market them, and even how we present ourselves to the non-antique-buying public. We hope that we have put some good ideas out there in the pages of MAD over the past twenty or so issues (see our full archive here), and over the next few months, we'll be talking more about how we, as an industry, can do things a little differently. Meanwhile, let us hear from you - do you have ideas for change or have you seen changes at work and making a difference?