Friday, July 1, 2016

"Why Is It This Way?" - Part Two - "The Door Closed"


"Why Is It This Way?"

Part Two

"The Door Closed"



            Each point (aspect) of antiquarian interest (intrigue) is, and as it further refines itself, an ever smaller... already small... smaller ...point (aspect)
Of actual human interest.  Each antiquarian intrigue becomes a further out toward the end of an antiquarian interest diving board.
            Less ‘people’ venture there; to the ‘end’.  There are less there should one get there.  These less are
            Always small in number.
            It has always been this way.
            To ask for.. or to discover... a larger status (state of affairs), one may
            Wish upon a star?  Yes, certainly.  But one speaks to the antiquarian gods alone.
            Both ‘just to the gods’ and, actually, alone... when doing this.  When one comes back from a travel such as that, one will be in the mundane of ‘does the car start?” and taking out the trash ‘please dear’.  That ‘comes back’ utopia is the opposite of ‘always small’; it is a very large...
            That does not, did not and... will not ever... care about... impassioned antiquarian interest.
            OH ONE MAY HAVE a few local and provincial flirts over a “CHAIR” ... “I BOUGHT”... or perhaps a very rare 1850’s daguerreotype photograph ‘image’ of an exterior view of a newly built store... possibly once in a small Maine village... but “no one is sure (yet) where it was”.  Taken.  Someone did ‘take’ the ‘picture’.  But that doesn’t matter.  When one returns from executing curbside trash disposal placement... all of one’s verbose antiquarian banner waving about the discovery of the old photograph has been ‘forgotten’ and ‘moved on from’ by the ‘a very large’.  Only your personal thoughts... hang by their finger tips.  Then...
            Your thoughts drop off and fall... away.  Too.  Periodically you ‘visit’ and ‘flirt’, just yourself... with your “old photograph”.  There is no point in ‘showing it’.  Even to yourself.  You already know what it looks like.  And the rest of them... went to the beach... “anyway”.








            If I take this banter to the commercial side of the antiquarian intrigue... do you sense how fragile that ‘actually is’.  Commercially I am always ‘getting there’ (to the diving board end) and finding either ‘a very few’ (“always small”) or a... no ...one.  That’s how I know about what I am writing.  You... even you... and the other ‘you’... are too..
            NOT THERE.
            Yes:  You have distinguished between a door mat and a Persian rug upon a “floor”.  And... you’ve carried that up a ladder to a few more decorative accessories that you either... found, discovered, bought, inherited or... purloined ‘along a way’ of a ‘that’ that is actually a murky definition of how you “SEE” the antiquarian ...what.
            Do you
            “SEE”?






            Not very much... in the ‘murky’.  I go on without your participation.  You denote that your ‘collection’ is ‘complete’ “anyway”.  So you go to the beach too.  “Always small” becomes even smaller; a smaller ‘always small’.  I have to wait it out.  Soon enough another wandering thought-as-apparition emerges through the murk.  “I am” says they ‘collect’ Bennington Pottery tobacco jars.  Or was it snuff jars; who knows a difference?
            I do.
            They do.
            So I am in luck?  Today?  I have a tobacco jar and a snuff jar
            “BOTH SIGNED”
            “Isn’t that cute” (that you had to take the household trash out BEFORE) you could further explore this interest of yours in... well...
            “OLD”
            “THINGS”.
            “That IS too bad that they are ALL THAT:  You always have ‘old things’.”
            While I am ‘accommodating’ with that... another arrives wanting to know if I will “take sixty’ for a “that”.  This is in the very small at the board’s end too.  So I say yes.  I know my chance very well here... there and ‘about that’.  But they know too... that I know... too and we have a brief conversation about the ‘cleaning up’ of the ‘surface’ with this including a fingernail scrape ‘test’ to ‘assure’.  These are all just fireflies in the murk at the end of the board of ‘always small’.  I like fireflies.
            Do you?






            If the defining is ‘always small’, ‘diving board end’, ‘murk’ and ‘fireflies’...as the ‘is it this way’ “Why?” and...
            Always has been
            Since ever an “I” may remember
            Ever...
            Is that an ‘it’ or an ‘anything’... at all?  If the Persian rug and the door mat are on the floor of the front hall floor of the front door to the...
            Wait patiently...
            You walk on them
            Throughout the home.
            If the ‘stand’ is a ‘table’ and the chest is a ‘dresser’ and the bedstead ‘was my mother’s’ and the timepiece is ‘the old clock’ that ‘stopped working’... do you look back over your shoulder to the closed front door that is keeping out the murk and the fireflies?  That really is the boundary of ‘always small’.  Just close the door.  It is gone.
            “It” is an individual’s actual interest in “antiques”.  This is the that that has always actually been the way it has always been ever since... “I” may remember.  It is not a something that is “happening now”.




            “YOUNG PEOPLE” have always been “NOT INTERESTED” in “ANTIQUES”.  I know this fully for I was once a young person highly interested in antiques and noticed fully the “no one else was”.  Except “OLD PEOPLE”.  So that takes care of that:  Antiques interest is an ‘always small’ gathering of “OLD PEOPLE”.  Let us just “BANK” on that.




            And move on to “the DEALERS”
            This is the occurrence that there is a workable notion that one may “MAKE MONEY” by (buying and) selling “ANTIQUES”.  Even television shows demonstrate this
            Perchance.
            I remember when this ‘that’ “did not”.  No... ‘back then’ it was a very small ‘always small’ to be an ‘antiques dealer’.  No one asked me about it... back then.  Most didn’t even know I could be, in front of them, an “antiques man”.  Originally we (antiques dealers) were a ‘curiosities vendors’... with some old books and paintings “thrown” into that mix.  A sorrowful plight?  No... really... no one noticed ‘at all’.
            But then the enhanced escapade escaped into a wild movement of ‘things’ called antiques that, as I opened with (Part One), are actually ‘crud’; old vans full of smelly crud.
            Yes... that is what it is.  Do not believe me.  Look down your front hall standing on the Persian rug... in past the door mat... and notice the ‘old (serpentine front) Hepplewhite New England made satin wood inlayed “Federal” “card table”. Then look on further past to the tall clock; the ‘grandfather’s clock’.  Do you smell anything?  Of course not.
            Crud is crass.  It is not a curiosity.  It is not a decorative art.  It is not art.  It is crass crud... that, usually, smells when it is closed up in an old van and has the sun beat upon that closed up unit (“always small”?).




I turn the tide?  I just did?  The always small... is always small... and now buried within the crud... industry... that is pandered and peddled as ‘antiques’ ‘business’.  Bantered, driven, parked, yard saled, flea marketed, auctioned, stall shopped, store fronted and hoarded... crud... is industry.  And not small.  It is very large... the secondary market; used things.  It... here; in our USA but cinched down to New England... is the largest and the finest in the world.  No place else is better... anywhere ever.  Crud.  That is the one word of the largest ‘what it is’.   It does not effect you at all; just close the door.  The crud, like the ‘very small’ antiques intrigue... is gone.  Too.




Then.... what is the... “Why is it this way”
            It is only that...; has always been only that and... is always small.  Keep the door closed.  It will never be seen unless, of course, one ‘stumbles across’ a ‘real antique’ when out and about... and does actually notice that; a ‘real’ ‘antique’.  Then one may address it; that... the ‘antique’ stumbled upon.  Otherwise just ‘don’t’.  Stay back somewhere between the Persian rug and the door mat in the front hall of the front door to the intrigue of the very small apparition appreciated as ‘antiques’.  It is this way... and that is why.







Thursday, June 16, 2016

"Why Is It This Way?" - Part One - "Always Small"


"Why Is It This Way?"

Part One

"Always Small"



            Is not... that nice?  They own a splendid array of crud and want me to “look at it” (their words).  They would also like me to “buy it” (their words again but not spoken... to MY face.  But... to each other’s face... it was spoken... I assure).
            That is just splendid crud that they have... a lot of...:
            Yes... crud.
            At this moment... it is a confined lot; a defined lot... of ‘their crud’.  It is a selection of their crud.  They have it kept-up... in an old van (enclosed truck)... this lot... of their crud.  So... I don’t want to have to walk all the way over there in the parking lot to look at a ‘van full’ of their current selection of ...their crud.  That’s right:  I don’t.
            They don’t either for they already know that I ‘won’t buy it’ (the van full of their crud).  Hoping for a ‘one item sale’ is the master plan.  A ‘hope’ for a “WE FOUND” and that object titled by blanket definition (words such as ‘chair’, ‘box’, ‘glass’, ‘painting’... or similar... ilk).  Object title defined crud.  Antiquarian crud?  Barely.  THAT (an antique) is a ‘they say’
            And how would they know?
            1930’s lighting fixtures from a funeral parlor spray painted ‘radiator silver’ (“THE PAINT IS ORIGINAL”).  So are the (electrical) wires... too; “ORIGINAL”.
            Crud.
            The ‘idea’ (commercial notion) is that the “FIXTURES” will be deployed by a decorating firm during one of their “JOBS”.  At a “RETAIL PRICE” they will be ‘deployed’ (sold to) (the... ‘whatever’).  That’s the idea.
            “THEY WERE AT A YARD SALE”.
            “IN BATH” (Maine).
            Oh... is not... THAT a buttress of their qualities?  It is passed to me as being one.
            “Good for you!” I say.  They both just looked a me.  I mean really; that’s what they did.  I mean... I don’t want them (the fixtures):  I am not going to BUY them.  Who... wants those?
            No one that I know.






            Being called on because I am a “YOU KNOW” expert... by old van loads of crud...  That is not even a ‘par for the course’.  They don’t even notice ‘that smell’ when the doors of the van are opened.  THAT is JUST THE SMELL of... “antiques”... I want in my home.  It is the smell of old money?  The smell of... “money”?   The smell of... no money?  The smell of crud.  The smell of old 1930’s funeral parlor lighting fixture crud?  NOW THAT IS A SMELL.
            “Let the bodies hit the floor”.
            As is said.
            No.  Their actual “concern” (their word) is that they have “FOUND” (their word again) a seventeenth century New England wrought iron and wood block mounted ‘lighting device’ (my words) titled, by them... “a rush light”.  Prefixed with “CAN YOU TELL US ANYTHING ABOUT (seventeenth century New England wrought Iron) RUSH LIGHTS”.  (I ‘can’ tell but I ...may... not).
            And... anyway... that quest is finalized by “Oh shit I forgot to BRING IT”.  For real:  I am not making that up.  So I am back to the funeral parlor ‘lighting’ and their van full of crud and ...well... ‘getting rid of them’ (dismissal).  That has to be done.  They just ‘don’t leave’.  REALLY.  “Go away” is not a component of their thought process.






            So they’d already told me about their “rush light” and started to tell me the ...adventure... of them finding “IT”.  I pushed back on that story with “BRING IT NEXT WEEK”.  And we just reviewed what happened with that.  I had prepped a tad for them; I brought Hayward’s COLONIAL LIGHTING book with me to ‘assist’ (show them pictures... of rush lights).  I’ve been using “Hayward’s” since I was... fourteen years old... nearing fifty years.  It is ‘the book’ for those that ‘do know’.  Who cares?  No one.  That is fine for me.  Anyway... I didn’t need it.
            Right?
            I was, also, going to refer them to an older dealer who was a lighting collector and an ‘in good standing’ member of the ‘Rush Light Club’ of Colonial American lighting collectors AND had sold her large collection of early American lighting “AT SKINNER’S” (Mass. auction business) at least fifteen years ago but she....
            Did not sell the “what she knows” so ... well... I can ‘bank’ on her and her ‘any opinion dear?”... anytime.  I want.  Don’t worry:  She knows what ‘crud’ is too.
            But that was a waste of ‘thought’.
            Right?
            They forgot to ‘bring’ what they are calling a “rush light”.





            These are the same people who don’t (do not) ‘think’ (feel) the “antiques business” is “doing very well”.  The people with the funeral parlor lighting fixtures and the their van full of... smelly... crud.  These people.  Not me.
            Right?
            Really... right?  And what if they did actually find something (a ‘good’)... a preferably ‘great’ “antique” (old New England object)?  There is ‘no justice’ so that... does happen.  I always have to be on the lookout.
            Right?
            This whole is getting encumbered?  Actually the words are ‘top heavy’; this is getting top heavy?  It is a could ‘tip over’?  But... an encumbered mess... of old crud... it is not.  Even when it tips over.  For... ‘a lot’ (very often)... it does that (tip over) ‘a lot’
            These days.  Why is it this way?




            



            Because it has always been that way.... with ‘antiques’.  Most always all promoted ‘it’s antique’ are crud that their owners think (feel) are antiques that are, at the least, “good”.. “antiques”.  Really.  From my very first moments as an antiquarian buff and dealer; student and commercial broker... I... spent the whole time plucking the good and great from absolute astonishing detritus heaps of
            Crud.  That was before they’d invented ‘vans full of crud’ ‘for sale’ in ‘parking lots’.  It was just heaps of crud everywhere and my understood being ‘it IS this way’ and I am the student – broker who... pluck... from this ‘astonishing detritus heaps’.
            What fun I HAD... and still HAVE.  Nothing has changed.  Even the unknowing idiots are ... the same.  The ...STUFF... is the same; ‘good stuff’ found midst ‘bad stuff’ (crud).  THE SAME.  I find as much if not more ‘than ever’.  I am ‘group hugged’ by more ‘idiots’ than ever:  Well intentioned, impassioned, boisterous, enthusiastic, bubbling, giddy... ‘idiots’.  VERY FINE FOLK... until an ‘antiques’ is the issue.  Then... it falls flat on the face.





            The funeral parlor ‘lighting fixtures’ are ‘installed’ as evening event lighting on a “DECK” attached to a “HOME” that “OVERLOOKS”
            “THE WATER”.  Does anyone know they are funeral parlor lighting?  No.  They are like a ‘ship in a storm’ painting:  “Oh look at THAT!”.  Yes... it is a painting of a sinking ship.
            “Oh.”
            There is a lot more to art than that... and most of it, including sinking ship paintings... is crud.  If one collects well... one will have a very modest... pile of crud.
But the big piles of crud are absolutely ALL still here.  No ‘thrown out’ at the town dump.  No.  I am around dozens who hunt town dumps and show me... endless pieces of crud they found there and... plan to and DO “sell”.  Sell crud?





            I do.  All the time.  I enjoy watching your wallet empty upon a “THAT” of  my crud.  I sell ‘THINGS” to “PEOPLE” who should know better ALL THE TIME.  It is easy to do.  The number of people who ‘don’t know’ (anything about antiques) or, more often, THINK THEY KNOW, greatly out numbers a ‘knowing’ person.  These days.  And...:  It has ALWAYS been that way.  It has not changed.  This last includes people showing me crud that they bought and think is not crud (often described as “GREAT”).  The funeral parlor lighting fixtures are “GREAT”.  They were great at the town dump, in the picker’s truck, on the table at the yard sale (professional yard sales?  Absolutely these days), in the ‘dealer’s van’, in the ‘salvage dealer’s’ ‘warehouse’, in the “I CAN DO SOMETHING WITH THOSE” decorator’s... decoration.  And on the final bill for ‘all that’ (including ‘installation’).  Crud.






            “They offer a hint” is the way the actual light from the lighting fixtures was described to me when I was ‘shown’; a decorator dealer ‘showing off’... them... to me.
            “It’s soft.” I said of the actual light.
            “Yes it is soft.  That’s a very good word for it.  I’ll have to remember that.”
            I sent in a bill?  Should have.  But I don’t care.  I mean... it is just stupid.
            But it sold.  Too.
            Crud sells.  That is why there is so much of it around for sale.  It is, I am confidently told, ‘more difficult’ to sell the crud for a ‘good price’ these days; “it’s not the same”.  “It” is the market for crud.  “People aren’t buying”.  Crud?  Well yes... they are not buying crud for as ‘much money’ as in the past.  But it is not the crud market.  It is the
            Amount of crud... and it’s (crud) ‘for sale’.  It is “all” for sale.  It is not at the town dump.  Even... town dumps run crud stores for themselves... these days.  Okay and stating again; the ‘why is it this way’ crud market is... glutted with endless giant mounds of crud for sale.  The micro group of things called ‘antiques’ is still there; right there... where it has been the whole time I have ‘been doing this’ (antiques dealing).  As I stated, this is the very small ‘I know’ market.  It has always been very small; the market of “I know” antiques.
            Always
            Small.









Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Coming and Going. Of Design. - Part Two


The Coming and Going.

Of Design.

Part Two



            It is easy, once denoted, to practice, polish, perform and ‘Piccadilly’ (the English influence upon old New England design) domestic waste paper basket design... in the old New England home and
            Its imitators.
            Once one is ...sensible... about that (waste paper basket design):  Just look around, after entering the home, for their waste paper baskets and one will...  “ahhhh....” “see them”.  Or not.
            Or what.
            Or “those?”
            And, of course... “oh no”.
Do I care if you toss your nose drip soaked Kleenex into a ‘that’?
            No.
            I do denote the ‘that’ and do, there after, ‘carry on’.  I do not have to ‘remain calm’ for... “WHY?” would I become excited or panicked over ‘obviously bad taste’ in waste paper baskets?  Those sign posts assure me that it is, simply, ‘worse from there’.  When I am in a home, usually upon the “look around” “please” ritual, I notice if the waste paper basket ‘is’ a ‘something’ AND ‘has it been emptied?’.  Yes... that is a touchy spot.  I won’t go there.  It is your job to ‘do that’.  I just look around.
            So if the waste paper baskets ‘are something’ from a design perspective, I do notice and consider this trail sign to suggest this ‘are something’ waste baskets... are something... to a bigger door of many other ‘THINGS’ ‘in there (the home) being an ‘are something... too.   A...
“Queue”.
            Yes... that.  Two crafts will follow with you after this (waste paper basket design awakening) essay.  You will notice waste paper baskets and their design.  You will do something about yours.  Both are ‘not very hard’.



            Waste paper baskets are ‘household furniture’.  There are two kinds (design formulas) of waste paper baskets.  There are the waste paper baskets designed and made to be waste paper baskets.  And there are the ‘conversions’.  A conversion is an object that had an original usage... and intended usage... that caused it, due to its design, to be high jacked to become a waste paper basket because it
            “WORKS GREAT” for that... usually accompanied by a
            “LOOKS GREAT” design (aesthetic) denotation ... too.
            Both sorts are fine.  It is a design quality thing from there on.  “Good taste”.
            So what is ‘good waste paper basket taste’ in the old New England home; the ‘those homes’... the old white houses on the village’s upper main street?  Yes... those homes.  These are the ‘those homes’ that are the beacon light of old New England Wasp decorum.  So what is?
Well.... just getting in the door to ‘see’ is a stumbling block for most.  They ‘don’t let people in’.  And I know that.  So, boys, if your showing up in camo cargo shorts, trail sandals and a pair of sunglasses hung at the neck of your ‘includes girth’ sized Polo Shirt...  For girls:  Do not put the sunglasses in the hair.  Okay?





            This is touchy.  I am talking about sighting old New England home waste paper baskets in their natural setting.  It is a lot harder to do than one might ‘figure’.  And I love it when YOU ‘figure’.  Usually you doing that does NOT include ‘waste paper basket’ ANYTHING.  You know what I mean:  The ‘you know’ when you ‘go figure’.
            So there now.  And I usually discern the two kinds.  The more carefully and costly the manufactured waste paper basket, the ‘easier to’ discern.  Usually they are subdued and bright, clean and crisp but ‘toned down’.  No glare, no shine, no refraction. Usually a decoration of standard and subtle New England theme.  Or subtle... natural... New England. 
An example of the first is... a quality made...  painted deep red... deep oval heavy metal of deep standard form with, for example, a toned down (faded) “old” (faux) “(Clipper Ship) print” ...and only that print, ‘mounted down’ to the front side.  ‘Mounted down’ is different from ‘glued down’.  ‘Glued down’ looks like a ‘glued down’.  “Mounted down” is an ‘at time of manufacture’ mounting down of the decorative print.  Old New England homes do not decorate with glue gun crafting.  No they do not.  They “bought it that way”; their waste paper baskets.  I am not speaking of ‘crafted’ waste paper baskets.  I seek ‘bought it that way’ waste paper baskets.  GOOD ONES.








            Enhanced decorative messaging... stepping up from these old New England home classics... are the preferred old money statement of ‘natural’ waste paper baskets; ...old... baskets made of natural New England materials.  For example... ‘made of Birch Bark’.  Preferred are the ‘old’ (1880-1930) ‘souvenir’ type handmade tacked and sewn, sweet grass rim wrapped, all bark bottom and woven sweet grass handled... waste paper baskets.  They are the ‘ones brought back from summer’... at cottage or camp... ‘on the lake’ or ‘in the (White) Mountains’.  “By Uncle Harry’s second wife (“THEY BOTH DRANK”) when they ‘stayed here’ after (the first world) war.  Faint ‘wood burned’ inscriptions stating, for example “Franconia Notch Woodstock N.H.” are a plus... especially if dated, say, ‘1909’.  That the basket has actually been used (lightly) in the home for... ONE HUNDRED YEARS... needs to be understood too.  IF you ‘can find one for sale’ “IT” will be ‘surprisingly expensive.  Either ‘play’ (get your wallet out) or
            ‘Go away’








            Good ones are NOT easy to find.  But they absolutely send the right message.  There are some very expensive birch bark waste paper baskets.  Very expensive.  For very rich people.  But I do not want to touch that right now.*** 



*** :  Being very short:  The most desired birch bark New England / Maine waste paper baskets are those handmade, hand decorated and hand signed by Tomah Joseph, a Passamaquoddy artist associated with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Campobello.  They are the number one. They must be signed and dated. They must be perfect (condition).  Hard ...very hard to ‘see’... even ‘in museums’.  Scarce and expensive in the market.  They are a ‘ten thousand dollar waste paper basket’.  Don’t worry, you will know when your are ‘around one’.  If there is one in use in a home you are visiting... “queue”. 












            What is an example of an acceptable conversion?  Well... commonly, one finds ‘old kegs’ (antique small barrels) used (“converted”).  Popular and findable.  Most prefer the refinished ‘go anywhere’ but the New England antiques collector cult seeks ‘original paint’ and ‘original surface’.  These get expensive.  Not ‘very expensive’.  Just ‘expensive’.  The ‘an old refinished’ surface is the easiest (and most affordable) to find.  Subtle, classic and ‘easy to understand’, these nestle in ‘anywhere’.  I cannot find enough of them.  Usually twenty-five, forty-five, sixty-five... dollars... and rising.  If you find one and like it... buy it.  They ‘don’t grow back’ (turn up).  Don’t get too picky:  It is just a waste paper basket.






            At the start of today’s chapther I stated ‘its imitators’.  There is a new grouping of design... crashers.  Smitten with the discernment of waste paper baskets, the household design furniture object... and the need climb the domestic ladder of ‘old New England’ merged with an aura of ‘old money’... more and more sightings of cheesy ‘new’ waste paper baskets posing as ‘old New England’ waste paper baskets... are, well... “about” and “foisted” from... well... faux old New England Homes.  I know the difference.  It is simple.  Old ones... are real ones... and they are hard to “GET”, “FIND” and “BUY”.  New ones... posing as old ones... do not show the home and its decorator ‘best’.  Got it?  Ok then... again:  If it is phony, it shows that (its phony design) to the people who know and ...those are the ones you least want... “noticing that”.  Just buy the expensive old waste paper baskets, put them appropriately in the home and shut-up.  That is the way it has always been done.   Costly, I understand.  Perhaps checking grandmother’s home for her old waste paper baskets may ease this.





            The bigger point of this essay is that I have tried to convey the suggestion that one actively apply an observant design based awareness to ...everything... and, too, that design observation to ‘all’ as a galaxy of unity... too.  Starting with squirt guns and waste paper basket I have... merely suggested... and now hint at... that denotation of design is not only appropriate for an antiquarian eye but is absolutely needed to be applied to absolutely every object one encounters or chooses to encounter.  I, for example, “LIVE” within design and its observation.  I ‘never leave’.  But:
Yes; there is an on and off switch that you... may... use.  It is okay to take ‘time off’ with your ‘art eye’ and go to a proverbial beach in dirty flip flops and a cheap folding chair.  Just understand that ‘the real ones’ (old New England Wasp decorum) ‘don’t do that’... ever.  Polishing your apple eye for old New England design... is the eternity.  If it is not ‘you’... then ‘don’t.  No one will miss you.