Friday, April 04, 2008

Round Top

Greetings y’all!
I am writing from Texas as Sandee and I wrap up our Round Top trip. Our two days in Warrenton and Marburger were not nearly enough but I think we did pretty good considering how fast and furious we went though it. It was Sandee’s first time so it was fun watching it through her eyes and it was the first time for both of us as we went to the actual Red Barn Show. I have to tell you, I heard a woman in front of me say to her friend as we were entering, “Now what I remember about this show is that it is really country”. I DIED!All the booths at Marburger and beyond did not fail to produce. Antiques as art, modern and industrial, European and distressed, no color, lots of color- there is surely something for everyone. If you are a true blue junker, if your blood pressure drops when you walk into an antique mall, if you never have to say, “But what am I going to do with this”- then you must go once in your lifetime.
This was only my fourth time to attend and every time is different. As I am trying to add more and more old stuff to the store, I decided this show should be as important to me as going to the wholesale markets to order Xmas. Actually, even more so because these goods need to sustain me 12 months a year, not just two. If only these dealers had net 90 dating!
This trip was an education. I learned the better fields to shop, seasoned dealers and certain events that are a must see- and more importantly, where to eat! I met many blog fans for the first time, had two incredible meals at Royers, brought back eight jars of Peach Pepper Sauce and now want to design a candle of the same scent.
I talked a lot of business with
Cindy from Dove’s Nest, Robin aka Magnolia Pearl, Cody Foster, Frances and Robin with Country Living, Melanie from Seed Box, Bud from Royers, Carol from Raised in Cotton, Heather Bullard, Amy from Bee Swanky, Mike Peters owner of Blue Hills and K.C. dealers Rich and Christopher Filley, Peg and John from French Vanilla, Carolyn Westbrooke and Shelly from Sweet Pea (and Donnie of course!)

I did more socializing than ever but sadly missed my Rockabilly friend Chris Brown due to the frantic pace. The trip was a joy, so inspiring and I hope a turning point for my shopping style. Forever the chameleon, I am always looking for a new twist or angle to differentiate Curious Sofa from all the other shops and dealers. Then, once I find it, I have to keep changing as copy cats are everywhere but that is because we all like so many of the same things!!
For the record, this is what I saw taking shape this week.

1. Remains of the day:
Horns, shells, bones and body parts. These were everywhere.
Horns: Big, small, loose, mounted, on a head or not. In a bowl or on a wall. I for one am loving the loose, grey or white chalky driftwood-like textures.
Bones: bones were everywhere too. I bought giant ostrich bones for a Halloween project!!
Sea shells: as art and giant sea fans framed under convex glass.
Body parts: Mannequins, doll heads, dress forms, limbs, hands, busts.... you name it. I love all that too.2. We still love shabby.
I know- we need a new word for it so let’s just say 'antique neutrals'- from the Edwardian period to Country Classics. White, ivory, tea stain, painted furniture, distressed wood, old book pages, clock faces, dried roses, dusty bottles, old silver, stained ironstone. Little giblets here and there from lace to thread to keys and all kinds of scrappy objects. It's always a joy to see each dealers take on it.3. Heavy Metal.
Anything with metal seemed to have a sold tag. Medical cabinets, old gurneys as tables, shop chairs, tool collections as art, clock gears, galvanized table tops-- it was big and a welcome mix with some of the typical antique items.4. Art on a Stick.
I encourage you to start seeing differently. It seems if an object has style, form and texture, it can be mounted on a stick to create new meaning. I have seen this for years in museums so if Jennifer Beals isn't around to Flashdance her way into welding you something, do it the easy way by gluing your object on a pedestal, candlestick or lamp base. This is one way to make your favorite object or lonely collectible more significant.

5. Oui, Oui Madam.
You know how you never notice something in particular until you have a need for it? You may have passed it a million times but suddenly, now you see it? I could have cared less about landscaping until I bought my first house and needed to think about the outside of life for a change. So is true with all things French. Now I am not talking about Pierre Deux/French Country stuff (so last year) but for me the newer European style which is fresher, updated and even modern. It can be a little hip with Lucite lamps, chrome furniture and fur
rugs with lots of Belgium mixed in or it can be the homespun, farmer’s daughter French style. Linens that have been washed a million times, lavender scented anything, bleached wood that has been sitting outside for decades, giant distressed bowls as art. Part utilitarian, part hand me down, part carefully picked. I actually like a mix of both which my friend Lisa Luby Ryan does so perfectly in her shop in Dallas- Vintage Living. I saw this in many booths and it was wonderful and the type of living I want for myself. But as with all things you are never quite sure your Midwest customer is ready for it. But a touch of it is essential I think.Below are other sites, booths, merchandise and scenes from Warrenton, Marburger and Round Top.
Sandee and I were up early and off to Canton Thursday morning. I scored with a plethora of junk jewelry that I have no idea what I will do with but I just keep collecting it. Also, the infamous glove molds, satin chair, bargain sign, and shop light covers.
Sandee loves Canton but I will not do it anymore. It was such a contrast to Round Top. This is way too much work trying to find the good stuff. This is what a real scavenger hunt looks like. The next day I decided to stay away and let her while I slept late, rested my feet and caught up with the blog and shop business. Saturday we were headed back home only to keep adding to the trailer throughout Oklahoma. I was finally back at the store by 9:30 p.m. but not to bed until 3 a.m. The staff is excited to see what I found but this will be a weekly process to get it out of the truck, cleaned up, repaired, inventoried and tagged. Our Spring Open House is (finally) this coming weekend so I need to get busy to show the goods.

I can't wait for Round Top again in the fall.
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