Category: Why We Sell
We found this piece on the street during Fargo’s Cleanup Week. Yes, that makes us trash pickers. That’s not really news; we’ve been on Night Time Live with Bob Harris (on The Mighty KFGO) a number of times talking about this. Obviously, rescuing works like this is nothing we are embarrassed about.
As an artist, the idea of another artist tossing her works out made me a bit sad though. And it reminded me of a debate I had with a professor in my college days.
In an art history class, we were discussing Venus de Milo I think it was… If not, it was another classical marble sculpture designated as Art with a capital A. Yet this work of art was found in a garbage pit; discarded, it seems, by its creator.
If, as we were being taught, Art with a capital A is defined as works which are created to be beautiful or to communicate important ideas or express the creator’s feelings – how could a work thrown out by its creator be considered art? If the artist himself had decided that the work was inferior – either by not communicating the intended message or not meeting the creator’s definition of “beautiful” – how could we call it art?
This, of course, leads to axioms of “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Not to mention the classic, “I know it when I see it.”
That last line is most known in the US for its role in the porn vs art debate in a landmark Supreme Court obscenity case. However flawed that statement is – & it is, all these expressions lead to paths of individualism and subjectivity, to the arbitrary whims of personal taste.
Yet, if enough of us agree to call a thing beautiful, or otherwise feel we “get it”, we can call an ancient discarded marble sculpture “Art with a capital A.”
Which is why this person will happily sort through another’s trash just to salvage a piece which will become another’s art treasure.
Given the current situation, the dreaded coronavirus, we’ve seen an explosion in DIY and crafting — including a throw-back to Victorian hobbies, such as scrapbooking.
We’re no different; we’ve been putting in a lot more hours in the studio – and not just for custom pieces, but been listing items in our handmade Etsy shop, LunaTiqueBazaar, too.
And we’ve been keeping busy with our crafty-DIY supply shop, KindnessOfStrangers, including restocking with new old stock embroidery kits featuring kitsch-tastic wishing-wells, owls, & mushroom designs!
But I, the wifey, came here to blog today to share some images of a sweet old scrapbook we once had in our possession. It was a book compiled by a woman who clearly had spent a long time in 1955 recovering from a hip injury.
Along with the kitschy old “get well” greeting cards, and an odd note from well-wisher about her icky toe (see below – if you wish!!), the maker of the book had created delightful drawings, including this “stepping stones to recovery” one.
Note that this vintage scrapbook page below combines drawing or coloring with glued in images – charming & so much like today’s junk journals, right?!
It’s no wonder so many people today have joined in the junk journal craze!
For those who are not familiar with the phrase “junk journal” – it’s a handmade book, usually made & embellished with found & vintage items, the pages of which you fill with writings, artworks, clippings, doodles, stickers – whatever you wish! Rather combining the best of scrapbooks, diaries, & art journals. So many creative options!
(I’ve also written a bit more about junk journals over at The FARM’s blog – there’s a video too!)
The junk journals I sell are often called “naked” because they are created with plenty of blank pages to fill in. As you can see in this video I made. (I am so much better at making journals than videos lol)
Because so many of my extended family members are unable to see one another now (unless it’s on Zoom or something), I have spent most of April making nearly a dozen junk journals & mailing them out as gifts. In fact, we’ve often shown-off some of our junk journal pages in Zoom chats!
The journals were so well received, that I’ve spent the past few weeks taking custom orders for handmade junk journals their friends! Proof that everyone loves – & needs – a creative outlet.
Art is good for the soul.
Like Kevin Smith says,
Only someone who doesn’t understand art tells an artist their art somehow failed. How the fuck can art fail? Art can’t be graded, because it’s going to mean something different to everyone. You can’t apply a mathematical absolute to art because there is no one formula for self-expression.
It’s a quote I put into each one of the handmade junk journals I made for family & friends the past few weeks – hopefully, they find it as inspiring as I do!
For those interested… The icky toe news!
I fell in love with Iris Apfel when I spotted her documentary on Netflix – I sent everyone to watch it. Whether you adore vintage costume jewelry, fashion & textiles, whimsical decor, or spunky old broads, you’ll love Iris. Most of the world now does. She’s become an icon. And most of what she exudes is knowledge that every self-styled vintage lover already knows. Following her is really following yourself. Rock on, Iris! Rock on all of us!
PS Iris is more than an icon – she’s put in the years of work too.
Iris was a decorator and textile designer for the better part of her career. In 1950 she and her husband, Carl, opened Old World Weavers, a textile firm they ran until 1992, servicing everyone from Emily Post to Dorothy Draper. Iris also was responsible for many White House restorations, including those of the Truman, Kennedy, and Clinton administrations.
Thanksgiving means time with family, not working. However, in order for the family to be able to eat at the dining room table, one must first clear off all the inventory waiting to be cleaned & priced… So, in today’s endeavor to provide a clean horizontal surface fit for family, I, the wifey, had to work a bit.
To my delight, I rediscovered a few gems I’d forgotten about. As both these items are family & gift-related, I figured I’d take the time to share them.
On the face of things, both of these wall hangers are nifty enough. But it’s the back of them which really tells the stories & gives additional charm!
One is “A Tribute To My Dad.” A classic poem or motto from the 1920s, much like those by Buzza. However, someone has placed a plastic golden “DAD” plate on the front covering any attributions. (A search on the Internet attributes this work to MAH.)
We dare not try to remove the vanity “Dad” plate, for risk of damaging the original glass or framing – especially as the aforementioned back is where the real charm lies…
On the back brown framing paper, there’s a message written in what appears to be red marker:
Did you give this to your Dad?
Well, we all want to know!
But, sadly, we will only be able to imagine the answer is “yes”. And, for those of us who enjoy such flights of fancy, imagine how both the original gift-giving to dad went and the following story or stories involving the red marker questioner.
The other piece that has charmed me today has its own story to tell.
This piece is a framed handmade textile piece: a yellow and black Chevy hand-stitched onto a background of tan cloth (which rather resembles burlap). I am a huge fan of needlework, so this could be impressive enough. However, there’s a full story written on the back!
The inscription includes the birthday boy’s name & celebrates his birthday on April 25th, 1979 via this memento of childhood automobile memories:
This is a replica of our old Chevrolet that you had so much fun riding in the rumble seat. Remember? Hope you enjoy this picture. Much love, Mom & Dad
Just how does anyone want to give this up?!
I barely can, & it’s my job!
For anyone else who loves such charming pieces, come on out to the Farm this weekend – both pieces will be there!
Joseph and his wife were about to celebrate their first anniversary. Like any good husband, he wanted to give his wife Julie a special gift. In this case, it was a vintage typewriter as the couple had recently attended an event which celebrated the typewriter and Julie became smitten with them. (This is part of a larger typewriter trend!) However, Joseph isn’t just any good husband — he’s an awesome husband.
When difficulties arose in getting the first typewriter he ordered to arrive as a surprise at the hotel, he contacted us at our Etsy shop to see if we could overnight our Olivetti-Underwood typewriter to them. Who are we to stand in the way of True Love? Heck, we love happy beginnings as much as happy endings! So we hustled our behinds to make it happen, including typing a personal message from Joseph to his lovely bride. Not only did the anniversary gift arrive on time, but just in time for the couple’s arrival at the hotel. We know, because Joseph texted us to say so — complete with a photo!
Everything worked out perfectly, it was waiting in our room when we arrived. Thanks so much for your care in getting this to me, and for typing the note.
We are so glad it all worked out and so proud to have been a part of their love story!
Thanks, Joseph and Julie, for letting us share your story — and, again, happy anniversary and best wishes for a wonderful life!
PS Just look at their cute baby!!
On a barn pick, I got a rather large box of antique wooden roof shingles. Since there are times one just has to put the piles of supplies to use, I began making a series of classic signs, such as “Gone Fishing”, “Welcome”, and the like. Of course, I had to make a few “Gone Antiquing” too. *wink* And I managed to get a number of them done just in time for the Fargo Street Fair too!
The lady was Kat, called “Kat in the Hat” (she’s from Medicine Hat, remember — isn’t that cute?!), and she had a project idea based on something she saw on the side of the road…
Here’s the story from Kat:
My journey with The Whirlygig
It started out with a trip to the Dairy Queen with my son Chris when we spotted this thing on someones front lawn. I took a picture. I knew I had to make one. I had no idea where to start. I went to work the next day and talked to an old fella named Wayne about it as I had no clue what those cone looking things were. Within 20 minutes Wayne came and found me and said it sounded like old cream separators. Then to the internet and found Deanna’s photo from her Etsy Shop and sure enough that was them. I was so excited I ordered them right away. I scored 2 bike wheels off kijiji from a fella named Clark that fixes up bikes for kids in his neighborhood. I found the pipe in a dumpster of scrap metal at Bud’s Auto repair. I wanted a fancy weather vane directional for the top but those things are way to expensive so back to work (Value Village) and found a metal fish and painted it black. This whole project has been quite an adventure of meeting some really interesting people. Then came the build which wasn’t very easy as I had no instructions to follow but I persevered and step by step it came to be the most fun project I have ever done. My Name is Kat and I want to thank everyone who had a part in this most fun build.
I think it turned out to be so cool looking, don’t you?
You can keep up with Kat and her projects by following her Pinterest board.
The copyright for all whirlygig photos belongs to Kat in the Hat; used here with her permission.
This is one of our latest — and grandest finds: An antique venetian glass chandelier. This antique fixture is entirely glass (not acrylic), including the arms, the original clear crystal prism drops (with an amazing round crystal ball drop hanging from the center of the bottom), and the hand-blown globes or chimneys are hand-etched with a fine grapes and vines motif.
We were so thrilled to find this antique venetian glass chandelier that we almost kept it! But, as we already have three antique chandeliers waiting to go into the house we are restoring, hubby put his foot down and one had to go up for sale. (Sometimes men have the silliest rules!) It is now available for viewing and purchase at Antiques On Broadway.
Once I got over my broken heart by imagining how delighted someone else will be to have this all glass beauty, the question became, “How do we best display it so that its beauty can safely be seen?” Hubby knew right away: Make a chandelier crate.
Since this was the same week our furnace died (during sub-zero temperatures here in Fargo,ND!), we quickly put together this wooden crate in our living room. (I enjoyed holding onto the freshly-sawed wood parts for their warmth!)
This last photo is what it looks like sitting in the window at Antiques On Broadway — as seen from the street.
UPDATE: On September 7th (2014), we moved this beauty to our new space at Exit 55 Antiques. Here’s a photo of it on display!
I don’t like to throw anything out, if I can help it. I suppose that’s true of most lovers of vintage items and antiques… Many of these “old used things” can go on to live another life — if you can only see what they can be!
Sometimes, however, no matter how inspired I am, I just don’t have the time to make the things I see in my mind’s eye; those things we put up for sale. Like these antique wooden organ pieces. Wouldn’t they make great birdhouses? These are available at Exit 55 Antiques (Fergus Falls, MN).
And these old spigots and turn-handles make lovely sculptural flowers — that last long after Summer has come & gone. These can be found in our space at Antiques On Broadway (Fargo, ND). (Another photo of these is also on our Facebook page.)
If you have the inclination to get crafty and repurpose these beauties, contact the stores — or us, and we can get them to you!