Pick & Grin, The Collecting Couple, Ready For The New Year
Grin: With the holiday season ending, I look forward to peace and quiet for the next few months.
Pick: Good luck with that thought. We have two antique shows booked and we need to start setting aside the goods we want to sell. One is high-end antiques and the other we do well selling advertising items, collectibles and indoor décor.
Grin: They better not be during football playoffs.
Pick: Goooood LUCK WITH THAT THOUGHT TOO!! Check it out, I have the calendar marked with every weekend filled with speciality collectibles shows for the next few months.
Grin: Indoor shows I hope?
Pick: Yes!! Smarty Pants, Even if the weather has been superior, they will all be indoors, but I might leave you out in the cold.
Most of these shows are annual events and once you attend one you can get on a mailing list for the next one. The speciality shows bring together collectors/dealers with a certain niche.
They include advertising, soda bottles, breweriana, sports collectibles, depression glass, toys, dolls, firearms shows, a Scale Auto, Hobby & Toy show, a Red Wing show and one called a rec-room show dealing with everything Retro 60s.
The advantage to these shows is their limited scope, where a collector can truly see the wide choices of items in their special category. For me, it’s an education, I want to see what interests collectors, what’s hot at the moment and what price things are currently going for. I talk to these dealers to ask about trends and the current condition of their market.
Grin: How did you get such a list and how many will you force me to attend?
Pick: Our newspaper carries advertising for most of these shows in the classified section and our auction paper has ads also. And of course, I check the the net for shows within driving distance. And once I attend that show, I always check for flyers from other promoters left at the entrance door.
Grin: Makes good sense! Let’s look at your list and the calender to see how many shows we can attend,
Pick: That a Boy, now you have the spirit of the New Year!
Is it best to hang them or set them on something – And do you set things in them or attach them inside the little boxes?
I’ve seen them painted but I really don’t want to do that…
I’d love it to end up looking cool and eclectic but not like something off the show Hoarders. I want it to look cohesive not a big ol’ hairy mess…
I don’t have any old wooden printer’s drawers; if we did have them, they’d likely be filled with old print blocks. (And while most of the print blocks would be hubby’s, guess who’d get to dust it? *wink*)
Although, we shouldn’t overlook the original and obvious intent of keeping it flat, storing and organizing anything from screws to Legos in it. But this is a collectors’ blog, so I’m going to stick to displaying collectibles. Plus, as the drawer has no cover, it would need to be stored flat in a place not likely to be disturbed. (If you have one of those places, please tell me how to get one! lol) I highly recommend the wooden drawer is to be hung on the wall for the most visual appeal; you can use small amounts of museum putty to hold the items safely and securely in place.
I remember that my mom once used to display her thimble collection in a printer’s tray. If you have a collection of “the same things” to fit inside, this is the ultimate way to keep things from looking like a “big ol’ hairy mess.” As many decorators advise in general: keep to a theme.
Here’s an example of glassware and travel souvenirs; however, even those pieces are likely too large for the spaces in a drawer meant to hold printers blocks. You might have smaller items on a theme… Buttons, marbles, shells, rocks and minerals, pinbacks, vintage game pieces, jewelry, coins, fishing lures… Even if only half the little objects on display are say, marbles, the number of them will move the eye about and give the cohesive look of a theme.
Another interior design principal for creating a unified look is to select a color palette for the items on display. Since the antique wood is rather dark, and the spaces small, I’d suggest light colors to create more of a contrast and visual interest; perhaps whatever bits and bobs you have in shades of white and ivory… Again, even if you can’t carry the color theme throughout the entire drawer, proper placement, spreading the items of common color around, will create the impression of a carefully cultivated, organized collection.
Personally, I find little displays of “whatever” to be quite charming. Here’s an small wooden antique shelf, with nicely scrolled details, that I’ve put little bits of random childish sentimental loveliness upon.
Yes, every item in there has a story — and it’s my hope that whoever visits our house will ask to hear each and every one!
That’s only likely to happen when another collector visits. And one who has already heard the stories behind all the larger, more attention-grabbing items and collections in the house. A pretty tall order indeed. *wink*
I spotted this clever display at an antique mall and I thought it would be great for use in the home too: a simple vintage wall shelf, with the vintage postcards in the little spaces for knick knacks — the vases and glassware keep the postcards upright.
Wouldn’t it be great to pair travel postcards with little travel souvenirs? It would be like a 3D scrapbook that everyone could see!
Of course, you don’t have to be limited to postcards or travel items; any ephemera of a similar size would work. Antique trade and advertising cards paired with related smalls; vintage paper and fabric bookmarks with metal bookmarks; baseball cards with signed baseballs in cases — nearly endless ideas!
(I would advocate placing the postcards and other ephemera inside those firm plastic sleeves first, to keep them protected.)
Lauren Roberts is a bookmark collector I met when we were both presenters at the first Bookmark Collectors Virtual Convention. I’ve admired her bookmark collection — and collecting habits — so much I’ve been waiting for us both to have the time to do a proper interview.
Lauren, besides being a collector and a blogger, what’s your daytime, meat & potatoes, gig?
I work as an administrator at a community college. It satisfies my urge to eat and live without worry, but my passion is with BiblioBuffet, books, cats, reading, and bookmarks.
When did you begin collecting bookmarks and why?
I fell into it purely by accident, which you can read about here, in my first On Marking Books column. About 45 minutes inland and south of Santa Barbara is a quaint town named Ojai (prounced “oh hi”). It is famous for the Ojai Resort, which is quite pricey and attracts a lot of out-of-towners, but it is even more famous as the home of Bart’s Books, which has been there since the mid-1960s.
The store has been modernized now–it even has a blog–but at the time of this discovery, around ten years ago, I’d guess, it was still owned by the old owner and there was no Internet page or even pricing. The store is actually an old home, and both its “yard” and the house are full of the kind of rickety old shelves you’d expect to find. Outdoors is where the cheaper books are even though they are still protected from the weather. You can sit on benches under trees and just read. They also have books they leave outside the gates so if you feel the need to browse at 2:00 am you can; just toss your money in a box.
I was in the former living room when I saw the old olive-colored book on books (which I adore). I sat down in the chair with the book to look it over. When I pulled the cover, it automatically fell open to the chapter titled “Baldness and Intellectuality.” Marking the beginning of that chapter was a bookmark made of hair, golden brown, male by the length of it. I was utterly charmed and remain so.
You can see the book and bookmark in my antique coffee table.
Being a reader and book lover, the transition to bookmark collector seems rather natural. But readers are usually selective; they won’t just read anything. Is it the same with your bookmark collecting? Do your bookmarks reflect what you read in terms of subject matter? What do you focus on in terms of collecting bookmarks in terms of themes?
It’s true that I am fussy about my library. I love nonfiction and literature that is older than I am, especially classical literature. (I’m not at all interested in modern fiction.) When I began to collect bookmarks I went after vintage ones.
I would browse eBay a couple of times a day looking for pieces that just stood out to me in the same way I browse bookshelves looking for books that appeal. eBay was so great when I started; it has, unfortunately, gone downhill in its attempt to move beyond the collector into retailing. But then sellers would often be selling what they found in attics and such.
Bookmarks are much more popular now than five years ago when they were one of the tiniest niche markets around. You really had very little competition. Now, it’s larger though not large by other collections. The unusual ones that I like often go for hundreds now. I can’t afford those. So my buying has tapered off, I am sorry to say. But not my interest.
My bookmarks don’t reflect my reading interests since, as I said, I like and collect vintage and antique ones. I can’t think of any subject I won’t collect a bookmark about, though religion is something I tend to avoid. I also avoid most modern ones since they aren’t particularly attractive. I am not out to build a large collection but one that is meaningful to me. Every piece in it is special.
What are some of the themes?
I didn’t set out to collect in any niches, but from the beginning was attracted to vintage and antique ones. I occasionally found and find a modern one I like but really, it’s the older ones that fascinate me more because the quality of the work that went into them. Even companies that used them as advertising for washing machines or watches or hotels or whatever used die-cut designs, thick paper, elegant graphic design, and attempted to make them beautiful pieces that people would keep and use for a long time instead of today’s cheaply made, “just sell it” ones like those that authors give away. I guess you could say my interest lies in bookmarks up to about the 1950s or early 1960s, about the time I was born.
Some of themes I have are food, books, home, WWI, WWII, political, book festivals, clothing and accessories, places, travel, library, metal, fabric, worlds’ fairs, exhibitions, ivory, wood, pianos, sewing, music, garden, beauty, shoes, education, smoking, and many more.
Even though bookmarks take up less space than most other collectibles, a person (unfortunately) has to limit, pick and choose, what will become part of their collection. What collecting standards do you have?
I have to love it! That may not seem like a standard but it is. I do not buy it unless I fall in love with it — and, fortunately, I am by nature a minimalist rather than a hoarder. I don’t collect books just to have books. I have done weeding to get rid of books that I had little interest in and by the time I came to bookmarks I had no trouble passing up ones that did not interest me. Plus, now that I have probably around 1,300 of them I can bypass those when I see them, which is rare anyway.
When I began collecting I stored them in an open box. When the bookmarks topped the box and threatened to topple over, I got a bigger box. Then another bigger box. After that, I realized I needed to store them.
I looked around online a lot, but eventually settled on these archival boxes with three rings inside for archival page inserts. The bookmarks were sorted into large categories (food), then if necessary into sub-categories (candy, cereals, meats, milk, soft drinks, alcohol, etc.). I tried to put more or less relevant categories together in one binder–like home and food–but found I had too many in those two categories to fit into one binder. At the moment I have seven binders and the coffee table. The latter is where I have all the three-dimensional ones, regardless of their theme, plus some of the more unusual two-dimensional ones.
What things have you learned from collecting bookmarks?
How much history and story can be in one of those little things! That’s the most amazing part of bookmarks to me. When I began collecting and later writing about them I really had no idea how much they could hold. You could build an entire year’s worth of education just on bookmarks. Seriously.
When I sit down to research a bookmark for an upcoming column I use both the library and the Internet. And I don’t look at just one site. Wikipedia is often where I start since it gives an overview–not always accurate–plus, more importantly, sources and links. I am also fortunate to be an excellent researcher, Googling various words and phrases to find numerous links. I will go far beyond the first page of results–once I even went to page 93!–to find information. Alas, there have been a few times when I have had to abandon a particular bookmark because I couldn’t get enough information to write about it.
But several times now, I think, I have been contacted by people who saw my columns and wrote. One was a family member who corrected a bit of misinformation about the Buster Brown shoe line. Another was searching for old family records. The latest was a descendant of a family that did steel engraving; she was enthralled to find the two bookmarks I wrote about–gorgeous pieces–and said that if I ever wanted to sell them she definitely wanted to buy them. But they are not for sale.
I think sometimes about offering talks at schools or groups about bookmarks. And I am only sort of sorry that museums and important libraries do not yet recognize their importance; their willful ignorance helps me stay in the market.
(I hope this interview and your blogging doesn’t ruin that, Lauren!)
I spotted this clever display idea at a local antique mall: the dealer has put a selection of collectible pinbacks in a birdbath.
At home, of course, this might present a dusting problem (always the bane of collectors!), but if you used a sturdy cement birdbath, you could place a large round piece of glass or Plexiglass over the top. Like the kind used to make those round boudoir tables.
The clear covers would keep dust, pet hair and other contaminants out (and, if UV protective, damaging sunlight too) while still allowing the collection of vintage lithos, celluloid, and metal pinbacks to be on display. This would work well for housing and displaying vintage and antique buttons and other small bits and bobs too.
Imagine it as an end table, next to your sofa or chair, with a little vintage lamp on top, lighting the contents, inviting guests to look inside. A very charming conversation piece!
Two things that are always plentiful at thrift shoppes…
Partial tidbit trays or plate holders / servers…
And unwanted vinyl records. (And by “unwanted” I mean they are either badly scratched or recordings so common, they are only destined for recycling or worse.)
So why not put them together and make a retro-styled display piece?
I wouldn’t use them for serving food. And unless you firmly attach the records to the frame, there’s the danger of the records, and whatever light objects are placed upon them, sliding off. As I just played at the thrift store (yes, they looked at me oddly) I haven’t experimented with how to attach the pieces… But a glue gun would likely do the trick!
At the very least, this piece can one again hold stacked plates and other items at the buffet table — allowing your guests to talk about how clever and resourceful you are.
I’ve seen this done before, but all the tiers were plates, and it became a nice tidbit tray for serving cookies, etc. Having the tea cup saucer on top makes for an excellent lip for hanging wire earrings!
Wouldn’t this be a fabulous way to share an antique, but incomplete, family heirloom china set? It would make it easier to share the family china with each one of your children!
Our last article mentioned our frustration trying to find good antique shops while on the Carolinas’ coastal area. We drove down to Charleston, SC from North Carolina for sightseeing with our traveling companions with no time left that day for antique shopping. Our first break came in finding the Cottage Antiques in North Myrtle Beach and with the owner Malinda’s directions to other shops, we filled our day with antique shopping and suitcases with collectibles and antiques.
In a response to our article, Clyde from Charleston wrote to explain our great loss by not antiquing in his area. His website is dedicated to the wonderful experience of exploring the shops nearby. We wrote to ask for an interview and here is our correspondence.
Clyde’s inspiration for developing a website dedicated to Charleston’s antique shops was simply a lifelong passion for antiques, his knowledge of shops in the area and the great people involved in the antique business. He decided to become his own web designer, and learn the tricks of design from the bottom up. Clyde is at that point where he has designed for others as well. He also writes for Examiner.com on the topic of antique shopping in Charleston. All the the time and energy needed to publish his website on Charleston’s shops, is his own. From the time it takes to visit each place and photograph the antiques, to rewriting with the latest info, Clyde does it all.
Pick: “When did you start collecting?”
Clyde:“When I was 12, My great aunt took me antiques shopping.”
Grin: “ What’s your major collection?”
Clyde:“I collect mostly furniture. I like old book cases that I can restore and sell.”
Grin: Well that sure runs the gambit. Can we come along to your next visit to our favorite, the garbage pile?”
Pick: “Leave me out.”
Grin: “Are there items you wish you had bought, but passed up?
Clyde: “That is a long list. The odd thing about antique shows, if you do not buy it, you can’t go back to get it. It’s just gone.”
Pick: And if you do buy it, odds are you’ll see a cheaper, better example next week.
Grin: Any words of wisdom for our readers?
Clyde: “You often have to have the time and resources to do the research to be sure the item is what you believe it to be.”
Pick: Thanks Clyde for visiting with us. And readers if you have suggestions on great shoppes in your area for antiques, crafts or collectibles, add a reply so others can share your good fortune in hunting while traveling on the road.
Pick: That was such a fun auction we went to the other night! Lots of variety, friendly crowd, and it moved along quickly too. My favorite thing was the treasure we got, almost a piece of your family heritage!
Grin: I started my inspection of the items going up for auction at the far end of the hall, and had found several pieces that were of interest. When I finally got to the second last table, there were the three items from the old Gridley Dairy that my grandfather had worked at during the (first) Great Depression.
Pick: You showed me the paper sign, amber-colored milk bottle and the mini-milk can and I could tell you were excited by them. You turned the can around to show the company’s name and location and even the date of “1935.” I asked if your grandpa would have worked there then and you exclaimed “Yes.”
Grin: Over the years, I have bought a couple of bottles with Gridley on them and some paper advertising in the form of recipe books. Nothing expensive, nor rare or too exciting. They are in our Depression-era farm and advertising collection, resting on our antique oak ice box.
Pick: This was a large auction and had numerous items for sale. But we were relieved to see those items brought up front early for bidding. The paper sign was first and I asked if I should bid for it.
Grin: When bidding started, I contemplated trying to get the sign, but the price soon escalated past what I considered to be reasonable. Paper is pretty delicate and not easily displayed when not framed.
Pick: When the runner held up the can and the bottle, I was “at the ready” to bid, asking you how high I should go. They were offering “choice of the two”, meaning we could get one or the other for the bid-price. The bidding was pretty active with three of us in early, then down to two. Our price came and went and I still bid a few more times, but alas, we realized we could not get the can. But to our surprise, the bidder took the bottle and they re-opened bidding. We got it for half what our top bid would have been.
Grin: Part of my interest in this milk can was its size. It can easily be displayed inside the house and not stuck in the garden or on the driveway where some of our other milk cans have been placed. I am not sure what the contents of this can might have been but have a suspicion that it was used In a commercial setting. It have been used to deliver heavy-cream to a bakery or restaurant.
Pick: Well, you know how we love to send things back home! That is the ultimate recycling. We have shipped collectibles back to their original owners quite a few times and that just tickles us. Remember the Ruby Farms thermometer?
Grin: That one went back to the granddaughter of the original owner. And how often do we send advertising items found on our travels back to the city of their origination? Many times!
These are going to collectors that have an interest in preserving part of their town’s history.
Pick: Another thing we sold that brought fond memories to a buyer was the calendar from the dairy near Madison, Wisconsin. The winner kindly shared with us that he had worked that very farm in the 1960s, alongside his favorite cousin.
Grin: Didn’t you just tell me about another treasure that you sent back home?
Pick: Oh, you mean the ashtray. It was from the Golden Zither Restaurant in Milwaukee. The winner was so happy to get it. He got engaged to his wife in that very restaurant many years back. They are close to their 40th anniversary and he is planning to give it to her as part of their gift. Oh, how romantic!
Grin: We’ll have to share other ‘recyling’ stories down the road. I just read about a nearby auction…
Beautiful to look at and, as Waring says, this offers practical organization too:
Due to the lack of space in my studio, I am constantly forgetting what notions I have packed away in my organizer containers that I keep hidden in a storage closet, or up on my highest shelf. When you don’t know what is in those containers, it is hard to know where to begin, and I am often tempted to just go out and buy more supplies. This DIY project is the solution to that problem, and it seconds as art work on my work-space walls.
…Also, I like to tag each board with a number that will match up with the storage container where you keep your coordinating back-stock, so things are easily located.
Included in the step-by-step project instructions are two of her original 8×10 design templates.
Thinking of taking a family vacation by car this year so you can go antiquing along the way? Getting there is half the fun — or at least half the story you and the kids remember (complain about?) years later. Below are 10 tips for creating a great family road trip — with a heavy emphasis on journaling or scrapbooking to preserve your memories.
A quick word about my emphasis on actively collecting souvenirs and journaling (or blogging) during the trip: It’s an excellent way to provide each member of the family with some much-needed “down time” and individual attention. It slows things down, allows events to be savored more “in the moment, “which makes for much better memory building and sharing later.
1. If you have a destination in mind, a place where you’ll be spending some time, call ahead. Not only for a guaranteed hotel or motel reservation, but for antiquing too. Search online and through your saved booklets, fliers, and antiquing publications for antique shops and malls in the area you’ll be visiting. Call to snailmail to verify hours and dates open (some smaller shops may be closed for their own vacation time) and ask them for a list of other shops in the area. (This can be done with any attraction or shopping plans.)
2. Road trip music. Yes, each kid over the age of four will have his and her own individual Mp3 player or other gadget, but I’m talking about shared music for sing-a-longs. Make a “family mixed tape” with each member of the family suggesting a handful of songs to be burned or downloaded to the compilation audio. (I heartily recommend including some Three Dog Night and folk music!)
3. Along with your usual antiquing gear, make sure you have all chargers, cords, memory cards, etc. for your cell phones, digital cameras, laptops, audio players, etc. packed.
4. But don’t only count on your gadgets. You’ll hit places without cell phone service to upload photos, no WiFi spots for travel blogging from the road, etc. So bring along pads of paper or — even better — a few of those blank journals for the family to write diary entries in. Not only is this a way to record in the moment, but you’ll have paper pages for scrapbooking — and nothing beats the feeling of sitting down together and turning the pages to share the memories. Plus you’ll have another family project for when you return home.
5. You’ll want to take photos — lots of photos. Having a few of those disposable film cameras is also nice. Not only as a backup for technology issues, but waiting for the film to be developed and gathering to share the photos is fun too. Plus, younger children you don’t wish to entrust with the care of expensive gadgets can still carry around a camera to take pictures with.
6. Don’t only rely only on GPS; bring actual maps. You can more readily see your options, your spouse or navigator in the shotgun seat can more easily assist you, and paper never hits zones without service bars *wink* Plus, you can mark maps with your own notes and include those pages or panels in your scrapbook. (Including an angrily circled “got lost here!” lol) And isn’t the whole point of vacation to take those roads not traveled?
But Keep It Flexible:
7. Include plenty of time for spontaneous stops. When kids have had enough of each other and the close quarters, take a pit stop to stretch your legs, get some fresh air, or enjoy a roadside treat. Keep whiny and sullen kids entertained by looking ahead on the map to help make decisions or rock picking (especially if you have a rock polisher!).
Even if this means you end up with a destination much closer to home, you’ll all have more fun if your pace and agenda is more relaxed.
8. Speaking of spontaneous souvenir hunts… Challenge or inspire the whole family to collect souvenirs for your travel scrapbook. Along with taking photos, have family members snap-up promotional pieces like brochures and place mats from the places you visited. (Multiple copies are a good idea.)
Other souvenir possibilities can be handmade, such as doodling the huge roadside Paul Bunyan statue, sketching every breakfast, or handwriting a diary page of the silliest things said that day.
9. Take as many of the smaller roads as you can, go through as many smaller cities as you can. Not only is the scenery more beautiful, the speed limits lower (resulting in better gas millage and increased safety), but here’s where you’ll find all the fun — and old — roadside attractions. Don’t fear that this will limit your antique shopping; many of the smaller towns do have antique shops. Heck, you’ll even be able to find local flea markets, farmers markets and even rummage sales this way!
As history-loving’ geeks, we find winding your way through smaller towns also means quaint and interesting local historical societies often many of these are free to visit or have a very small suggested donation. (Note: Purchasing postcards from historical society museums and small attractions helps support them — and your family’s journal of your trip!)
10. Always bring swimsuits. Even if you don’t plan on swimming, it never fails that there will be swimming or some water attraction along the way. Don’t dampen the fun; make sure everyone brings a swimsuit along. And mom, remember those towels!
Scan from a page in one of my vintage scrapbooks (crayon and ephemera glued in).
Maybe you’ve never articulated why you collect, what your collection “does” — or maybe you have & you just don’t think it’s important in The Big Picture sort of a way. Maybe others have made you feel like a capitalistic consumer pig in your collecting pursuits. Whatever the reason, do you down-play your “junk,” your hobby, and your passion?
It is my hope that in this session you will become a more confident collector, to learn to see your items beyond their materialistic cash value and appraise them for their cultural and intrinsic values, to see the very act of collecting itself and your contribution as a collector as significant. Because all collections, great and small — all collectors, great and small — are of incredible value.
It’s my belief that all collections and all collectors have value, even if the stuff isn’t “old enough” or “good enough” to seem of any value. I’d tell you more about this, but, frankly, you should come to the conference.
I don’t make a dime off this event (again, my passion for collecting is worn on my sleeve), but I ‘d like a nice big group in my session. *wink*
So, to entice you — be you a collector of bookmarks or not — with the help of the founder of Doodle Week, Inherited Values very own Laura Brown, I’m offering five Bookmark Collectors Virtual Conference Commemorative Collector Bookmarks for the first five folks (from the US or Canada) who mention “Inherited Values” in their registration for the event.
Only 12 of these commemorative bookmarks will be made (five to be given away here, five at the art site that’s home of Doodle Week, one for the artist, and, ever the collector, one for myself), so it’s truly a limited edition.
And pretty cute to-boot *wink*
I hope you’ll register for this event because you’re a collecting nut who is interested; but it never hurts to add a little incentive, right?
We now lived on a street ending at the desert — sand & rocks, not grass & trees!
Had to drink huge glasses of iced tea after first eating surprisingly hot Mexican food!
Also, some people thought us Okies spoke with an accent! 8-D
However, that move turned out to be very good in many respects. New Mexico offered beautiful vistas, friendly people, & delightful architecture. AND, I discovered what would become my lifetime collection: vintage Fiesta dishes.
One day, a new school friend introduced me to a charming antique mall. Since the holidays were close, I started looking for potential Christmas gifts. Nothing really grabbed my attention until I saw some colorful dishes. They came in a wide range of hues & had concentric circles on most surfaces.
I was particularly drawn to a bright blue & orange salt & pepper set. Well, I figured they weren’t an actual set because of the different colors. But the rounded shapes looked exactly alike. I was looking over the dealer’s packed-with-dishes table more than a few minutes before someone asked if I needed help.
“Yes I do, thanks,” I told the older woman. “Can you tell me anything about this salt & pepper pair?”
I must have looked confused at that answer, so she pointed to more colorful dishes on another table. “Like those plates,” she said.
Wandering over to look at those dishes, I asked another question, “What exactly are ‘fiesta’ dishes? Are they used for Mexican holidays or something?”
“Oh no!” she laughed. “Come here & let me show you,” taking me by the hand to a third table. She picked up a plate that looked like it was the same rich blue as one of the dishes I’d looked at earlier. Then she turned it over to show the script mark underneath.
“Ah, now I get it,” I said. “Fiesta is the name of those dishes.” That helpful dealer, whose name I’ve completely forgotten now, pointed out other Fiesta she was selling. But I still liked the colors & shape of the salt & pepper set, so that’s what I bought, intending it as a gift for my mother.
It was after we moved to New Mexico that Mother’s preference for bright colors really became apparent. Maybe it was the rich Southwest design influence? All I know for sure is that she truly liked the cobalt & red (Fiesta for ‘orange’), S&P I gave her. And she later painted all the kitchen cabinets bright orange.
I inherited that salt & pepper after my mother died. I also have a much older, deep orange-red S&P set — pottery adorably shaped like tomatoes — that she originally got from her mother.
Years later, when I finally had my own place, I seriously started collecting Fiesta. (And I mean seriously!) Now, when I move & have to pack up all those boxes of dishes, my father always jokes that I probably have enough Fiesta to serve dinner for 60 people. “No,” I reply, “I’m sure I only have service for 35!”
The biggest worry in my mind these days as I toss and turn in bed the waning days of the year has been what to do with 13, four-drawer metal filing cabinets full of my life’s work in the form of negatives, slides, transparencies and prints. I can be objective enough about my own output to know that they are worth money. But to whom and when? Probably when I am dead someone will have a peak and realize what I know now, and that is that I have a diverse treasure of Vancouver’s everyday life since I arrived in 1975.
After some discussion of books on categorization, he gets to the crux of the problem:
This all made me think of my own personal classification which is not really cross-referenced and installed into some sort of computer program. My filing system is alphabetical and depends on my memory alone. If I forget a person’s name I cannot find the file.
This is my problem. Organizing collections can be challenging, but it seems worst with ephemera. At least for me it is. Unlike pottery or glassware, figurines or even books, ephemera is not so readily displayable. At least not in the quantities I have it in.
I don’t even have an alphabetical system; all my vintage magazines, antique photographs, old postcards, etc., are lucky if they are lumped together by those simple categories.
I’m not a bad collector or a lazy collector; I’m an overwhelmed and confused collector.
I’ve pondered, many times, about organizing my ephemera. You’d think vintage magazines at least would be easy: sort and store them by publication title, placed in chronological order. But you see, I don’t look for articles, images, or whatnot by “May, 1958, Cosmopolitan Magazine.” My continuing fascination, inspiration and delight in collecting vintage magazines due to the serendipity of going through each issue, page by page, and making discoveries. It would be nice to be able to, after making such discoveries, organize each issue by some sort of theme… “Advertisements,” “women’s history,” “humor,” etc., so that I could find them again. But any magazine, then as now, has so many themes. How would I know that the magazine I filed under “humorous ads from the 1950s,” would also contain a great feature on “women’s sexuality in the 1950s,” and a dozen other categories?
And this doesn’t even cover such things as antique postcards, vintage photographs, old booklets & receipts… *sigh*
While Alex’s post provides more food for thought, I don’t have any real answers yet. I won’t stop tossing and turning at night — or collecting by day — until I do. So I’d love to hear from other collectors about how you’ve organized and/or categorized your ephemera.
What I like about these Lil Davinci Art Cabinets is the fact that each cabinet is a storage container as well as a display piece, holding up to 50 sheets at a time with a spring-loaded pocket.
That means you can store multiple pieces of artwork — and ephemera — in one place, with the one in front on display. The hinged door opens from the front, giving you easy access for rotating what’s seen as well as keeping other pieces within reach.
I’m thinking they’d work wonderfully for protectively displaying vintage magazines!
The art cabinets come in two sizes: The Li’L DaVinci (8.5″W x 11″H) and the Big DaVinci (12″W x 18″H).
It’s not always easy for me to accept altering antique and vintage items, but sometimes it’s a matter of salvaging things the best you can, breathing new life into them so that they are appreciated once again. When I spotted these vintage fork easels, I had to say I thought it was a beautiful way to display a collection of photographs, ephemera, small art works, etc.
And given the number of unappreciated and neglected old silverware pieces (individual pieces and entire sets), it’s a great way to recycle not only the materials, but the appreciation and usefulness of old flatware.
As a collector, I would suggest protecting photographs, especially antique and vintage photographs, by sliding them inside those little plastic sleeves first. And displaying little photographs this way not only saves the hassle of finding the right frame size, but allows you to rotate your favorite photographs so that they all get attention. What a lovely display! Even if the stems aren’t ornately decorated, the gleaming silver is elegant.
The seller/creator, WHIMSYlove at Etsy, also suggests using the vintage fork easels to hold individual recipe cards while baking. Clever!
I’m not sure how easy this is to do — even if you’re the Amazing Kreskin, and you’re used to bending spoons, I imagine the tines are quite a bit more resistant. But thankfully, WHIMSYlove makes them for us *wink*