Visiting Massachusets' tri-annual antiques fair earlier this month brings out the inner collector in everyone, including myself and my trip mates photographer James "the eye" Ryang (who took all of these awesome photos for us) and illustrator Keren Richter, whose art director ways help out big time in an overwhelming market like the miles of booths at Brimfield. While browsing, Keren and I realized that while we kept overhearing older women call things pretty, our tendency was to look for the more unusual objects—say, giant fiberglass pencils or vintage brass coronets. And, so we present our finds from Brimfield.
In addition to being my top purchase, the Ticonderoga pencil made for the best comments from passersby as I carried it around. I had three suggestions that I sharpen it with a chainsaw and a few dealers explained that stores used the props in window displays. Not only does it make for a great pop accent leaned against my apartment wall, I know I'm not alone in my nostalgia for the pleasing colors, wood smell and simple design of the classic number two. (To contact Ed, seller of the pencil and "anything weird," email him at subs [at] gte [dot] net.)
James' early-1900s fishing net, with its metal-tipped bamboo handle and intricately hand-tied net (repaired in a few places with black string), has the kind of rich details of age that put it in a class of its own. (Click image for detail.) We also found other boy-friendly antiques in the form of vintage tops from Tokyo. (See another image that shows off the bumpers after the jump.) The woman who sold us these told us that she visits Japan yearly for a fair where she sells her hand-crocheted teddy bears and makes sure to scoop up as many vintage Japanese treasures as possible.
We also found this balancing folk art sculpture at the same booth. It reminds Keren of Calder's circus series and I have to agree. I also like that he stands on a simple but sturdy three-legged platform.
This antique coronet was the first purchase of Brimfield. We managed to get a few notes out of it, but it will probably be more beautiful hung on Keren's wall as decor.
See more after the jump.
One dealer selling a similar Egyptian-themed tapestry dated it 1925. The woman who sold it to me thought it depicts priests learning, but from the sarcophagus we thought it more likely shows part of a death ritual. (Click image for detail.)
Keren carefully sorted through a case of vintage photographs to find this small collection. She mostly chose pictures of kids and people on vacation, though a few just look compelling otherwise. Several images are of the same Swedish family who apparently took a trip to California. (Click image for detail.)
This steel, possibly Victorian-era lamp sits on my desk as I type. I love the round shape, striking black silhouette, pull chain and subtly decorative base. The simple design of the knobs for adjusting the arm makes them easy to use and looks neat too.
James picked up this Deco shaving mirror at the same booth. I love a beveled edge.
Keren bought this rug with zero hesitation for its colors, shapes and perfectly worn-in look.
Next up, we'll have more from Brimfield covering graphic design, milk bottle collectors and more.