Saturday, 18 March 2017

Begin at the Beginning...



An actual Find from the Trash Pile! Hanging from a discarded Xmas Tree was this Sterling Trifari Lyre Bird - Truly Trash Pile Pirate Booty!
I hear from people quite often, about the stories I tell. The descriptions included in my listings at HipCricket, my little shop on Etsy. People really seem to connect to these details - whether actual provenance from the previous owner or simply my musings regarding type, era, aesthetic or maker. Many have asked me about how I came by them and why do I care - surely a sale is a sale? Why invest such time and effort into each listing? So here is my attempt at answering this question.

When I was a young girl, I found myself drawn to Swap Meets. Where else could someone with very little money, find a beautiful bauble, meet new people and spend a day away from home? I adored hearing vendors tell their stories about how or why an item came to them. Now, I understand the whole notion of "romancing the stone" and fully understand it is a tactic for making a sale. But I have always loved a good story. I returned, week after week, got to know who was 'legit' and who was telling porkie pies. Caught up in the moment, occasionally these events took on a carnival air. It didn't take long for me to graduate from potential client to full on seller of whatever goods I could carry on my bike.

I remember the entire process, complete with ritualistic excitement, anticipation and an un-yielding hope for making a bit pf pocket change. You had to get there very early - not an easy feat for a teenager. You found your spot, set out your wares and waited. Soon, the day would begin to unfold and I fast gained a sixth sense for how it would progress and whether people would be in a buying mood, or just killing time. About half way through the day, the agent would arrive, time to pay the piper! This was the moment when I would have to decide - do I stay? Take a gamble on the day? Or, if I had not one red cent in my pocket - did I fold and walk away? The agents were always willing to let me stay, to return later for payment for my spot, I remember that. They were also taking a gamble - on me.

In those early days I stuck with smalls. Things casually thrown away, discarded by the rules of fashion's whimsical dictate. Clothes from my Mother's (and yes, sisters, yours too) closets. Costume jewelry. Odd bits of China. Sometimes, I would swap with other vendors for some small thing I had an inkling I could re-sell or perhaps, just because I liked it. Soon I became a veteran trash pile pirate.

Those swap meet days were the beginning of a life long love for old things. These bits and pieces of the past have a romance about them, in my view. A back story. I can imagine all sorts of stories they could tell. Wherever possible, I ask for these stories when I procure an item. It is this attachment to history that really turns me on - the opportunity to draw a line, reaching into the past and connecting it with this very moment in time. Of course, this is not always possible to do. When I have no back story available to me, I tell the story of the item itself. I draw a line at making things up about an item. If I don't have access to the historical background of an item, I simply describe the item itself - allowing it to speak for itself, if you get my meaning. The construction details, the design style or component parts in the design itself. I spend a great deal of time researching things like era, style, particular makers, marks and other clues involved in telling the story. It's a bit like being a detective. A mystery or puzzle to be solved. When successful, I feel a huge rush of well being. Of completion. When unsuccessful, I occasionally keep things back, waiting for more information, sources or means to identify the piece. More often, I simply describe the item itself and let it be.

I take great joy from hunting for, offering up these tiny treasures from yesteryear. I truly love these little beauties - and the stories they tell. I think it shows. I understand that it will be a life long endeavor. I know that I know almost nothing. But sometimes, knowing only that is knowing quite alot. The curve is steep and I welcome the climb!

One of My most exciting discoveries to date - a verified Neiger Brothers Egyptian Revival Brooch


A beautiful Horn and Paste Stone Hair Comb marked Silver - Saved from the Trash Pile!
Discover HipCricket on Etsy!

No comments:

Post a Comment