Friday, November 03, 2006

hello, I love junk

my name is andrea and I have a confession to make: I have been struggling with what to write here at tag sale tales for months and months now. I was thrilled when jenny first invited me to contribute this past spring-- my head immediately began to spin with ideas of what I might write about. but the words, they just wouldn't come. I got it in my head that I needed to take a specific angle with it and that's when I got stuck. yes, I was overthinking it (as I am so prone to doing). at the end of the day, this is what I have to offer: twenty years of junk-hunting experience. and stories. oh, the stories! better even than the goodies that I've found along the way (and the crazy things I've done with them), the collections I've worked to build year after year-- are the stories. if you're anything like me, you love to see what other people dig up, you're curious about what they do with their finds, you love to hear the stories.

about the junk-loving part of who I am: I grew up in a family of collectors, I come from a long line of lovers of old stuff. my mom had a thing for primitives (still does) and my grandma was an antiques dealer who crammed house after house full of ancient lovely things. I remember her occasionally holding auctions in her backyard. I was mesmerized by the man with the microphone and the strange staccato voice selling off boxes of china and armoires faster than what seemed right. once, she let me pick out something from the tables to keep for myself. after much consideration, I chose an autographed picture of ginger rogers in a vanilla-colored art deco frame. it's something I'll never forget. these days, I keep ginger in a special place.

the preteen me didn't really like old things. I just couldn't understand the attraction. everything seeming so brown and so... dusty. my preteen mind worked overtime dreaming up plans for a house that would be filled with 80s style coolness-- sleek couches the color of salmon and mirrored tables with sharp angles, everything sparkly and new. and then my mom took me to the fleamarket when I was 14 and gave me ten dollars to spend however I wanted. that ten dollar bill had 'new clothes from the mall' written all over it. I was on my way to buy a funnel cake when I stumbled onto it-- a table piled impossibly high with vintage clothing. old beaded dresses, slinky satin slips, glamorous pajama bottoms-- three pieces for ten dollars! I had so much fun digging through that wrinkly, jumbly mess. something terribly intoxicating about the whole affair and in that moment, I got it. I totally got it. and really, that was it for me. I started to see old things with new eyes. I couldn't get enough of vintage clothing-- old hats and dresses, costume jewelry. then when I was 16, we moved from a small southern illinois town to cincinnati. all of the sudden, I found myself with direct access to an army of thrift stores. my mom had been taking me to yard sales and antique stores for years, but the lovely underworld of thrifting proved to be exceptionally seductive. another world of possibility cracked wide open.

twenty years later and I'm still not tired of it. I'm up and down with it but never, ever done with it. I'm not really into traditional antiques and don't collect vintage clothing pieces anymore. naturally, my tastes have shifted. these days, I am on the prowl for vintage vernacular photography (particularly photobooth snapshots), vintage travel memorabilia (souvenir pennants and pillow covers, postcards), old world globes in deliciously aged shades of turquoise, vintage purses, pull-down school maps, midcentury modern pieces (especially lamps), odd old signs, wood/metal printers blocks, letters and numbers from signs, various ephemera (always with the ephemera), paint-by-numbers, all kinds of old cameras and vintage wallpaper. oh, and whatever else I'm unable to pass up.

so finally, here I am. nice to meet you, fellow junk-lovers. I promise to do right by you, I do.

(and if you just can't get enough: my flickr fleamarket set)


Delaleuverses said...

I love the first two pics, the vibrant colors of jewels...loving this post and your blog

Delaleuverses said...

By the way I saw a pic you have on photos in fashion Fotos, can I use it on my blog? I have the perfect poem for it :)

Michele said...

I LOVE that this site is being updated again! And...those beads totally make me happy just looking at them.

poppy said...

hey i don't believe it! i decided i had a few mintues and thought what are those tag sale girls doin these days - it's been a while, and low and behold if you aren't doing a post!


(well, what a great idea - vintage pull down maps! ya! i'm on the hunt!)

andrea said...

thanks, all! happy to be a part.

delaleuverses-- thanks for the kind words! sorry I am so late in responding but please do feel free to go ahead and use the photo... I'm not sure I know which one you're talking about, so now I'm curious! anyway, go on ahead. :)