Thursday, June 19, 2008

Flea Finds

This past Sunday I headed to a flea market for the first time in a long time. I love flea markets and they used to be a staple of my weekly life. When I lived in NY, my sister and I would go to the 24th Street flea market almost every weekend. Now, where those outdoor markets were, there are huge, multi-storied apartment buildings. When we turned "digging" (as we called it) into a business we hit up flea markets from Ohio to Connecticut, as well as London and Paris. It was a dream life. Still, it doesn't matter what city we're in (most recently, between days by the poolside, we all went digging in Palm Springs), my mom, sister and I will go looking for the local junk shop, yard sale, or classic, parking-lot flea market.

Aside from a family member, I don't usually like to go to flea markets with other people. Totally different than going shopping at, say, H&M with friends (which I love!), flea markets are a funky rhythm that usually require the beat of your own drum. One time, a fellow artist that I totally revered, said we should go to the 24th Street flea together. Because I think the world of him, I agreed. And, man, it was rough. First of all, we were looking for the same things: old photos, albums, old journals and books. Secondly, he kept picking things up and saying, "this looks like something you'd want". Um, no, actually. And when he was ready to move on, he'd sort of 'ahem' to let me know it was time. Like I said, it's a funky rhythm.

So, this past Sunday was a beautiful morning. I left the house at 7:45am and got down to the Alemany flea nice and early (usually I'm not a real stickler for getting there at the crack of dawn, the stuff I'm looking for isn't that golden to warrant an early arrival). It was freezing cold, but I had a nice cup of hot coffee and felt like a kid in a candy store. Turns out, there wasn't much to be had...but I had some great conversations with some classic carneys and that always makes it a good time. The people behind the "junk" are a huge part of the experience.

The goods: This is a Garden City pottery piece. I'd never heard of Garden City pottery, but anyone that's ever been in our apartment knows that I have an obsessive collection of this sage green/blue pottery. RK has kindly indulged it with me and I love him for it. I saw this piece in Ken's 'booth' on Sunday and, in a most casual of voice (something I learned from the good advice of my sister: never act interested in something you really, really want), I enquired about that big bowl in the back there. He proceeded to tell me that it was G.C. pottery and worth about $65. Oh, well... but, for me, he'd sell it for $15. Now, that's more like it.

Later, when I was spending some serious time digging thru another guy's table of goods, he kept asking me something, in a very, very thick accent. What? I had no idea what he was talking about. Turns out, he could see the bowl in my bag and was eyeing it up. He asked me a few more times before I actually understood what he was talking about. "Garden City or Bauer?" he said. I was glad that I could tell him it was G.C. He asked me what I paid for it (let's face it, we're all looking for a deal and want to know when others get one, too). I told him and he said, "wow, you know you really got a steal there?" Alright then. At his table, i found five photos that I decided I could afford for a few bucks, too.

and this little light-haired squirt showed up in three out of the five school photos. He got happier as he got older.

While this little girl showed up in two of 'em.

One man gathers what another man spills.
--the grateful dead


comfies said...

beautiful bowl, definitely a nice catch! i love your attentiveness to the photos too....

Anonymous said...

I wish I was there to go picking with you...

I think that's his sister.

Plant Lady

Bonbon Oiseau said...

Great finds Mollie! I know exactly what you mean about the rhythm thing..when you come to NY next you have to check out the new Brooklyn Flea--very cool...not so cheap but very cool.

Kelly said...

I love the bowl!
Also, I have some vintage photographs that are looking for a good home. I just stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago, and have been back-reading it, and came across this relevant post. So, if you're interested, contact me at kellyafox at g mail