Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Clash Of Cultures: A Trip To An Antique Store

I just spent a week down in Escondido staying at a time share. While we passed up the "opportunity" to spend even more on another time share (we struggle to use the week we have) it was a welcome break for both my wife who's a teacher and I realized, myself.  The aches and pains didn't go away but a change of scenery can do wonders.

Culture Clash!
While I am always on the prowl for a good art gallery (they are getting harder and harder to find, in CA anyway) every place has plenty of antique stores. The one we discovered in Del Mar, CA turned out to be a gold mine for my wife. She found a Singer "Feather Weight" sewing machine with just about all the attachments for far less that she has ever seen on eBay! In fact, she has lost many a bid on just this machine. For her its the perfect quilting machine.

For me, it was an overwhelming culture clash. Take a careful look at this photo. While heavily Asian in design, Chinese, Japanese, Pacific Islander mix willy nilly with ornate Western style gilt frames, cut glass, tables, shelves of indeterminate design and well, a whole lot more! In fact, this is one of many other consignment spaces, some even more jammed! Many look more like something straight out of the bar scene in the first "Star Wars" movie, a bar with "peoples" from every galaxy known to man! Talk about culture clash. The question I couldn't help but ask was, how can you find anything?

But, that's the point. You go in with a item in mind...whatever you collect. Once I started doing that myself, it was amazing how your mind filters all the rest away. Oh sure. There WERE unexpected discoveries, maybe a painting, a frame or box that you realized you could use. However, I had to laugh out loud when one space was selling a finished gourd for $22.00. By finished I mean that the rough growth texture was removed and it was smooth and finished like, well, a babies butt. Since we had been to the gourd farm in Fallbrook, we know you could get the same thing for about half of that and it would be drilled to be used as a birdhouse.

Like a flea market, maybe a bit elevated from that, your trash is going to be someone's cash.

The other thing that hit me was, someone, somewhere in time actually treasured all these items. I looked at much glass ... blue, green, red and Carnival glass, maybe cheap in their day but still used and treasured. What Grandma may have won in a movie theatre in the 1930's suddenly was worth many hundreds, a figure she would never have fathomed. Willow patterned china was next to Calico. I realized that if I ever really needed to see something to draw or paint in the flesh, head down to the nearest antique store. Most likely they will have some variant of what you want or will know someone who does.

Next time you visit any antique market check out what I found out. Ideas will jump out at you along with colors that until you see them together you would have never, ever used. There has to be an endless combination of still life scenes just waiting to be put together! Arrange and if you're not going to buy, your trusty smart phone can record the image for you to use when you get home.

Always, ALWAYS keep your eyes open for the next great subject. From the many vintage dealers I see on Etsy I know they do. As painters though, there is always some treasure that on a canvas might well be the best painting you have ever created!

Please visit for a wonderful line of craft and birdhouse items. Mother's Day is coming up and I offer a wonderful selection of items moms, sisters, aunts and grandmothers would love! Please be sure to visit, my new fine art studio store. This store is transitioning between KrugsStudio and its own fine art store.

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