Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Usefully Vintagely Antiquities



                         Collectible or Useful?

         Items made "back in the day" were made not only to be useful but also to be beautiful and have some kind of aesthetic appearance to them. Items were also made to be of a lasting quality. Very much unlike today in our microwave, throw-it-out-if-it-breaks-and-buy-a-new-one culture we live in today. 

         I have decided, in the spirit up upcycling and recycling, to not buy new furniture and other new household items. Instead of buying new I want to buy old and re-furbish, repair and bring life into old and/or forgotten items. My decorating idea would also bring a refreshing simplicity to my home in that my items would be both functional and beautiful much like this kitchen seen below.

            I have found plenty of things I could get for my house in dis-repair and needing lots of TLC to make the things ready for household use again. I do not want to make money, I am not a dealer in antiquities I just want to preserve history and use the items like they should be used according to their purpose.


Enter the problem. 

        When I find something I like and want to purchase  it/them the person(s) selling act like it is gold because it is "vintage" or an "Antique"  because those terms make more money than just plain "old" or "junk"

       Now don't get me wrong, I understand that some things are valuable so I am leaving credit where credit is due. Yet, it is very hard to compete with antique dealers who have more money than I do, in the quest to acquire objects for my home. 

       I understand there are collectors who may or may not have more money than I do. Money really is not the point of the problem. Collectors (the ones I know) collect certain things because of  the value associated with the object or simply because they love whatever it is they collect. Some will restore the object, others let them sit or some upcycle to give an object an otherwise unintended use. Whatever their motive, collectors do not offend me as much as the antiques dealers. 

        Now this is NOT a rant on all antiques dealers, or even on the ones I have experienced with. This is a venting on pricing regarding those two terms; "Vintage" and "Antique". As soon as either of those terms pop up, you know you will, most likely, NOT be getting a deal. 

      It is a true shame to have objects just sitting around that could be brought back to life and enjoyed for generations to come. Instead these beautiful objects because they are not thought of as useful, instead something valuable because of their scarcity because the new generation had to have the best and the new and got rid of grandpa and grandma's (insert whatever here) instead of passing useful things down to their kids. 

        I found a treadle sewing machine needing major repair and the people wanted over $200 for a common model because it was "antique" and very "collectible"! Even when explaining why I wanted it, they would not go down in price. I don't want to get rich off useful things. I do not plan on selling things that I fix up to use myself. That sewing machine could have had lots of life and brought back to its past beauty and now probably sits in a junk pile at the scrap yard. It is heartbreaking to me.

      One last example was of a dinged up (obviously well used) wooden baby high chair. It was basic, plain and probably made homemade by someone but it was OLD. The thrift store was going to clean it up and put it on the floor for $15 that weekend. I went back in that weekend and found out they refused to sell it to me because an antique dealer happened upon their thrift store and offered them $50 then someone from town found out (also an antique dealer) and offered them $75. This small town mommy of three can't compete with prices like that for something that needs some refinishing (money and time) to be USED again, not as decoration in a store or collection piece but the original intended use for the item. 

       Sure, there are some things beyond repair that can be succesfully upcycled or added to a unique collection. 

       For me, it is the principle. I am discouraged that I may not be able to have my simplified, multi-functional home of previously loved items. Items that I would love to pass down to my kids and their kids and their kids kids. I probably will have to make my own furniture for some of the things but they just won't have that HISTORY that previously loved items have. You won't get to imagine what other kind of home, kid, family used the item or where it came from, or where it was bought and made from. . . That (history) will be lost in the newness of  an object, only to be revived in generations to come when that newly created object of mine will, God forbid, have "Vintage" or "Antique" tacked to the front of my creation due to age.


  Until we can travel through time into the future to bring back the past I will keep on and continue searching for those lost artifacts begging to be brought back to life. Maybe I will come across some long lost history from my ancestors, you never know unless you get out there and look. I have hope that I will be able to find everything I need without paying Vintagely Antique pricing. There are things out there and I will find them! Historic items deserve to be used! 



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