Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Antiques & Happiness - Mallard Bay Antiques

     Meet Sally Holmes, one of the 75 exceptional dealers coming to the March 11-12 Dolly  Johnson Antique and Art Show in Fort Worth. It's a few days before Christmas and Sally tells me that she and her husband Terry have had three weekends off in 2010 and that they are looking forward to taking Christmas weekend off.

 Sally and Terry of Mallard Bay Antiques have exhibited at 48 antiques shows per year since  1980. Buying and selling vintage western boots, tooled purses and Navajo jewelry is how they make their living---oh yes, don't forget to add in antique sporting goods and trophies, game boards, early chocolate molds and the occasional "what in the heck is that?"

 I expect Sally to tell me how tired she is. Instead, she opens a vintage shoe box and pulls out a pair of bright yellow boots, and, smiling proudly, holds them up as if they were the first pair she had ever found. I know that cannot be true because at a recent Marburger Farm Antique Show, Sally and Terry sold 89 pairs of vintage boots.

The joy in her face as she holds the yellow boots is the secret to being an antiques dealer--to working 48 weekends a year for 30 years. The secret is that, even though she is in fact tired, Sally is happy because of the yellow boots. She was happy to find them, she is happy to show them to me. And she will be happy for the person who buys them ----and who, likely, will be made happy by the yellow boots for many years to come.

There are lots of people for whom happiness is a struggle--and some who never ever feel truly happy. Those of us in the antiques world may work uncountable hours until our knees can no longer support us as we dig through a box in someone's dirty basement, possibly for no pay. But, most of the time, we are happy in the digging. To be a person who can be made happy by a pair of yellow boots--or a color, or a texture or a sign of age-- this is a lucky thing, because the world is full of color and texture and signs of age.

I ask Sally what she was planning for the upcoming Dolly Johnson Show. "Last year at the show," she answered, "I noticed that more younger people were buying things. And Baby Boomers always love the boots because they remember having pairs just like them. My goal for the Dolly Johnson Show is to have all fun boots in fancy colors."

Then she dug into a box and pulled out a many-stranded Navajo necklace. "Look what I just found!" she says, "I've never had one with this many strands." Happy New Year, Sally. I think that you have found what you are looking for. See you at the 48th Annual Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show March 11-12 in Fort Worth.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Western Antiques Auction Oct 16-17, 2010 Fort Worth Stockyards - Be there!

Cowgirls and cowboys and those who love 'em, get yourself to the huge western antiques auction Oct 16-17 in the Fort Worth Stockyards. This will be an event to remember.

Brenda and Jarrell McDonald, owners of three successful shops in the Fort Worth Stockyards Historic District, have been convinced by auctioneer Robb Burley to part with the entire contents of their own home on Eagle Mountain Lake. "We bought our private collection to sell someday," says Jarrell McDonald. "When we floated the idea with Robb Burley, he was on a plane and at our house the very next day. Someday is here."
Along North Main Street, just south of Exchange Avenue, Brenda and Jarrell own the Adobe Art Gallery and Frame Shop, the Bum Steer (with western and lodge furniture and home decor) and the fabulous Cross-Eyed Moose (with all the western antiques). The Cross-Eyed Moose will exhibit at the 48th Annual Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show on March 11-12, 2011.

In the meantime, everything will be temporarily moved out of the Adobe Gallery to serve as a preview space for 1200 lots for the two day auction. The preview will be all day Friday, Oct. 15 from 10 am to 6 pm and again on each auction day from 8 am to 10 am.  A giant tent will be set up in the store parking lot and you can bet that there will be plenty of folks from many states and plenty of good food and drink to go around. Brenda and Jarrell are well-loved in the western antiques world and they know how to throw a party. Plus, they've got the goods.

What's in the auction? To begin with, industrial strength cowgirl. Brenda was obsessed with collecting early cowgirl images and memorabilia long before the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame came to town. The original Eleanor Blondin collection will be among the top cowgirl lots. Jarrell has been collecting and dealing in antique animal mounts since he was about twelve and guns since high school.  Known for a good eye and a good deal, his collection includes over 100 antique guns, such as Colt and Winchester, from the 1870s on.

When they joined forces, collecting accelerated to include a huge 101 Ranch poster, saddles by RT Frasier and Shipley, Navajo rugs, spurs, chaps and posters from the French rodeo hero Bobby Estes. There's a selection of sizes too---from early western serving and dinner china to the back bars from two early saloons. 

Born promoters, Brenda and Jarrell have come up with what's needed to make an auction fun. "The first 200 registered bidders," says Jarrell will receive their choice of a free Bob Moline print from the Moline family estate, valued at $50 each." There will be auction souvenir caps thrown out to the audience for high bidders on select lots and 92.1 Country Legends Radio will broadcast from the auction on Saturday. On Sunday, the event will be announced during the popular Red Steagall radio show. 

Take a look at the entire collection at http://www.burleyauction.com/

You'll see Amon Carter's own poker table and chairs made by August Brandt, a Wenzel Friedrich horn chair and other horn furniture, bronzes, a Bohlin parade saddle, early western advertising, longhorn mounts and exotic African mounts and western home decor, such as lamps, textiles, furniture and folk art. 1200 is a lot of lots--bound to be something for everyone.

Auctioneer Robb Burley of New Braunfels, TX conducted the 2009 sale of the estate of Fort Worth collector Kelly Young, a well-loved regular at the Dolly Johnson Show for decades. Burley anticipates a blockbuster sale in Fort Worth on Oct. 16-17. "I was honored when Brenda and Jarrell McDonald gave me the opportunity to represent the collection they have spent 30 years putting together. They have a fantastic collection of Western Americana. This is truly a great auction opportunity for both collectors & dealers. Besides, with Jarrell & Brenda, you know it will be a party."  

Last week I asked Brenda and Jarrell, "Is it hard to part with everything in your home?"  Jarrell, thinking of boyhood treasures, winces a bit. Brenda, on the other hand, doesn't miss a beat: "Tell people that we're not closing the stores or getting a divorce. But we sure are going shopping."  What will they collect next? Stay tuned. 

Preview Schedule:
Friday Oct. 15, 10 am - 6 pm and Sat and Sun, 8 am to 10 am.  
Auction Schedule:
Sat. Oct. 16, 10 am to ?? and Sun. Oct 17, 10 am to ??
Location: 2340 North Main, in the Fort Worth, TX
      Historic Stockyards District. 
Cash, check, Visa, Mastercard and American Express accepted, with a 10% buyers premium. For more information, contact Burley Auction Group at 830-237-3440.        
And Save the Date!
 Fri. March 11- Sat. March 12, 2011
 The 48th Annual Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show
 Will Rogers Memorial Center, Fort Worth

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Reflections after the 47th Annual Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show March 12-13, 2010 Fort Worth, Texas

Reposted from the 2010 Show
See Final 2010 News Release Wrap-Up at www.dollyjohnsonAntiqueandArtShow.com

Hello, at last. This is the final blog on the March 2010 Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show. It might be called: How I Spent the Recession - or - What an Antique and Art Show Taught me about Spunk—that Thrilling Balance of Backbone, Quality and Fun.

My goal was to help the longest-running antique show in the American west continue to evolve into a beautiful, diverse, life-filled, affordable and profitable antique and art show for North Texas---- to teach the old girl a few new tricks. Not those kind of tricks! Here are some of the things that I learned over the last 7 months as the new Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show Director:

1. The New Mix of Dealers Worked! With the opportunity to select about 50 new exhibitors for the show, I drew up a grid with categories of merchandise and then worked to both fill and limit each category to a certain number of dealers.

The categories included: Industrial Antiques, Mid-Century Modern, Art, Jewelry, Garden, Primitives, American, Western, French, English, Textiles, Folk Art, Native American, Formal (silver and rugs), Informal (Ironstone and advertising), feminine style, masculine style, investment prices, new-collector prices, urban, country, furniture, smalls—plus a vague category simply called “over-the-top.”
Based on feedback from shoppers and exhibitors, the whole mix was “over-the-top.” 

The other way that I selected dealers was this: to find the most resilient, hard-working, creative dealers---those who are working hard enough during the recession to still be there on the other side. They brought fresh, exciting merchandise and displayed it with vitality. Some did better at the show than others, but every dealer gave it their all.

The first lesson about spunk has to do with these particular antiques dealers. Recession or no recession, these characters---and they are characters--- roll up their sleeves every day and get out there searching for something wonderful for the homes of their customers. Their goal is to bring home the bacon, not only to make a living, but also to enhance the lives of others. From Mayflower to Mid-Century Modern, they have spunk.

2. Potential Publicity is Infinite and the Audience is Out There if We Can Reach You— At the beginning of the show work, I made the decisions to expand the show into a more expensive space, to insert myself into the work full-time and to increase the ad budget by 50%. I did this knowing that I would not be increasing the dealers’ rent for this show. So the hustle was on for me. And I hustled. And so did Associate Show Director Cissy Thompson, show staff Barbara Felty---and dozens of other folks, see #5 below.

I learned that, especially with the internet, publicity options are endless. Tough decisions were made on what I could and could not do, both dollar and time-wise. There was so much more that could have been done, but I did all that I could do.

My instincts were that people who love antiques also love visual media, hence that beautiful show postcard created by designer Karina Ceuterick, and the many ads that I scrimped to afford in local print media. Not all, but most of the media where I advertised took an interest in the show and created their own compelling stories, both in print and on-line. We even had NBC TV News show up. These journalists and editors sensed the pent-up hunger in their audience for something fresh and beautiful and fun to come to North Texas. Our local media have spunk. Thank you to all, on-line and off.

3. I learned that Dallas will come to Fort Worth and that Dallas media folks have always been coming to the Dolly Johnson Show. Starting out, they knew more about the show than Fort Worth media did. They knew things that I didn’t know. I did equal outreach in Dallas and Fort Worth, and Dallas came through equal to Fort Worth or more. It reminded me of the sign that Fort Worth’s Amon Carter posted near the Dallas Texas Centennial Celebration in 1936: “For Erudition…. stay in Dallas. For Whooppee, Go to Fort Worth!” Fort Worth offers its share of erudition these days, but it’s a fun draw for folks from parts east. Welcome to Cowtown, spawn of spunk.

4. Spring Break Quandary- I also learned that, while many people leave Fort Worth for spring break, many others come to Fort Worth for the week. The Dolly Johnson Show has been held on the second weekend of March for 47 years, which is now Spring Break for surrounding school districts. I experimented by opening the show on Friday and Saturday, instead of Saturday and Sunday, hoping to reach some people Friday before they left on trips. It seemed to work. We were busy all day Friday, but I continue to get feedback on this from folks who expected the show to run all weekend.

The show could be publicized as part of a larger Spring Break adventure in DFW---or we could take a leap at some point onto an earlier weekend---not easy to do with dealer show schedules and the busy line-up at Will Rogers Memorial Center. Stay tuned.

5. I learned how many friends I have and how many people were willing to help--- an important thing for me to learn . This show truly “took a village.” Besides Cissy and myself, we had 11 on the staff, including James North and Tom Harter who brilliantly ran the dealer load-in and pack-out. We had 22 able porters and several volunteers, from my Junior High buddy Nicki Matranga to Trinity Terrace residents June and Hugh Chavern, to my mother, my children and Dolly Johnson’s great-grandson Josh Luter. The local antiques shops and antiques bloggers all jumped in to help, from Antiques Insider in Dallas to Fort Worth’s http://www.junkerval.com/ to Montgomery Street Antique Mall to nationally-rated bloggers http://www.cactuscreekdaily.com/   and http://www.gardenantqs.blogspot.com/.

Other show owners around the nation lent their help. Even my best friend Pam Benson, who owns Fort Worth’s Japanese Palace Restaurant, sent out an e-blast about the show to everyone spunky enough to like Japanese food. Thank you to Mayfest, our 2010 Benefit Booth, and to the family that shared the Susanna Fuller White trunk from the Mayflower as our special exhibit. Thank you to all friends, colleagues and family who helped in ways I may not even know about—you know who you are. Thank you. Special thanks to JJ Frambes, daughter of Dolly and the previous show owner, who had faith in me--- and in all who helped.

6. I learned that fun is important---and fun has a future. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram feature by John Austin began with these words: “Good golly, Miss Dolly! After nearly five decades of peddling early Americana, the venerable Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show is letting its hair down….” He got it right.

Antiques are meant to be fun. The top tier of the antiques and art world is cut-throat and serious. A level or so down, it may be less-profitable, but it’s a lot more fun.

Actor Harvey Fierstein was in town playing the lead in “Fiddler on the Roof” at the Bass Performance Hall. He spent almost a day at the show, gleefully buying some of the spunkiest antiques and folk art in the room. He had fun.

The new Friday Happy Hour Party was fun too. Look for that to expand next year. Also, look for Louis Armstrong blasting out "Hello, Dolly!" as our annual show-opener.

Another part of the fun came from the booths of dealers who pushed the well-worn envelope. The front line of antiques is always moving forward, embracing more and more items from our material history as time moves forward. In the booth of JRNE Antiques, you could buy an eight foot tall 1960s store display fiberglass vase, complete with flower.
 In the booth of Cibolo Creek Antiques, you could buy two giant hand sculptures, the green column-shaped printing tubes from an old textile mill, museum-quality kinetic scupltures from the 1970s or 1960s fabric made into new pillows. (Dolly Goes Double-Knit!)

The Mews of Dallas offered some of the more beautiful and upscale antiques in the show, but in the middle of their booth, they offered three rusty bicycle seats mounted like sculpture. That’s fun. Exhibitor Al Roche offered a canoe covered in bottle caps, alongside a fine folk art cupboard. That’s fun.

Spunk is part fun, part quality and part backbone. Spunk belongs to those who buy, sell and live with antiques. Spunk endures.

Spunk knows that time passes by relentlessly. Yet spunk bends the rules of time a little by living with and passing on the best of the past into the future. Long live spunk! Long live quality! Recession or no recession, long live backbone! Again, sellers and buyers, you know who you are.

Enjoy the show photos by Art Director Doug Stanley and look for the announcement of next year’s show dates as soon as we get them. Thank you again to everyone who came and who helped to bring to life the magnificent 47th Annual Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show.

Farewell, Dolly! --- Until Next Year!

See Final 2010 News Release Wrap-Up at http://www.dollyjohnsonantiqueandartshow.com/

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fell Down on the Blog (But what a show!)

Apologies for falling down on the blog for the 47th Annual
Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show on March 12-13—but what a great show it was! More on that later.

Now I understand people who say they get too busy to blog. Our friends Judy and Jane Aldridge were intercepted by a last-minute photo shoot at their home and could not get there on set up day. Thank you to blogger Valerie Arnett who came instead and got those pre-show photos out to the world. 

 For my own absence from the blog, it wasn’t helped by the fact that I could not get internet access for days in my tiny temporary office at the back of the show at Will Rogers Memorial Center last week. Finally, my sweet husband pointed out that I had inserted a camera memory card into the computer instead of the wireless card. What would the great show promoter Buffalo Bill say to that? Get your act together, Jan!

 I didn’t worry, though. Show exhibitor Michael Breddin of Leftovers Antiques told me that, when he Googled “Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show,” he found 47 pages of on-line references. So someone out there was doing something to spread the word. Thank you.

Thank you is my mantra at the moment.

Thank you to all who came to the show, to all who helped to spread the word in the media and on the internet and to their friends. Thank you to our marvelous show staff—what a team! And thank you to those magnificent 75 dealers.

 Enjoy the photos here from Art Director Doug Stanley, to whom I also owe a great big thank you.

 More on the show coming, stay tuned. And thank you.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Celebrity Bloggers Jane and Judy Aldridge Pre-Blog the Show

Big News! Mother-daughter team Judy and Jane Aldridge will pre-blog the Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show on our set up day, Thursday, March 11. Through their blogs, you will see a sneak peek of the show---- and see it through their fresh and re-freshing eyes.   

This is not just any mother-daughter team. This team appears in Vogue Magazine and travels to fashion events in Paris, Japan and New York. Vintage couture is their calling, but their roots are in all things antique. Judy Aldridge grew up in Alaska where her parents ran the only antiques store in the state.

Judy's blog is atlantishome.typepad.com. She has a following of 1400 who appreciate her eye in the world of fashion and decor and collecting. Jane's blog is seaofshoes.com and attracts a following of 14,000 readers. Their blogs and photos of the merchandise at the Dolly Johnson Show will take us global by sometime Thursday evening, Texas time.

Of course, Judy and Jane will be the only visitors allowed on the floor of the show during set up. How else can we do all that unpacking and primping for our close-up?

So take a peek through their blogs--and stay tuned here, where we will give updates on the unfolding of the 47th Annual Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show, which will very soon be here!

Show opens Friday, March 12, 9 am - 7 pm, with a Happy Hour Party from 4-7 pm. On Saturday, March 13 the show runs 9 am - 5 pm. Find directions, discount coupon and special events at http://www.dollyjohnsonantiqueandartshow.com/ 

Friday, March 5, 2010

One Week Till the Show - Leftovers Antiques is On the Way

Leftovers Home Mercantile -- The Main Course

An early morning at Leftovers, still gray outside, but inside all lights were shining. Birds were chirping in their antique cages. And Michael Breddin and I were sitting on down-filled linen chairs, surrounded by the layered and lovely world that Breddin and business partner Ed Fulkerson have created at Leftovers Home Mercantile in Brenham, Texas.

Nearby, the store’s baby, a 140 pound St. Bernard named Gracie, claims her spot.

Breddin and Fulkerson built the nearly 10,000 square foot antiques store on Highway 290 three years ago. But the Leftovers story goes far further back.

Originally from Kansas, Ed Fulkerson was the General Manager for the Homestead stores in Fredericksburg, TX when he met antiques dealer Michael Breddin of Brenham. Together, they started Leftovers Antiques and began exhibiting at antiques shows across the US. From the beginning, the two brought a fresh approach to living with and displaying antiques. Layering is their look. It’s not a cluttered layering. It’s putting many items together in a cohesive, calm and beautiful way.

What are you looking for as you shop for your store today?

“When we go to England,” says Michael, “We don’t go with a list. You never know what you will run across. But we do look for older 17th through 19th century antiques because they create an older mix with the antiques from the US. We look for paint and we love it.”

“We like to shop in England,” says Breddin, “because we can see so much more in a small amount of time. On a short trip we will hit 10 -18 different shows. Some are huge, some are very small. One show sent us free tickets to a venue that cost 35 cents to get in.

“At the same time,” Breddin goes on, “we have storage units all over America that are being filled constantly and then the antiques are shipped to Brenham. There’s a full load today in Indiana, a half load in Iowa.”

The current Leftovers mix is about 30-40% American and rest English, with a little French and beyond. The palette is light, but the heft can be substantial. A huge Art Deco sofa has just gone out the door.

The look that Leftovers achieves, says Breddin, “is not all American or all European. We try to keep an artistic and creative mix so that one makes the other better. “

“I’m hoping to get it all here for the show,” he says. “The largest portion of our business is logistics: we wait for things to arrive.”

What’s arriving?

The Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show in Fort Worth will be the first show where Leftovers will exhibit following the winter buying trip. Ed Fulkerson reports that “We bought good early 18th and 19th century English country antiques, many pieces in old paint, which we love. We looked for and found medium-size furniture, such as Welsh dressers, breakfronts and cupboards in a smaller scale, good for urban settings, as well as country homes.”

“The exchange rate was decent,” he goes on, “not the highest we’ve seen, nor the lowest. The weather conditions were tough. They were socked in, one of the worst winters for England. We put 2000 miles on a Sprinter van, all at 20 mph, through snow, on lanes ten feet wide with sheep in the middle.”

“With the weather closing some shows, we really had to search. We have enough of a network there that we had people holding wonderful merchandise for us, so we came home with an excellent container.”

How is a Leftovers container different from a typical container of imported antiques?

“We focus,” answers Fulkerson, “on period pieces, the early pieces. We don’t buy the 20th century massed-produced pieces such as barley twist. We look for original, early surfaces and the very clean-lined bench-made furniture of the 1820s era. We’ll see heavy-paneled sides, hand-cut nails and boards on the back that are 12 inches wide and 2 inches thick—and nearly 200 years old. We buy pine from the 1840s-1860s, some early oak and early mahogany. And, of course, the early English country paint.”

What do customers want today?

“What we are trying to do,” says Michael Breddin “is to re-purpose antiques to be functional for clients for today. People want things that will function. A cupboard holds a TV. A dowry chest becomes a coffee table. We sell antiques ready to go into homes, with a function for today’s living.”

But there isn’t just one look now. Among customers today, everyone is different. They each want different things. Things are more relaxed and casual, not so formal. People are not trying to copy a magazine. People want to live with what they love.”

So what is the future of formal?

“Even fabulous glass and silver in our collection is presented in a casual way. It’s not about having six sizes of the same plate pattern. It’s about what you need and love and can mix together.”

“In a place as formal as North Texas, we find that the houses that we are doing in Dallas lately are more about comfort than formality. Entertainment is without pretense, more casual. It’s less about keeping up with the Joneses and more about eating with the Joneses’”

And, most likely, the Joneses love leftovers.

See Leftovers Antiques at the 47th Annual Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show, March 12-13, which will soon be here! Show Special Events Schedule and Discount Coupon at http://www.dollyjohnsonantiqueandartshow.com/