Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show..."Antiquing with Della -- Shop Ohio!"

The Show Goes On!

Welcome to the blog for the 2011 Dolly Johnson Antique & Art Show in Fort Worth March 11-12, 2011. You can read about last year's show further down on this blog, but new for this year:

--Updates on antiques & art dealers --and their merchandise-- coming to the 2011 Dolly Johnson Show

--Reflections on the central question: Why do so many people love antiques? And what's in it for you?

--Back by popular demand, "Antiquing with Della," a series of stories about our family's adventures in the antiques world, told from the perspective of youngest child Della. See below for "Della Does Ohio" and look for future stories from MN, NM, Brimfield, Maine, Marburger Farm and more.

Hope to see you at the 48th Annual Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show, March 11-12, 2011. Stay tuned! 

Antiquing With Della---Me-O-My-O, Shop Ohio! 

by Della Orr-Harter (then age 2) as Told to Her Mother

So we went to Ohio--- America’s heartland, home of my Harter family roots and the antique buyer’s land of milk and honey. I was a Buck-Eye baby in search of the big one. And from Ohio we were going on to sell at Brimfield, Massachusetts, the really big one.

Well, it took three days to load the Big Red van. There was a car seat, a stroller, a portable baby bed, a play pen, a baby swing, one month of clothes for mom and me, a cooler and our food, my toys, a folding rocker, an extra stroller, bedding, camping gear, a 10 foot show tent, fifteen cases of vintage jewelry to sell at Brimfield and one case of diapers. And carefully wrapped next to me was yet another box of jewelry that said “Ginny Mom’s jewelry.” Ginny Mom, my Daddy’s mother, was the real reason we were going to Columbus, Ohio.

We pulled out at 6 pm and met Daddy at the bar-be-cue place up by Texas Motor Speedway. After our last taste of Texas, we kissed goodbye and Hot Tamale Antiques, that’s us, headed north. Daddy headed home for something called “peace and quiet.” We made it to Oklahoma. Then Hot Tamale---that’s me and Momma--- drove all day the next day, arriving at 1:30 am in Springfield, Ohio where Art at the Super 8 had saved our reservation.

We slept until 5:30 that morning and then headed over to the Clark County Fairgrounds for the Springfield Antiques Extravaganza. I wore my pajamas all day. The sign said “2500 Dealers, The Midwest’s Largest Antique Show.” Mom says 2500 is a lot, as big as all the Round Top and Warrenton shows in Texas put together. Well, it wasn’t really all that big, but it was a nice spread, a flea market where you have to look hard to find something great. We did.

Mom wanted antiques that didn’t need a lot of work. We already have plenty of the other kind. Well she bought the best thing we saw at the show and it needed work---a folk art inlaid wood table, parlor size from New York state c. 1880. (We had to re-pack the whole van) Then we found 2 Beacon blankets, a big cake pan shaped like a horse-shoe and a match-stick cross that needed only a little glue. The best, though, was a little framed embroidery sampler, “The Law of the Camp Fire Girls---Worship God...Be Trustworthy...Be Happy.” Momma said this is “a keeper.” She was a Camp Fire Girl. Sometimes she says that I’m “a keeper” too.

By 2:30 we had seen everything, so we headed over to the three big Antique Malls along I-70. They were staying open late. We got lucky and found a folk art quilt in a Japanese Flag pattern that didn’t need any work, a big green and yellow painted basket and western textiles. One mall said “The Biggest Antique Mall in America.” We shopped it in one hour and didn’t buy anything. It’s hard to impress a couple of Texans with bigness. Or maybe we were just shopped out.

Since all we had to eat that day was Vienna sausage, we went for a peaceful, sit down dinner at Kentucky Fried Chicken. It wasn’t so peaceful. I threw my food and hit a lady at the next table with my spoon. They had to bring out a mop because of the ice and water I poured on the floor, so we left. We went back to the motel, took a bath and went to bed---two tired Tamales.

 The next day we drove East to Columbus, Ohio where my father’s parents and even his grandparents had met one another in grade school. . We were there for Ginny Mom, to put her ashes in the Union Cemetery. I never met her, but she knew I was on the way. Daddy says she was gentle and tolerant and wise, kind of like him. And we were going to celebrate her.

All of the other cousins and relatives were coming, but Mom and I were there a day early, so we checked into what she calls a “sleaze-bag motel.” We stay at those a lot, but what is a sleaze bag? Anyway we headed over to the Ohio State Fairground for the Scott’s Antique Market. Mom told me that the Ohio State Fairground was Ginny Mom’s favorite place to go as a kid and I would surely have a great time there. Hmm, sounds like more antiques to me.

For many years Don Scott has been running shows in Ohio and in Atlanta. He and Mom talked a while and then we set off, me in my stroller with my portable cassette player humming away. Everywhere I go, I make music. It’s helps me sleep, but we only have one baby music tape, so it gets a little old. Anyway, we see amazing things---a dealer with a parrot on a leash, a hooked rug dated 1939 in the Blue Willow china pattern for $375 and two huge 1920's “101 Ranch Wild West Show” banners found on a building wall in Zanesville, Ohio when the church next door was torn down. But the most amazing thing is what Don Scott shows Mom in the office. At the show he had bought an early New England fire screen with a painted stick and ball frame and a naive oil painting in the center for $300. Mom just stared. Oh, she wanted to be the one who had bought that fire screen. We call this a Lukewarm Tamale moment.

The next day everybody gets there, including Daddy and my brother Jack. There are 30 of us, most under the age of 12. We stay at a fancy hotel with an elevator and a swimming pool---no sleaze bag for Ginny Mom. We eat hamburgers, we watch old family movies, we play games. And then the next morning, while everyone is asleep in this great hotel, mom gets me up at 5 am to go to the Kingman Drive In Theater where someone told her we’d find the world best “dirt market.” Boy were they wrong. I think dirt market has something to do with sleaze bag. We lost our flash light and then later saw someone selling it to somebody else. All we found was a train set for my Texas cousin Daniel and a magazine rack shaped like a dog. We did see someone in a Mercedes buy something in a big envelope for lots of money and then leave before sun up. Somebody got lucky. But it wasn’t us.

The next day we got up at 4 am and headed to another drive in theater in south Columbus. It wasn’t much better. We did see some high end 20th century designer furniture really cheap, but the Big Red van said no way. Going back, we stopped at a yard sale that looked like Martha Stewart’s house---pottery, quilts, painted furniture, everything perfect. (Our house is a little different from that---Mom says Daddy is an imperfectionist.) Anyway we bought a hand-made western hat rack that came apart and fit in the van.

On the way back to breakfast, we saw a man mowing down a field of chicory, that roadside weed with the tiny blue flowers. Mom hit the brakes and filled what was left of Big Red with the chicory weeds. At the hotel we made a soaring arrangement of chicory in our trash can and then went to see what was happening.

Ginny Mom's jewelry was what was happening. We joined all the daughters and granddaughters---15 of us females-- around a huge pile of jewelry, each old birthday or Mothers' Day gift carefully tucked in a tiny plastic bag. We took turns and everybody picked until it was all given out. I got a pin made from a button and put it on right away. Mom got Ginny Mom's bakelite bracelet . We picked out engagement rings for all the boy cousins to give their future mates-- and the boys all blushed. My Florida cousin Ellie and Mom will share the silver Hopi bracelet that the Harters bought on a vacation out west. Each Christmas Mom and Ellie will send it back and forth through the mail. Momma says that someday I can share it with Ellie. Momma likes to think ahead.

That night we had a private dinner at the hotel and all the cousins had our pictures taken in our best clothes---and all Ginny Mom’s jewelry----earrings, brooches, bangles, pins, glittering necklaces. We looked great. It was almost like Ginny Mom was there. The next morning we all processed to the cemetery down the block, carrying the box of ashes and a trash can of blue Ohio chicory. Including Ginny’s sister Judy and Great Aunt Anne, four generations stood together around the little hole in the ground, which was surrounded by even more generations. We sang, we told stories, my Daddy cried with his sisters and brother. Standing there, all dripping in Ginny Mom’s jewels, we all cried. Somebody said that we were her jewels. Finally, we turned on the lullaby music in my stroller cassette player, said goodbye to Ginny Mom and turned to go.

My Daddy and brother and everybody else headed off to the airport. But Mom and I climbed northeast in the Big Red van to spend the night in Akron, Ohio with antique dealer Charles Auerbach, his wife Mary and their sons. They live in an Arts and Crafts era bungalow with trees so high you can’t see the tops. Chuck was Mommy’s friend in New York, where he would drive from Ohio to do the shows that she managed. Chuck is a good friend. He got his first break in the business in the legendary Russell Carrell shows in Salisbury, CT, carrying quilts, carved whimsies and other great American folk art. “I take a quirky view of life,”he says. “I like to see the maker in the objects that I buy and sell.” Chuck shows us his own collection of roadside religious signs like the big sign in the dining room that said “Repent Now. Jesus is Coming Immediately.” He says that it’s folk art and Mom has been looking for a sign for him ever since.

We stay in Chuck’s basement office where he stores the artwork of an Akron man named Alfred McMoore. McMoore is what is called an “outsider” or self-taught artist. He works in pencil and crayon on long scrolls of paper which Chuck has everywhere--stacked behind our bed, tacked on the wall, standing in boxes. We take a shower and settle down to sleep, surrounded by the fantastical, sad, weird, funny and wonderful visions of one man’s heart.

The next morning I play with Mary on the front porch with a folk art carved wooden rattle. Chuck fixes Mom blueberry pancakes and they talk about changes in the antiques business.

“Yes, I sell on the Internet,” says Chuck, “but small, more traditional antiques. Buyers on-line want something with a clearly identifiable value---Lionel trains, advertising, items easy to ship. The more adventurous, one-of-a-kind items I save for shows.”

 What’s your advice to buyers now? “The same as always,” smiled Chuck. “Buy what moves you and buy the best you can from the best dealer you can find.” We thank Chuck and Mary and tell them “We’ll see you at Brimfield next week.” And then we head east toward Massachusetts.

But that’s a whole other story. Until then, happy trails and keep looking for the big one.

Your friend, Della

Copyright 2002 Jan Orr-Harter

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The 48th Annual Dolly Johnson Antique Show

Friday March 11- Saturday March 12, 2011

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