It's strong enough to go on the floor, but bright enough to be hung on the wall as textile art, especially in a room with a cathedral ceiling.
On a much smaller scale is an ironstone platter, c.1870, bearing the seal of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Apparently these were used to display fresh cut flowers and produce and fairs and displays sponsored by the Society. Like most ironstone, this piece will need to be cleaned to be presentable, but that's an easy enough task. By the time I offer it for sale it will look a lot better.
And here's another nice little thing, a spinner from one of the many woolen mills that could be found all over New England prior to the Civil War. At one time you could find these by the thousands, probably by the tens of thousands. They're not that common any more, but normally I still wouldn't bother with one, but this one was turned from figured wood, either Curly Birch or Curly Maple, I can't be sure which. It's highest and best use now, probably a candle holder.
Last week I found a c. 1949 serigraph by Harry Reeks, a New Orleans born man who became a combat artist during WWII, then spent a couple of years in San Francisco after the war ended. His work was, frankly, tourist art, lively, colorful, and intended to be a souvenir, an inexpensive reminder of one's visit. I have a number of similar pieces, in both intention and period, by Vermont artists. They've become very collectible, and I'm willing to bet that Reek's views of postwar San Francisco will prove similarly popular. This one has never been out of its original frame. It really should be rematted in acid-free materials, but that's another day.
Only a few weeks before I had found a watercolorist's field easel to display it on. Easels like this one were built to lie flat, if you were painting washes, or at angles, usually in 15° increments, all the way up to 90°. I've owned several, and they seem to be popular both with painters and displayers.
But I think the prize of what I've come upon in the last few weeks is an Herb Dryer. I almost missed seeing it, folded up flat. It hangs on the wall, flat when not in use, but lifts and folds when used to dry bunches of herbs.
It's very well designed, the rods nearest the front are offset, upper and lower, so that herbs can be hung from every rod. To put the frame into use, the pieces unfold and the ends are slipped into hand chiseled channels. It's ingenious and simple, and, of course, the question everyone asks is, "Is it Shaker?" Well, it might be, I don't know. I do know that many auction houses, even the ones that specialize in Shaker sales, would be likely to attribute it to them, but that doesn't make it so. I guess it will just have to be left to others to decide.
And finally, one last thing...
They were featured in my May 30th post. I didn't sell them that next weekend at the Cape Cod Antique Dealers Association as I expected, but they did sell a few weeks later, and they did sell down on the Cape. I made my money-- I was happy.
Imagine my surprise when I spotted them again in a Kaminsky Auction catalog for the August 28, 2010 sale featuring Nautical Antiques. They've got an estimate between three and four times what I sold them for down on the Cape... Am I upset? No. I don't know yet what they will sell for, but Kaminsky's is a quality auction house here on the North Shore of Massachusetts and I'd like to hope that they're right, and that their current owner meets his or her expectations, just as mine were met. No, my message is to you, and what I want to tell you is that you shouldn't assume that the things offered at antiques shows are too expensive for you to buy, and even make money on!
Next outing is in Madison, CT, on the Village Green, Saturday, August 28, for the Madison Historical Society. Under tents, rain or shine, it'll be a good show.
So don't be shy, there's money to be made at antiques shows, for sellers and buyers both! See you at the shows.