Monday, May 18, 2009

Brimfield, Spring 2009: The Good, The Bad, and the Just Plain ABSURD: Part I

Ah, Brimfield in Spring...Part One of an Annual three-part adventure held in highest esteem by artists, historians, junkies and junk addicts across the country. For 6 solid days (beginning at 0-dark-thirty), devotees flock to Brimfield, MA for the largest assemblage of antique dealers in the country...6000 tents filled to the brim with "one person's trash." The appeal for me is the promise of finding that unrecognized "diamond in the rough," unrecognized by its host, waiting to be discovered. Sustained by this optimistic pipe-dream, I can spend hours rifling through boxes like these...despite the rains of the May show and the oppressive heat of the July show. And though one could claim that the promise of treasure can be found in many shopping venues, one is considerably less likely to be downright shocked/surprised while scanning the racks of Filenes's, and unlikely to be suddenly thrust on a trip down memory lane while in Bloomingdale's. Brimfield is not just the opportunity to instead brings to mind the great Western, "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly"in which rough gunslingers compete with oneanother in search of burried confederate gold. To adapt to the specifics of the Brimfield experience, I will call it, "The Good, The Bad, and the just plain Absurd." Here is my pictorial summary of those three categories from the May show this year:

The Good:

Despite the absolute certainty of rain during the May show, both my travel companion and doyenne, artist Jenn Mason, and I BOTH forgot our rain gear. This kindly concessions dealer took pity on us and gave us two garbage bags, with a little artful adaptation became wonderful rain ponchos...and we became, "The Bag Ladies."

Two favorite ladies combine their Concord Shops at Brimfield and create the most magical tent on the fields. Cary Goodrich of Thoreauly Antiques and the proprietress of Nesting on Main assemble this not-to-be-missed dream scape where I acquired the vintage sheep cigarette cards shown at the head of this blog entry.

I found this little vintage ad in a newspaper entitled Good Literature printed in's fun to see.

Here are the buttons I found at the group from someone who knew the value of these old crochet buttons to a handicrafter (Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods...has every vintage button you could covet...but not inexpensive), and one group in the bottom of a junk drawer (which cost me 50 cents.

Beautiful pins proving (once again) that the simplest concepts often result in the most beautiful creations. These were being sold at Dusty's (THE source for vintage tablecloths)...a friend of hers has been making them out of old wool ribbon that she ties and wraps. Couldn't be prettier.

And the vintage knitting find of the show...This collection (again, found in a drawer) of antique British Knitting pins in their original case!


Brimfield is where all old bad bridesmaid/prom dresses... and washing machines go to die an ugly death...

Falling into the "bad" category is this basket crafted from a dead armadillo...fruit anyone?

And it was a big day for pregnant female are two that were particularly bad...

....and finally,

The Just Plain ABSURD:

OK, I'm not sure I can come up with a scenario where an amputee would be hopping around Brimfield looking to buy a prosthetic leg....

And this little guy...I can't think of a purpose for this yard dog...unless it's like a scarecrow for moles and groundhogs...but it surely doesn't count as ART.

And finally, my favorite absurd find of Brimfield, the mid-century Porta-Sauna...Individual size, in a stunning shade of Aqua...I had been LOOKING for one of those!

Stay tuned for Part II...the Good, the Bad, and the Just Plain ABSURD of vintage patterns found at the show!

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