Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Fate of Antiquarian Prints

Our English antique butterfly cabinet that doubles as an antiquarian print drawer (click to enlarge)

Yesterday I spent about an hour looking at the hundreds of 19TH century engravings that are contained in out antique butterfly storage cabinet we bought at Terrace Oaks Antique Mall nearly 20 years ago.  The owner of Terrace Oaks at the time, Jo Ann Parker (of the Parker pen dynasty) insisted on us buying this piece of furniture as a storage unit for our antique prints. When we originally bought this piece, the top of the drawers contained old wavy glass with a cheesecloth-like fabric on some of the panes for drying of the specimens.  There were small pieces of butterfly wings in some of the drawers.  We removed the glass from the tops of the drawers and actually used a lot of it when we framed antique images.    Until about a year ago, all of the drawers were filled with hand-colored botanicals, bird prints, architectural and natural history engravings, Harper's Weekly woodblock prints and many other wonderful engravings.  Within the last year we have reduced our print inventory and are planning to consign more in the near future.

Miscellaneous natural history engravings in drawer no. 19 (click to enlarge)

Miscellaneous black and white engravings in drawer no. 20

I still like perusing through our engravings, but at the same time its a little sad.  Most younger people do not decorate with antique engravings like in previous years.  Many of these prints have not seen the light of day in years.  This goes for the buckets of botanical and bird prints that we have in our gallery.  With our energies now turning to the creation and marketing of Susan's art (Philadelphia was better than expected), it is time for someone else to distribute and sell these engravings.  Our next trip to DC will include a stop at Quinn's Auction where a vast majority of our stock will be consigned.  The butterfly cabinet will be converted to a new home for Susan's art, as well as a choice select group of antique engravings.  I will never completely rid myself of antiquarian prints, but I'll be more selective with what I will sell (can't give up a good excuse for a business trip to a print auction).

Bins of 19TH cent. botanicals underneath the table in the Mouse House gallery

Various matted and shrink-wrapped prints on shelves beneath the Gallery table

The gallery will be weened of excess prints in order to make room for Susan's art quilts and mixed-media pieces.  We may also have a clearance sale in April during the Elmwood Park Tour of Homes of our remaining stock, although Susan frowns at the mention of a sale.  I will entertain any offers from anyone wanting to buy my engravings in bulk.  Please come by and see what I have.

As a side note, I just had two browsers (probably mother and daughter) looking at some of my black and white prints.  They were the third group of people that have come to MH to look at prints this year! They were sent by a decorator that we WILL NOT work with.  They were here for 55 minutes for some images for a small powder room!!  They took 6 images home on approval!  I wonder if the "decorator who will not be named" will come over and discuss framing options with Susan!  I bet the images taken out will not be anything like what she envisions; at least she was smart enough to send her clients over.  They could have bought one of the framed Piranesi engravings and be done with their search, but that would have been too easy!  I was polite, and they had no idea that the decorator is not allowed in the house without payment in full before any work is started.  This only confirms one of the reasons why I am going to liquidate my collection!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Observations from Philadelphia

Today is the opening day of the Buyers Market of American Craft in Philadelphia.  Susan is one of hundreds of exhibitors at this three-day event.  She has already posted about this on her blog.  My job consists of being a very overdressed delivery boy and sometimes security guard.   I play the role well.  I am not really needed since Susan can easily sell herself without me hanging around.  The show is an amazing learning curve for us.  We probably do not belong in a wholesale market, and we probably will not take any orders for her work.  HOWEVER, there has already been some interest from several galleries about representation and other high-end venues to sell.  This is the most important part of our journey to craft shows.

I dismissed myself from Susan and took the train back to the hotel so I could make this short post.  The mass transit system in Philly is excellent!  The downtown area is wonderful and architecturally stunning.  The grand hall of the Reading Terminal took my breathe away.  The Reading Market is eye candy to your stomach.  Tonight is the Niche Awards ceremony at the Convention.  Susan is a finalist in the Decorative Fibers category (she won this award in 2011).  I'll journey back to meet her at 6PM.  Tomorrow I hope to visit the city more since I do not have to hold her hand while she self-promotes herself.  I will hopefully borrow her camera and take pictures.  We will back up after 4PM on Monday, stay overnight and make the long 600+ mile drive to Columbia on Tuesday.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Accident Parasites

Self-portrait of me at Stonehenge, UK, late June, 2012

No, the above picture has nothing to do with parasites!  I just like to take self-portraits of myself when I travel.  The incident with parasites occurred this week.  I am still recovering from my moped accident from 12 days ago.  As Susan told me the night of the accident, it looks like I'll get nothing from the lady that hit me unless I sue.  Her contact number only allows outgoing calls, and her driver's license lists an old address where I'm quite sure no forwarding address was given to the Post Office.  I know with a little effort, me or my lawyer (for a fee) could track her down and serve her papers for the damaged moped.  I wonder what the "blue book" value of a 4 year old moped that cost $1800 is?  I also know that if you sue someone with nothing, you get nothing in return, i.e., "you can't get blood from a turnip".

Now for the parasite angle of this post.  Last Wednesday I got a call from out of the blue asking me if I was still healing from my accident and whether I still needed to see a doctor.  The caller asked if I was dizzy, if my back hurt, etc., etc.  They were willing to make an appointment at their clinic, take x-rays, etc. and send the bill to the person that hit me.  When I told them I was sore but OK, he politely said goodbye.  One minute later his supervisor called back and offered the same thing over again.  When I declined, he said that "he was going to take me off their list".  I thought "what list"?  When I told Susan about the phone call she laughed and said, "your accident is public record.  They probably pay people to monitor all traffic accidents to see if they can make a quick buck".  This was confirmed by Jerry next door who told me lawyers do the same thing (not him, he said!).  He called them "parasites".  I asked him if I would have accepted their offer and received medical treatment, could they come after me to pay the bills if she couldn't pay?  Absolutely!!  What a scam!!  It is no wonder why our medical insurance is so high in this country.  Too many people want something for nothing!  I am very thankful I survived with only a few bruises.

Susan drove the new licensed and insured moped today and did not like how slow it is in comparison to the old one.  It's fast enough for me.  One more week until Philadelphia!

Royal Albert Hall from Hyde Park in London, UK, late June, 2012.