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Archive for the ‘Shows’ Category

Show us yours and we’ll show you ours. Nearly one in every three people in North America collects something. People collect for pleasure. They also collect to remember, to preserve, to belong, to make sense of the world.”

This is what was written at the entrance of the Museum of Vancouver’s (MOV) exhibit that featured 20 Vancouver collectors and their rather unconventional collections last year. It was a beautifully curated show that invited visitors to enter into the fascinating, and sometimes unusual, world of collectors. Guests could also become part of the show by sharing their own collections on red and white post-it notes that were placed on the walls around the entrance and through a digital display that featured contributions to the hashtag #MyCollectionatMOV.

The show was the brainchild of Viviane Gosselin, the Senior Manager, Curatorial and Curator of Contemporary Culture at MOV. “I have been working in the field for 20 years and meet so many collectors”, says Gosselin. “Collectors are my experts. They know all the details. They have specific knowledge, bridging between public and private knowledge. Museums are always relying on collectors.”

“But because each show takes two to four years to set up”, says Gosselin, “we can’t offer a show or do justice for every collection.” As a result, Gosselin had “collected” several collectors over time. Even though she couldn’t offer each of them a solo exhibit, she believed that “it was worthwhile to pay attention to their world and their passion and doing it as a way to study the phenomenon of collecting.”

This eventually led to the idea of a group exhibit that would explore “the act of collecting, the collector’s vision and the role collections play in building identity, public memory and social connections.” But more specifically, it was meant to potentially provide insight into the questions of why people collect and if private collections affect public consciousness in any way.

When asked which collectors stood out for her, Gosselin had many but highlighted three in particular: Melanie Talkington, Rob Frith, and Kyle Seller.

Gosselin was impressed by Talkington and her collection of corsets. “She learned to make corsets by deconstructing them and turned her collection into a viable business.” Talkington, who has been making, selling and collecting corsets for over well 20 years, owns Lace Embrace Atelier, which is located in Vancouver.

From her very first purchase of a red wool corset in 1997 and after years of collecting, it is no surprise that she is considered a corset expert and has one of the largest antique corset collections in the world.

“I now have over 300 antique corsets, hoops, garters, stockings and children’s corsets,” says Talkington. “My collection has shaped my lifestyle. I created a fun and interesting business out of my passion for corsets. It has taken me around the world to work on museum exhibitions, participate in trade shows, and make new acquisitions.”

Sharing her knowledge, and educating others around the many different roles corsets played in our history, continues to be important for Talkington. In 2013, the Louvre Museum in Paris borrowed 40 of her corsets for The Mechanics of Underwear exhibit and plans to make her private collection more accessible to the general public by creating a museum in the back of her retail store.

Another, standout for Gosselin was Rob Frith and his display of vintage concert posters. “You can tell music has played a big part in his life.” And indeed it has.

Rob Frith owns Neptoon Records, Vancouver’s oldest independent record store. Although Frith has several items that he collects, the concert poster collection is one that is near and dear to him. “Music means everything to me. Posters are an important part of that. I have thousands and thousands of posters. Most are from Vancouver, but I have some from all over.”

He acquired his first poster when he was 12 years old. “I was always interested in art, especially art that was interesting and weird. My dad was a builder and had bought a house that had been rented by draft dodgers. He took me to the house to help clear it out and on the walls were several concert posters. I was blown away by the artwork and took them home and put them up on my bedroom wall.”

From then on he started to notice them all around Vancouver. He also went to his first concert when he was in Grade 8 and started to casually buy posters after the shows. Eventually his passion grew to include records. This led to him owning a record store and creating his own record label. “I have also reissued records and the posters have come in handy for those projects.”

Sharing his collection with a broader audience also matters to Frith. “I feel that this collection is important, it is a historical document. I have let people use my posters for illustrations in books, LP and CD releases, newspapers, magazines, television, and movies.” He has also been scanning images of all of his posters and placing them on his Facebook page.

Kyle Seller is another collector who stood out for Gosselin. Several of his vintage pinball machines and arcade games were on display at the MOV. All were in working condition and people could play some of them for a dollar or less.

Seller bought his first arcade game (Bubble Bobble) when he was 16, and still has it today. His collection has since grown to include around 60 and having to be creative with storage has led him to build a unique career for himself. “With my business, East Van Amusements, I restore pinball machines and rent pop-up arcades in pubs and other establishments around the city.”

According to Seller, the pinball and arcade market has found new life in Vancouver. “There are pinball leagues with regular tournaments and a massive culture for collecting.” All of this is good news for Seller as he continues to find new and exciting ways to be a part of that community and grow a business that fuels his passion.

In terms of why she thinks people collect, Gosselin suggests that it is related to how people see themselves. “It is tied to their identity and is an identity building process. As you build your identity, you are building yourself. They are always in that process of building, selecting and following their passion. Starts with intuition and interest but then you become more knowledgeable. And you get to know yourself better in relation to different topics.”

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21c-oranaments-3 Whether we are ready or not, the holidays are just around the corner. And, as many people begin to prep and plan their holiday gifts and decor, my hope is that several will consider buying secondhand. There is so much choice out there, and often quite affordable and fun.

21c-typewriterAs a way to test this thought…I would encourage those of you within Metro Vancouver to drop by the Croatian Cultural Centre (3250 Commercial Drive at 16th Avenue) in Vancouver Sunday, December 4th. There you will find the fabulous Retro Design & Antiques Fair being organized by 21st Century Promotions.  With over 175 vendors on site, there literally is something for everyone. Whether you are trying to find a unique gift or deciding to have a vintage or retro Christmas theme, chances are you will be inspired or at least intrigued. They also organize a flea market in the same location, and the next one is set for January 22nd, 2017.

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21c-ornaments-1There are so many ideas for great gifts, everything from vintage jewellery to retro household items and some classic collectibles like records and train sets.

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21c-trainsFor those of you planning to host an elegant dinner party over the holidays (yes…fancy is chic again), you are likely to find some beautiful Irish linens (already ironed and ready to be used) as well as silverware (clean and shiny), fancy china place settings, crystal glasses, silver servers and candlestick holders.

21c-silverAnd, then for those of you looking for something a bit more crafty or you have a penchant for the macabre…you just never know what you will find.

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Retro Design & Antiques Fair
Sunday, December 4th 10am to 3pm $5
Early Birds $20 from 7am on
Croatian Cultural Centre
3250 Commercial Drive at 16th Avenue
www.21cpromotions.com

21st Century Flea Market
Sunday, January 22, 2017 10am to 3pm $5
Early Birds $20 from 7am on
Croatian Cultural Centre
3250 Commercial Drive at 16th Avenue
www.21cpromotions.com

 

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With over 200 vendors from across British Columbia and Alberta, the Fraser Valley Antiques and Collectible Show, now in its 18th year, on the surface appears to be like most antique shows. But it isn’t. Digging a bit further into its history one quickly discovers that this show, nostalgically referred to as the “Bottle Club” show, is quite unique in that it is run entirely by members of the Fraser Valley Antiques and Collectible Club (FVACC).

According to Brian Lefler who has been a member of the club for 35 years, “The club was pretty hard core in the beginning.” First known as the “Old Time Bottle Club of BC” it was established in the early 70s in the Fraser Valley. “Back then there were only twelve members and the only way you could join was if someone died,” says Lefler who was lucky enough to become an official member in 1972 when he participated in his first “dig” at Arbutus and 25th in Vancouver.

“For this select group of collectors, digging for old bottles was the common bond that brought them together,” says Tim Mustart a club member since 1985. “They would often get tips word of mouth potential excavation sites and actually dig for old bottles or historical artifacts on vacant lots or even better at a brewery site or a bottle making company.”

At one point they were also known as the “Valley Diggers”, says Al Reilly one of the club’s current historians and a member since 1971. Now in his 80s, the only digs he gets to are the ones in his garden but he remembers some of the first digs quite well. “There was a dig at 12th and Slocan, where the Italian Cultural Centre is now.” “It had somehow managed to get into an American publication on digging and a lot of people showed up from all over Canada and the U.S.”  He says this was a particularly good dig as there had been a ravine and people used to throw their garbage into creeks back then. Not good for the environment, but great for diggers.

Reilly believes that they were instrumental in helping to preserve parts of our history that could have just as easily been lost. “Diggers were not good archaeologists though,” says Reilly. “Instead of planning out the sites in advance, they would dig a deep hole and expand from there.” However he does go on to mention that “a good digger would always take the time to fill in the holes afterwards.”

As interest grew in the club they eventually had to expand and start to do things differently. In 1984 they became a non-profit organization and the name was officially changed to the Fraser Valley Antiques and Collectibles Club. Now with over 150 members, they represent an eclectic group of collectors who are “devoted to the identification, preservation, appreciation and collection of local historical antiques and collectibles.”

Accordingly, there is a different kind of digging going on these days. The club started to host an annual antique and collectible show while also holding monthly meetings where members could buy, sell and trade their prize possessions. They also publish a bi-monthly newsletter called the Fraser Valley Holedown.

For most members like Lefler, the shows offer an opportunity to sell off parts of their collection but more importantly it gives them a chance to connect, catch up and share stories with other members. “I now come over only once a year to do this show and socialize,” says Lefler who has since retired and moved away to one of the coastal islands. According to Tim Mustart, these shows also “help to support club activity financially while also encouraging new members to get involved.”

Other types of treasures unearthed at the show include vintage pop bottles, many still with pop in them, as well as old ginger beer bottles, glass inkwells, liquor bottles, and fruit jars. But the show is now about so much more.  Dealers also sell, among other things, tins, advertising, pottery, ephemera, antiques, train memorabilia, and even comic books.

As a result, the FVACC show is a special event that runs deeper than most shows in that it brings together a group of collectors and dealers who all share a common passion for digging through our past while also staying connected in their mutual respect for preserving our history.

Next show set for Saturday, April 21st 9am to 4pm and Sunday April 22 10am to 3pm. Admission: $3. Early bird admission on Friday from 6:30 to 9:30pm for $20. Click here for more details.

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