Originally published in The Weekly Packet, August 21, 2014
Treasure-seekers and collectors mingle at Antiques Show
Local furniture restorer Joshua Klein shared the tricks of his trade at the annual antiques show put on by the Jonathan Fisher House at the Blue Hill Fairgrounds on August 16.
by Tevlin Schuetz
Things fired up for the Jonathan Fisher House Antique Show, on August 16 at the Blue Hill Fairgrounds, at around 8 in the morning, with what JFH board president Amey Dodge said was “a good rush of people early on.”
The show featured an “early buyer” option for collectors, where they could pay a slightly higher ticket price to get first crack at the goodies aplenty: cast iron objects, woodcarvings, tools, paintings and prints, quilts and linens, colonial pottery, Georgian silver, old signs, furniture of different periods and other curios spread throughout the fairgrounds.
Furniture restorer Joshua Klein of Brooklin was also on hand, sharing the secrets of antique furniture care with curious onlookers. He explained how the rounded cutting edge on a hand plane, a tool in woodworking, creates the scalloped effect on furniture surfaces to Blue Hill resident Don Mallow. Klein also pointed out different types of repairs done to the same chair over time.
Jennifer Mitchell-Nevin, of Blue Hill, sat in a booth space with Phyllis Hamabe, widow of the late artist Frank Hamabe, who lived and worked in Blue Hill for many years, beginning in the 1950s. There were pieces of his creation on display, and a recently published book on the artist was available. One guest who stopped in the booth paid a compliment to the artist’s wife, saying Hamabe was “very prolific” and “one of the nicest people” he had known.
The presence of a food truck proved a treat for show-goers. The murmur began early and spread: Jim and Roxanne Grindle were serving their delicious crab rolls and other goodies. They have been providing food since JFH sponsored its first antiques show.
Despite the enthusiasm of those who attended, the event was smaller than it has been in past years, according to some of the dealers present. One dealer, David Day, from Brunswick, said the antiques business is still suffering as a result of the “Great Recession” of 2008. He alluded to a number of dealers going out of business over the past few years.
Dealer Emery Goff, who sells antiques through two locations in Searsport, had another perspective. She observed that younger people aren’t as “interested in things” as much as they used to be. “They [prefer] doing things on the computer,” and she added that not as many younger people come to antique shows these days.
Outsider art and folk art dealer Rick Bernasconi of Belfast wasn’t bothered, however. “There is a lot of competition this weekend.” He refused to worry about things beyond his control, he said, choosing instead to enjoy “a perfect day outside.”
Dealers and collectors alike remain committed to that which swirls between hobby, vocation, and fascination with the past. Goff’s eyes lit up when she revealed the inner workings of an antique collector’s mind. “People who like antiques are interested in the ghosts,” she said. “And the puzzles. Like…what in the hell is that?” Goff laughed, pointing to a wire object hanging in her booth.