Friday
Jun052015

It has a name!

From Dave

Mrs. H and I regroup on Wards Island every couple of weeks or so. It’s my ancestral home, when my kids are there they are 5th generation Islanders.

Many of the sensibilities in the shop are derivate of Wards Island. We don’t really know how to describe our shop to people who have never been in; the phrases we use never sit right with us and leave our friends a bit glassy eyed.

I found a book; lent to my Mom by my Aunt, fully perused by my cousins (that kind of book) each page contained at least one image of something we have in the shop.

Huh.

We’re “Bloomsbury Style”!!!

Named after a group of artists living in the Bloomsbury neighborhood of London and manifested in their Sussex country retreat “Charleston”.

Circa 1910, they thrifted Victorian furniture, upcycled pottery, repurposed doors,reused textiles and hoarded books and sculpture. It is magical.

Now we know our Roncesvalles shop isn’t Charleston, we’re just happy that this thing of ours has a name.

Have a look;

http://www.decorartsnow.com/2012/01/12/now-and-then-inspired-by-the-bloomsbury-group/

We’re working on a little pop-up shop inspired by the Bloomsbury-like items in our shop.

We’ll be in touch.

Wednesday
May132015

Alchemy

 

 

From Picker Dave

We’ve been running live auctions in our Roncy shop for a while now. Thursday the 21st will be our 40th one. We’ve found it’s a high energy method of getting new customers in our store; it also rotates our inventory and shakes up our floor plan. It’s not a huge money maker, we couldn’t feed the kids if we were just an auction house. Mostly its fun.

Taking what we’ve learned from live auctions we decided to try online auctions. After doing 4 of them it turns out they are just the same only different.

Our colleagues in the vintage business have taken notice; they gently make vague comments about offhandedly noticing something about “was that maybe you guys doing some online thingie”…What they want to ask is “DOES THIS PUT GOLD IN THE BOX?!!!!

I promised a few of them I would answer:

Trying to curate an auction is alchemy.

Mrs. H has given me very few rules, one that is firm is to “only buy things that you would have in your own home”. Sifting through the results of past auctions I found an antique duck decoy that sold for a lot of money. I knew of a supplier who had a nice selection and I bought a flock of 4 at $40.00 each.

They sat in the backseat as I drove them home. It takes an hour to go anywhere in downtown Toronto so the 5 of us had some time. Hand carved and lovingly painted by 4 different craftsmen, circa 1950’s, they we’re stunning.  I moved them upfront with me. By the time we got to the shop I knew they we’re special and decided to put them on the floor for $110.00 each, not to auction them off.

The floated around the shop for 6 weeks. Nothing. So I selected the best one and put it in an online auction. The duck was surrounded by 99 other lots, all good stuff, we were proud to brand it a “Mrs. Huizenga Auction”. I was excited to see how it would do when the auction closed on Thursday afternoon. I was going to make money selling something I really liked.

It sold for $11.31

Minus the 30% fee

I was sad. Sad that I lost us money but really sad that I lost my duck. I should have taken it home and kept it for the rest of my life. It was worth way more than 8 bucks to me...

The rest of the auction went well. We started another one immediately. It’s how we feed our kids.

All weekend long I lamented; I’ve never taken the time to learn how to lose gracefully. It was only one piece out of 400 but I didn’t care. My duck was gone.

On Monday morning I received an email titled “lot # 53. Duck Decoy”. Great, not only did I get gooned on the price but the buyer is unhappy about my duck.

I opened the email and it was a very polite, well written, gracious thank you note from the winner. He was so very happy to have the duck.

It was carved by his Grandfather.

 

Alchemy

Saturday
Mar072015

how can i miss you if i don't go away ?

the pub we chose for a pint last night often features live music.

we were displaced from our table in order for friday night's duo to set up their gear and do the fussing those people do before getting down to it. this made us take extra notice of what would have generally escaped our attention.

one of the fellows was sporting a custom made harmonica belt, absolutely bubbling over with harmonicas. the belt itself had obviously been lovingly hand crafted. a long, long time ago. if i had to guess i would say at some point in the late seventies. brass pentagram buckle. studs baby, studs. and the most important detail ? made for a man both forty years and pounds younger.

i had a flash of musician friends of my own who had chucked it in for jobs selling bmw's, artists who now ponied up for the irregular cash of covering off a sick teacher, writers too buried in bureaucracy to pick up a pen come hell or high water. all their vitality and sparkly enthusiasm broken down by giving in. they took off their harmonica belts. to pay the rent. to nurse a parent. raise a child. meet the expectations of others.

these past few months our website has been down. both dave and i felt we weren't able to keep it fresh enough. i never quite learned how to post a photograph to this "user friendly easy to navigate" website, as sideways images from years past will attest. when we posted entries containing heartfelt words we felt vulnerable, afraid somebody might actually read the damn thing and find us to be all squishy and emotional. about a teacup. or a pyrex bowl. old photos of complete strangers we saved, and loved.

in these days crammed with the stimulus overload of time saving devices i was worried that we weren't being heard, or seen. as soon as we pulled the website it felt like a mistake. i assumed it was gone forever and we both mourned the moments in time we turned our backs on.

in its absence we learned we didn't care if anybody was reading it. we didn't care if we were judged to be a little bit whack. that the hand crafted harmonica belts our brains had our fingers type out pleased us, and that made us happy and that was good enough.

lets go with the assumption that much like our shop full of treasures, our blog only gets better with age.

if it sits quietly on an un-navigated shelf of the internet waiting to be dusted off and discovered so be it.

we only have pieces in our shop that we appreciate enough to have in our own homes should it come to be that nobody else sees the beauty of them. these words on these screens, the minutes spent shaping them, the struggles with technology to share beloved images bring us joy enough. we shall not surrender to, but embrace, the random nature of www.mrshuizenga.com. insert your favorite harmonica solo here. x0mrs