Posts Tagged ‘flea market


Found Object Rorschach Test

The #1 question we get asked at art fairs is, “where do you find all your junk?”   A close second is “What goes on in your head?”, but since THAT’s a question for another day, a team of experts and/or a bottle of tequila, we’ll concentrate on #1. 

Where do we get the good junk?  Well, my favorite places are flea markets (a topic already covered in a previous post) and outdoor antique festivals.  I say outdoor, because the indoor ones are usually full of prissy, expensive things.  You rarely find a crate of yummy rusted lamp parts at an indoor antique show.  To give you an example, this week we visited the bi-annual Liberty Antiques Festival in Liberty, NC.  And while the pickings were slimmer than I would have hoped for, we did come away with a bag full of decicious junk.What you’re looking at here is a pretty typical haul from one of our treasure hunts.  And while is may look like a pile of crap to most people, to me it looks like 3 bodies, 13 feet, 3 heads, a bumblebee wing,assorted bling, an arm, 3 devil’s pitchforks, 2 legs, 3 hats, 2 collars, 4 boobs, and something I only got because it came with something I really wanted and which I’ll probably give away.  Care to guess which is which?  If you can, you’ll have gone a long way towards figuring out question #2.


Further Adventures on the Junk Trail

Banner star flea marketThanks to all of you who have called and written to express their disappointment in the sorry state of junking in the South.  Or at least in Tennessee.  We had another crack at the US 11 Antique  Alley on Saturday, with similar, sorry results.  I mean come on people, cassette tapes, irregular tube socks and romance paperbacks may be old, but they’re not antiques.  Or even vintage.

But wait!  The trip was not a total loss, and it had nothing to do with Antique Alley.  Our dear friend Quinn Hawkesworth, who lives in Abingdon VA, took us last fall to a flea market in an old tobacco warehouse, unremarkable in every way except for *contented sigh* Ron’s place.  I’ve been dreaming of going back ever since.

Ron owns the Banner Star Flea Market in Abingdon, and has a huge section of it sectioned off for his own collection.  As far as I can tell, he must have gone to the homes of people who are moving (or died) and cleaned out the garages, workshops and basements.  The remains of a thousand old men’s tool chests are in there, and an assortment of junk that makes me drool to think of it.  It’s not the glamour stuff of which Fobots are made—the cool tins or vintage cameras or pool balls.  It’s the nuts and bolts (literally) of the creatures. The arms and legs and metal bits and spark plugs and springs and tail light lenses and hydraulic fittings and…OK, I’m starting to hyperventilate.  We filled up half a 5 gallon bucket with wrenches and metal stuff, and had to stop before the bucket became too heavy to carry.  AND a plastic shopping bag full of plastic and glass auto lenses AND my lucky crap gathering bag full of other stuff.  Junk Nirvana.

I considered not writing about this.  The selfish part of me wants to protect my sources.  But after a few hours at Banner Elk, I think I cleaned him out.  I mean, look at the picture, taken at the end of our shopping spree.  Looks empty, right?


The 247-mile shoe last

f763_1…or, “I went to Antique Alley on US 11 and all I got was this stupid shoe shoe last.”

First of all, a shoe last is a metal or wooden form used in the cobbling of shoes.  This is a decent one.  Slightly damaged, but a reasonably priced $2. 

What ticks me off are my inflated expectations.  I had envisioned the annual US 11 Antique trip to be a quaint journey through scenic Appalachia, with adorable little towns overflowing with good food, music, and, most importantly, excellent Fobot components.  Junk.  Same thing.

What we found on Friday, May 15, 2009, was an interminable string of Waffle Houses*, Dollar Generals, tanning salons(?), and strip malls.  We drove for several hours from Bristol TN along US 11 W, down to Knoxville, and back up US 11 E, and encountered exactly two Antique Alley flea markets and 3 yard sales.  And the shoe last.  And although the scenery was mostly banal but  occasionally sublime, I don’t think we’re going to try again tomorrow.  What happened?  Were we too early?  Will the streets be overflowing with antiques tomorrow?  Was the good part further south, in Georgia or Mississippi?  I can’t tell you how disappointed I am.  So–if the organizers or Chambers of Commerce would like to email me and offer an explanation, my email address is .  Operators are standing by.

*Don’t get me wrong.  I love the Waffle House.


*@#% Macys, I wanna go to the flea market

fleamarket1I used to act in a lot of community theatre plays.  And the question I’d get, as inevitably as tornados in a trailer park, was “How do you memorize all those lines?”  Now that I make robots, the inevitable question is, “Where do you find all that junk?”

At the risk of revealing trade secrets and increasing my competition for the really good crap, I’m going to tell you.  Every Saturday morning that the weather is bearable (and sometimes when it’s not), the lovely and talented Phil and I head for the State Fairgrounds Flea Market in Raleigh.  No wait–first we go to the Waffle House, where they make hash browns the way god intended them– shredded, and then scattered, covered, smothered, chunked and capped– THEN we hit the flea market.2009-03-07-a300-misc-326

We missed it two weeks ago–BMAC, if you’ll recall–and last weekend the weather was abysmal.  So when this Saturday dawned warm, clear, and optimistically Spring-like, we were rarin’ to go.  We were not dissapointed…

Two cool old View-Masters–obvious Fobot heads–$10.  A pile of brass oil lamp parts, many of which look like little filagree crowns.  A couple of garden claws, a vintage camera, marbles, teaballs, a toy coffee pot, two glass bowl fuel filters, a toy xylophone that sounds terrible but looks faboo, brass stampings, three hose nozzles, a Mellomints tin, a little tail light, and gobs of miscellaneous hardware.  Heaven on earth.

So there’s my secret.  Oh, and the best day for you to go–Sunday.  Saturday’s MY day.

December 2018
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