I recently had the thrill of walking the aisles and booths of the Round Top Antique Show for the first time- a massive festival that takes place twice a year, quietly overwhelming a tiny Texas town. In Round Top, some booths are neatly displayed, as if arranged by an interior designer; others are a mish-mash of “stuff" overflowing from every surface. Regardless of the presentation, I hear history speak to me everywhere I look.
Stories of work, home, invention- every item has been somewhere, and at some point meant something, to someone. Its not so much about purchasing items at these shows- (though it is a lovely thing to give them “new life”)- but more about learning and gathering inspiration from the piles of history sitting in front of me.
These places are museums. While they may lack the research and titles and labels you would find in the Decorative Arts section of a world-renowned museum, they also lack the pretense and the selectivity, the exclusiveness. Nothing is more telling of a time period or era than the items that graced our daily lives- the dishes we used everyday, or our favorite worn-in easy chair. My mind races to learn and interpret those stories.
Items that seem common-place to us now, were at one time invented by someone, were brand new to someone, were hopefully loved by someone. Nothing breaks my heart more than to see piles of family photo albums and photographs- real documentation of a generation, separated from those who are most connected to them, for reasons unknown to us today.
In Austin, we are just a short drive to this twice-yearly Round Top Antique Festival, where I shot the image above. The next festival begins on March 30, and I am surprising the Paloma's Nest Studio Manager, Danielle, with an overnight trip to the show, in celebration of our shared March birthdays. (Surprise, Dani!!) She shares my love of items from the past, so I hope this is an adventure we can enjoy together!
In New England, there is the Brimfield show. Where are your favorite places to absorb history? What types of items do you collect?