Tuesday

The Flea Market



Last week-end we went to the Giant Flea Market in Sussex, New Brunswick, held every year on the third weekend of August... 3 days (4 days if you go on Dealer Day) of peeking, searching, wandering, wondering, pondering, bartering.... and hopefully finding a treasure of some sort to take home....

More than 450 booths spread out across the large fair grounds... there was no lack of things to look at... antiques, junk, collectibles, books, car parts, tools, you name it... it was there... guaranteed! in good and bad condition... and everywhere in between... a deal could be had, depending on how much you had to spend or how much they wanted to get rid of it...

... scorching sun, pouring rain, traffic jams, tired feet, sunburned faces, soaked to the hide.. didn't matter people were there in full force... when a downpour happened on Saturday, one vendor sold out of his umbrellas in minutes! There was a silver lining in that cloud.. for him anyway...


... 10 years ago we had the good fortune or bad, depending on which day you ask John... to find the bits and pieces and parts of a 1966 P1800 Volvo Coupe there, the kind "The Saint" used to drive... in parts on a fellows table and in several boxes under it... and the rest were in another province in his barn... he agreed to put them all back together and sell it to us... it was in very sorry shape and we have been working on it for years... searching out parts, a never-ending task... with much perseverance and cursing, cause it was too late to turn back now... it finally has a coat of primer and the engine is restored, still more to do and far from perfect but it is almost road worthy...




Anyway, back at the Flea Market.... On Friday, John pointed out this old press which I thought at first glance was the top part of an old cider press... and immediately passed it by, thinking I really don't need another project to do just now, of trying to figure out how to make the rest of the cider press... so we wandered some more...

... soon I found an old beautifully patterned Silver teapot ... rather worn, and stained but had an essence I could not resist... and I dearly needed a teapot... Then a great hardcover book, " The Life, History and Magic of The Dog"... beautifully illustrated reference book... They both came home with me.

John found a big pile of salvaged window and door moldings, sides and tops... red pine 1 ¼" thick, from an 1867 house from Guysborough Co. Nova Scotia... even with John's very careful packing into our 8' long utility trailor, the beautiful moldings overflowed the trailor.... but he tied them on with my daughters old mountain climbing rope.... it was sort of a mountain of wood!! These will be saved for a future project... A starting point...   ( update  to July 2010 ... we are using them  here... interior construction)

Max found books, games and army surplus gear for his paintball tournaments...

... we were all happy... and tired... and hot... we were glad to be on the 45 minute drive home...





The next morning, we were talking about our great deals and the things that were rather interesting, that we left behind... and John again mentioned that he was surprised I hadn't shown any interest in the press... Well, I never really had a good look at it... only from a distance from across a crowded aisle... he said he had... and as he described it, I realized it was a Book Press... an actual Book Press... Oh no... Why didn't I walk the 10 feet in that direction and examine it when he pointed it out... ohhh... Foul word inserted here... Where would I ever come across one of those again... probably never!!!

I didn't actually need it.... but what a great addition to the studio it would have been... I started thinking up things I could have done with it.... for sure it would be gone now... it was probably gone 5 minutes after we passed it........... I think we should go back and on a wild whim of a chance maybe it would be there... noooo, it wouldn't...

oh heck.. we went back anyway... You know, Hope...

It was pouring rain!!! Buckets!!!

Couldn't believe it... The old Book Press (also known as a Nipping Press) was still there in the exact spot!!! It was in almost perfect condition for something that age... solid cast iron and not a bit of rust... It was a good size...With the wheel wound down it was 13" tall x 11½"wide x 21½" long... the platen has a 3" opening and was 9 ½" x 15". It weighed about 70 lbs. and had 4 bolt holes to anchor it down.

The dealer, Al Hermitage, from Rexton, New Brunswick who always has the best primitive antiques, was pretty surprised that no one had snapped it up... When I showed interest and asked about it, he said he could give me a deal... $45.00... Wow... My Lucky day! I more than gladly paid to take my prize home... Good thing John was there, though... It was heavy! I was smilin' for the rest of the day!



This is just a quick little pen and ink sketch I did of the new, old tool now in my studio, The Book Press... approx. 6" x 6" on textured drawing paper.

.

42 comments:

Chris' Greetings from the Shady Grove said...

Congratulations on your good fortune!

Sandy said...

First off, love the drawing.

Second, how wonderful you were able to acquire it!! Sounds like a great price.

You would love my neighbor's workshop... He owns several presses, very antique and he keeps them in great shape. He is a wonderful craftsman ....with his hand in many things...I couldn't even name them all, and also a perfectionist so everything he does is exquisite.

I enjoyed reading about your shopping day...

Janice Thomson said...

What a neat find Gwen - delighted it was still there for you! Love your little drawings too :)
One man's junk another man's treasure n-est-ce pas? I love flea markets.

Jo Horswill said...

Firstly Gwen, I love the sketch of your newly acquired treasure of a press...How wonderful your whole 'flea market' adventure sounded.
The sunburn, the down pour, your teapot and book. Happy to hear about the families finds too.
I think that press had your name on it from the start! Indeed a rare find and price!!! This old book press will certainly be a valued piece in your studio plus they are so beautiful to just look at...like your sketch:)

Hillary said...

Gwen, again and again, you spark my imagination, and I say 'I could have a go at that'. I might even check out our flea markets when the weather improves. Thank you

Missus Wookie said...

What a cool find and how lovely that it was waiting for you when you went back.

Annette said...

Gwen, as I was reading this I was saying (out loud, would you believe!)'please let it still be there,please!'
What a treasure, but still, so are you!

Ruth said...

I'm glad you recounted the story, Gwen, so interesting. The seller must have been happy to find buyers who knew what they were getting.

I adore going to flea markets - especially if I'm looking for something specific. Don and I have found some treasures, such as our guest room's brass bed for $20.

Well you've peaked my interest about that future project now . . . Are you two the type that can never rest? After what you two have done at your place (at first I wondered, "why does John need more window and door moldings??") - I am amazed you have energy for more. But that is your way, you must get energized by it as well.

And oh, I saw a very similar old Volvo coupe (or some such model) at the local airport's air show the other day (went for people photos, got one decent one). Heading back to my car I saw it parked out back, and I had to look at the make to see what it was. I hope John (and Max, and you?) find energy to finish it one day because that is one sweet looking vehicle.

I like your sketch. It must really help you to get to know an object to draw it this way.

PG said...

As soon as I saw the top drawing I recognised a nipping press...then got puzzled as I read down...then all was revealed! I am so glad you got it in teh end - they are very heavy, aren't they? I have one which I can just about lift on my own, marvellous old work horses!

Jazz said...

Oh, I love flea markets! I wish we had one like that here...

kate said...

You are a marvellous storyteller Gwen and I imagine that book press has a few stories of its own to tell. Your beautiful pen and ink sketch really captures its essence I think. I so admire your ability to draw and sketch, especially so sensitively...something I struggle with.

shicat said...

There is nothing like a day antiquing. I am anxious to see what happens with both the book press and moldings. I love the way you have used all of salvaged windows in your home.The curves and angles get me everytime.
p.s. I can remember every antique that I have passed on.... :( shoulda,woulda,coulda

Anet said...

OH Gwen this sounds like heaven! I love flea markets!!! I'am so glad the book press was still there for you, it would of eating away at you for days if it was gone! I know, I've done the same thing... I sit and stew over all the things I left behind! One time I found a antique stain glass church window and it was only $40!!! My husband said we'll grab it on our way back. OH NO! I made him get it right then, as he was carrying it away a lady screamed and slapped her husband in the arm and said "I told you so!" she was so upset. As we kept walking away I whispered to my husband "I told you so!" He was a lucky man!:) The window barely fit in our Volvo's back seat!

mansuetude said...

i too love your sketch and the way you tell a good story (meandering off on the volvo a bit was awesome). (who is the saint?)

I think rain is always a sign of grace, so of course, it was there to help--objects might prefer to be in the hands of someone who understands them, wants them. Who knows. Enjoy.

Sharon said...

Great that it was still there. That 45 minute drive home would have been a real drag if you had had to come home empty handed. The sketch is truly gorgeous!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks Chris, I saw a lot of old quilts there, you would have loved them, especially an old basket quilt.. the baskets were pieced and then appliqued...

Thanks Sandy, it was dirt cheap!! I would absolutely love to spend time in your neighbors workshop... and pick his brain... what a guy!!


Janice, the weird thing is, I am not a shopper.. I think flea markets don't count as shopping, wouldn't you say? .. I'm just giving someone's old stuff a new home for a while!! haha.

Annette and Missus Wookie, I think with flea markets it is the thrill of the hunt.. suppose that is what the cavemen felt like when they went out hunting for the day.. Big surprise when they brought home a Mastodon!!!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks so much Jo, for your generous sharing of printmaking information...
you are an inspiration!!!

... I couldn't believe he let it go for such a low price and I can't wait to start using it.. Printmaking is always something I have wanted to explore!!


Thank you Mansuetude, The Saint was a British series from the 60's, with Roger Moore as Simon Templar alias "the Saint".. A suave spy guy who hunted down rich villains (sort of a James Bond series type).. and he drove a sporty little car that I really liked...

The rain really was a blessing.. I guess I caught some of that silver lining too!!


Thanks Sharon, I prepared myself in case it was gone... but I was overjoyed that it was there.. in any case that day, John found a super heavy duty and very heavy "Come-a-Long". It is a type of winch... we'll need it for working on the old garage... it is a pretty useful tool and he couldn't even rent one for the price he bought it for.. the building is slightly bulging and the come-a-long will pull it back in line so he can properly strengthen the walls...

Gwen Buchanan said...

Oh Thanks Anet, you are absolutely right.. if you see something that intrigues you... you better take it for a drive home with you or you'll never stop thinking about it..

You were so lucky to find an antique stain glass church window and grab it when you did!!.. Bet you felt awful bad for the distraught lady who was beating her husband!!! Funny!!

Amazing what you can squeeze into a backseat when you are determined enough!! Do you still have it?



Jazz, I am really surprised that Montreal doesn't have a monster market up there!!
There was a lot of French being spoken on the weekend.. couldn't tell if it was Montreal French or Moncton French..


Kate, You flatter me too much. Most of my drawings are rather scribbly.. Your imagination overflows with creativity!!!
I wish I knew the history of the old press. but I guess I will have to content myself with doing some research on the net... I am wondering if it may have come from an old post office.. I guess they also used them for copy presses.


Thank you,Shicat! I know what you mean... sort of like talking bout the fish that got away.. sort of!!
It will be fun to see how things turn out, for sure!!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hillary I hope you do.. I would love to see what turns up ...down where you live!

Ruth,I thought it was so cool that the fellow's name was Hermitage that we bought it from... as most everything he had was house hold objects...with tons of natural patina and age... very old cupboards and fabulous cabinets, chests of drawers, clay work, lanterns etc.. I could not afford most of what he had.. but I loved it anyway!!
Was that the beautiful bed in a post a while back.. that was gorgeous!! What a deal !!

Well we would like to rest but when you chose to life your life as a craftsperson, one of the downfalls is that pensions are not included.... So onward we press...

Well the old Volvo is at a bodywork shop in Saint John now... and his friend will put our engine back into it and do the brakes... It was originally a pastel blue... the new paint is a metallic silver.. It is so low to the ground it feels like you are lying down when your in it... It did actually drive when we first got it but a transport truck cut us off at an intersection and almost ran over us... We thought if we painted it a brighter color that wouldn't happen again.. The poor old thing never quite work the same after that.. but after several more years of work it should soon be done... Hallelujah and kiss the ground!!!!!


Thanks PG, they don't make things like they used to, that's for sure...
Your work is beautiful! and your little characters so special... You have created a whole world onto your own.. Lovely and such attention to detail!!

Anet said...

Yes, we still have it. It did make a dent in the side of the car door were the window comes to a peak when we shut the door. It's wood with white and gold glass with in it. We just set it on the window sill and used chains to hold it in place. It's an odd fit but it works. We are not handy like you guys and could never build a house around old windows and doors!
I did feel a wee bit sorry for the other lady, but I felt very glad that I wasn't the one who lost out on the window, I'm sure my husband was glad too!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Anet, it sounds gorgeous. It was worth the dent!!
I'm glad you are enjoying it still!!

...that is really smart to use chains to hold it secure.. we were suppose to hang our old windows inside the arched window casings but we don't have that done yet.. maybe this winter...

Arija said...

Gwen you had me sitting on tenterhooks, your wonderful drawing was in front of my eyes yet the back of my mind, throughout your thrilling story ran a paralell story. How could you have drawn it with such detail on such a brief glimpse...but it wasn't packed into the car... how could you possibly leave such a gem behind..etc...
I'm so glad you got it, and now you have me wondering about the new project you two are cookin up.
India picked up a couple of things at a charity shop on Saturday when we went to the farmers' market. It's on her latest blog, she'll be green with envy at the press as she worked for a little while with her Master Bookinder great-aunt.

P.S. nothing like a bit of sturdy mountaineering rope to hold things steady!

Ruth said...

Oh how frightening about the accident, so glad it wasn't worse! That is a bad thing about such a low car.

The Hermitage collection (ha) sounds like stuff I would love. Oh, and I've always wanted to visit the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. One day maybe.

I understand how hard you and John have to work as artisans to make a living. But all the work you do on your place is out of love and devotion, no remuneration!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Yes Ruth... we are crazy that way!!!

Being not afraid to fly like I am I'm sure you will see St.Petersburg one day.. I hope you do!!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Well the new project is still in the "what if" stages and we have to contact plenty of people to see what the limits are...

...the property is pretty narrow, only 60'... with an old 20' x 30' garage built in the center of it... with very heavy timbers... has 11' ceiling... it needs work to save it..
.. we are probably crazy but that is what people probably thought when we bought our present land...they probably scratched their heads for years on that one... Oh well it is an interesting exercise in what we can do with limitations.. I sometimes like working with limits as it makes you stretch and think outside the box to make it happen.. We have gotta get our thinking caps on!!


What a talented family you are.. as if all I have learned about you and your daughter wasn't enough to boggle me.. now there was a Master book-binder.. I am so glad we met!!!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ruth, I mean I am afraid to fly!

Robyn said...

Wow Gwen and I thought this family was bad but we've never filled a trailor with our purchases from the flea market. Glad you struck it lucky!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Oh never say never Robyn... you never know, what irresistible find you might come across at the next one!!! All the Best!!

denise said...

Oh, what an amazing find!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks Denise, I'm still smilin'!!

Karen Cole said...

Gwen,
I am so glad that you stopped by and that it brought me to your lovely blog. I LOVE the story of the press AND the sketches. Your jewelry in the sidebar is beautiful. When I get more time, I will take a longer look at what else you have here.

Chris' Greetings from the Shady Grove said...

Gwen, I've really been enjoying your blog. In fact I enjoy it so much I thought you deserved an award. Stop by and claim it. Rules for the award are listed in the previous post. Chris

Ruth said...

I have a good meditation for fear of flying next time you fly . . . let me know.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ruth, you mean for my fear of flying when for the very first time any of my toes ever touch an airplane... It might be too late for this coward!

... But I would LOVE to hear the meditation. Thank you!

seth said...

The book press was meant to be and probably even more special because of the way you got it. Thanks for sharing your trip with us and the sketch. I love flea markets!

me ann my camera said...

Wish I had of seen it! We go to Sussex each year and I love the atmosphere, the search, the perceived and real treasures found there. This is a wonderful read, I enjoyed, and identified with it all.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Seth, I am so happy about it, I'm almost nervous to use it.. I'm loving your Pulse!!!


Me ann my camara.. We have probably passed each other in the long dusty aisles!! and you are so right about the atmosphere ... it's a fun filled time and a great Treasure hunt!!

mansuetude said...

A. That is one sexy car--especially for a "Saint" :)

B. I think you ARE flying :) Fearlessly.

C. Came to tell you how i love the crabs you picked for collecting on Seth's blog. Reminded me of my childhood--i used to love to find the minatures; once took a wee little lobster claw to my room (I had fallen in love with its ability to open and close) (Mother told me it wouldn't work like findings on the beach) but i wanted it--took it to my room. In the morning it smelled "pretty" fishy all around my bed. Thanks for this. :)

We never know how what we love will serve up a memory or association to another.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks Mansuetude, You are very encouraging... I appreciate that!

You're right, we just need a trigger to bring back to the front of our minds, thoughts that meant something to us from a good while back.... and surprising what the triggers turn out to be!!

Serena said...

You were obviously meant to have it. Great sketch!

Morna said...

I love this story of the press - it was meant to be with you. Also the wonderful little chest of drawers for beads. I'm a little green with envy. Very happy to have discovered your blog - I am going run "home" and add you to my blog list. And send the link to my husband and suggest we move to St. John. It is gorgeous. And then we could be neighbors - and live far away enough from each other so we could be hermits, but close enough so we could share tea, and art making, and spaghetti. How does that sound? Probably it sounds like I am a deranged cyber-stalker. :-)

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks Serena,, it is still calling to me.

Morna, You are so funny!! Your suggestions sound perfect to me.. tea art and spaghetti!! When are you moving up?