Yesterday I stepped back in time to the 1840’s. I attended the annual Hart Square Festival in Vale, NC. Once a year Dr. Bob Hart and his family open their village to the public and allow us to step back in time to get a perspective on what life might have been like during this period of time. Once you enter the village you truly feel as if you have entered the 1800’s. Dr. Hart has amassed over 100 log cabins, barns and structures which he has taken down and re-erected on his property. If that is not enough, his collection of authentic antiques that he places in each of these log buildings will simply amaze you. As a collector, this is my favorite place to go to see these type of antiques. Even after 11 years of going, my husband and I can always see something new that we had not seen before. During the festival Demonstrators are there to show you how our ancestors would have lived and how they would have performed everyday tasks in order to survive. Things were not as easy for them then as they are for us now even doing simple things like preparing their meals, washing their clothes or simply getting their food they needed to survive. There is also bluegrass music. Several bands come to play at the festival I think there were as many as 7 or 8 at different cabins around the grounds. It seemed to me this year was even bigger and better than before. I felt as though there were more demonstrators, more young children and of course more cabins. Many people dress in period costume even if they are not part of the docents. It all lends to the experience of Hart Square. A new Education Center is also being built to have classrooms for these type of lost arts and for school children. I feel it is so important to help preserve our past for future generations to come. There is also a civil war reenactment If you go next year the tickets go on sale the first of October and they also now have a website https://hartsquare.com/the-festival/ to get tickets online and to also read more about the Village of Hart Square. I know I can’t wait until next year.
Antiques, according to Wikipedia is defined as a collectible item at least 100 years old. An antique is collected because of its age, beauty, rarity and condition. Those of us who are collectors tend to have a certain style that we like. For instance, I tend to collect more on the lines of primitives, such as in the picture above. That style I think goes with the type of home that we live in. I just can’t see mid century modern furniture being used in our old log cabin.
Collecting primitive antiques can sometimes be challenging as to where to find these pieces that are so coveted today. They are getting harder and harder to find. The piece pictured above is a Green Bean Sheller. It had a date on the inside of 1901. I wish I could have talked to the lady who used this in her kitchen. I haven’t seen very many of these and it is one of my favorite pieces in my kitchen. I picked this piece up many years ago in Hillsville, Virginia at the famous Flea Market during Labor Day. This piece may be a slight new to be totally classified as a primitive but I love it just the same.
That is what is so great about collecting if you truly love a piece, it’s Ok to sway out of your normal time period on some things. I also love the farmhouse look that is popular right now and I am able to incorporate some of those pieces into our home too. Such as the Bread or Cake keeper shown below I picked this piece up in the Amish area of Pennsylvania this past June. I love it. I think it was a good find as I haven;t seen too many of these either. It would have been used to hold your cakes or bread after it was baked in the cookstove. I think it would have also been used around the early 1900’s. By mixing these antiques I’m able to get both styles that I love so much.
I found this gathering basket not far from where I live. It is huge. It is also very old. I think it dates back to the 1800’s. I sometimes feel I have to travel a ways to find truly unique and old pieces. This one proved me wrong. Which brings up the subject as to where to find antiques. There are many different answers, from antique malls, flea markets, antique shows and auctions. The latter is one of my favorite ways to obtain an antique. The country auction. They can be very exciting at times. One of the best auctions that I attended was in January of 2016. It was so cold those days. It was one of those auctions that only comes around once in a lifetime probably. The auction lasted for three Saturdays and the quality and quantity of the pieces were amazing. I was able to win a few pieces that I hope to never sell. A table that I purchased was from the county that I live in, in North Carolina. I was loading this table into the back of my truck and when I turned it upside down to lay it flat on its top, I noticed little round circle indentions under the table top. A gentleman had noticed them too and he told me they were made from a sewing bird that had been attached to the table years ago. It always makes the antique you are purchasing even more special if that piece has a story with it. That is not always easy to obtain and sometimes impossible. So when you are able to learn about the owner of the antique and how the piece may have been used or acquired it adds to the value of the antique.
Another way to acquire antiques is to have them handed down to you. The black wool jacket pictured above is actually my great grandmother’s jacket. The dress hanging beside of it was found in the eastern part of North Carolina. I call it a work dress as it seems to have that look about it.
One of the best ways to learn more about antiques is to visit museums, historic homes, and to research antiques that you are interested in. Go out there and go to shows that you know will have good antiques. Even if you think they will be too pricey go anyway it is such a good way to see antiques you might not have seen before, you will almost always learn something new. Pay close attention and ask questions of the dealers. Most of the time they will love to talk about their antiques. I think a truly good antique dealer will most of the time buy what they love so they will be passionate about the things they have in their booth.
I hope this gives you a little more insight as to collecting antiques. It truly can be a fun hobby or business to be in. I can promise you will learn a lot about the history of our country, your state and even your own family along the way.
A couple of years ago I bought this antique pie safe from an antique dealer. When I bought it, I knew the tins on the front and sides had to be replaced. A previous owner had replaced the original tins with terrible looking tins that just had to go. Before I took the tins off, I started looking for replacement tins. There are some new tins out there that are made to look old but for this project they just didn’t seem right. I then looked around in some antique stores and online for old tins. Nothing. While I was looking, I decided to go ahead and start the process of refinishing the pie safe. I started with taking the old tins off. I took all of them off I think there were 10 in all, including the ones on the sides, I stood back and stopped. I looked at the pie safe and thought oh my goodness, I’m not putting anything back I love the way it looks just the way it is now. This look may not be for everyone. Remember I live in an old log cabin so it just goes. There is something about the simplicity of this piece that works for me. For instance, look at the top of the doors how worn they are at the latch that is holding them. That worn look came from someone in the past opening and closing those doors year after year. Had I stripped and stained this piece I would have never been able to keep the character that it has now. What I’m trying to say is, in an era when all the rage is to strip, refinish, repaint, sometimes you don;t have to do that to make a piece look wonderful. Not all antiques are like that, it just depends on the look that you are trying to get. So go slow with your process and keep an open mind because depending on what you uncover your plans may change.