Published: October 24, 2006
“I’m in my van driving through snow flurries in mid-Ohio,” said Pat Clegg, reached her on her cellphone several days after the Okemo Antiques Show.
The fair, which previewed on Friday afternoon, September 29, at the Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow, is the only show Pat and her husband, Don, partners in Abbott House Associates, produce. They bought the 13-year-old event a decade ago from Marlin Denlinger.
When they don’t have their managers’ hats on, the Cleggs are busy being dealers themselves. They do ten shows a year in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio. Hence the snow.
Their deep roots in Pennsylvania — the Cleggs regularly do the Jim Burk and Mel Orion shows in York, along with fairs in Chester County, Oley Valley and their hometown of East Berlin — and their presence in the Midwest assures fresh faces and fresh merchandise on the Vermont show circuit. Adding to the interest of the 35-dealer Okemo show are exhibitors from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and Illinois, as well as all of New England.
“It seems to work,” say the Cleggs, who serve up fall foliage with fine Americana.
The second of five Vermont Antiques Week shows to open, Okemo is pure American Country. Imagine the old Fall Antiques Show in New York, only smaller.
“That’s what we like,” says Pat. So do her customers.
“Don’t you just love this show?” said Kathy Schoemer, a dyed-in-the-wool folk art aficionado who lives only 20 minutes away in Ackworth, N.H. As Okemo was opening, Schoemer was hunting around the floor for more painted furniture to buy, having had her own booth already depleted.
The fair is divided between two rooms in the sun-filled events building that sits at the base of Okemo’s ski hill. Twenty-four exhibitors are in the Great Room. A few steps up in the lounge are another eight dealers.
“It’s a make-do, but marvelous,” Marvin Elliott of Pottles & Pannikins said appreciatively of an Eighteenth Century iron extension lamp with a Nineteenth Century repair that he had mounted on an old block and was offering for $795.
Jewett-Berdan Antiques of Newcastle, Maine, demonstrated their affection for folky, handmade weathervanes, offering a circa 1890 sheet-iron peacock with great old surface for $6,900.
A large banner vane, $9,500, found in Maine, was a highlight at Robert Snyder & Judy Wilson Antiques.
Cornwall, Vt., dealers Jeff and Holly Noordsy were great additions to the show. Their emphasis on American bottles extended to several rare painted examples. Particularly nice was an Eighteenth Century Dutch black-glass globular bottle with Nineteenth Century seascape decoration. It was $5,500.
At Priscilla Hutchinson Antiques, Wiscasset, Maine, seven wooden bowls with painted landscape interiors were $2,500.
Wallingford, Conn., dealer Jane Wargo’s smart display showcased an unusual double-sided game board, $1,175, of pine with stenciled designs. The folk art piece came out of Woodstock, Vt., in the 1980s.
New London, N.H., dealer Susie Burmann hung a large wax fruit diorama, $1,650, above a New England four-drawer chest, $6,800, to striking effect.
“They’re four samplers by three Peapack, N.J., sisters,” Sue Murphy of Milford, N.J., said of a quartet of embroideries, dated 1833 and 1840 and priced $1,995.
Lucinda and Michael Seward were getting ready for the cold Vermont winters with New England handwoven blankets. An elaborately embroidered blanket was signed and dated 1828 by an upstate New York girl, Lydia North Deming.
Across the aisle, a homespun coverlet in vivid red complemented an 1849 tavern bench, $2,185, and a cook’s cupboard, $1,185, at Mary de Buhr, Downers Grove, Ill.
“I love this stuff,” Wilbraham, Mass., dealer William Bakeman said of the country New England furniture in his stand. A Spanish foot highboy in old red wash was $7,500.
“It’s like a Taunton chest,” Brownington, Vt., dealer Joseph Martin said of his miniature blanket chest, $3,800, in red paint with white dove decorations.
There was more great paint at Don Olson, Rochester, N.Y., including a mid-Nineteenth Century box, $3,450, initialed “C.M.M.” and decorated with landscape scenes. Ex-Mildred Samaha, a Philadelphia tole coffee pot from the Harvey Filly shop was $2,950.
“This makes a great shelf,” Bristol, Maine, dealer Bette Zwicker said of an unusual frame, $675, for sorting tobacco leaves that she had mounted on her wall.
What sold? Lots of furniture, folk art and whimsy. Soon after the show opened, a bright red sold sticker attached itself to what appeared to be four large stocking forms at Brooks Antiques of Frenchtown, N.J.
Friday’s preview ended at 6 pm, in time for buyers to race down the slopes to the Ludlow Antiques Show, which opens at 7. No need to stop for dinner — the Ludlow Antiques Show committee ladies cook for everyone.
“Attendance was just about even with the last couple of years and we were definitely up on Saturday. Numerous people who came to our show on Friday came back on Saturday,” said Pat Clegg, who looks forward to returning to Okemo next year for another round of Antiques Week in Vermont.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm