Published: June 1, 2016
By Tom O’Hara
STURBRIDGE, MASS. — Linda Zukas hosted more than 150 exhibitors at the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center in the historic crossroads Massachusetts town May 9. The show she began 26 years ago is now an international event with exhibitors from throughout the United States, Europe and this time even Africa; and shoppers from Europe, Asia and the Pacific Rim here to trade their collections for fun and/or profit.
As the show opened, buyers came running into the exhibit halls to find their favorite dealers, and scan the offerings, quickly sorting through, selecting their purchases.
First at the entrance was Forget Me Not Antiques, the traveling boutique operated for more than a generation by Susan Voake, Norwich, Vt. Her collection features sewing notions and specialty items such as pincushions and emeries, along with early small sewing boxes. She also featured the small accessories ladies would have carried in the Victorian and Edwardian periods, from fans to nosegays.
Verna Scott’s 1840 House of Maine, Yarmouth, Maine, was showing a collection of ladies fine dresses, fit for the time of the house they came from. Some were everyday dresses and Scott also had a few befitting a party or fancy ball.
Coming from her Portobello Road stall in London each year, Maria Niforos was offering Georgian and Victorian-era gowns and evening wear for ladies, most that she finds in London.
Early quilts, both full size and smaller examples, were the main offerings from Carlson and Stevenson of Manchester Center, Vt. Phyllis Carlson and Tim Stevenson are regular exhibitors at this show and as their variety changes, quilts were an interesting look for them here but befitting all the Americana they are known for at other shows.
Michael Karberg was exhibiting for the first time at the show and his merchandise could be described in a word as funky. Trading as Blue Mirror Vintage, Schererville, Ind., his collection looked like it could have been the costumes supplied for the movie Grease with all the 1960s clothing worn by the cool kids then. He was also offering advertising and other props of the same period. As the show opened, shoppers immediately made him and his staff busy writing sales tickets.
With styles for a slightly older crowd, perhaps the parents of the Greasers, Kim Kirker was selling stylish fashions for ladies of the 1950s and 1960s, along with a large collection of quilts and coverlets. Hailing from Leesport, Penn., she also offered yard goods and fashion accessories.
Across the aisle, Connie Marks of Victoriana, Rocky Point, N.C., was showing her finest. Her dresses are, as the name implies, from the latter half of the Nineteenth Century but also moving into the early Twentieth Century. For this show, she had several wedding dresses and also a circa 1940 swimsuit.
For those who were looking to do it themselves, there was Joyce’s Jems, Ardsley, N.Y. This dealer was offering a large collection of valuable fabrics and notions as well as finished pieces.
If there was not enough material at Joyce’s Jems, customers might have found what they wanted at Deirdre Coughlin’s exhibit. The North Salem, N.Y., dealer was showing a large variety of fabrics for many uses.
More & More, New York City, offered early textiles as fine art. Several tapestries were available, and dealer Steven Mohr was also selling Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century silver hollowware from his showcase.
Many of the exhibitors were selling quilts and coverlets that hailed from their own part of the country. Piqué, Sharpsburg, Ga., offered and sold several made in the South, while Martha Perkins, Ashby, Mass., was selling New England works.
African Antiques, New York City, buys their collection in several countries of West Africa. The offerings consist of hand woven and dyed fabrics made of native materials, cotton and some woolens. The patterns and colors were screaming with the wonderful, strong colors and design. Galerie Arabesque, Stuttgart, Germany, offered antique tapestries from Eastern Europe.
Linda Zukas said she was thrilled with the audience she had for this spring show. Before the day was over she said, “This gate was the best we have ever had.” The dealers were equally pleased as their sales were quickly rocketing up that morning into high numbers for most.
The Antique Textile and Vintage Fashion Show runs twice a year, always on the Monday of Brimfield Week in May and September at the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center. The next show is September 5.
For additional information, www.vintagefashionandtextileshow.com or call Linda Zukas at 207-363-1320.
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