Published: October 16, 2018
Review and Photos by Rick Russack
LUDLOW, VT. – The Vermont Antiques Dealers’ Association (VADA) has moved its annual show to different locations and dates over the last few years. This year, with 36 exhibitors, the show, now in its 44th year, was moved to the Stratton Mountain Resort and was one of the five shows comprising Vermont Antiques Week. It opened September 29 at 8:30 am and continued the next day. All exhibitors were members of the association, and several were new to the group. While the orientation of most of the material presented could safely be called “Americana,” several of the dealers expanded that definition, including midcentury furniture, ceramics and Outsider folk art. This material was in short supply at the other four shows, which concentrated on more traditional objects.
Dealer John Hunt Marshall, Florence, Mass., had few traditional American pieces on offer, opting instead for a wide selection of midcentury design items, including furniture, pottery and several pieces of enamelware by makers such as Scandinavian designer Cathrineholm. He offered bowls of all sizes and colors, priced from $75 to $150. A Raymor pottery charger with a stylized bull was priced at $225. Heller Washam Antiques, Portland, Maine, is well known for Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century American furniture, but it, too, had some midcentury pottery. Two large midcentury pottery vessels signed “Hammer” were priced at $1,250 each. Greg Hamilton and others had pieces of midcentury pottery, and Brian Bittner, Shelburne, Vt., had six works by Outsider artist Gayleen Aiken. Aiken, who died in 2005, lived and worked in Barre, Vt. Many of her works depict members of an imaginary family, and her works have been included in multiple exhibitions. Bittner priced them between $550 and $1,800.
Heller Washam Antiques, more traditionally, had several pieces of American and Canadian furniture, including a circa 1780 utility cupboard from Quebec, with its original oxidized blue/green surface, which was priced at $18,000. Also on view was an unusual, large burl table, almost 6 feet in length and almost 5 feet wide. A descriptive label said that the burl slab, with bark primarily intact, was more than 100 years old and its base had been made about 1950. It was priced $7,800. The dealer’s large, typed labels, are informative, with bibliographic sources when appropriate. Twin Oaks Antiques, Lunenburg, Vt., had a grain-painted pewter cupboard priced at $495. Kyle Scanlon, Essex, Vt., priced a chest-on-chest at $850, and a four-drawer chest on a bracket base was priced $375. Candleglow Antiques, Holliston, Mass., had a circa 1790 leather covered blanket chest, nicely painted and in good condition, with an asking price of $1,550. John Rogers Antiques, New London, N.H., set up a Nineteenth Century Pennsylvania dough box table with a two-board top. It had a wonderful patina and was priced $1,500. Sitting on the table was a large, two-handled burl bowl. It was one of the nicer pieces of burl at the show, and Rogers was asking $5,900 for it. Hogback Vintage, Johnson, Vt., has been in business for several years but said this was the first time exhibiting at a show. Offerings included a 30-drawer painted spice or apothecary cabinet, with each drawer labeled. It was priced at $2,500. Also shown was a shell-carved corner cupboard priced $3,800.
Folks with an interest in the marine artifacts, paintings or ethnographic material in Justin Cobb’s booth know they can ask him about whatever it is that interests them. The Amherst, Mass., dealer, who is in his early 90s, knows his material well and enjoys sharing his knowledge. At this show, he had several pre-historic Inuit items. He was asked about an unusual object that looked as though it had a bird’s claw attached to a petrified bone handle. Cobb explained that the item was used by Inuits when hunting seals. He said that a hunter would find an opening in the ice and use the claw end of the tool to scratch the ice around the opening. That, he said, would eventually draw a curious seal to investigate the sound, thereby becoming an easy target for the hunter. He also had a small, bone doll dressed in seal skin. The clothing had arms but the doll did not. Cobb explained that would make it easier for young children to dress and undress it, thereby learning how to dress themselves. He priced a circa 1780-1800 Bering Sea decorated wood and pewter pipe at $1,200. Displayed at the front of the booth on a custom-made stand was a large contemporary version of a Dorset culture Shaman mask. It was carved from green serpentine stone and was signed “Billy M.” Cobb priced it at $600.
A few days after the show, Greg Hamilton, Stone Block Antiques, Vergennes, Vt., one of the managers of the show, said, “Our attendance was down from last year and we had a few dealers less.” Hamilton agreed with the other show managers that moving the show up a week “negatively affected us. Next year, all the other Vermont Antiques Week shows will all go back to the schedule of running the first week in October instead of the last week of September, as we did this year. There will be more visitors in the area since the fall foliage season will be more advanced and that will work to each show’s advantage.”
For more information, 802-318-1619 or www.vermontantiquesdealers.com.
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