Published: July 3, 2018
Review and Photos by Rick Russack
BROOKFIELD, MASS. – If country is your thing, you should have been in Brookfield on June 16 for Walker Homestead’s Antiques and Primitive Goods Show, and you should plan on being there in September for the next show. There was almost nothing there other than painted furniture, stoneware, redware, firkins, baskets, textiles, pewter and woodenware of every description. There was also artisan-produced redware, hooked rugs and herbs ready to go in one’s herb garden. The 50-dealer show is a production by Kris and Paul Casucci of Walker Homestead Antiques. It’s on the grounds of their home and shop – in a house dating to the 1690s – and the setting is perfect. Gardens surround the house and the show sets up in fields adjacent to the house. Although there is a flock of sheep, they were not apparent the day of the show.
On a perfect late spring day, with temperatures in the low 70s and bright sun, the gates opened at 10 am, shoppers descended and “sold” tags began to appear on things as diverse as old snowshoes, gourds that had been converted to bird houses, textiles and small pieces of furniture. Within 20 minutes or so, several shoppers had bags full of their purchases, and several were carrying potted herb plants. It’s apparent the show is held in high regard by those who have been there before. License plates on cars in the parking lot were from as far away as North Carolina, and included every New England state, along with New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Some exhibitors also traveled distances, with one from Virginia and several from Pennsylvania and, again, all the New England states. A food truck was set up and serving food and appropriate live music was provided – country music starting off with Hank Williams classics.
Stoneware and redware collectors had plenty to look at. At least ten booths contained either or both. Steve and Lorraine German, Mad River Antiques, North Granby, Conn., who were doing this show for the first time, have been selling stoneware for more than 15 years and had several pieces at the show, ranging in price from $195 to $1,950. That was for an early Crolius jar, circa 1800. They also had a churn made by Bosworth, of Hartford, Conn., with an unusual, distinctive “gooney bird” in underglaze blue, priced at $1,500. Kris Casucci, whose shop in her home was open during the show, collects and sells early stoneware and had several early pieces. Additional pieces were available from Hometown Antiques, Bangor, Maine; Milltown Antiques, North Stonington, Conn., another Hometown Antiques, West Brookfield, Mass.; Pantry Box Antiques, Stafford Springs, Conn.; Brett Cabral, Salem, N.H.; and several others.
Firkins and buckets in a variety of colors were in many booths, as was a wide selection of bowls and other woodenware. Mary Jane Breedlove, Ballston Lake, N.Y., was sharing a booth with Jean Horn, and they had several firkins, as did Hearts and Homespun Antiques, Leyden, Mass. Brett Cabral’s firkins were priced from $40 for unpainted ones. He also had a Shaker covered bucket stamped Carpenter, which he priced at $420. Rick Fuller had a large, early chopping bowl of unknown wood, which had a large, early repair in the bottom of the bowl. It was priced at $245. Log Cabin Country Antiques, Glastonbury, Conn., had several bowls and treen plates. Avery Hill Farms had a selection of mortars and pestles in a variety of colors, mugs and canteens. A wide selection of baskets was available from Milltown Antiques, and Kenneth Reid Antiques, Andover, N.H.
Early furniture could be found in several booths. Angel House Designs, Brookfield, Mass., had banister back chairs, a one-drawer blanket chest, a tavern table and Windsor chairs. Ian McKelvey, South Windham, Conn., offered painted cupboards; blanket chests, including a sponge-painted one in blue; hutch cabinets; drop leaf tables and more. Log Cabin Antiques included a sawbuck table in old blue with a scrubbed top, and there were numerous small pieces of furniture and hanging shelves throughout the show.
In addition to the wide variety of antiques, there were also contemporary crafts, created as the originals were. Rick Hamelin, the Pied Potter of Hamelin, Warren, Mass., has been “making redware inspired by New England traditions” for more than 40 years. His booth had dozens of examples of his wheel-thrown works, which range in price from $25 to $350. He uses a lead-free glaze, which means that everything he makes can safely be used today. Hamelin commented, “We’re only doing about six shows a year now, and this has been a very good show for us.” Denise and Matt Davis, Sassafras Hill Primitives, Enfield, Conn., had a booth that was literally overflowing with stuffed animals, cloth dolls and whimsical folk art they had made. John Melby, Eastport, Maine, filled a bookcase with early leather-bound books dating from 1680 to 1850, which he priced between $10 and $200. He, too, was creating original “books,” but his were made of old wood from barns and old houses. He started making them about eight years ago and says that he has sold $60,000 worth of wooden “books.” Lucille Festa, American Country Rugs, East Rupert, Vt., had several hand-made hooked rugs in her booth. It was difficult to tell they were not old. She said that some designs are composites of early patterns and others are her originals.
The show, which runs twice a year, is now in its sixth year. Casucci’s dealer contract emphasized that merchandise must be “country” or handmade primitive objects. Dealers who have not done the show before are required to submit four photos of their booths. While some show managers are having difficulty securing exhibitors, Casucci has a list of exhibitors waiting to do this show. The evening before the show, she invites the exhibitors to a dinner on the grounds of her home. She later said, “We had a perfect day for the show, and it was good to see so many people carrying stuff they bought. I think most of the dealers had a good show, and we sold a good country step-back cupboard.”
Casucci, along with partner Ian McKelvey, produces The Tailgate at Walker Homestead, a monthly show on Thursdays, and along with Flying Pig Antiques, they produce The Tailgate North at Flying Pig Antiques, Westmoreland, N.H. Country is the emphasis at each. For additional information, call Kris Casucci, at 508-867-4466 or visit www.walkerhomestead.com.
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