Find Great Stuff

Art Collectibles Reflections by Kathy and Bill Lair

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Antique Back Brace from Freud

June 3rd, 2008 · Collectibles, Ebay, Inspiration

Antique Back Brace

In my previous post¬†where I talked about Freud sending me to the flea market, I talked about my medical collection. Well most of the collection has been sold and is long gone. Going through a storage area I discovered this back brace that had hung on my wall for a few years. This particular piece was one of the most disturbing. I think I got what I can from the brace, so it is time to change ownership. I”m putting the “freud made me do” item up for sale on eBay. I hope someone is brave enough to take over custody.

Bill”s words

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Freud sent me to the flea market

May 30th, 2008 · Art, Collectibles, FleaMarket, Inspiration


Kathys Slab Build

In the early 70’s when we began our pottery, we would often go the the flea market to buy old kitchen tools for working with our clay and mixing our glazes. At this time we were strongly influenced by the surrealists. Many of our clay forms displayed inferred body parts. We were reading about artists in Paris in the 20’s and discovered that Freud suggested searching for objects that drew your attention. The objects shouldn”t be the beautiful or the valuable, rather the unexplained mental attraction even if offensive or frightening. If you could afford to buy the piece, you should take it home and learn what the item could teach you about your self, let the object expose a part of yourself you hadn”t discovered yet. You can see this influence in both May Ray’s photos and Max Ernst’s art works. Well we soon found ourselves going to the flea market more often and staying there for longer periods of time. I found myself bringing old medical items home. Our interior decorating scheme began to change.

Medical collection

I feared these things but they certainly did get my attention. Was this really me? I was too frightened to visit anyone in the hospital but here I was bringing hospital stuff home. The Freud exercise did help; it brought back some childhood memories of when I was 5 and my older sister, who was then 6, died. That was heavy. Thank you Dr. Freud. I still love going to the market with high hopes for my next discovery.

Bill”s words

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Bullet points of the Kill

May 26th, 2008 · Collectibles, Ebay, FleaMarket

Kathy and Bill at Kirby's Mill Pottery


Life felt really comfortable working for ourselves, no bosses and no time clocks. After 14 years running our own pottery and an almost equal number of years in the collectible business we got a little spoiled, I must confess. As it became harder to find things and harder to sell things locally, we had to join the party- the eBay party. Ebay is a yin and yang. We are thankful for eBay’s help with selling our stuff, but there is a big BUT. This brings me to bullet points of the life style kill.

  • Ebay is most of our income…I now have a boss.
  • Ebay is like big brother…the employer with pages of rules.
  • Ebay is democratic…anyone can find out what an item is worth.
  • Ebay gobbles up my time…find, clean, write, photograph, publish, e-mail, wrap, and post.

Yes I know I’m whining. Why don’t I just quit eBay and open our antique store again and do flea markets again? Well today’s buyers want to pay less than something costs on ebay and today’s sellers want to sell stuff at eBay prices. I am that buyer and I am also that seller. Just another catch-22, the dog chasing his own tail. Actually I need eBay for the money, so I’ll take my vitamins, dig around some more in those aging box lots, and dream about the good old days before the internet and eBay. The good old days when when I got up bright and early at 4 AM, drove to the Golden Nugget Antique Market, unloaded my van, and set up my space anticipating the next flashlight beam that came to explore my stuff.

Bill’s words

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Ebay Killed My Life Style

May 20th, 2008 · Ebay, FleaMarket

During the 80”s and 90”s my wife and I would shop for collectibles all week, go to a flea market on Sunday to sell, and we made a comfortable living. Things started to change in the late 90”s. We started to hear a murmur about selling antiques and collectibles on the internet. In 1991 I bought my first new computer, a Mac Classic II. Up until then I was buying used Commodores , Amigas, and Apple IIs. I had little luck getting these garage sale castoffs to work. I justified the expense of this new computer as being a great tool to inventory our finds. Before the computer, Kathy kept our inventory on stenographer”s pads. I was having trouble remembering how much I paid for things after a couple of weeks… two years ago was impossible. Thank you ClarisWorks. In the early 90”s we felt more in control of our business. After Sunday sales we could add our list of sales and subtract the purchase price with our new database…cool. With this computer I could also use my telephone line to connect to the world wide web…far-out. So I joined America On Line, learned how to hand code HTML, built a website, set up an internet store and waited and waited for a sale. Sales were few and far between. I wasn”t going to pay for my new computer in a year after all. Fortunately the buying was still good and the selling was getting stronger. Customers were beginning to ask me computer questions. It seems I had developed a coffee clutch at the flea-market with a fellow Mac enthusiast. We were often doing computer speak. Some of the new found sales were to new faces. These new faces weren”t dealers I knew who did the big New York shows. Where were they selling? Yes, I had heard of eBay, but I KNEW internet sales were difficult. After all, I had worked very hard in building an internet sales site. Used some guerilla marketing by having an ugly lamp competition with prizes (T-shirt with winning lamp)… my site got so popular that I had to pay extra for bandwidth use. I knew the internet and marketing. I was computer literate. I wasn”t going to go to eBay and join the dilettante naive seller who didn”t have the years of experience and the large library of books that I had. It”s just a phase. Sunday sales were still strong, but It was getting harder to find enough new things in a week to keep those steady buyers (dealers) happy. By January 1, 1998, we bite the bullet and join ebay. We were now selling only twice a month, couldn”t find enough great stuff to support more sales days. Our life style was in transformation.

Bill”s words

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Hello world!

May 20th, 2008 · Inspiration

Kathy and I (my name’s Bill) met in an art class, taught school, quit teaching to become full time potters, made art, added found objects to some of our art, and started selling some of the objects we found. Then we opened our antique store in 1980 and got a little more serious about our objects. In our beginnings we specialized in Art Deco and Mid-Century Modern. We still trade in these areas, but the real fun has been in expanding our range of interest. Now we are more eclectic with a touch of the strange.

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