5 Sep 2011
We are lucky enough to have not one, but two amazing flea markets in close proximity. I had heard about the Rose Bowl Flea Market before we moved here, but only recently found out about the Pasadena City College Flea Market, which is held on the first Sunday of every month. It was marked on our calendar, and yesterday we went to check it out!
In the Bay area the big one is the Alameda Antiques Fair, which I went to with my dear friend Steve a time or two, but, sadly, always when it was really really cold. Since the fair is held outdoors, there’s nothing to do but shiver and try to find shelter from the wind behind a headboard or a chest of drawers.
In Pasadena, we feared that we’d face the opposite problem, since it has been so hot this week. Thankfully, the geniuses behind this fair put most of it inside a parking garage, so you are shielded from the sun: glorious! I also liked the layering effect–meandering through the fair, you feel like you are slowly peeling the skin of a crisp antique-filled apple. (Our apologies to the vendors located outside–we will come visit you when it gets cooler!)
We didn’t have to look far to find an inspiring array of beautiful and interesting things: bright colors, vintage designs, and all kind of curiosities were everywhere. I think we only lasted about an hour; the eyes can only take in so much!
I asked Eric to be on the lookout for some buttons, since I have been searching for some for a few projects I have in mind. We came across a stand with all kinds of tiny lovely little things, and while I was looking through old Scrabble and Mah Jongg tiles, Eric hit the motherlode: buttons galore! I picked out some pretty blue and green ones, and he found a bag full of shiny ones, several pounds at least, for only $3!
It was just as much fun talking to the seller as it was finding these treasures. She told me about where she had found them, and how truly antique many of them are (I am putting in an image of her card, just in case any of you are looking for buttons or antique Lego pieces!).
I have a soft spot for old things, to be sure, and I love to imagine the former lives of the things I pick up at thrift stores or antique fairs. It makes me happy to know that my buttons were hard at work before my grandmother was even born–a thought that certainly makes me pause and wonder at the curious power of everyday objects not only as repositories of specific and personal memories, but also as tiny encapsulations of entire eras. Beautiful.