yes, that is what someone said to me yesterday, after winding her way thru the maze of denim, ties, leather goods and assorted items at this year’s pop up flea. i have a table, actually my daughter and i have a table at the menswear market put on by a continous goldberg production. super fun. i have a few of my sculptures from my exhibition but mostly have stuff from my collections. there are paul rand items, 19th century chess sets, olivetti packaging, my 1927 swiss army bike, and of course staplers. all for sale. my daughter’s there too, selling totes with her artwork, cookies, pickles and pound cake, all made by mom in alabama. please come and take a look a say hello. it’s here.
for those of you who made it to my first opening, thanks so much. i was so worried that i would need to stand on the corner and hand out ten dollar bills. it was lovely to see old friends, current friends and make new ones. a special thanks goes to andrew, patrick, lulu, laura, brad, pedro, marlene, and stephanie. all of which, without their help, this event would not have taken place. these last few years have been trying ones for me. i have had support from friends and family which is so important. i am not an easy person to live with and i often cannot see the forest for the trees. i hope everyone enjoyed themselves. for those of you who didn’t make the opening, here are a few pictures. i do hope you can stop by and see it. tell me what you think and most of i hope you enjoy it.
i wish to thank everyone who stopped by my booth at the pop up flea back in december. i had a terrific time and i especially want to thank one particular visitor. the reason being, he gave me a hard time about not writing. he was aware that my writing had almost stopped. he simply said, “post damn it” and walked away. well some time has passed and i have cleared my desk of a few projects and photography accomplished, i therefore i have no excuse. so i am determined to write more and tell you of some up coming events and sales.
in may i will be doing a pop up store in brooklyn where i will selling original and vintage items, as well as some art pieces related to my collections. i will keep you up dated as the details become formalized. should be a lots of fun. please keep checking in and i’ll try and keep my promise to “post damn it!”
i’ll be at the popup flea selling design related books and items. please stop by and say hello. thanks jpw
i mentioned that i worked at wolf olins for a summer, years ago. it was through a friend of mine, simon johnston, who made the connection there for me. i met simon in basel where he was studying at the basel school of design. i was with my classmates from rhode island school of design. our teacher, franz weiner, who had attended sfgbasel, took a group of students to visit and do similar but abbreviated assignments, meet the teachers and visit notable design spots. i loved it! i relished everything but the brussels sprouts. i tried to keep in touch with simon over the years and i was excited when he started the magazine octavo, along with mark holt and hamish muir. hopefully most everyone is familiar with this publication. it was beautifully produced and had wonderful articles; i cited one here before. i was excited to visit their offices on endel street. often, when simon was not working, which was not often, we would eat at centraila (an extremely cheap italian hole in the wall) and talk about design, book collecting and english football. i have many fond and treasured memories. anyway, here is something you most assuredly have not seen: the letterhead for the magazine. the design is straightforward, clean, simple and says what needs to be said. often not the case. however, what is missing, and what you can’t experience, is the paper. it is light as a feather, a 10-pound typewriter paper. i have no idea how 8vo was able to get someone to print on it. years ago, i printed on a similar weight parchment and it took three days to print twenty thousand sheets. the printer, daniels in everett, mass., was super but not happy. as i have mentioned before, my letterhead collection is my favorite and i don’t often get a chance to add to it. simon visited a few years ago and presented me with this example. another treasure.
my father looms large. mostly because he said very little. but what he did say, i remember. when i was a kid, he would go into work on saturday mornings and I would often accompany him. instead of having me hang out at his office, he would drop me off at myers magic shop. his office was on first avenue north, just a block away from pete’s famous hot dogs, a hole in the wall where you would stand eating your hot dog and polishing the subway tile at the same time. the magic shop was close by. i would spend hours watching and practicing tricks. my dad and i took only a few trips together but one was to a magic convention. as i got older, i went into the office less and less. i remember one occasion he asked me to come along; i must have been around 19 or 20 at that point. my dad drove a 1968 327 camaro. simple, basic, no extras. he was decidedly a ‘buy american’ kind of guy. i got into the car and made the decision not to say anything until he spoke first. not as a challenge or with any anger, just as a test. the drive on a saturday morning took only about 15-20 minutes. as we drove through red mountain, we passed the exit for 8th avenue south and st. vincent hospital, where there was a sign for a company, associated doctors. the owner was one of my father’s customers and a friend. maybe ten minutes had passed. i couldn’t stand the silence any longer, so i asked him about how hospitals make money. a business question, just to have him talk. i never saw him read a novel although i gave him several. he said, ‘they charge fees.’ that’s all. so much for conversation. on another occasion, and i don’t remember how it came up (maybe he thought i was arrogant, he certainly thought i was full of myself), he said ‘everyone has a horn to blow. just remember it’s best if yours is collecting dust in the corner.’ i have always thought this was good advice and i have tried to keep it as a mantra, yet it seems i’m going against that advice here. sightunseen was kind enough to visit me and my collections and write a little something about them. they offer some very kind words, and i thought it was the least i could do send any interested parties to their fine blog. please visit them—and come back and see me, too!
anton stankowski. more later…
i have been collecting registered labels since my first visit to a stamp show. it is intimidating walking around a stamp show. it’s a world unto itself of mostly men, old men. after each visit, i take away that i am getting older and i don’t like it much. of course it is not all old men. there are some women, and some children who are starting out with their stamp collections. but by and large, it is men. i think i have mentioned how many dealers call out and ask if they can help you: “what do you collect?” i rarely engaged with them in the beginning since i didn’t collect stamps and certainly didn’t know the terms or categories of collecting. i stumbled upon these at a new york stamp fair. i was looking at the rows of envelopes. i soon learned these letters were called covers. all categorized by country. i thought if i looked through different countries, i might find stamps designed by piet zwart or paul schitema. i dreamed of finding a letter or envelope addressed by them. in twenty years of attending these fairs, i have never found such a letter. the closest i have come is a letter from gerald murphy, the painter and one-time owner of mark cross leather goods. sadly, neither he nor the company is around any longer. the dealer i finally sat down in front of was michael mead of maine. though i think he now lives on cap cod. in any case, mr. mead asked what i was interested in. since i was not a stamp collector, i was a bit embarssed. i told him i loved interesting typography and collections of collections. he pulled out a binder with dozens upon dozens of interesting labels. all kinds. airmails. express. revenue stamps. and these wonderful registered labels. hundreds of them. just about everything you could image, even some matchbook labels. he explained that these were german registered labels and were removed by soaking them in water. “off cover” is the common term when describing these labels. i have too many of them to count but i fell in love with the different “r” being used, the line weights; the variety added such interest. of course i began collecting these that instant. mr. mead now knows me and is happy to add to my collection. i may not attend every show but when i do take one in, i make sure i visit his booth.
how many people look at cancelations. well this person obviously did. in the world of stamp collecting the art of cancelation is laboriously followed by some. the world of the philatelist is filled with countless and unusual titles about the subject: the cancellations of waterbury, connecticut from 1865 to 1890, twentieth century united states fancy cancels, the new york foreign mail cancellations 1870-1876, obliterations et marques postales des etats-unis. of this world one of my favorite categories is fancy cancels. before there were cancelation machines, the individual postal clerk or office would often make their own rubber stamp to cancel a stamp. some of these examples are glorious; carved pumpkin heads, skeleton heads, all types of shapes. this particular collection doesn’t have any fancy cancels but i love it nonetheless. believe it or not this is something i don’t collect. there is so much to love about this collection. the simple rows. the beautiful colors. the repetition. the care in which they were cut out. the handwriting at the top. order. simplicity. color. why did someone collect these cities? what was so special about them? it appears they were collected mostly around 1860. i expect a philatelist specializing in england could shed some light on this particular collection. i am only left to speculate and admire. i recall many of my purchases and this one is no different. this was purchased at the annual epherema fair held in greenwich connecticut. it is usually a high priced affair with few bargains. i don’t think i paid much for this piece. thirty five dollars i seem to recall. i didn’t haggle because i bought a few other things from this dealer. beauties in themselves. paul rand book jackets. no books just the jackets. in perfect shape too, but that’s another story. this little collection wasn’t displayed but was found in a portfolio with all kinds of items. i was thrilled to discover it. i have spoken about my desire to collect ‘collections’, this defines my category of ‘collections of collections’. i do not attend these shows with expectatios as i once did. i am no longer the first in line nor eager to make the definitive find. i have now subscribed to the mantra: whatever turns up. my approach to this blog too!