15 August 2014

Goth Vampire Girls & The Knowledge of Ever

Everyone picks up this little plate & looks at the
underside to double-check that my description
tag is correct.   I'm going to stick another tag
on the back saying "Yes, this really is English".
Taking a stand at a market only once a week has a lot to recommend it.  We’re still very open to the idea of a Pop Up shop, but in the meantime it’s good to be back to a more civilized existence.

So it was off to the Caloundra Street Fair last Sunday.

Despite the excellent advice in my last Blog to the blessedly silent juggling busker, he’d run off – dare I hope that he’d actually cartwheeled off? – and was nowhere to be seen.

Instead, his place was taken by a young lady pretending to be a Fairy Princess Statue, dressed all in silver, with silver face, hair and body, and giant silver wings emerging from her back.  But her makeup highlighted her cheekbones and created cavernous eyes – quite a skull-like effect.  So whether she intended it or not she was a bit scary looking - kind of a Goth version of a Fairy Princess Statue.

This charming little glass bird is made from
Millefiori canes encased in clear glass.
I believe it is Italian.
You know I’m going to have some excellent advice for our Goth Fairy Princes Statue, because I am a mine of excellent advice.  And here it is:  Goth Fairy Princess Statue - stop wriggling! 

I guess some people just aren’t cut out to spend hours sitting absolutely still.  I know if I even think about having an itch an itch magically develops, and then good luck not scratching it. 

But if you’re embarking on a career as a Goth Fairy Princess Statue, it’s probably a good idea to do a test run on your couch – not covered in body paint – before you venture out in public with your Sit-Very-Still act.

I don't buy a lot of figures,
unless they're elegantly shaped.
Our girl soon discovered, as did we all, that she couldn’t sit still if her life depended on it. 

But all is not lost, and here’s my next bit of excellent advice:  put in some fake fangs.  Then she could wander the Street Fair looking like a Goth Fairy Princess Vampire.  How “of the moment” is that?  It’s an inspired idea, I know you are all thinking at this very moment. 

She could go around scaring small children and little dogs, and it would be a hoot.  I’d pay to see that.  I’d also pay her to stalk and scare the bejesus out of selected enemies, and who among us doesn’t have a vast range of enemies?  She could make a lot of money out of this gig.

As for our day at the Street Fair, it was just strange.  For the first time we were allowed to show our jewellery, so we dragged out our smallest display case (bigger won’t fit in the car).  In addition to a range of vintage French costume jewellery, we also displayed a selection of Roman carnelian beads from Libya, c300AD, which we sold for $6 each, and a range of Roman glass beads from Syria, also c300AD, which we sold for $1 each.

Here is a French farm wire basket, a wire basket
from the Paris Flower Markets, and an English
wooden apple crate.
For the most part these little antiquities were a big hit, but they did lead to two very strange encounters with visitors.

In the first instance I showed a woman the beads, explained where they were from and told her they are a little over one thousand, seven hundred years old.  What’s so old about that? she asked.  Wow, I said, You are really hard to impress.  She gave me a tight-lipped smile, shrugged and walked off.  So, rude as well as a philistine. 

But at least she wasn’t crazy.  Crazy was still to come.

This is a French frosted glass vase,
in the style of Lalique (but alas it's
not).  Still French, though, & lovely.
And crazy came along in the form of a normal looking woman.  You’ve got to watch the normal looking ones. 
She inspected the beads and told me she had an enormous interest in archaeology.  She asked me if I had heard of The 13 Crystal Skulls.  Part of my sub-major at uni was archaeology, but no I had never heard of The 13 Crystal Skulls.

So these 13 Crystal Skulls, she told me, are human and they are millions of years old.  That’s strange, I said, because humans haven’t been around for millions of years.

She entirely ignored that comment and went on with her explanation.  When the skulls were made, she told me, they were all polished to absolute smoothness with human hair. 

That’s strange, I said, because seeing how there weren’t any humans millions of years ago, buffing up your rock collection with human hair would have proven difficult.  And anyway, what is the exfoliation value of human hair?  It might actually take millions of years to polish crystal if that’s all you’re using.

You can't have too many nice wooden
boards.  This one is English, although most
of those I'm offering are French.
She entirely ignored that comment and continued.  The 13 Crystal Skulls were found in all corners of the world, she explained, and they communicate with each other.  Together, they house the Knowledge of Ever. 

That’s strange, I said, I’ve never heard of the Knowledge of Ever. 

Displaying my extreme ignorance was the ideal opportunity to be lectured at.  The Knowledge of Ever, did you know, is the knowledge of all things, ever.  Ever, ever, ever.  Past knowledge, future knowledge, multi-dimensional knowledge (yes I made that last bit up, it’s just past and future knowledge). 

That’s strange, I said, how can anything know all future knowledge?

As an aside, you might have guessed by now that we were having a quiet moment at the Street Fair.  But to continue ….

This is a rare, large Denby ceramic vase,
coupled with English stoneware pots with
beautiful glazing.
The 13 Crystal Skulls, it was explained, together form a type of Black Computer.  I don’t know what a Black Computer is, but I saw no need to display my utter lack of education yet again. 

When we learn how to turn on this Black Computer, I was informed, we shall become the Custodians of the Knowledge of Ever.  Won’t that be grand?

That’s strange, I said, if we don’t know how to turn the Black Computer on, and we don’t know how The 13 Crystal Skulls communicate with each other, how do we know they actually are communicating and are chock full of past and future knowledge? 

They’ve done tests, apparently.  Who? you ask.  They.  They!
Your cup of tea in the morning
always tastes better in nice china.
Nuff said.  Everyone knows they aren’t to be questioned when they’ve done tests. 

Who knew that attending a Sunday market could be so educational?  But why, why did I bother with boring old normal archaeology when I should have focused on becoming anointed a Custodian of the Knowledge of Ever?

Our next outing will be at the Peregian Beach Market (weather permitting) this coming Sunday, 10 August.  The weather forecast is for torrential rain, in which case we’ll stay in bed.  But if the forecast is wrong, as seems likely at this point, then we’ll be there bright and early.  I wonder what pearls of wisdom I’ll learn at this market?
A copper preserving pan, big heavy brass preserving pan and enamel ewer, part of the large selection of nice metalware we are offering at the Markets.

08 August 2014

3 Reasons Why a Pop Up Shop Works

A random shot from the last day of the Pop Up.
Now that our Pop Up shop has closed it’s timely to do a quick analysis and consider whether it was worth it, and whether we’d do it again.

In short, the answers are yes and yes.

The three main reasons this approach worked for us:

1.      The rent was very reasonable, so there was little risk and we could afford to keep our prices at wholesale level;

2.      The location was excellent, with good street exposure so it had high visibility for locals and tourists;

3.      We had just imported 600kg of stock, so we had a wide range of interesting items to offer.

A few years ago we sold out of
English Victorian cranberry and green
glass wine glasses at $40 each.
Now they're $12 each.  You can see why
people are loving wholesale prices.
This worked so well for us that we are now scouting for a new location.  With the same three parameters:

1.      A non-delusional landlord, offering a reasonable rent;
2.      A good location, with high exposure;
3.      A good selection of interesting stock, at wholesale prices;

we can see no reason why such an exercise wouldn’t work well again. 
The only downside this time was that we couldn’t extend the lease for another month.

Okay, working seven days a week for an entire month was also a bit sucky.  But it was totally worth it, and for a month or two we can live with being hard working, so the hunt for the next Pop Up shop has commenced. 

Calypso enjoyed being Shop Cat again, but she's
enjoying snoozing on her favourite cushion
at home a lot more.
We considered the nine – yes nine – shops currently vacant in Hastings Street in Noosa, but the cheapest one is seeking rent of $9000 per month. 

And that, my friends, falls into the Delusional Landlord category. 

So the hunt continues.  Maybe we’ll find something suitable, maybe not – we’ll chill and see what happens next.

In the short term, the next big event for us will be Collectorama – the biggest antiques fair in south-east Queensland – which will be at the Nambour Showground on Saturday, 6 September.  We’ll take our usual double stand in our usual spot, if you’re able to visit.

Can you make out the odd thing about this
frosted glass globe paperweight?
New Zealand is missing. 
Perhaps it didn't exist in the 1960s? 
Sorry New Zealand, but I didn't make this piece,
I'm just flogging it.
In the meantime, it’s back to the Caloundra Street Fair for us this coming Sunday, 10 August.

At our last outing at the Street Fair we had a busker set up almost directly opposite us.  Regular readers will know that I have developed a not unreasonable suspicion of all buskers, and a pathological hatred of most. 

But the busker opposite us was juggler.  Yay, a silent busker – got to love that.  But it did beg the question:  Has anyone made a living from juggling since, I dunno - the Middle Ages?  The answer is forsooth, alas and alack, no.  Our boy didn’t appear to even cover the cost of having a spot at the Street Fair.

Our juggler with one of his students.  Don't you
think if he wore a great Court Jester outfit
it would be more fun?
He wasn’t bad when he didn’t try to get too fancy-schmancy, and he threw in a 10 minute lesson for only $2 more if you bought a set of balls.  But jugglers, even 21st century jugglers, need to be dressed in motley, don’t you think? 
It’s a tad boring to see a dude in casual street clothes standing around doing okay juggling.  We weren’t talking Cirque du Soleil standard by any means, and even their super-duper performers add razzamatazz via makeup and an appropriate outfit.

But on balance, silent buskers at the Caloundra Street Fair get a big tick of approval from me, and our boy can only improve in skills and marketing.  Bring your fire-breathing routine – and outfit! - if you visit on 10 August, and together you might have the makings of something entertaining.
What a sweet boy Caleb is, but what a naughty boy he was as Shop Cat, so he was banned and Calypso became the sole pussycat manager for the duration.