I spent a few hours yesterday at an ephemera show. If you’ve never heard of such a thing, it’s basically vintage book and paper items. Loads and loads of postcards, vintage advertisements, ancient handwritten letters, worthless stock certificates… you name it.
I hadn’t been to this show in at least a dozen years and didn’t really go looking for anything in particular except maybe for items that might either inspire my art or things that I could potentially use to make art with.
The first thing that really caught my eye was a booth filled with advertising posters of Hollywood-style glamorous women. From that vendor I ended up selecting a Coles Phillips illustration from a 1911 Life Magazine cover that depicted a stylish woman holding a fountain pen and appearing to have writer’s block.
I then came across a booth that had a number of the heavily psychedelic music posters which were popular in San Francisco in the late 1960’s. There was one I really liked but couldn’t justify the price. (When I got home I’d search & Pin a number of similar images to a Pinterest board for future inspiration.)
But my most interesting find was one that I’d end up leaving behind. It was the pile of notebooks/journals shown in the image above. There had to be at least 30 of them and they were dated back to the late 1880’s. The vendor wanted $25 for the lot and I kept thinking about what I’d do with them. Had they been personal journals I would have snagged them up in a second but they appeared to school notebooks and try as I might, I just couldn’t find the content interesting. What initially piqued my interest were the colors and designs of the covers and I again tried to image how I could use them in an artful way and all I kept coming back to was that they sure would be heavy to lug back to my car so I left without them. And wouldn’t you know it, on my way home I’d smack my head several times having finally came up with ideas on how I could have used them.
Like the guys on American Pickers always say.. the time to buy something interesting and unique is when you see it. Oh well. Maybe next time.
Question for you: What would you think about your own notebooks selling at an antique show in 100+ years?