Saturday, June 24, 2017

NET NEUTRALITY and other stuff

One of my passions is the joy in contemplating the freedoms that we all have in this amazing nation. One of the newest of these freedoms is access to the internet. At what other time in all of recorded history has connecting with others, access of information, ability to spread our personal beliefs, dreams and hopes with others been so effortless and so fast. Of course, there are negatives that arise with all freedoms; however, I choose to be free to make the decision whether to use the internet for good.
I received an email today regarding the Net Neutrality Day of Action. It was a request for bloggers to publicize July 12 as a day of protest and action against any efforts to restrict free access to the internet--below is the text of the email.

On July 12, 2017, websites, Internet users, and online communities will come together to sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality. Learn how you can join the protest and spread the word at https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12/.

Right now, new FCC Chairman and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai has a plan to destroy net neutrality and give big cable companies immense control over what we see and do online. If they get their way, the FCC will give companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T control over what we can see and do on the Internet, with the power to slow down or block websites and charge apps and sites extra fees to reach an audience.

If we lose net neutrality, we could soon face an Internet where some of your favorite websites are forced into a slow lane online, while deep-pocketed companies who can afford expensive new “prioritization” fees have special fast lane access to Internet users – tilting the playing field in their favor.

But on July 12th, the Internet will come together to stop them. Websites, Internet users, and online communities will stand tall, and sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality.

The Battle for the Net campaign will provide tools for everyone to make it super easy for your friends, family, followers to take action. From the SOPA blackout to the Internet Slowdown, we've shown time and time again that when the Internet comes together, we can stop censorship and corruption. Now, we have to do it again!
Learn more and join the action here: https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12

I hope that all of us who care about our freedoms (which we sometimes take for granted) will participate in this important movement. We can no longer be quiet.
Thank you for letting me blog about what is truly important and about what is relatively trivial as I get back to blogging about my life as an antiques dealer...

THIS WEEK'S HUNT


This was the first item I saw when I went to preview My Auction on Wednesday........gorgeous late Louis XVI (c.1790-1800) walnut chest of drawers in great condition with its beautiful original grey marble top. It was coming up at the end of the auction; so I knew it would be a long day :(, or maybe a :)...you just never know what the outcome will be.
But I also found this.........



I know it's hard to tell from these photos, but there were a pair of these gorgeous cast iron (or so I thought) 19th c. bistro table bases in a Louis XV style and just look as those dolphin-shaped feet!! (I'm a sucker for just about anything with dolphin feet). I was pretty sure that these guys and the Louis XVI chest were coming home with me the next day......
As usually happens when I really want something, it took forever for the Iron bistro tables to come to the block--it seemed as if everything was getting pushed in front of them. But, finally, up they came. And the auctioneer plus the floor manager (Miguel) insisted on singing their praises (so much for their being sleepers and going for very little). The bidding started at $50 and I waited til they were at $150 to bid and up and up they went..........and I finally got them for just about the max that I was willing to spend, as I still need to have new marble or granite tops cut for them plus inventing a way to secure the slabs to the bases. Well, when I picked up the bases today, I took a really good look at them--paying close attention to their patination and the patination is green. If the tables were iron, they would be a bit rusty in color--not green. The only thing that I know of that is cast metal and turns green is BRONZE. Miguel checked the tables with a magnet (that's easiest way to see if something is bronze) and they are not iron!! They are definitely bronze--boosting their desirability way up there. As always, I am so grateful.
I bought a couple of other things will waiting (and waiting usually gets me into trouble) for the chest of drawers, including this adorable little (about 18"w x 9"d x 12"h) camphor wood trunk to add to my collection of Chinese trunks that, by the way, are not selling. I know: not the smartest way to do business, but I couldn't help myself........


And then this table came to the block. I hadn't noticed it during preview or during the auction, but Dear Lord, it has elephant-head legs.........what was I to do??



This gorgeous Japanese lacquer table is in the Aesthetic Movement (c.1890) style, but most probably dating to the 1950s or 1960s. And no one was bidding on it. Yep, it came home with me for a ridiculous amount of money. I'll post more photos when I get it into shop. I did find a very similar table on 1stdibs (the lacquer top is not nearly as nice on that table) for $6500. My price point is going to be about a 1/3 of that.
And finally, after I asked the guys to bring it up, the Louis XVI Chest came to the block. The bidding starts at $250........and up and up and up it goes. I didn't even raise my hand as the bid zooooomed past my max. It ended up at $1500--way more than what I wanted to pay. You know, we are supposed to be making some profit in this crazy business.

I won't go into the health care debacle.......enough has been and will be said in the coming weeks. But I am so disappointed that those elected to serve The People are only serving the wealthy. We deserve much better governance.

Need to get up early tomorrow. Thankfully it has cooled down a bit, at least for a few days.

Be well and PLEASE STAY INVOLVED. "WE can't keep quiet, any more."

Mary & Jones & Cole

Friday, June 9, 2017

FEELING MUCH BETTER---BUT I FORGOT THAT I DIDN'T WANT TO BUY

I did make pancakes for everyone yesterday morning.....definitely a time of celebration for me. I didn't realize how down I had become recently regarding TT (times of trump). How much I have been grieving. Yesterday's Comey Testimony brought me out of my funk. At least now a powerful step has been taken up the ladder to impeachment or prosecution. I know that there is still a long way to go before all of the T's have been crossed, but we are on our way.
AND I WAS BAD (not terribly bad, but still)



I know that the above table looks like a simple 19th c. leather top writing table---but it has a very unique distinguishing feature. It's shown in the second photo--yep, it's that amazing book stand on the left side of the table. The table measures about 40"-42" in width; so it's relatively small. And it is period William IV, dating to c. 1830-1835. The table appears to be all original and in excellent condition (a huge plus from where I stand as it doesn't require any restoration). How could I pass it up?? I'm definitely on a role with early 19th c. English furniture.
I also bought one of the trunks


Another early 19th c. piece--Chinese, but intended for the English market.
A very large English barrel back wing chair similar to this one, but upholstered in fabric and without the channeling was going for pennies; so that came home. I haven't decided whether to re-upholster the chair--we'll see.

And then to remind me of my childhood in Mexico, a fun large brass and abalone shell fish-form dish


Well, I guess that you can't sell from an empty cart... 

My prayers are for our incredible nation. I pray that we will be able to push partisanship to the side in order to re-establish a government whose top priority is to serve the best interests of all. Where money cannot buy power. Where all are truly considered equal. It is possible if we stand firm in defense of the Constitution.

Blessings,
Mary & Jones & Cole


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

THE MOST GLORIOUS BOX.........and ENOUGH IS ENOUGH



This is one of the most beautiful pieces of contemporary/20th century Japanese lacquer that I have ever laid eyes on. It walked into The Center with another dealer and I had to have it. Jeremie quoted a very reasonable price and it became mine. The box isn't very big--maybe 9" x 6", but it seems to glow from within--here's a side view


The cinnabar red of the lower section of the box is just barely referenced in a fine red line intersecting the gold and tarnished silver elements. The artistry of the graphic pattern reminds me of exquisite silk.
When I see pieces of this beauty and creative artistry I am reminded of the nature of creation--always unfolding and revealing itself to those that take the time to listen. This box makes me listen.

Now on to Enough is Enough..........
I previewed My Auction today and I just do not want to buy a thing----enough is enough!!




I collect these 19th c. Chinese Export camphor wood trunks for the shop....but I have 6 Asian trunks (in all different sizes)......do I really need another one?-----I am sooooo tempted...............And the condition is phenomenal??
But the truth is I am filled-up/fed-up with sadness and disgust.........I cannot believe that our amazing country is being brought down by an individual who disparages all of what we hold valuable. Tomorrow--bright and early, I'm getting up to make a blue berry pancake breakfast for my family to celebrate Director Comey's testimony before The Senate and the Nation.
I lived and worked in Washington D.C. during the Watergate Era and would drive past The Watergate Office building every day to work........this is so much worse!!
I pray that tomorrow will signal the beginning of the end of this administration. I pray that Robert Mueller and the other investigative entities discover, expose and prosecute any individual would has been involved the The Russian Affair or who has covered up any criminal activity on the part of the President (going back even before the election).
I pray that Trump's ability to lie and bring us all down, serves as a loud and continuing call to reaffirm our commitment to personal integrity and governmental integrity.
I will be praying for our nation tomorrow==join me?

Mary & Jones & Cole 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

BUSY WEEK--New Ralph Pucci Showroom



Well, I started writing this post last week and didn't get very far.....I did have back surgery--which would be a good excuse--but then I just got so busy. I was supposed to stay home and quiet for two weeks. But only made it through 5 days and then I just had to get back in the saddle.
The day before surgery Darren and I went to see the new Ralph Pucci Los Angeles showroom which is a bit off the beaten path and located in a very large semi-industrial space.    It is gorgeous.
I loved all of the Herve Van Der Straeten pieces. Here are a few of the photos that I took.





The space is large and entirely painted in white. These amazing sculptural pieces have plenty of room to breathe and be seen from all angles--the next piece is my favorite--not sure who the designer is but it doesn't matter--the table is soul-filled and weighty 




The pewter inlay appears to be poured in place, probably a lost wax casting, and then finely polished so that is is smooth with the rock surface. I love the cragginess of the black rock (don't exactly know what material it is).

And then just one week after surgery--I made it to My Auction two Thursdays ago and bought these very unusual Syrian horseshoe form arm chairs. The bone and fine wood inlay detailing is exquisite (these guys were pricey)--we're going to upholster them in a minty sage green mohair velvet--the scarlet velvet is just not making me happy.




This week my eye focused on 


set of 10 late English George VI/William IV carved white oak dining chairs that had been recently upholstered in an unusual tone of mauve that had just a touch of burnt sienna. These chairs were out of a well-known Beverly Hills Estate (Auction House won't tell me exactly whose) that was designed by Michael Smith.
Up came the chairs......the auctioneer announces them as being "Michael Smith Chairs" (which means that Michael Smith made them)--so I backed down. And the auctioneer passed the chairs as he didn't get a bid.........and then I kicked myself.........I could have had them at a ridiculous price. I did have some one turn a chair over afterwards and the chairs were period. On Friday I made an "after auction" offer for the chairs which was a lot higher than I would have paid on Thursday, but still a great deal. I think that the chairs might be by Gillows (one of the best 19th c. English furniture makers of the period).
My surgeon says that I'm healing ahead of schedule--but that I'm pushing it!! So now I need to be super careful and quiet for another two months.....bummmmmmer--don't know how I'm going to do what he says for two additional months.
I would say something about Mr. Not-My-President, but I won't except to say that I was supremely embarrassed by his actions and words in Europe last week--I felt like this poor dog


Hopefully this nightmare will soon be ended.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Monday, May 1, 2017

NEW LOOK


Roberto and I rearranged a bit last week------and it helped!! The Asian elephants (that I love) just sold.
Must exit quickly--more tomorrow

Mary & Jones & Cole

Sunday, April 30, 2017

BIG & BEEFY & BOLD


Here is the late 18th c. mahogany chest of drawers that I bought last week. This guy is big: 45"w x 22"d x 33"h. He has retained all of his original brasses and one lock. I think it's the original finish, also. But he does need work: some one glued the brushing slide shut😒--so that means quite a bit a of work and there are several other minor restoration areas. My new restorers can bring the chest back to its original glory.
Because of his size and the uncommon brushing slide, this chest would make a great bar, would work in a library, dining room or a man's dressing room.
Well, I'm nodding off--must get to bed.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Friday, April 21, 2017

INSPIRED


I have had the most amazing week. It has been one of those weeks when I knew that I was truly connected, experiencing the flow of life in the moment. One of my favorite images/concepts is that of the hawk and how he flies strait up into the sun when he senses danger--just like we should all do. But I manage to forget a lot of the time.
It started out with my stopping at my neighborhood gas station on my way to Pasadena and smiling at a lady that was also getting gas. I chatted a bit with the attendant; inserted my card into the terminal and the terminal went down......I needed to pay with cash and really didn't have much with me. The lady that I had greeted was standing behind me and said to me "I will give you cash". I was filled with awe: this person did not know me and yet she offered to meet my need. I thanked her and explained that I had just enough in my wallet to pay for the gas needed. When I returned with my little bit of cash, the terminal had gone back up (it was expected to be down for at least 30 mins.) In that instant I knew that God had sent a clear message to me of love and protection that morning.--I am still in awe and gratitude of how, if we choose, we can be connected and blessed by chance encounters.
That was just the beginning of the week......Roberto and I (mainly Roberto) reorganized the shop (it needed it badly) on Tuesday. On Wednesday I interviewed a new pillow fabricator (my amazing fabricator had retired to start a new direction in life--becoming an artist--Kudos for her strength and vision). Finding just the right person for the detail and perfection required to make my pillows is not easy--and this lady can do it. She works with Rose Tarlow and several of the other top Los Angeles designers and she knows her stuff and loves Fortuny.
Then I met with my new furniture restorers to check out their work on my 17th c. table that is having its legs extended.


That is perfect work! The photo shows the leg before the color and patina were matched to the 17th century wood. I was almost jumping up and down with joy--the result could have been awful as this was the first time that I had worked with these men on this type of restoration. (I didn't even care that the table took 3 times longer than expected and that it still wasn't completed when I went to pick it up).

Next up: I went to preview my auction and my good friend Gerry was there at the same time; so we previewed together. Gerry has almost the same "eye" that I do; so we could get competitive (but we don't). There were two pieces of furniture that I had regretted not buying in the prior weeks---and they miraculously were back.... a large period English Regency chest of drawers and a late George III tilt top breakfast table. These are two items that are out of fashion right now (especially in California); however, having just sent a set of 4 English Regency chairs back to London--I felt that nudge to buy them.
Gerry spotted a set of 4 antique open arm chairs. He loved them, I knew that they were really old and good. So I researched the chairs for Gerry when I got home......yep, once again English Regency and grrrreat! They have their original very dark green paint and maintain the original painted details. This (horrendous) photo of the table shows just a bit of the chairs


So on Thursday I walked into the auction (after being stuck in the worst LA traffic) just as the chest was coming to the block. I though that I would nail down the bid really quickly, but another "friend" (maybe faux friend) was biding against me (and I do not back down). I brought the chest home for a still very respectable price.
This photo shows a similar (higher quality) chest


My chest is a little later than the example in the photo and needs some work, but the form is the same. I love the fact that it has a brushing slide and that it's a large size--can use it as a dining room or living room piece.
Next up were Gerry's chairs--for some unexplained reason, no one of consequence was bidding against him. After Gerry won the bid at a ridiculously low amount, he turned to me and said: "do you want to share them?" His generosity stunned me. We are friends and we have bought together before, but this was totally unexpected (although I had been quietly obsessing over the chairs for 24 hours, a promise is a promise). Gerry has another business and is very busy but he knows that I will restore the chairs to the 9's; so that we can realize a substantial profit margin, but still...
And finally, after waiting over an hour (while other items were pushed up ahead of table)... up comes the breakfast table. He looks a little shabby, but his bones are great. 



This is a quite large breakfast table and will comfortably seat six. It has a beautifully ring turned pedestal with true George III out swept reeded legs that retained their original brass caps and casters and original tilting mechanism. The finish appears to be original, also. These are all big plus marks---
Now here is his problem


That "crack" right up the center was caused by shrinkage in the dry California weather. The right way to fix it is to take the top apart; fit and glue the two boards together; turn the top over and fit two carved wood "butterflies" into the boards to keep them from separating in the future........this takes a true specialist. Camilo can do this work and Nicolas knows how to apply French polish (very specialized tasks).
My vision for these pieces is for them to sell to customers in the South or East, as that is where the market is.........
But guess what--I was talking to a designer friend today and she just happens to be starting a project in Beverly Hills and is looking for good antique English pieces. And I was reading a design article today (didn't see it before I bought these English pieces) that states that "Boho" is being replaced by a mixing of good Period English (late 18th/early 19th c.)  wood pieces (no grandma pieces, thank you) that you haven't been able to give away over the last few years.  I guess I was paying attention to the still soft voice. I am grateful.

I need to get to bed to be fully functioning tomorrow.

Sending Blessing for the day,

Mary & Jones & Cole