Friday, May 25, 2012

My First Sale

You may have noticed the blue glass insulators that pop up in a lot of my styled pictures:

I brought a bunch of insulators with me to Lucketts, and realized that a lot of people don't know what they are. Never fear, I'm here to throw some knowledge on you. Insulators are placed at the top of electrical or telephone poles, where wires are wrapped around them to prevent the wire from touching the wood. Today you can look at the tops of electrical poles and see stacks of ceramic insulators, but before the 1960s, most of them were made of glass.

I love insulators for many reasons. I'm a sucker for blue translucent glass, they catch light beautifully, and they are great for styling just about any surface, especially if you're going for an eclectic (electric?) look. But insulators are near and dear to my heart for another reason: my grandpa collected them.

My grandpa spent his career as a telephone man. This influenced my family quite a bit. My dad and uncle know how to run wire pretty much anywhere in a house, and the entire family has a propensity for backing into parking spaces. I even grew up playing with old rotary telephones that my grandpa gave us when we were kids.

When the telephone company started converting their insulators to ceramic, my grandpa collected the old glass insulators. When my grandparents downsized, he put most of the insulators on a shelf near his workshop. He and my grandma also scattered them throughout their house, a small symbol of the pride my grandpa had in his work long after he retired. When he died, all of his children and grandchildren acquired portions of the collection.

Insulators make me quite nostalgic, and I always think of my grandpa when I see them. But that's not the only reason I decided to acquire some extras and sell them at Lucketts. My grandpa was an extremely handy guy, and as I've mentioned in past posts, he did amazing work to furniture that looked beyond repair. I still remember how every Tuesday, he would go visit his friend Freddie and repair furniture in Freddie's workshop with some other friends. It wasn't unusual to come across a few broken chairs in the cellar waiting to fixed up or re-caned. My grandpa's appreciation for old, well made furniture, his ability to see beauty in broken, beat up pieces, and his sheer love of tinkering and working with his hands undoubtedly influenced my passion for refurbishing old furniture.

My grandpa died six years ago last week. He lived a long and extremely fulfilling life, the kind that you can't help but use as a benchmark for your own. My only real regret is that I didn't fully embrace my furniture refurbishing hobby until after he died. There's so much that I still wish I could learn from him and work into my craft.

So where am I going with this? Well, as I stood anxiously at my Lucketts booth Saturday morning, not having sold anything right away, I wondered if this whole experience was going to be a big bust. But as the boy likes to remind me, I should have had more faith in myself. As the title of this post would suggest, soon enough, I made my first sale. And it was, quite appropriately, an insulator.

My Grandpa played baseball for the Cooperstown Indians on Doubleday field!

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