brimfielddesign showsfleamarkets

brimfield 2010: what we brought home

by Grace Bonney

whew! amy and i finally made it back from brimfield and my legs are still hurting. two days of early mornings, rainy weather and endless walking have taken their toll but we managed to find some really beautiful things and come up with about a dozen ideas for new columns and projects to try on d*s- so all in all it was a fantastic trip! i’m going to be sharing some of my favorite things i saw at the show later today, and a trend roundup on monday (along with flea market shopping tips from friends and pros we saw at the show), but this morning i wanted to start off with a little eye candy: the pieces we actually shelled out for and lovingly carried back home to brooklyn. [image above: the best shopping buddies a girl could ask for: katy elliott, amy azzarito, and amy merrick (how cute are her heart-shaped glasses?)]

[image above: as i get older i realize i’m slowly turning into my mom (which i don’t mind at all). i found myself bewitched by an antique linen booth and came home with this gorgeous antique european pillowcase. i loved the polka-dot edging. can’t wait to sleep on this tonight]

[images above: amy was the cameo-queen at this year’s show. she bought the beauty above and plans to turn it into a bracelet, and found the wedgewood piece below at a booth that we browsed next to mary kate olsen. yep, she was hunting down jewelry at the same booths we were, while wearing leather pants and a fringed sombrero-y hat.]

[image above: amy spotted this antique walnut piece (with porcelain fasteners) and was kind enough to let me have it. it’s from the early 1800’s and now lives in my entryway to hold mail, etc. i love it!]

[image above: amy picked up a gorgeous original esmond mills blanket early on in the show. it was in great condition and was quite the steal. it was part of a bigger trend we noticed with blankets that i’ll talk more about on monday]

[images above: i picked up this beautiful locket at the same booth (michael weinstein from the bundy museum) where amy found her cameo. i’ll be honest: the hair inside freaked me out and i want to replace it with pictures of my cats or ac. i know, history buffs are going to KILL ME, but human hair grosses me out. even my own.]

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  • Such great finds!! I’m so jealous of you guys! I didn’t get a chance to go this year…
    I get grossed out by hair too!

  • What fun! I LOVE Brimfield and haven’t been in a few years. And I am with all of you about human hair…gives me the eebee geebees.

  • In Victorian times, it was common for engagement rings to open up (like a locket) where the betrothed could store a piece of her fiance’s hair… romantic. :S

    I’m not about hair either, especially stranger’s hair, but part of me wouldn’t want to disturb the bit of history. This was obviously an important little piece to someone. But, I understand too that having hair of a stranger is icky. So, I’d probably just be ceremonious in my disposal, like putting it in a garden. It seems a bit cold just to toss it in the garbage. Can you tell I’m a bit nostalgic? :)

    • 7daysofpretty

      there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being nostalgic. i’m like that with just about everything i get normally, but for some reason this creeped me out behind belief. it was a big hunk of hair…

      i’m sure when someone finds this locket after i die one day someone will toss the pictures of my cats and go “woah, a crazy lady owned this before me!” ;)


    • we didn’t feel right taking a picture of her. although she was dressed in that “look at me! but don’t look at me” style. but she has the right to shop and be left alone like everyone else. ;)


  • Oh my goodness. My Grandmother has that exact same locket! My Grandpa gave it to her when they were 16 (probably around 1938). She tells me it was 15 dollars, which was quite a splurge at the time. I wore it to my wedding.

    • keira

      that’s so sweet! i saw a lot of that gold starburst/diamond jewelry at brimfield, it was lovely. mine was only $35 because it was gold-fill and not solid gold, but it was still so pretty i couldn’t resist.


  • My wife and I were planning on going today, but were put off by the forecast of rain. Now I’m just shuffling around the house aimlessly. Should we go this weekend, or is a weekend visit pretty well established to be for chumps and amateurs only? Is all the good stuff gone already?

    • oh go! go fast and get there to see j&j!! it’s the best field. but we learned that the best stuff is gone by the beginning of the week. i’m gonna do monday/tuesday next time.


  • I can’t wait to see what you guys do with your finds! I wish I could’ve gone.
    Yuck, hair grosses me out too; even my own!

  • What booths/fields did you go to at Brimfield? It’s so large! I’m going tomorrow and feel overwhelmed by the whole thing!

    • eca

      we did the whole show that was open by thursday- so pretty much all the fields except for j&j, which opened today. heart o’ the mart was my favorite (we went there and mays right after they opened at 9am)


  • Great finds!! lucky ladies!
    Who else but MKO could thrift while wearing leather pants..

  • The hair may seem gross but if you consider the original sentiment and reason it’s there, I think it’s sweet. Hair grosses me out too, but the idea of giving someone a lock of hair for romantic reasons, or keeping a lock of hair to memorialize someone who has passed, it’s incredibly personal and sentimental. It’s almost like having a bit of someone’s spirit. Which to some might make it even more creepy.

    • katherine

      i love the idea of having something so personal that belonged to someone, but hair for me is a little much. although for some reason a lock of baby hair seems less creepy. but this was a serious chunk of hair. ;)


  • Looks great! I love the blanket. I wonder if, when you do some more round-up from the show, if you’d mind giving an idea of what prices were like? Did you feel like most things were approachable for an average budget?

  • oh I so want to go to this market! Love all the amazing finds! I am a bit of a old photo freak, so I kind of yelled out loud “No” when reading about the locket. I also enjoy victorian hair brooches.
    You should check out Stormville fleamarket in NY, and Kutztown fleamarket in PA. Both always filled with amazing finds! Happy hunting!

  • Don’t fret too much about missing out on the French chairs; I may be wrong, but I believe these are fairly recent copies by an importer named Vance Kitira…

  • You know those wool blankets, vintage or not, are trendy when they start showing up in urbanoutfitters. I never thought they went out of style to begin with they’re a design classic.
    I am ridiculously upset that I moved to California and am nowhere near Brimfield anymore, sigh…

  • This is awesome! Can you please post a list of the best flea market fairs coming up in the northeast. thanks!

  • I love the locket you found! What a treasure. If you do end up taking out the photos and the lock of hair, I like one of the commenter’s ideas about burying it in a garden or somewhere nice, maybe in a little box. I think it’s important to honor and respect the emotional significance that piece once had. I myself have a lock of my late sister’s hair kept away in a memory box of hers. It may be a little gross to some, but it holds a priceless sentimental value.