Every January, just as we are hoping to recover from the holidays, it is once again time for the Miami Beach Antiques Show. Personally, this is a show I both love and hate. Last year was a memorable one because I met both John Mayer and Michael Bruno. While John Mayer is clearly the more well-known of the two, any design aficionado will understand why I was also thrilled to meet Michael and become a part of the 1stdibs family. In case you missed last year's post with a photo of our booth, you can catch up here.
This year we decided to go a bit simpler by not putting up any walls. My mother and I then spent several days cutting and sewing linen to make curtains that would run the periphery of our three booths. In the past, the show has provided garish, bright blue curtains, which can't be acceptable by anyone's standards. But this year, we arrived to find that the show had prudently decided to go with white curtains. Unbelievable - four days of hard work for nothing; we didn't even take out our curtains.
The design for our booth this year was centered around an Italian theatrical screen (seen at top). We took our collection of religious works, mostly statues that we purchased on our last trip. We also have an amazing pair of reliquaries that we hung right on the screen. I set up a showcase of my collection of Swarovski/ Woloch jewelry, and we featured some colorful 19th century majolica tile panels by Sarreguemines, a well-known French ceramic factory. One more "piece de resistance" was an incredible Italian mosaic table done in the manor of the ancient Roman floor mosaics. After a quick set-up, I got to do my favorite part of the show...walking through in an attempt to find new treasures to purchase. One of my finds this year was this wonderful early 19th century statue of a Madonna and Child. If I only had a bigger house...
What I love about the show is that there are dealers who come in from all over the country with a variety of merchandise that I only get to see at this time. Most of the dealers only sell at shows, they do not have retail spaces, so you have to catch them at unique exhibitions like this. I love to learn about something new each year, tortoise shell tea caddies, gilt frames, silver baby rattles, Vienna bronzes, Victorian posey holders. There is always something to ask a specialist about. I also enjoy chit-chatting with all the personalities that are antique dealers. It is a somewhat curious profession which attracts some eccentric people. You have to be cut from a different cloth to travel the country year after year packing and unpacking all your wares like a gypsy. And then there are the close friends I've made whom I enjoy catching up with, like my friends from Paris or Argentina, Seattle or Norfolk. And another year is gone.