Freelance Favorites: Part I


Arabella's Wall of ClocksThe Glass Dolphin’s Arabella Carpenter loves antique clocks. So does my husband, an avid clock collector for many years (at one time his collection was hovering around the 50 mark, though he has recently parted with a few). When the editors of Antiques Showcase were looking for stories for their “Collector’s Treasures” column, I did some research and submitted his story. Collecting Clocks

A couple of things happened that literally changed my life. First, the article was accepted, and I was sent a check in the amount of $75 (let me tell you, to this day, that was the finest $75 I have ever earned).  The same day, I was told my Sales & Marketing job was being downsized. I’ve always believed that old adage, “when one door closes, another one opens.” I took it as an omen: I was meant to be a freelance writer.

I pursued the dream with passion. Before long, I was a Contributing Editor (a fancy title which basically means you’re a regular freelancer for the publication) for Antiques Showcase, as well as their sister publication, Collectibles Canada. I gradually made a name for myself, and started getting feature work from other antiques publications, including Antique Week, Antique Trader, Art & Antiques and New England Antiques Journal. Some of them even won honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition. You can read the articles here.

In 2006 I was contacted by Mary Lynn and Paul Winkler, the publishers of Antiques Showcase and Collectibles Canada. The antiques market had softened, they told me, while the collectibles craze for all things “beanie baby” and the like had cooled considerably. They had made a tough but necessary business decision: merge the two publications together under the banner of Antique & Collectibles Showcase (ACS).

Nice of them to tell me, I thought, but there was more. It seemed the Winklers were also looking for an editor to take over the merged publication: the current editors, Barbara and Peter Sutton-Smith, wanted to retire. In an incredible leap of faith, they offered me the job, and, since ACS was a uniquely Canadian publication, I would be able to continue writing for U.S. antiques publications, as well as non-competing Canadian markets. It truly was an amazing opportunity, and I’m forever grateful to Mary Lynn and Paul Winkler for believing in me.

Editor: Antique & Collectibles Showcase

Covers, in order of appearance

(Click on any cover image to link to the “Courtesy of” website)

Women were big sellers in the 1930s, and were often used to depict the glamor of luxury cruises. The artists in anonymous. Photo couretsy of Swann Galleries.
Women were big sellers in the 1930s, and were often used to depict the glamor of luxury cruises. The artist is anonymous. Photo couretsy of Swann Galleries.

My very first issue as the Editor of Antique & Collectibles Showcase. The cover was selected from a feature I wrote titled “Discovering Travel Posters.” Canadian Pacific was one of the most prolific producers of same, issuing more than 2,500 posters between 1883 and 1972.

Tiffany Studios "Poppy" table lamp. Photo courtesy of Lillian Naussau Ltd.

Tiffany Studios “Poppy” table lamp. Photo courtesy of Lillian Naussau Ltd.

Tiffany has always personified luxury. According to the 1906 Tiffany Studios price list, Model 1531, a 20″ diameter “Poppy” lampshade retailed for $115 (roughly  $3,000 in today’s money). The base, in this case bronze and turtleback tile glass, would have sold separately for at least that amount, and possibly more.

November/December 2006 Ellen Capsaddle postcard. Photo courtesy of Will Cowin.

November/December 2006
Ellen Capsaddle postcard. Photo courtesy of Will Cowin.

Ellen Hattie Clapsaddle (January 8, 1865 – January 7, 1934) was an American illustrator/commercial artist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Not only is her style greatly admired and well recognized, she is recognized as the most prolific souvenir postcard and greeting card illustrator of her era.

ACS Jan Feb 2007

A selection of new pieces by Brenda Smith of Pinecroft Pottery in Alymer, Ontario, Canada. Photo by Brian Cundle.

Situated on a 54-acre pine forest in Elgin County, Ontario, Canada, Pinecroft has been a thriving earthenware and stoneware pottery since 1948. The pieces depicted on our cover include Pinecroft Blue (goblets), White Waxy Matte (covered jar) and Ferguston Brown (platters).

ACS May June 2007

Terrestial Globe 1688 by Venetian monk Vincenzo Coronelli, Italy. He was the founder of the first Geographical Society. Photo courtesy of The Stewart Museum.

The globe has a fascinating history. Read the excellent and informative article by the late Peter A. Sutton-Smith World in the Round.

ACS March April 2007

Steiff Peter Rabbit. Courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd. 2006.

This charming Steiff Peter Rabbit was inspired by Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Her books have inspired a wide variety of collectibles throughout the years, from stuffed animals to china figurines.

ACS July Aug 2007

“Indian War Canoe” by Emily Carr, oil on panel, 1912. From the collection of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Gift of A. Sidney Dawes. Photo: MFFA, Marilyn Aitken.

Canada’s Emily Carr is best known for her landscapes of the northern coast of British Columbia and First Nations villages with their monumental totem poles.

ACS Sept Oct 2007

Crandall New Model typewriter, 1886, Crandall Machine Company, Croton, NY. From the Martin Howard Collection of Early Typewriters.

Comprised of typewriters from the very beginning of the typewriter industry (1880s & 1890s), The Martin Howard Collection of early typewriters is largest of its kind in Canada. The collection contains many rare and historically important typewriters, showing the remarkable diversity and beauty of the world’s first typing machines. Find him at www.antiquetypewriters.com.

This was the last issue of Antiques & Collectibles Showcase. The publication was sold to The Upper Canadian and I was out of a job. But, when one door closes, another one opens. The ink had hardly dried on the final issue of ACS when I was offered the job of Senior Editor at New England Antiques Journal and its sister publication, Northeast Journal of Art & Antiques (which merged with NEAJ in May 2011).

Senior Editor: New England Antiques Journal

Currier & Ives

Currier & Ives: American Homestead Winter

This one goes back to my motto, “You never know where something will lead.” I’d written a handful of articles for NEAJ, starting with one of my freelance favorites on the early American lithographic firm of Currier & Ives.  Read it here: NEAJ Currier & Ives

Now, you might think that the role of editor is just about assigning stories, but the truth is, at least in smaller publications, the editor(s) write a large part of the content. As a result, over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to interview many wonderful people in the antiques business.  I’ve also learned a great deal from these experts (none more than NEAJ‘s Editor-in-Chief, John Fiske), and written literally hundreds of articles. One of my favorites is the story of Asa Ames (1823-1851), told to me by Stacy C. Hollander, the American Folk Art Museum’s Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions.

Beyond 12 known woodcarvings, the only evidence of American folk artist Asa Ames is a headstone in Evans, Erie County, New York, and an 1850 Federal Census where he lists his profession as “sculpturing.” And yet, I fell in love with Ames’ work, and his all too brief story. Learn more about Asa Ames, and view some of his incredible sculptures, here: NEAJ Asa Ames

You’ll notice I called this page “Freelance Favorites: Part I,” which means there at the very least there will be a Part II (and maybe even a Part III). In the meantime, thanks for taking the time to read Part I. And if you get a chance, check out the back issues, all available in 3D flipbook format, on the NEAJ website.

To read Freelance Favorites: Part II, click here.

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