Published on June 3, 2010 in This Handmade Life Photo by cowgirlcaities
With Father's Day coming up in a few weeks (June 20), we here at the Etsy Blog invited members of the community to share their inspiring stories of father and child creativity. Caitie Canon and her dad Charlie Wimmer share an avid love for collecting antiques. Charlie took his daughter to antique shows and flea markets before she could even walk, in a carrier strung across his back. As their collections grow, so does their friendship. The pair have a successful Etsy shop, cowgirlcaities, selling unusual antiques and vintage items from Europe and the Midwest. Caitie chronicles their finds on her blog.
We run an orphanage of lost treasures that need a good home — that's how we view what we do. My dad has been collecting antiques and oddities for years, and I follow very closely in his footsteps.
My dad Charlie is a semi-retired art professor from the University of Wisconsin. He still teaches one study abroad class in London during the summers — and this is where he avidly hunts for treasures: in the depths of Depford Market, in estate sales all across the UK, and in the flea markets of Paris. Dad is brilliant at spotting items — odd things that you might just glance over if you saw it on a market stall or in the back of a dusty antique shop. The amount of knowledge in is in his head amazes me. He is a teacher by profession as well as a teacher by nature, and I learn something new from him all the time — whether it be about British lead figures, doll house furniture or Victorian hair wreaths. He is an avid reader and collector of price guides, which is so important in the world of collecting: to know your items, and understand the history behind them.
I collect items from estate sales and auction houses up and down the northern tip of the Mississippi River. I'm sure it’s in the genes, at least that’s what I tell my husband when he comments on my busitng-at-the-seams collection: "It’s not my fault, talk to my dad." Between my dad and me we have a treasure trove of great antiques and vintage items. Some are classic, some are truly beautiful, some are funny and some are just downright strange — but all of them have been loved
We were first exposed to Etsy by one of my oldest and dearest girlfriends, who had been selling her jewelry and kept telling me to try it out. We fell in love with Etsy the moment it popped up on the screen. My dad and I were like kids in a candy store and knew from that moment on we had found our home. Just think, twenty years ago selling vintage items and antiques was an entirely different business. Etsy is this amazing organism, comprised of talented and creative people, who can connect with people all over the globe. It also gave me an amazing opportunity to connect with my dad, my best friend.
Together we have formed Cowgirl Caities, a sanctuary for orphans of history that need a good home. My husband is now more supportive of my estate sale/antique show finds (I was once grounded from garage sales — but have since fallen off the wagon) since we finally have an effective outlet to share our passion and our finds.
We came upon the name cowgirlcaities, due in part to my latent desire to be a cowgirl (so far I have not gotten a horse, but I do have a goat named Billy Bob, who was one of the best bargains ever — I got him at a bar for $5). Part of it was liking the name and also that my dad had recently bought two saddles; not knowing anything about saddles, not owning horses, and having no use for the two saddles, we quickly realized that perhaps they should go to a good home. Nevertheless, we still have not listed the saddles, as we have become too attached to them. One day, perhaps, but for now they grace the entryway to our studio, which is a turn-of-the-century one-room school house, 200 yards from my parents' front door.
We would like to share a typical day, and this one happened just earlier this month while looking through the basement for items to sell. We came across a Jim Beam bottle circus wagon and I thought the wagon would be perfect for my little seven-pound dog Pixie to pull behind her in a parade. We dismantled the wagon and got the bottle out — and lo and behold — the seal on the bottle had never been cracked. I vaguely recalled that Jim Beam bottles were collectibles, but it just wasn't something that we were interested in. It was 9 a.m. and we hadn’t yet had our coffee, but we had to try the Jim Beam. We each took a sip — it was the most amazing liquor I have ever tasted! We came to find out later that the unopened bottle and wagon list for $500. Oops.
My dad’s philosophy is to have fun with what you are doing. If it isn’t fun, then don’t do it, whether it's teaching, traveling or collecting Pelham puppets. I share his thinking — there are things we must do in life and there are things we choose to do; make sure that what you do is enjoyable, because that’s what life is all about.
Dad brings with him a sense of joy and fascination with everything he does — a trait he has passed on to me. There is no one on earth with whom I have more fun, and the DNA is only part of it. Every day I am so thankful and feel so fortunate to have a job where my business partner is my best friend, my mentor, my first teacher, my confidant, and...my dad.
"The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be."— Douglas Adams
Makes a broken fingernail be put into perspective........ smooches caitie
I love this picture- I took this yesterday in my dads toy room- yes he has a toy room. She is such an odd and creepy little thing I just wanted to share her. Its her orange offset eyes that really give her the demented/possessed look--- ah such a charmer, she looks like she is about ready to kill the sweet baby doll with an axe hidden behind her back........sweet dreams hahahhh ahah ha (insert overacted dracula laugh here) hahaha
I love this strange little print-- these characters are SO odd, I think of the little ones as pirate owl, carrot head and sleepy---they make me wonder what they are up to.....and hey, anything with goat hooves is okay by me......love the goat mans glasses ........... by Edward Dulac
In the age of Victoriana a strange tradition arose-- women would brush their long hair, and then keep the strands, usually in a hair repository in their vanity, (looks like a trinket box, but with a circular hole in the top). The strands were then braided and twisted into - hair wreaths- these wreaths were not happy wreaths to be worn as a headpiece or 'bumpits' these were braided pieces that were kept in boxes as memories- memorials of loved ones--- I am amazed at the time it took to make these and is this a 'lost art' that should be brought back--
corner the market etsycrafters-- perhaps not, its a bit weird and a whole lot of creepy but one of those reflections of the eerie and morbid side of the Victorian Era-- also the incredible amount of time it took to create these pieces-- that women really spent a vast amount of time 'crafting', so don't feel bad if you loose a few hours making soap or painting cowboy boots turquoise, you could be weaving your family's hair into creepy wreaths to put on the mantle.