by Rusty Wolfe
Pieces of old objects offer us a step back in time. From carvings to drawer pulls, table legs to hinges, items that have been separated from their original purpose are for sale in antique malls and numerous online sites. With names like Deco, Modern, Eastlake, Victorian, Mission: How can we avoid the lure? Their existence suggests important past practices and displays quality and craftsmanship. It is far removed from the mass production and reproduction that is created today.
There is a special craze for pieces and parts of anything old. Many of the lesser-valued objects or items that are no longer in mint condition are worth more as parts than in their original form. Take, for example, an antique sewing machine inside its wooden cabinet. For years, one could buy a vintage sewing machine for around $40. Now, if you disassemble it, you can sell it for up to $300. There is a metal base, which can be used for a table base ($40), a cast-iron pedal as wall décor ($30), three to six wooden drawers ($15 per), applied moldings and old wood ($30), and the machine itself ($50). Even the nameplate and hardware have value. I have found this to be true in many aspects of antiques. Artisans around the country are using these parts to create objects for their homes and gardens and in some cases to create fine art.
I have been asked by Nashville Arts Magazine to share my perspective and approach to restoration and construction of furniture. Using both new and old materials, I look forward to offering my approach and philosophy on design and restoration in upcoming issues.
Look for Rusty Wolfe’s column in the November issue of Nashville Arts Magazine.
Rusty Wolfe is a painter, sculptor, furniture designer, and entrepreneur. His works are available at fine art galleries around the country and locally at Finer Things.