29 March 2011

BTW: American Pickers

"Doors of opportunity don't open, they unlock; it is up to you to turn the knob."

~ Lily Taylor

While I was in D.C. for the classes with Stephanie Lee, I had time to sit in my hotel room by myself and just flip the channels (something that I rarely have the chance to do at home). I stumbled on the History Channel and American Pickers. I had heard of this show before, but never really seen it.
Now I am hooked.

{Mike and Frank with a find from American Pickers, on the History Channel, Mondays at 9/8c}
I have never been one to go a-flea-ing (mostly because I don't have the opportunity and everyone I know would think I was weird), but I know that some of you have, and I am fascinated by it. I love the idea that you can find treasure anywhere and that things that others might take for granted or not see the value of are priceless to others. That is how I sort of how I got my start doing what I do: I see the potential in things that others might overlook and with a little spit and polish I can turn them into treasures that others are willing to pay top dollar for. Most of my earliest designs featured found objects like skeleton keys or hardware store treasures like hex nuts and washers, and I still come back to those tried and true treasures.

Antique Archeology (isn't that the coolest name?) is the brick and mortar storefront for Mike and his team of talented treasure hunters. The show American Pickers follows the exploits of Mike and his partner Frank as they drive the backroads of America scouring junkyards and attics alike in the search for anything they can 'pick' that might bring in money when they flip it around and sell it. They sell things to collectors and interior designers or anyone looking for the cool old stuff that they have found.
I have only watched a few episodes, but I can already tell that I am going to be adding this to my queue so that I can follow along in my studio late at night to see what Mike, Frank and their quirky assistant Danielle find buried in plain sight.

I love that they have this determination to find something, anything, that might be out of the ordinary. They have a tenacity that is thrilling to watch. They are not afraid to get dirty and they always shake hands in the most genuine way. They have a profound desire to not only recycle these treasures, but to preserve the history behind them. And to pass them along to people they know will treasure them.

So I compiled a little list of some lessons that I have learned from American Pickers:
  • Treasure can be found where you least expect it.
  • Persistence pays off.
  • Work together and play to your strengths.
  • Fair deals are the best deals.
  • Sometimes the best finds are right under the surface.
  • Love all the styles, don't get pigeon-holed into one thing.
  • Be optimistic and be yourself.
  • Pay attention to the amazing things around you.
  • Go with your gut.
  • Know when to be aggressive to get what you want and when to back off.
  • Above all remember to be kind, you never know when you might get the chance to come back this way again.
  • Always ask for a reference. Each person's connections can lead you to that one golden opportunity.
Speaking of seeking treasure... would you like to see what I am working on? I am currently createing four necklaces that are interpreting poems written by local poets. This is for a show we are putting on in May called "Verse and Vision," and I have to have them done by the middle of April so that they can be photographed for the book. (Yikes! I am not even started!)

Like the American Pickers, I have been on a hunt for something special: vintage flower pins and earrings. I thought that I would want to have brightly colored flowers. I bought a few from a local resale vendor but the only ones I could afford were that big white one and some sweet little daisy earrings. But then I realized that I was sitting on a whole pile of old costume jewelry that has been gifted to me over the years and I don't know what to do with, so I started picking in my own stash. I decided that the best flowers for this piece were not the gaily colored petals but the ones in white with a little hint of blue.

So that is what I am working on and have been thinking of recently. I hope you will join in the fun of Bead Table Wednesday, started by the lovely and talented Miss Heather Powers (who is cavorting in the Caribbean on the Bead Cruise!).

What is the best item you have ever found while thrifting?
Are you the sort who is always on the hunt for treasures, or do you only keep that which is absolutely necessary?
What are you working on this week?


rosebud101 said...

I love treasure hunts, and I have found many wonderful things at thrift stores and garage sales. My treasures, my real treasures, are the things I find in my closets, hidden away, tucked away, hidden in the back or in drawers that desperately need cleaning.

Gerry said...

Thank you for the information on the Pickers...
I have heard of the show but have never gone to it.....will try to remember to tune in next week for it. I love flea market finds!!! The best yet for me was a kewpie doll plate....I paid .50 for it at a yard sale and resold it on ebay for $150.00...most were going for $250.00 but I of course didn't want to be greedy so I put a 150.00 reserve....I was quite pleased. I have collected old jewelry and beads for years and years...you have inspired me to go digging in it and see if I can use some of the pieces!!
Thanks!!! gerry

Cameron said...

Ah, sitting in a Hotel watching cable! We go camping ever Summer...so the nights when we actually get to stay the night in a Hotel are a real treat! Watching cable, which we don't have at home...oh, and a toilet I don't have to hike to....really make for a blissful evening!

You are always involved in the most fascinating projects...wow! Verse and Vision! So official...so professional...like you are the poet of the Bead World trading bits and baubles for language and nuance! Love it, Erin...you rock!

Jennifer Cameron said...

I adore watching American Pickers for so many reasons. I love that they take the time to get to know the people that allow them to dig through their stuff. I love that they find treasures in what looks like to the casual observer (including me!) like a pile of junk. It's usually a happy accident that I get to watch it at all because I so rarely watch tv. Generally, it happens when I have a ton of laundry to fold and decide to turn the tv on for a bit of distraction ;o)

The necklaces you are putting together are incredible and I love that you are using poems of local writers as inspiration. Very cool! And I'll bet the writers will be thrilled with what you create using their words as inspiration.

Deb said...

I'm really into the whole thing of upcycling, I just posted a necklace I've been working on for mothers day which features a silver ballerina brooch I found when out thrifting, I brought it home and cleaned it up and now it looks like new. It's a great feeling to know that you have breathed new life into an old piece of jewellery so it can be loved again.
Good luck with your necklaces, I'm really looking forward to seeing them.

Jenni C said...

The American Pickers show sounds fascinating. To me a treasure is far more valuable to my eye if I know the story behind it, meeting interesting people behind the treasure is an added bonus. Thank you for telling us about the show and also showing what you are doing with some of your pre- loved items to make a treasure for someone else.

Alice said...

I'd love to go on a treasure hunt. Unfortunately there are not many places here for that.

Your new project sounds fascinating! I can't wait to see the results.

mairedodd said...

i now must look up this show - have been watching a quirky little on called 'portlandia' but this seems like a must... saw this necklace on flickr and it is beautiful... sounds like a very cool show...

Brandi said...

I LOVE American Pickers! Mike and Frank are hilarious together. My favorite episode is where they pick an old carnival/amusement park somewhere in Pennsylvania. The owner was hoping to revamp the rides then reopen, but had a devastating flood which led him to sell to Mike and Frank to raise money.

So, anyway, they end up buying several large painted canvas signs, and when they had it appraised, one sign was worth $10,000. Danielle sold it while they were still driving, so they turned around to go back and give the park owner half, since none of them realized how valuable these signs were and they felt "it was the right thing to do".

Talk about warm fuzzies.

Heather said...

I love that show- My husband and I tevo it so we don't miss an episode and can watch the reruns again sometimes. We used to live near a very quaint old town - Snohomish which was probably 50% antique stores. I loved to spend the day there browsing and looking for treasures. Unfortunately Las Vegas (with the exception of pawn shops which I refuse to go to- dont' need bad karma for buying something that may have been stolen like my own wedding band) is all about "NEW".
The best thing I ever found was in Desert Springs while my husband was checking on his project at the Casino I visited every shop and art gallery on the main drag. I found a really old carved wooden family crest for a distillery. It has two gargoyles that face each other and is fantabulous.
We talked them down to a great price and it now adorns the front room wall where my husband displays his sword and knife collections. I had to drag him over to see it and he was so glad afterwards. I will try to post about this next weekend so you can see a picture. You really have to see it to appreciate it. I am working on my ABS March Challenge- queen of last minute. Hope to take pics tomorrow morning and get it up on the site in time. PS LOVE your ingredients for the necklaces based on poems, love that idea too. You are such an inspiration. Thank you!
Have a great day!

SueBeads said...

Erin! You get the coolest projects to work on! Congrats to you! I would love to see all four finished products...I hope you post them, and maybe at least the names of the poems? I have seen the show briefly but never watched it, maybe I need to - it sounds cool!

Pretty Things said...

I absolutely love American Pickers!

KayzKreationz said...

I love American Pickers. My hubby got me started on it, and I think I watch it more than him now. I love all the "treasures" they find.

Penny said...

I watched one episode with my parents and it was great, they will do anything to get a great piece.

Janet said...

Oh that show is so good! Its relaxing and seems to just be a home grown show. I miss the countryside being in Houston so it is a definate nice break for me to watch. And the things they pick up wow. I wonder if there are any snakes in those barns?!

I am trying to stream line things more. This is a difficult task with my husband! He wants to hold on to much more that I do. Its just so much stuff stuff stuff after awhile. It almost clutters the mind abit too I think. The best thing Ive gotten in a long time is the pc I put on my Blog today the lovely french country china cabinet for $50 but a sad story a loss for the people who sold it. I want to down size so much now a days I could almost go in for a more modern look as modern dosent clutter the eye as much.

This week? I might be working on TesoriTrovatis gorgeous charms! And Yes I really believe that persistence really pays off. You are always really inspiring!

Cynthia said...

I know this will be hard to believe, but I think we are the last household in America that does not have cable. So, I can't check out this show - but it sounds like it's right up my alley!
I love treasure hunting. My best find EVER was a ring I bought for $45. Turned out, it was a real diamond (1.25 Karat), and appraised for over $6,000! Pretty cool! You never know what you'll find!

jamberry_song said...

I've never heard of this show! It sounds amazing. :D To answer your questions, I love going through flea markets and garage sales and antique shops. I'm always on the look-out for treasure and thus it is hard to let anything go. Mine is going to be one of those houses on a show like this someday. XD Ah, well.

Jenners said...

My husband watches this show. I love how you got the lessons out of it...and how you tied it in to your blog title.

Cindy said...

You know I'm a treasure hunter at heart too! What a great post, Erin!
It's so nice to see your necklace coming together - I remember when you mentioned this project when we met. It is beautiful!


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