Industrial style is hot, hot, hot! I love that it is, but the market’s become oversaturated with inexpensive industrial reproductions. I’ve been doing authentic vintage industrial design in the Cedros Design District for over fourteen years now, longer than any of the chain stores who’ve since jumped on the bandwagon. But, in reviewing the past year, I, too, found myself sucked in to the abundance and affordability of “made in _______” knock-offs. Since true vintage and antique industrial pieces have become so scarce and thus expensive, these mass-produced options were tempting. But, I feel as I surrendered to the temptation, I lost my true intention.
It’s time to get back to my roots. While I’ll continue to source affordable well-made accessories and gifts, I’m searching farther afield for the good stuff. I’m digging deeper. I’m tapping into my well of artists and craftsmen to collaborate on more one-of-a-kind pieces. I’d rather spend my buying budget with these creative souls … it’s a win-win. I much prefer selling one fabulous vintage $2000 table or original artwork than ten or twenty cheap, poorly made pieces of ….
Imagine the time I’ll save not having to peel off millions of “made in Chindia” stickers! More time to blog!
Are you with me?
Note: One of my goals this year is to be more prolific with my blogposts. When I started the blog last Spring, I was planning to post weekly. But, life got in the way and weekly became bi-monthly became monthly became occasional! If I can at least accomplish a monthly post, I’ll be happy. So, by the skin of my teeth, I just made January!
//Photos: Jennifer Price
It’s time for “What Was It?”, where you try to guess what it was before it became what it is! We’re famous for reimagining found objects into functional pieces, particularly lamps.
What do you think this was before we turned it into a hanging light? Answer here.
// Photo: Jennifer Price
Ooooh, couldn’t wait to share my newest find! Arriving in the shop this week is this fabulous antique cobbler’s bench. Beautifully crafted with dovetail joints, it’s rare to find these early benches so sturdy and complete with all fourteen drawers perfectly intact. Many of these older pieces can tend to have a cutesy country look to them, but the clean lines and apothecary-type drawers make this one feel more rustic industrial. And in my opinion, it has just the right amount of wear & tear.
Probably dating from the mid 1700’s to late 1800’s, I’m struggling to pin down its age, as I haven’t come across another example quite like it. I always learn a lot from my customers, so if you’re knowledgeable about this primitive piece, please share!
// Photo: Jennifer Price
I kept hearing, “you don’t know All Saints?!” I’d go on the website of this British High Street clothing company & didn’t get what I was missing. But then I was stopped short in my tracks while walking around SoHo in NYC, when I came across a dramatic storefront window displaying a massive grid of antique sewing machines. I walked inside All Saints to find a jaw-dropping space, filled to the brim with industrial eye-candy! It’s really over-the-top … sewing machines as far as the eye can see, walls of old spools, thousands of cobbler’s shoe forms, huge industrial textile mill machines, great vintage worktables & steel shelving. It was chock-a-block with clothes, too (which is what they sell), but I was blinded by the decor. I don’t know if all the stores are this extreme, but with over seventy stores worldwide, I can’t imagine that there’s an antique sewing machine left to be had anywhere else. A must see for any industrial design lover!
I love revisiting my industrial treasures in their new homes …
Five years ago, while exploring the Pearl District in Portland Oregon, I saw a sign for the “Lizard Lounge” hanging on one of the district’s great old warehouse buildings. Thinking it was probably a cool bar, I had to investigate. But inside, I discovered a retail store that had only just opened their doors to the public. The Lizard Lounge is a clothing “lounge” created by Horny Toad activewear company. The concept store features cool clothes & accessories, local artists, occasional live music, comfy seating areas with TVs & free wireless, an iMac bar and fresh Stumptown coffee on hand at all times.
Taking note of the industrial display fixtures (some of which were rescued from the basement of this former Crane Plumbing Building), I made it known that I peddle similar wares. Shortly thereafter, a truck was being loaded up at SoLo, bound for Portland. My pieces joined a collection of old factory carts, foundry tables, medical cabinets & vintage machinery that provide a creative backdrop for Lizard Lounge’s garments. Throwback items like old cash registers, typewriters and toolboxes round out the great displays.
A must-visit when in PDX!