Tuesday, January 24, 2006

1/21/06 Emphatic serving dishes and a moratorium on McMansions

Last week I documented a visit to a sale at a home slated for demolition to make way for a McMansion to be built in Virginia Highlands. A few days later the mayor put a moritoriun on such activity, not yard sales but the tearing down of perfectly good homes. Today I went to a sale at an newer infill home and decided that the owners are just not filling them with the quality of clutter that are found in older and smaller homes. So while McMansion construction may bring about yard sales the quality may suffer.

North Ave. – Candler Park “Moving Sale”

This sale had great signs but was very disappointing. It was held on the porch and in the garage of a new infill home across from Freedom Park. When I arrived the weather was dreadful and there was not much stuff in the garage under the home. All I found was a futon, a sofa and a box labeled adult books. Adult books at this sale means California travel guides and Oprah book of the month selections. Another box held some kids books and videos.
Upstairs on the porch were a few children’s things, a cordless phone, a snack maker and a freezer pop maker.
I bought one item for my installation.

One of the few things found on North Ave.
Rosedale Dr. - Virginia Highlands “Estate Sale”

This sale was in an older traditional brick home with a small Greek revival porch. Inside the professional sellers were set up at the door near a table full of old Xmas décor. I headed past them to examine the contents of the kitchen in the rear of the home. In a dirty pantry/closet I found a very old and very large electric roaster, a meat grinder, an electric fryer and an Oster duo massager. In a cabinet in the kitchen I found the first of several food shaped serving dishes. Here I found a covered bowl shaped like a potato with matching potato shaped salt and peppershakers. On the same cabinet was a narrow platter that resembled a stalk of celery and another covered bowl and salt and pepper set, this one in the form of corn on the cob. Also in the kitchen was the usual assortment of glassware and cutlery and dozens of cake decorating tools.

Soothing sensations of massage.

Potato shaped implements.
In the bedroom a closet was filled with women’s clothes. On the doorknob hung a Stetson straw boater. The bed was covered with beach towels. One featured the bold graphic of an old time swimmer. A mink wrap and a pair of electric scissors was also in the same room

Face on a towel

Stetson boater
The bedroom connected to another bedroom. This one contained a multitude of shoes and a large pile of purses. On the bed was a box containing a Joey wig. I presumed this to be a reference to Joey Heatherton not Joey Ramone even though the wig would work for both looks. Also on the bed was a scarf with the word teen stitched over and over into the fabric. Leaning against a wall was a portrait of sextuplets wearing curly wigs. A box filled with books contained the titles “The Tinnitus Handbook”, “Dear Store” and “Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul”

Teen scarf

A wig from Joey
I headed upstairs following a narrow flight of stairs near the bedroom door. On that level I found only a bed frame a heavily stained mattress.
A door from the kitchen opened to stairs to the basement. In a small, dark, dirt floor area was a washer and dryer and a pile of old financial records. Among the dirt covered papers were two samples of Georgia granite from a monument maker.
When I passed the same door latter I noticed that the sellers had locked it and had posted a sign saying no entry.

Filthy mattress
In the living room was a baby grand piano with a covered bowl shaped like a cabbage sitting on top of its strings. The living room furniture consisted of a French provincial sofa and an old recliner. On the sofa was a scary looking clown doll with very long legs. Next to the recliner was a box of old sheet music. Near a fireplace was a rack of lps including recordings by Jim Nabors, gospel records, Bosa Nova hits, and a album entitled “Honeymoon in South America”. Standing upon the mantle was an animated Santa dressed in western wear.

Cabbage bowl on piano.

Santa in western attire

Long limbed clown doll.
In the dining room was a box filled with cookbooks, and more Xmas décor including a talking wreath in its original box. On a chair set a framed print entitled “Old Atlanta” it showed a train in front of Stone Mountain. The old could not have been that far back since it showed the memorial carving.

Talking Wreath.

Artist's version of old Atlanta.
On my way out I looked for a small planter shaped like a mans pipe I had noticed on the way in but it was gone. Among the Xmas décor was a strange Santa with a tall pointed head.I bought more stuff for my show at the Contemporary

Pointy headed Santa

Monday, January 23, 2006


Clutter in disarray on Livingstone Dr.
Livingston Dr. - Decatur “Estate Sale

I went to this sale after work on Friday. I called Clare Butler on the way there to ask if she wanted to go. She had been there earlier in the day and told me it was the estate of someone who had accumulated too much.
The sale was in a small brick bungalow in the area between Decatur and Avondale Estates. Upon entering the small living room it was obvious that the owner had an obsession with accumulating antiques. But with the excessive accumulation the home ceased to resemble a home that was lived in and took on the appearance of an antique store. Old oak and pine furniture crammed with a variety of old objects dominated the living room as I entered. As is my normal method of exploration I immediately went to one of the bedrooms. The front bedroom had nothing left indicating that if had ever been a bedroom. It was filled with a mass collection of all things glass and porcelain. Three tables held an assortment of bottles, jars, vases, cups, tumblers and the like. Among the collection I found a Charles and Diana cup, a commemorative plate from Hawaii, a Mt. Rainer paperweight and a souvenir astray from the Cyclorama.

Royal coffee mug.
Heading to the to other bedroom I passed through a room with shelves of books covered in plastic tarps. It seems that the sellers wanted to put the books up for sale two weeks from today. All that was accessible there were some old stereo speakers, a letter jacket and a pair of Boy Scout backpacks.
That room led to a wood paneled bedroom in the rear of the house. Here I found a great level of disorder with no theme to what was kept in the room. In a closet the only items hanging were three life jackets. A nearby umbrella stand was holding several canoe paddles while another umbrella stand was filled with tennis rackets. Filling some high shelves along one wall was a vast collection of old National Geographics. A dresser held a piles of clutter that included from a coffee maker, a small B&W TV, a stock pot, some swim fins, some small Japanese dolls, an American flag, a slide rule and a shoe shine kit.
On another dresser was a figure of what appeared to be an Indian made from yarn and wood and covered in a plastic bag also found there were several snow globes that had gone dry. One featured a chipmunk eating a nut. On a windowsill was a hand knitted figure of a panda. On a double bed was a brass and wood perpetual calendar device that appeared to be damaged. Hanging on a doorknob was a UGA shirt. In front of it was what appeared to be a small handmade chair with the words Broad & Wall printed on the back along with the image of a torn dollar bill. It was unclear what its use was.

Chair of unknown use.

Perpetual clock.

Knitted panda.

Native american in plastic shroud.
The kitchen was filled with a number of old beer bottles and cans. On the floor sat a lazy Susan holding unopened bottles of Andeker, Becks, King Cotton Peach Wine and a small bottler of Paul Mason champagne. Other potables found in the kitchen included an old glass liter bottle of Coke, a commemorative can of Iron City that saluted the War Between the States and two opened cans of Billy Beer. The kitchen also contained several antique looking boxes of food, commemorative trays for several states and some old glassware and kitchenware.

Rotating platter of potent potables on kitchen floor.
The walls of the house contained original artwork and old photographs among the artwork were a painting of a carousel that resembled a volcanic island and a wildlife scene dumbfounded looking deer. The one photograph was a panoramic scene of some unknown military bivouac. Also on the walls were countless commemorative plates many featuring local churches.
I bought several items to used for my installation at the Contemporary.

Peaceful wildlife scene.

Merry go round or volcanic island?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Does reckless infill construction promote yard sales?

Examining neighborhoods is part of examining divested clutter. While meandering thought Atlanta’s in-town neighborhoods I can’t help notice the massive building going on in small lots and the razing of existing small domiciles to create McMansions designed for suburban nobility. Along the streets where this is happening are the ever-present yard signs objecting to the construction of these imposing and shadow casting structures. But my main concern is how does this affect the quality of yard sales? On this cold weekend where the temperature did not get up to 50 degrees such activity provided for the only sale in my vicinity. Today the destruction of a small home in Va. Highlands resulted in a estate/moving sale as the owners of the soon to be bull dozed home were also selling all the clutter in their house.
Kings Ct. – Virginia Highlands ‘Estate Sale”

When I parked in front of this small squat homely brick bungalow with a plastic tarp on the roof it was obvious that this building was destined for destruction. Inside the five-room home one of the owners/sellers was going on about how big a home could be built there if the adjoining lot was also sold. He made some passing remarks about opposition to his plans but it the impending changes must have been assured because he and another man were divesting themselves of a home filled with what appeared to be dozens of years of accumulation.
Inside the small bungalow was dark and filled with shoppers and clutter. I headed first to a room off the living room to find an assortment of books and a few tables filled with small décor items and some strange odds and ends. Among the books I found a SAT preparation guide, a copy of “Basic Breads”, “Safe foods” and two copies of “Politically Correct Holiday Stories”. A small stack of 78’s revealed recordings by Eddie Fisher and Dinah Shore. Among the assorted wares on the tables was a box containing folding opera glasses, a metal commemorative tray from Las Vegas, a Mississippi commemorative plate, a rough hand made clay snowman, an old photograph of a man holding three raccoon pelts, a set of mugs with the Morton Salt logo on them, a package of Balsam Fir incense, a plaster skull, a set of plastic wind-up chattering teeth and a small wooden plaque in the shape of Vermont that with the inscription – “Someone in Vermont misses you.” The most puzzling item in the room was a foot tall wooden figure of a woman with movable arms wearing a slip. While I was there one of the sellers tried to interest me in a cardboard box will with small wooden window shutters.

Mug for a salty cup of coffee.

Bias free holiday tales.

Scantily dressed woman with movable arms.

Hand crafted snowman.

Old photo of man with pelts.
In the kitchen was a pile of plastic bags containing an assortment of hardware. While I was there one of the sellers failed to negotiate the sale of a pile of hand tools on the kitchen counter. There were a few cooking items scattered about the room in addition to the tools.

Pile of tools in kitchen.
One of the small bedrooms contained an old four-poster bed and some mismatched bedroom furniture. Hanging on the wall was a framed oil painting of a woman with long fingers.

Portrait found in bedroom.
The other bedroom was mostly piled with clutter. On the floor was a cat bowl filled with food. In the corner were crutches and foot braces. Stacked on a bed were a half dozen pillow inserts still in their original packaging. Sitting atop a dresser was a print of Dali’s “Persistence of Memory”.

Evidence of a limb injury on sale.

Evidence of a live cat at sale.
In the living room where buyers were waiting up in a slow moving checkout line was a number of antique items and even more books. There I found “Naked Lunch”, Kubler Ross’s “Death the final stage of growth”, “Regiment of Women”, “Zen to Go” and “If you meet Buddha on the road kill him”. Among the antique stuff was a spinet piano, a set of crystal decanters that appeared to contain bourbon, a large gargoyle, a can of Billy bear, a commemorative whiskey bottle in the shape of an Olympic skier and a porcelain figurine of a smirking harlequin. When I checked out I examined a stack of old postcards kept in a glass jewelry case. Most were of Washington D.C.

I bought nine books, my first purchase for my upcoming installation at the Contemporary.

Gargoyle and can of Billy beer.

Smirking harlequin.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

2006 and another year of clutter and divestments

The holidays or Christmas and New Years to our conservative readers, have passed and a new year is here. It’s still too cold to comfortably go through piles of junk in people’s yards but Atlantans are having sales. While I did have to cross Ponce De Leon to find them, brave souls are putting stuff out in their yards on this frigid morning.
Los Angeles Av. – Va. Highlands “Moving Sale”

This sale was in the yard and on the porch of a bungalow next to a lot where a developer had torn down an existing home to build some mammoth oversized structure. The piles of clutter appeared clean and well organized. Some of the titles in a box of books included “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, “Job Hunting for Dummies”, “Who Moved the Cheese?” “The Perfect Georgia Lawn”, “1001 Ways to Energize Employees” and “The Caribbean for Dummies”. Scattered around I found a pair of snow skis, roller blades, golf clubs and a bag of drink cozies. In the middle of the yard were two bins of old cotton clothing, some fabric scraps, a pancake maker, the Friends Trivia Game, a Curious George Alarm clock and a large framed print of a chicken nesting in a bureau. Three never used items there were a pumpkin carving tool, some cocktail napkins and a strange barware set that resembled a machine age locomotive. There was also an Epson Inkjet printer and some hand painted goblets.
On the grass was the omnipresent disassembled ceiling fan. There was a lot more here but in the icy cold my fingers joints ached as I tried to write down what I saw.
I bought nothing.

Locomotive shaped barware.

Chickens roosting in bureau.

Friends trivia game.

N. Morningside Dr. - Morningside “Yard Sale”

I saw no signs for this sale and discovered it while looking for a nearby estate sale. In front of a two-story home was an adolescent girl presiding over a meager selection of goods. Among the stuff there were four dining room chairs, a framed VanGogh print, an old black leather coat, a box of dolls and some assorted clothing. Among the clothing I found a pair of socks with dogs on them. A woman on the porch hailed me to come inside and look at a few things there. All that was inside was a brown sofa, a tattered looking Persian carpet and a spinet piano.
I bought nothing.
Berkshire Ln. – Morningside “Estate Sale”

It was good to get out of the cold and go into this plain looking ranch style home. Upon entering I proceeded past the professional sellers and headed to the dimly lit dining room where I strained to read the titles of some books on a built-in bookcase. There I found “The Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur Survival Kit”, “Predator’s Ball”, “Immune for Life”, “Tips for Teaching Pros”, “How to Put Yourself Across” and “Abandonment of the Jews”. On the floor of that room was a lamp with a large ceramic white cat at the base.
From there I headed into the better-lit kitchen where I found a pantry filled with canned and boxed food. A sign noted all items for 50 cents. Among the food and supplies was a can of Comet cleanser, a jar of calamine lotion, some boxes of bandages, two containers of Morton’s salt, some cans of Hill brand cleaning products, an opened package of egg noodles and some cans of tomatoes. There was also a man’s white belt in the pantry.
A brief survey of the kitchen revealed just the usual fodder of glassware, cookware, utensils and a salt shaker shaped like Shamu the killer whale.

Cat lamp.

Contents of pantry offered for 50 cents each.
From the kitchen I immediately descended a flight of stairs to the basement. Along the narrow stairs was a rail for a chair lift. A sign noted that it was for sale. The basement was divided into three rooms. One room, which must have been the den or rec room, had a full size shuffleboard court in its center. There were benches along the perimeter for shuffleboard fans. No shuffleboard gear remained. On one of the benches was a three ring binder holding a photocopies of the entire text (including the cover page) of “A Year in Provence”, another binder contained a photocopied version of “Under Crescent and Cross” a history of Jews during the middle ages. Nearby was a pile of partially used rolls of gift-wrap and some 6 oz coke bottles. On a table in the same room were three framed 8x10 glossies of early NASA rockets, a Jupiter C, a Juno and the ill fated Vanguard missile. On the floor was a collection of old luggage.
Another part of the basement was part of the garage. In it I found a box of Lps. Among them were works by Guy Lombardo, Xavier Cugat and Mitch Miller, as well as a motivational work by Earl Nightengale entitled “Your Greatest Opportunity”, “Hebrew Melodies in Modern Dance Time” and “Sing Along in Hebrew”. A metal box in the same area contained a tourist map of Israel, a comb, some bandages and an old pamphlet on Georgia driving laws. In the same room was a VCR, a cap from the Standard Club, a strobe light and a shopping cart from some unnamed grocery store.

Another part of the basement contained a number of home health care devise, some lawn tools and a set of golf club in a very attractive leather bag. On a shelf was a selection of Hill cleaning products.

In home shuffleboard court.

Box found in basement.

Photocopied best seller.

Hebrew Melodies you can dance to.
Back upstairs I wandered about the bedrooms and bath. In the bathroom was a single large pink glove with red fingernails lying on a pink ladies hat. In the first bedroom was a selection of bright women’s clothes, at least six pairs of kid gloves, a plush panda wearing a space suit and a pair of slippers with cute puppy heads. In the second bedroom was a selection of men’s brogans that were too narrow for me, a closet full of suit jackets that were too small for me and another closet of men’s dress shirts that were my size. I do not understand the correlation between the small jackets and the larger shirt. I also found a copy the United States official Mah Jong rules.

Plush toy from cooperative US-Chinese space program to send Pandas into orbit.

Canine faced slippers.

Large pink glove found in bathroom.
In the living room were the usual tables set out by the professional sellers featuring what they presumed to be the items of most value. There I found several containers of pepper spray, two large candle sticks in the shape of women, a chunk of granite with a label indicating it had come from Stone Mountain, a framed copy of JFK’s inaugural address, an old bottle of Runite for six bucks and a copy of an lp entitled “How to use tact and skill in handling people”.
I bought four men’s dress shirts for two dollars apiece.

Candle sticks found near pepper spray.

Recorded instructions for using skill and tact.