Attending estate sale after estate sale, looking for a great bargain on some collectible or vintage item, my partner Dan and I often find something that just takes one of us by complete surprise. We not only have that “wow where did that come from?” experience but also have the “urge to splurge” and just buy that hidden treasure for ourselves. Though our taste in collectibles varies, that unanticipated desire just to purchase “a little something unique” for ourselves does not.
So, let me share with you some “just gotta have it” vintage goods that we have acquired, not for resale, but for ourselves.
One afternoon scoping out metal products tucked away in an old barn at a country estate sale, Dan found this endearing black schnauzer doorstop. Always having had a penchant for cast-iron doorstops — many populate our home — Dan was intrigued by this little seven-inch-high pup, as it had one of its hind legs up, peeing. Delighted by the rarity and incredible detail of the schnauzer doorstop, and long-time lover of dogs, Dan just had to have it for himself. Today, and to no surprise, our black schnauzer doorstop keeps the door to our lower-level bathroom open.
A couple of years back, at Milwaukee’s annual Indian Summer powwow, I found myself examining a handmade Cherokee medicine/dance stick. Stunning in its beauty, elegant in its artistry, potent in its energy — and yet these phrases paled to describe the original ceremonial item that I held in my hands, which honored the teachings of Old Man Coyote and its prey Sister Deer and was previously used in traditional dance.
Though this vintage medicine stick showed some signs of wear, primarily and logically on the leather wrapped in the center of the stick where the user would hold it during dance and ritual, this dynamic, handmade piece was superbly constructed. The central part was wood and had a 3.25-inch strap of leather wrapped around it. The leather was held in place with brass-colored tabs nailed into the wood. The lower portion was composed of a deer’s leg with coyote fur wrapped around the connection of the leg to the stick. The top portion was composed of a four-point antler upon which a complete coyote skull and remnants of its fur rested.
Always fascinated by the lessons of our tribal trickster, this ceremonial stick “spoke” to me, and so I purchase it without second thought. When not in use during ceremonial dance, the stick hangs in our family room.
At another time at the Indian Summer powwow, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of a watercolor entitled The Sacred Circle painted by Oneida artist Dawn Dark Mountain. The artist is well known for her controlled style of using watercolor that mimics and is often mistaken for airbrush. Applying this style to traditional Native American images and subjects of her own Woodland culture has resulted in a peculiar mystical quality that is often referred to by the Art World as “magic realism.” I guess the magic of the piece enthralled me and, on impulse, I just had to bring it home.
As you can see, it’s not only fun to splurge now and then, but it’s also good to relish those unexpected items that we come upon and bring us joy. So, come on, folks — today is National Splurge Day I’ve been told by friends. Take a moment to check out all the great products we offer through Dogbotz Boneyard, and splurge and treat yourself to something fun and unanticipated.
All the best,
Dogbotz Boneyard, LLC