Brimfield | A Continuous Lean.

Living Vicariously Through Other People’s Junk.

Apr 23rd, 2015 | Categories: Americana, Antiques, Art, Books, Brimfield | by ACL Editors

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With her stomping cowboy boots, men’s riding jackets, and worn-in leather vests, Mary Randolph Carter doesn’t dress like any executive we’ve ever met. And yet, since 1988, Carter has been a creative director and executive at Ralph Lauren, following stints as an editor at Self, Mademoiselle, and New York Magazine.

On the Ralph Lauren spectrum, Carter is more RRL than Polo. In fact we’d even take it one step further and say that Carter’s aesthetic is really closer to Polo Country, the now defunct precursor to RRL which was more South, than Southwest. Carter is well-known (possibly even more so than for her association to RL) as a collector of what she calls “junk,” but what would more kindly be described as folksy flea market collectibles. It’s this widely documented collection which has made Carter a legend in her own right, as everyone from The Washington Post, to The New York Times, to The Selby has explored Carter’s massive collection of rusty signs, hand-painted family portraits, curling photographs, yellowing books, Lady of Guadalupe bracelets, and just about every other obscure knick-knack imaginable.





As it Happened | Brimfield

May 14th, 2013 | Categories: As it happened, Brimfield, Vintage | by Michael Williams

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It’s always on my calendar, the first day of the first Brimfield flea market of the year. At this point we have a plan in place. Drive up Monday night to get a hotel, wake up early and have breakfast in Palmer and then we do the show for exactly one day. By late afternoon we head back —this time making a detour to see Mr. Frank Pepe— and then back home. Easy as can be, and just enough Brimfield until next year.

Two things to say about this year’s outing: 1. the weather was perfect, good temps and no rain. 2. I didn’t buy one thing. That’s never happened to me before, but it doesn’t really bother me either. I enjoyed just being out there and seeing the people and all of that old stuff. This time around it felt like I was having plenty of fun just taking pictures. No promises for next year when I’m sure I will be back to my old tricks.

Go to Brimfield at least once in your life. Walk around, be at a field when it opens, eat a Pilgrim sandwich and maybe even find some treasures to buy.

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Vintage Adventures at Brimfield Part II

May 10th, 2012 | Categories: Antiques, Brimfield, Vintage | by Michael Williams

We only got spend one day shopping Brimfield, but there was a lot to see and document, so here’s round II of the photos. You’ll note a giant Westinghouse sign (that came close to coming home with our group), some classic ephemera, a BB gun target and a flock of Ralph Lauren folks plotting their takeover. Part I of our spring 2012 Brimfield adventure can be seen here.





Vintage Adventures at Brimfield

May 9th, 2012 | Categories: Brimfield, Vintage | by Michael Williams


Walking down Route 20 on a rainy day in Western Massachusetts, I spotted many a familiar face. Brimfield, the expansive outdoor antique show, has become it’s own little trade show for vintage lovers; a place to get your flea market fix and maybe even to buy something. The event is a bit of a phenomenon, some of the people at Brimfield are there for work (you’ll notice those people with their two-way radios), and others are there purely on a voyeuristic pursuit. I’m somewhere in between those two categorizations.

“We could all just meet in the city if we could coordinated better.” -Kings County Salvage

Brimfield for me is more about the journey than the destination. At this point I’m not looking for anything specific, I’m really just in-town on the ultimate browsing session. With that said, I was partially unimpressed with what was on offer yesterday, a feeling that also keep me away last year. Though, that’s the nature of flea markets — they are hit or miss. Often, the success lies in one’s quickness and persistence. You have to know good things (and prices) when you see them, and then you need to have the ability to get to stuff before someone else beats you to it. That’s just if you are crazy about it. I like to wander around and not worry about who gets what and if I buy anything. Lord knows I don’t need any more stuff.





Inside the Studio of Bailey Hunter Robinson

Mar 14th, 2011 | Categories: Art, Brimfield, Brooklyn, Furniture | by Michael Williams

This past Sunday I paid a visit to the Brooklyn studio of artist Bailey Hunter Robinson. You might remember Bailey from one of my Brimfield posts this past summer, when I caught him lying on the grass trying to escape the mid-day flea market heat. Upon arrival in Brooklyn I explained to Bailey that I was the guy who took his photo that hot summer day while he was trying to get some shade. “I’m sorry for taking your picture and putting on my site. I remember at the time you didn’t seem too happy about me taking the picture.” I said as I took off my coat and set my gear on the worn wood floors of Bailey’s new studio. “Oh it was fine. I was really hot that day and I was losing my ass up there, I don’t think I had sold a thing at that point.” he said. Such are the ways at Brimfield on hot summer days I suppose.

Bailey’s interest in furniture, vintage objects and things like Brimfield can be traced back to the influence of his parents while growing up in a small town in Alabama. “My parents were huge collectors of early English stuff, big oil paintings and things like that.” he said. It was this interest and his friendship with Luke Scarola (who co-owns the vintage furniture shop in Brooklyn called Luddite) that has helped shape the aesthetic of Bailey’s studio. “Luke and I used to drive five hours to go to an auction and they drive five hours home in one day. There were times when we were out and so exhausted that we couldn’t keep track of who bought what.”





Brimfield in the Summertime Part II

Jul 16th, 2010 | Categories: Americana, Antiques, Brimfield | by Michael Williams

Earlier we saw the people, now you can see all of the good stuff out at Brimfield. This is what makes it worth fighting the heat.





Brimfield in the Summertime

Jul 13th, 2010 | Categories: Brimfield | by Michael Williams

It’s that time again — Brimfield. Though with schedules being as they are this time of year, my hombre Sean Sullivan and I had to execute a surgical strike. With motel reservations in hand, cash in wallets and a do-or-die spirit in our veins we set out on a 24 hour mission into the heart-of-antique-darkness. And let me tell you, this show had a different vibe then our May trip. First of all it was a hot mess up there — like a soup sandwich. I deployed gingham in the hopes of camouflaging my perspiration, but the Massachusetts humidity definitely won that battle. Secondly, the turnout was much lighter than the spring show. Maybe that was because we were there for the opening bell, or maybe it was the heat. Either way we had a blast and picked up some gems. Before I post more of that good ole Americana, I thought it would be fun to show you some of the people we encountered at the world’s largest outdoor antiques market — summer edition. Enjoy.