This morning I had rare and leisurely sleeping in time, as the Winter Antiques Show has finally closed and I don't have to report to the Armory at the break of dawn. However, I did meander over there to see if anything needed doing, and the place was in a state of deconstruction, though the lovely table full of croissants and muffins was still there! CSS and her girls had everything under control, and there were a few other fellow interns there, but they were getting ready to leave. Our work was done. CSS hugged us and said a cheerful story-laden goodbye, and we all expressed gratitude and appreciation for the experience--truthfully, yet with relief that it was all over at last. As I put my coat back on I recieved a huge and unexpected bear-hug from one of the contractors--an older black man who I used to chat with in the food room during the show. He told me to keep my pretty smile. I plan to.
A wonderful result of working at the Antiques Show was the close friendships I made with people in my class, and in the antiques field. My fellow students are amazing! And I had the great fortune of being assigned to work with Barbara Pollack, an antiques dealer from the Chicago area. She took me under her wing, as we sat beside her booth each day, and told me the stories about each one of the wonderful American folk-art pieces she had for sale. I read through notebooks of her meticulous research on each piece, and found a greater appreciation for such things as 19th century Mourning Pictures and Theorems, painted primarily by school girls as a way to learn decorum and discipline. Barbara is a wonderful new friend, and offered me a place to stay any time I find myself in Illinois or New Hampshire, where she spends the summer.
At the show, whenever I had the chance, I attended the series of lectures given on various aspects of Shaker crafts, such as their oval boxes, and "gift drawings." I may choose to write a paper on a similar topic--the drawings especially fascinate me. Apparently, within the Shaker community, it was not uncommon for people, usually women, to receive visions which they would record in the form of drawings, and give them as sacred gifts to one another. The few drawings that survive are extremely intriguing. I can thank the Antiques Show for introducing them to me.
The show was not without its gossip and scandal too, but I stayed out of that, or missed it inadvertantly. Apparently, after my sister and I left Young Collector's Night, a drunken man got into a scuffle with one of the dealers, over a girl in a fluffy fur vest. The man flung a wineglass across the booth, knocking a painting askew and possibly damaging an old wooden chest with the winestain. He was escorted out by security, but it must have been a frightening moment. I also missed the evening when Martha Stewart stopped in, as well as Steve Martin. Well, there's always next year!
After leaving the Armory, I wandered into Central Park, which was surprisingly still and unpopulated--probably because was a Monday morning in January. The sun was warm and a lone guitar player was strumming and singing next to the frozen pond, so I sat for a minute and ate an apple, until the man stopped playing and started smoking a cigarette. The trees were full of birds, and beneath their cacaphony of song myriad snowdrops poked their pristine white petals and jagged leaves up through the frozen earth.