This year, Antiques Week in Nashville was kicked off by the Antiques and Garden Show, Elements, at the Nashville Convention Center to benefit both Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and The Exchange Club.
Nashville had resembled a Currier & Ives print for most of the month of February, with five inches of snow on top of an inch of ice by Wednesday morning. By Friday, the first day of the Antiques and Garden Show, spring was beginning to appear to be a reality. And the crowds agreed.
While parking is, as always, at a premium in Nashville, the valet parking available at the door of the venue on Commerce Street is a huge convenience. Inside, two floors down from street level, a large food court offered wondrous and varied fare. Once the visitor’s appetite for comestibles is sated, you open the double doors to the exhibit hall and enter a feast for the other senses.
Throughout the great hall, antique and curio dealers are interspersed with displays of the gardeners’ skills. The scent of Stargazer Lilies pervades the hall, and brilliant yellow tulips surround the bases of trees behind latticework made of natural twigs.
Early during the show, there were lectures, including two special guests, Charlotte Moss, a noted interior designer, and Sarah Champier, personal florist to Prince Charles for eleven years. On Saturday, Ms. Champier taught a special workshop for attendees, demonstrating her methods.
Dealers from Tennessee, from across the country, and from Europe filled the hall with displays. Piles of oriental rugs vied for space with Toby jugs and Italian marquetry. Art Deco posters overlaid tables beside a classic 1965 turquoise blue Corvette from Jim Fowler’s Period Antiques. Conspicuous in their absence, however, were dealers from Franklin, Kentucky and Lebanon, Tennessee. Both areas are well known for their shops and prize pieces to be found there.
Furniture and accessories were well represented. Kathey Mongeras from Mongeras Antiques in Ohio had nothing but good things to say about the show. Her booth was filled with mostly small pieces, with a few larger items represented. Michael Lamb, representing Caroline Faison’s Antiques, Greenboro, North Carolina, was pleased to have sold several tables, as well as assorted smaller items.
Alcott Interiors & Antiques from Nashville had a large booth, filled with items to interest those looking for European works as well as more casual pieces. Chandeliers and upholstered furniture took the stage there, including two small slipper chairs in the midst of receiving their new ‘outfits’, to demonstrate Ms. Kendall’s skill.
For something completely different, one only need step into The Rosewalker Design Project. New items, particularly ‘button flowers’ made from resin-coated fabrics and molded into wonderful floral shapes adorned the walls. Below these hand-crafted beauties were ‘repurposed’ pieces. The owners have created a method of salvaging pieces that would require considerable revamping and replacement, without losing the spirit of the piece. For example, a marble top table that had it’s base broken and the marble damaged was remade. Like the Bionic Man, it was made better, stronger. The base was discarded, and the pedestal and top cut exactly in half, then was made into wall hangings.
Not only are they incredibly creative, the pieces remain useful and things of beauty.