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Why I Love Brimfield

This week marks the return of the Brimfield Antique & Collectibles Show, an event that, three times every year between May and September, draws hordes of people like lemmings to a small central Massachusetts town. I first heard about Brimfield 20 years ago when I moved from New York City to Massachusetts, and it's been an annual pilgrimage for me ever since. Why? Because it draws out my primal hunting urge.

I've always been fond of antiques. My parents used a decorator who was also an antiques dealer to help design my childhood home. So naturally, some of the furnishings I grew up with were antiques. When I moved into my first apartment in the East 20's of Manhattan, there was an antiques dealer in my building, and one of my first purchases was an old oak chest that called out to me from the storefront. Ever since, this chest has moved with me everywhere, from being a foyer fixture to currently being a bedside table.

I started collecting arbitrarily. In an antiques shop, I saw a green swirled bowl with a lovely apple-green color. So began my "green plate collection." I collect anything that is pottery or dishware in this matte green color. The collection took off long before I even knew what I was collecting. But I discovered at Brimfield that what I was collecting was McCoy pottery, W.S. George Petalware, Homer Laughlin Riviera, Stangl Colonial and other early to mid-century dishware patterns.

                   

I'm also a fan of vintage textiles. I collect tablecloths from the 1930's and 40's with floral, fruit and state designs. They're so cheerful and colorful. They really make me happy when I use them.

                              

So what's so special about Brimfield? I can go to Brimfield for a couple of hours, set a budget of even just $100 and come home with several treasures that give me that thrill of the hunt. And along the way, I'll meet vendors that share the same crazy obsessions that I have. Or I'll see some memento from my childhood that makes me feel so nostalgic. I'll pick something up for 5 or 15 or 50 dollars that touches me in a way that few possessions can.

And add to this the creation last year of the Brimfield Tweetup by Cynthia Bogart of The Daily Basics and Gretchen Aubuchon of Fashion + Decor. I went to the second Brimfield Tweetup in September of last year. It was the first event I attended where everyone was brought together by social media. Many people I met at the event, who I knew before only as Twitter handles, have since become colleagues and friends. So from hunter I became gatherer. That's why I love Brimfield.