I have recently met up with an antique wholesaler who travels the US and Europe attending auctions. he has been in the business many years as a hobbiest but who recently retired and has aims to clean his house and garage up a bit. My goodness, what a treasure trove. He tends to buy 150-500 year old pieces that no one wants because the carvings are broken, missing or improperly restored. he gets them for a song and within a short time of purchasing them, does all his networking and finds high end buyers for them. Over the years he has run into pieces, so damaged or so involved that he could not find a carver who was willing to do the work. That's where i come in. My greatest asset as a carver..................I have no fear.
Now I am going to relate this to something wonderful that seems to happen in my life. Its either a study in positive thinking or "ask and ye shall recieve" type of thing. When I separated from my husband many years ago, I did not have a job, no income at all and I had a three year old child to feed and clothe. I didn't care that I had no income, living with the man had just become intolerable and he just had to go. I had been taken city tests for decent jobs for years prior to this happening, with nothing panning out and my future was looking grim. Well within a month of him moving out, I received 2 city job offers, a bus driver, a toll collector, and 1 federal job offer. I took the federal job. I was quite amazed at the timing on all of this. Well in the last few years, it has happened again, three times!!! I was talking to a friend saying how I was bored with the things I was carving and would like to carve something big, perhaps something for a house. A couple of days later a man called to see if I would be interested in doing a mantle. Okay, Coincidence at work I guess. But after doing that I decided that what I really wanted to do was a front door. I said this at a family party in front of lots of witnesses. I was left absolutely speechless the next morning, the very next morning, when I received a phone call asking if I would carve the panels for a big front door project on a millionaires house.
Make what you will of that but it has happened again. While talking to the students of my carving class, they were asking me if I really thought that there was any money to be made from carving anymore, and I said I'm sure there is but the big money is in restoration work, furniture and architectural. Well, I was a little late for the next class and when I arrived one of the students handed me a business card. She said that a man had come looking for me and had left his card and that he wanted me to call him. Later that day I phoned him, found out he wanted all this antique furniture repaired and carved. I asked my students if anyone had told him about me and they all assured me that no, indeed he was a stranger. well after years and years of just getting by financially, I am now telling everyone that what I really want is to have a big cash windfall so I don't have to worry about my retirement. LOL
Anyway back to the antique wholesaler............I was treated to a visit to his garage and basement today. He has big plans for me and was showing me pieces of this and that that I was going to have to carve for him. I already did two jobs, one was a fireburst around the outside of a 300 year old french mirror frame and the second was some gothic tracery work to replace a table skirt where half of the pieces were missing. He was so impressed that he is now going full speed ahead. My next projects for him are the fabrication of a missing eagle wing on a 1783 federal mirror, and replacing missing scrollwork and lions heads on an oak table pedestal. He estimates the pedestal to be a baby at 100 years old or so. Another great thing about this type of work is that we are taking the wood from other antique pieces that he says aren't worth repairing so I am using period wood for all of these projects. What a difference to carve stabilized wood, crisp, clean lines.
Anyway that's my story and I'm sticking to it. wondering what else will randomly come my way along my carving journey.
Maura Carving in NYC