What we might call an “antiques-and-uniques” treasure hunt is in full swing at the Will Rogers Memorial Center, so if your aversion to run-of-the-mill shopping excursions pairs with a hankering for things typically described as “hard to find” or “one of a kind,” a Saturday spent in Cowtown’s Cultural District at the Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art should be worth your while.
Now in its 51st year, the annual event has been growing and evolving for several decades.
The 2014 show gathers more than 120 exhibitors from across the nation — only a few hail from Fort Worth and a handful of others from Texas — to display their special wares.
Awaiting your discovery are mid-century modern treats, plus French and Italian antique furnishings, primitive Americana items, African tribal antiques, edgy industrial art, Oriental silks and a half-dozen other categories of fun finds.
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Show director Jan Orr-Harter says this year’s show is putting the 2014 theme “mix it up” to work on several fronts.
Explaining that the original idea was simply to encourage people to mix different styles of collectibles and furnishings in their homes and “decorate with what appeals to their individual tastes,” she says a significant influx of new exhibitors, added to a stable of regulars, has produced “an amazing range” of hard-to-find-elsewhere merchandise.
“This isn’t one of those shows where the same vendors travel together and you seen them in one city, then they all go to the next one, too,” Orr-Harter says. “Our national profile is growing and we’re getting a lot of younger, fresher dealers mixed with the folks who come every year because they have big followings. ... Which means we really are mixing it up, literally.”
Orr-Harter adds: “It has created such an interesting mix of people and merchandise. There’s a real fresh energy to the show.”
Familiar faces include L.B. Woods, better known as “Mr. Turquoise,” who draws a regular crowd with his Navajo and Hopi jewelry; Dallas’ own Caravanserai, a family-run business that has been bringing ancient silk textiles and Oriental carpets to the Fort Worth show for three decades; James Herron Antiques, a Florida company with a popular offering of sexy mid-century modern French and Italian pieces; and Kathy Tobler Silver of Granbury, with a large inventory of estate sterling flatware sets and replacement pieces.
Meanwhile, Orr-Harter places several Texans on the show’s burgeoning list of up-and-comers.
Among them: Amelia Tarbet with Great Estate Goods, who “has high style” and travels with glamorous Hollywood Regency furniture and items like a 1970s parrot chair by lb Arberg; Perry Hudson of Custom WoodworX in Gilmer, who creates furniture using old truck parts and soda machines; Sarah Stopschinski of Brenham, who carries early Texas furniture and vintage clothing like 1960s dresses; and Rachel Miller of RedRover Alley Antiques, who brings classic European antiques and textiles from her chic Austin shop.