By Karen Parr-Moody
Get frightfully creative for Halloween this year with the boo-tiful bounty of goblin-friendly goodies at GasLamp.
This season GasLamp’s antique dealers have brought in merchandise that is fall friendly, whether one is a fan of witches and goblins, or would rather skip the ghouls and opt for seasonal owls and pumpkins.
One of the many hats Jason Parker Counce wears is that of professional decorator; he is known for making the homes of Nashville’s well-heeled look fabulous for every holiday. Currently, his booth is haunted witha Halloween hootenanny of his handmade owl ornaments, owl pillows, and witch doll, along with vintage cat and owl ceramics (photo, above right: felt mouse, $16; large bell jar cloche, $45; ceramic cat planter, $12; witch doll, $24; Booth B309).
“I have always been more excited for Halloween over any other holiday,” he says. His grandmother, a professional seamstress, fashioned him an extraordinary cat costume when he was only two years old.
“She took her old mink coat and transformed it into my costume,” he said. “I still to this day smile when I see pictures of that … or a black cat.”
Counce began his crafting career when he was just a teenager, creating the pumpkin head doll that put him on the map, and found its way to the Museum of American Folk Art in New York City.
““The owl pillows are made from old fabric blankets, wool coats, or pants, and felt, then finished with a few old buttons, hand sewn on,” he says, noting that his repurposing new work from castoffs has been his philosophy since the beginning (photo, left: “Hootie Owl” pillows, both $24; ceramic owl pitcher, $40; Booth B309. Photo, right, owl ornament, $5.95).”
Over at The Burlap Rabbit, Booth B319, Lynn and Jordan Rutledge have also gotten into the spooky mood with some retro items mixed in with newer items. One handmade item is a Felix the Cat repro, with painted features and a grimacing smile. It joins a molded plastic jack-o-lantern perched on a cat; there are those who will remember such items lighting up the windowsills in the ‘60s and ‘70s (photo, left: lamp, $25; long-legged cat, $13; Felix the Cat repro, $32; owl candle holder, $12; owl cookie jar, $80).
While not Halloween specific, these gorgeous cast iron cat figural andirons in Booth B113 put us in a spooky mood with their eerie green glass eyes (photo, right). And they are surely a find for the stylish fireplace – and a bargain at $400, whereas the “Antique Trader’s Price Guide,” 2000 ed., listed them at $1,495. Discovered at a Nashville estate sale, these cats are cast in the half-round, seated on their haunches on a flaring pedestal, and are American-made, from the 20th century.
The Halloween assortment at GasLamp, as always, is a hodgepodge of everything from the rare collectible, as with the cat andirons, to the laughably whimsical. And we put this molded plastic goblin solidly in the latter camp (photo, left: $69.50, Booth B 317). As the trick-or-treaters head up the pathway to the ring the doorbell for candy, he will no doubt add a chill to some spines as he hunches over the front steps.