The Chinese Sage
After the meticulous assembly involved in the Chasing Bullitt diorama, I had a sudden inclination towards simply searching out objects for my dioramas rather than creating them. The Buckeye Burl wood bin at WoodWerks offered a number of great contexts for dioramas. Then, I discovered the huge Heritage Square Antique Mall. For years, I had been going down to the Columbus Antique Mall in German Village. It was located in an old Victorian home that had served as a restaurant, bar and funeral home. (There are reports that ghosts still roam through the place and once a team of paranormal investigators spent the night in the place and recording and filming things).
Heritage Square Antique Mall
The other day I drove down to Heritage Square on the SE part of the Columbus outer belt. The sign on the front of it is not much and it is situated next to some uninviting type of night club named Xclusive Elite. It was the place you hear about on the late-night news. (And, in fact it had made an appearance on late night news).
Xclusive Elite Club Next to Heritage Antique Mall
It is in a mall that has seen better days and now has a Burger King and an auto parts store on the front part of the mall.
But once I walked inside, I forgot the outward appearance of the place and gasped at aisles of objects fading into a distant horizon. At over 50,000 square feet it one of the largest antique stores in the nation and bigger than anything in Central Ohio. Like many antique malls, it displays things from various consignees who pay a monthly fee to be placed in the mall. Most of the stuff is only things that have sat in basements or attics for years and could not be sold at garage sales. In effect, the consignees who let others see the stuff they’re trying to get rid of.
Much of the stuff is the same stuff that I have been trying to get rid of. But there are many interesting things in the vast mall.
Aisles At Heritage Fading Into the Distant Horizon
I saw some great objects for dioramas even though I could only stay for an hour and quickly went through a small part of the mall. I knew I would be coming back and I was simply getting a lay of the land. In the hour I was there, I was only able to get down about one of the hundred-yard-long aisles inside the mall. Some of the consignee’s spaces were filled with interesting things. A whole day or even week could be spent in this place to even start to understand the layout and the “antiques” for sale.
Green Telegraph Insulator
I made a few interesting purchases during my brief first visit. On one shelf, I found a heavy green glass Hemingray telegraph insulator produced from the 1920s to the 1960s. It is four inches tall and four inches in diameter and weighs a couple of pounds.
Little Carved Wooden Village
On another shelf, I found a little village carved into a piece of wood with a truck that had “Milk” carved on its inch-long tank.
Most of the small collectible items are stored in locked glass cases in the front section of the mall. I walked down a few of the aisles but there was no way I was going to be able to see all the aisles this trip.
One of the Gass Case Aisles
In one of the glass cases, I found a brass merry-go-round horse on a little piece of wood.
Brass Merry-Go-Round Horse
Before I checked out I saw two pieces in adjacent display cases. One piece was an old Chinese sage in a ceremonial robe holding a scroll in his left hand and staring wisely at me through the display glass. The other was a carved wood Chinese scene encased between two pieces of glass in a shiny, black oval frame. I sent for the store clerk to unlock the case and give me the little $6 sage and the $4 oval piece of art. Through the glass, the sage looked like ivory but of course he was porcelain.
The Chinese Sage
The Strange Piece in the Oval Frame
When I got back to the studio, I took the merry-go-round horse off the base and polished his dull finish to a shiny new brass. I cleaned the little carved wooden town and washed the green conductor. Then, I got the two Chinese pieces out and played around with positioning them together in some scene. I brought out a piece of Buckeye Burl wood from WoodWerks and put the black oval artwork and sage on it. The old sage stood on the piece of wood looking at the strange oval piece of art almost as if it was some type of sign on top of a mountain made of Burl wood.
(Next Post: The mysterious Sign in the Mountain diorama)