JUNK

explores the bizarre boom in everything awful enough to be good, from buggy seats to Camp statues. Now your home swings if it’s decorated with

JOY CARROLL May 2 1966

JUNK

explores the bizarre boom in everything awful enough to be good, from buggy seats to Camp statues. Now your home swings if it’s decorated with

JOY CARROLL May 2 1966

JUNK

explores the bizarre boom in everything awful enough to be good, from buggy seats to Camp statues. Now your home swings if it’s decorated with

JOY CARROLL

CARIOS MARCHIORI lives among classic Roman pillars, canopied ceilings, frescoed walls and marbleized tables. His Toronto house is a surrealistic scene with a formal orange divan, cracked plaster walls covered with faded paintings, and a bejeweled blackamoor. Marchiori isn’t eccentric. It's just that his ideas arc part of the trend toward junk. Which means that if you happen to be living with junk in your parlor, you can stop feeling apologetic. Now junk is modish. A fresh breeze is blowing through the attics and junkyards of several big Canadian cities and the results are amusing, bizarre, a sign of the sixties. Tastemakers, rebelling against the sterile decor of the early 1950s and the overstated elegance that followed, are introducing a note of humor.

Marchiori. whose taste, though outre, is highly developed, says. “People are tired of prefab, plastic things that come in four colors. Fake reproductions, like this last promotion in Spanish furniture. are just stage props. But it takes more than a candle stuck in a Chianti bottle to be di 1 ferent. It takes imagination and time.”

The trend to junk is so strong in Toronto that a recent fund-raising tour of junk-furnished houses raised fifteen hundred dollars; and the YWCA has capitalized on the interest by sponsoring a six-week course on the uses of decorative junk. In Vancouver, a dozen junk boutiques have sprung up in the [last two years. And in Montreal, young couples are buying buggy seats for sofas and butter churns for end tables.

I here is. of course, good junk and bad junk. Collectors agree that good junk gives you a kick. You should feel something for it. If you like it. even it it's a hat rack in the shape of a brown bear climbing a tree, buy it. If you find a bit of junk that you can get for free, that's twice as tunny. It should be so terrible it's good: a pair of high-button shoes bronzed and made into a lamp, lor example. That’s Camp. Above all. you mustn t take junk too seriously.

It s nice if the junk you like is also useful. An old tractor seat ($15) can be used as a bar stool.

Toronto artist Car/os March/on has used junk throughout his home to create a Roman-style atmosphere. Wa/Is are stripped and painted wiih frescoes, a p/aster b/ackamoor carries old musi cal instruments, api//ar stands at left, tray of sea she//s at right.

A commercial dye chest ($14) will store office supplies or jewelry. And a badly designed light fixture from the 1930s ($20) makes an elegant candelabra if you turn it upside down. Some junk is strictly decorative: a glass case of eighty stuffed birds, a bamboo easel, a religious motto (“Prepare To Meet Thy God"), or a funeral wreath of white wax lilies under glass. Although some dealers have been known to spell it "junque." they aren’t fooling anybody when they sell an outdated factory time clock to a suburban housewife in search of that something that is “different."

In a Toronto shop called The Prince of Serendip. a former Dictaphone factory housing a collection of eccentricities, customers can buy everything from cast-off clothing to colored glass.

Says Alan Champagne, / continued overleaf

A ’20s flapper’s gown, a wooden lion, a grinning Punch or a salvaged mirror... If it's fun, then buy it!

who runs the shop, "Today you can sell anything.” And even he is astonished: "See that cow horn over there, mounted on a brass base? It's so awful that somebody will buy it for $65. stick a rose in it and have a marvelous conversation piece for their living room."

Some junk is genuine folk art: such things as chanticleers, gargoyles and carousel animals. Alan LaVigne sold a wooden giraffe taken from a merry-go-round for $400 and now he has it back in his shop. It's nine feet tall, and the man who owned it said it somehow crowded his den. LaVigne doesn't mind. His shop. Antiques And Things, is a fertile field for junk connoisseurs and he'll sell the giraffe again.

"My customers are often young people who want to work on pieces of furniture themselves,” says LaVigne. "1 also have quite a carriage trade — chauffeur-driven women who pick over this dusty stuff with white gloves.”

In Vancouver things aren't quite that wild, but they're wild enough to suit the proprietor of The Green Dolphin. This shop, a Granville Street Camp dispensary, is selling milk cans for umbrella stands ($6). round-topped trunks for livingroom decoration ($10), and marine lamps of all sizes (anything from $10 to $16).

Junk buyers go to country auctions w'here they often strike it rich. Harold Cusak. a Toronto magazine advertising salesman, has been buying junk for ten years and reselling pieces he doesn't use in his own home. At a country auction near Peterborough he bought a turn-of-the-century Eaton's washing machine for $1.50. He later sold it for $15 for a window display in a store retailing washing machines. He has also done a steady business in buying and selling Victorian telephones.

Graphic designer Arnaud Maggs and his wife Maggie have turned their suburban Toronto house into a showplace with junk of all kinds. They particularly prize primitive paintings (done by amateurs and often picked up for 25 cents each) and faded photographs of stiff-faced strangers. A flashy sign from a used-car lot — "Any Car $25 Down” — is pop art to Maggs.

Though some people have called junk decor a pretentious fad. there is no telling what turn it will take next. In Clarion Antiques, a Toronto shop, Elspcth Hall is still amazed at the weirdest sale yet — a hollow rhinoceros foot priced at five dollars. "I don't really w'ant the foot,” the customer explained, "just the toenails. I'm going to make necklaces out of them.”

Now' Mrs. Hall wonders if she ought to have offered to buy back the rest of the foot. Somebody is bound to want it for a planter. ★