If you walk by Stems (1118 Cortelyou Road) tomorrow and notice a taxidermy buck or a full Victorian child’s coffin in the window, don’t worry – you’re not hallucinating.
As of Wednesday, January 14, Nicholas Hess will be running his antiquities and oddities store, The Printer’s Cabinet and Curiosities Shoppe, out of the floral store – which, as Jamie, from Stems, wrote to us, makes 1118 Cortelyou Road “an antique shop inside a flower shop inside a bar – very matroyshka doll.”
The shop, which hails from Oil City, Pennsylvania, is a curated collection of vintage threads and accessories (for men and women), jewelry, oddities, home decor, and more. In addition to running the shop, Nick will be offering two workshops in collaboration with Stems during the visit. There will be a “Flower Arranging with Found Vessels” class on January 30 at 7pm and “Charmed: Creating Jewelry From Vintage Objects” on February 8 at 6pm. For more details and to sign up, you can go here.
And, to welcome Nick to our neighborhood, you can attend a boozy meet and greet on January 25 from 2-5pm in the shop.
We wanted to find out more about these oddities coming our way, and Nick was kind enough to tell us more about the pop-up shop:
How did The Printer’s Cabinet & Curiosities get its start?
My shop is a curious little cabinet that started in November of 2013. I had just returned to Oil City, Pennsylvania (my very small, very ordinary hometown) from New Zealand and Australia following two years of avid exploration. I was ready to make a little money before my next adventure, but am not one to simply sit behind a desk. I had already been accustomed to buying vintage/antiques for other shops in larger cities, but have never been gainfully employed doing the task for myself. So, I decided from then on to replicate the shops I saw while traveling…little holes-in-the-wall full of wonderfully colorful and shiny things that I wanted to take home. Places that when you walked through the doorway, there was a sudden warmth in being surrounded by all those delightful objects that just screamed to be held and then placed gingerly upon one’s knick-knack shelf. I wanted to have a place like those. A place where unusual items could find a common home. I was already fascinated by Halloween and bones and neat old medical stuff, so why not parlay that to a storefront? Thus, the birth of a very tiny, very unique shoppe called The Printer’s Cabinet & Curiosities.
What is a shop with items from mortuaries, dilapidated barns, abandoned doctors offices, and more like?
The shoppe has grown from a simple store selling just antiques, to a place where people (both local and foreign) come to talk, learn, be reminded and buy items that impact their lives in some way. Its almost like the town watering-hole for anyone who thinks a little offbeat or wants a trip down memory lane. I always say that when a person walks in, the space is meant to feel like what’s at the bottom of Alice’s rabbit hole. I’ve had clairvoyants, covens of witches, firefighters, moms, dads, students, sex fiends, alcoholics, and even a few nuns too, which is exactly what makes this job perfect for me. Every day at work, no matter if I am out picking or simply sitting in the shoppe pricing 10 new boxes of old stuff, it’s totally a mixed bag. Never boring, always interesting. Oh, and the stories that would make you blush…
From embalming machines to 1940s bowling jerseys, what kinds of things can we expect to find?
As far as the items, I handpick every single thing…down to the smallest bauble. And oftentimes, these things have a sly way of finding me! Maybe one day there are a pile of 1940s bowling jerseys embroidered with a funeral home logo on the back found in some guy’s attic, or even a complete embalming machine plucked straight out of the 1950s. And then the next day it’s something tastefully simple like a set of Victorian cameos uncovered in the back of a grandmother’s drawer or two monogrammed gravestones forgotten in a landlord’s basement. It seems once you start looking for the wonderfully weird, it begins popping up everywhere! Half the time, it’s the places the objects are found that are all the fun too. Abandoned doctor’s offices, condemned former drug/prostitute houses, mortuaries, churches, dilapidated barns and sinking trailers, all have a story and their own treasures kept within.
What is life like working in a world filled with oddities?
I remember a particularly fun afternoon, when a family called about a large house that had had a third floor sealed off since the early 1970s.The house is currently occupied, but ever since the previous family of doctors left, the upper portion was left largely untouched. I came for the big reveal and had the privilege of buying loads of fur hats, old medical equipment, paintings and even a collection of Nepalese swords. Loading all the uniques in to my Toyota Camry, I laughed to think I was lucky enough to have such a crazy job.
The people are certainly fascinating too! As they all have their own stories and memories to share. These I like to pass on when an object sells, because it’s almost as if there is a continuance then of that antique’s life. An ongoing novel written with every new pair of hands it encounters. I like that the best. Finding a home for all these abandoned whatnots. Giving them, to sound a bit cliché, a new lease on life. I guess I am like a curiosity too. Just like these pieces I surround myself with. Everyone is really. Unique in our own way and each with a tale to recount. Because let’s be honest, that’s all I’m really doing here – telling stories. And that is something I couldn’t be happier about.
Jamie said she and the whole Stems crew are pumped about Nick’s arrival, and she wrote to us:
“We’re excited to bring a new collaboration into our little shop! Nick has been a friend of mine since high school, and he has such a gift for seeing “diamonds in the rough” at estate sales and thrift stores and bringing new life into often forgotten old objects. I think that pairing vintage reclaimed goods with our rambling, rustic garden aesthetic will challenge us both to grow and create in new ways. I’m always interested in collaborations, so one with an old friend (who I am constantly in awe of) seemed like a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of. Nick and I are from a Victorian small town called Oil City in Pennsylvania, so it only makes sense that we feel so inspired by Ditmas Park! I think the community will be excited to discover repurposed antiques and oddities right on Cortelyou Road, especially from two young people running small businesses.”
The Printer’s Cabinet & Curiosities will be open Wednesdays through Sundays from January 14 through February 14. The shop will be open the same hours as Stems, 11-6 on weekdays and 11-5 on weekends. For more information visit, the shop’s Facebook page or Stems’ website.
The above post is promoted by Stems.