Today JP and Nora, from RustySpoke, are telling us some great stories about their love for each other and for vintage!
Tell us a bit about you and your shop.
We are JP and Nora, two artists, a couple of flower children, who grew up in the 1960's & 70's. JP had an antique shop in Dallas, back in the 1970's, named J.P. Massengill's Paradise Isle. He specialized in vintage signs, gasoline pumps, and had a huge amount of Art Deco and 1950's decor. We met through an art gallery in 1979, where I (Nora) was an artist at the 500 Exposition Gallery in Dallas.
When I first met JP he told me he had an antique convertible Studebaker. I said what's a Studebaker? Our love for art and antiques grew into a long and lasting marriage of 34 years.
In the 1980's we moved JP's Mckinney Avenue antique shop inventory back home in Dallas and started leasing and selling props for movies and restaurant franchise's like Chili's, Tia's etc. One day we were in Waco Texas and saw an antique travel trailer.
Finally in the early 1990's, we left Dallas and bought some property in Poetry, Texas, on 4 acres with a 2000 sq. ft metal building, out in the country. It took us a year to move all of our inventory to this exciting new location! We were thrilled do it! Soon we opened up Johnny's Paradise Modern Antiques Warehouse in Poetry, Texas.
We lived in our 1956 32' foot Spartanette Trailer, that we completely restored, for 10 years! We eventually built another metal building, with a studio on the property that we now call home. We were also buying and selling vintage travel trailers, we finally had the space!
In the 1990's we started selling antiques to European buyers, they would fill up containers with our items and ship them back home. We had what they wanted! We also bought and sold props for the Fossil Watch Company. Along with selling, we were restoring vintage radio cases for another client. We worked with a large designing team in Dallas selling them props and painting murals for clubs and restaurants all over the world.
Is there a story behind your shop name? Is it your full time job?
The name of our Etsy shop, RustySpoke, came together after many years of collecting and loving rusty old wagon and bicycle wheels, parts and pieces, etc. After selling online of for many years, we were looking for something more artful and satisfying. We finally discovered Etsy! The art, photography and selling of vintage items blended so well together. It just seemed to work with our lifestyle! Soon we felt right at home. Etsy lit the fuse and got our creative juices flowing! This is our full time job! We never have a dull moment! We are so lucky and count our blessings daily.
When and how did you notice your love for vintage?
We both became lovers of antique and vintage items starting at an early age through parents and relatives. When JP was a child his parents would take him with them to the old railroad unclaimed freight in downtown Dallas, back in the 50's where they sold beautiful antiques, he loved to go fishing for the deals! I remember as a young girl exploring my great uncle's house, up in Wisconsin. I saw the enthusiasm on my Dad's face and figured out back then that antiques were pretty special!
Do you have a favorite era?
Both of us adore art deco, mid century modern, as well as industrial and machine age eras.
Do you collect anything (vintage or not)?
We collect vintage guitars, amps, large fiberglass figures, antique glass towel bars, bottle cap men, the list is endless!
Is there a special story about any of your sales?
One day a musician, artist, friend of ours, the great Homer Henderson called us and said he wanted to bring someone over, we said of course! What we didn't know, was that special friend turned out to be Billy Gibbons of the infamous group ZZTop! Billy bought two metal Rickenbacker Amplifiers that had louvers in the front. He had a bag of Pecan Sandie's with him, we offered him a beer and he said no, would you like some Pecan Sandies? Go figure!