Hillsville Flea Market

Studio Collective recently visited a famed flea market, in a southwest Virginian town named Hillsville.

3 days long and hundreds of vendors, this flea market dominates the whole area for a weekend. An estimated 500,000 visitors wander the expansive, store-lined streets. It's a fantastic place to be if one wants to discover antique items or perhaps more mainstream, fad-like accessories - not to mention the delicious, rich, smell-from-three-blocks-down food tents. Behind every item, however, was a vendor, and we took the opportunity to capture their collections and to speak with them.

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"I’ve been up the creek and over the hill"

FLOYD ANTIS

A Vietnam war veteran. He handcrafts violins, mandolins, guitars, and knives.

THE HILLBILLY BUS

The vehicle Antis uses to tour around to sell his merchandise. Inside is a home made for travel.

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We met Dana Blankenship, proprietor of Blue Magnolia. She tells us about her store and its vintage, new, and reinvented vibe:

Did you mention that you worked in interior design for 14 years?
Yes, I had a business called Chateau Interiors and I worked out of Beckley, West Virginia. When the coal mining situation went bad we decided to sell the business but we couldn’t, so we flipped the business into something different. That’s when we created Blue Magnolia.

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Can you explain the meaning behind Blue Magnolia?
We based it off the Joanna Gaines phenomenon and went the farmhouse route and one of the deal breakers in opening it was to carry the Annie Sloane chalk paint which is my biggest seller. We do classes, we do home decor, t-shirts, jewelry, all kinds of things. With an interior design background people love to come in and pick my brain: how to use this farmhouse decor in their house.

Have these pieces been painted with chalk paint? What is the appeal?
The appeal of chalk paint is that you don’t have to sand, strip or prime the wood ahead of time, you just have to clean it really well before you paint it. Then the brushes that are developed with the paint give it texture, which grab the wax, and is your top coat. We use a clear wax followed by darker waxes to antique it.

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Photographs by Quinn Wates and Tyler Park

Interview by Cat Piper and Airiel Barrientos