RL: We find most shop owners didn’t venture out in the beginning to do what they are doing – it just sort of ‘happened’. Do you remember the moment or way you started?
Serendipity took a big hand in the early days of my antiquing career. I was in my early 20s and enjoyed going to garage sales and flea markets as I nested in my first homes. One day I randomly found tickets to an antique show and sale, plus a mini antiques roadshow style event, in my mail box. They were sent from a large corporation of which I was a consumer. To this day I have no idea how they got my address or why they sent me antique show tickets, it was not relevant to their product at all!
Still, as a broke early 20-something that enjoyed vintage, a free day out sounded fun so I took myself, my beau and a couple of my found items off to the show and we had a grand old time. I distinctly recall spending some time in a booth that sold books about collectibles. I had no particular direction at that time and browsed the shelves before heading back into the show. Weeks later, I discovered a book on Depression Glass which I have no recollection of purchasing, and thus Catisfaction’s Glass Gallery
Blenko Tangerine Glass
RL: What do you personally have in your collection?
I personally collect Blenko Tangerine Glass, and British Glass. I selected the Tangerine because of the striking colour and forms of Blenko Glass. I was born and raised in England so collecting English glass is a nod to my roots. Also, I have little space to keep a collection and as English Glass is harder to find here the collection grows a little slower than other things might!
RL: What is it about working in your industry that inspires you the most?
Oh gosh, so many things! The hunt is an absolute thrill, I’m sure every shop owner feels that. Connecting vintage pieces with those that will cherish them and take care of them is a huge inspiration. I’ve also been an avid photographer my whole life, and being able to use and build on that in my profession constantly drives me forward.
A photo of Helen’s booth at a recent antique show. “Catisfaction’s Glass Gallery is dedicated to bringing quality vintage and antique glassware back into your home.” – Helen Gilbert
RL: What is one of your favorite stories of selling something to a customer on Ruby Lane?
There have been so many great customers who have shared their personal stories with me, but there was one lovely lady that purchased a vase from me several years ago who stands out. She had wanted this particular piece for many many years and I just happened to add one to my shop right when she decided to have a look for one. It turned out that we lived on the same tiny island in the Puget Sound. Serendipity was at work again! The customer was an absolute hoot to chat with and was so poetic with her feelings about the vase both before and after she received it that it’s stuck with me through the years.
RL: Can you give us three of your ‘holy grail’ items that would be a dream to add to your collection?
Absolutely! A Stevens and Williams Su No Ke Rose Bowl. I almost had one once but it had too much damage for the price. A Blenko Tangerine Floor Vase, though where I’d put it I’m not sure! And one of the harder to find Davidson Vaseline Glass pieces.
RL: Coffee or tea?
RL: Anything you want to share that might be surprising about you?
I was born and raised in England and moved to America when I was 19. In my other life I sing traditional British and American songs. I particularly enjoy Sea Shantys and songs about Coal Mining. I’m in a band and we perform throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Visit Helen’s Ruby Lane Shop here!
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