Freelance Book Designer

Camberwell Markets

Words cannot adequately describe the ‘can’t sit still’ excitement I feel when I am close to good junk. On approach I get butterflies in my stomach, I get agitated when I can’t find a parking spot right away (or if I’m a passenger and the driver doesn’t drive with surgical precision to the market), if I am talking to someone I usually stop mid sentence, loose my train of thought and go in to ‘the zone’ preparing to sweep and scout each table, isle and pile for gold.

Thrifting and markets usually work better for me when I go with someone I’ve known for a long time and they don’t get upset when I walk away from them to investigate. Tanya and I worked out a technique many years ago that has worked for us, we meet at the beginning of the market/thrift shop/collectables store make sure we touch base a few times and at the end but in between we are both in hunting mode. It also helps to split up so we don’t both grab for the same stuff. Sounds ruthless but it works.

Last month while in Melbourne I made plans to meet up with Jess and spend a day junk hunting together. Long time internet buddies and Instagram haul admirers we definitely had similar taste but were we market compatible?

After making my way to Jess’s house in the early misty morning, she confessed to me in the car on the way to Camberwell Markets that most people didn’t have the stamina to thrift the entire day long with her and I knew in that instant I had found a suitable market buddy.

Luckily we found a close parking spot so I didn’t have to get grumpy but I did pull like a puppy on a leash when Jess suggested we get coffee before riffling through the markets – which would mean walking the ENTIRE length of the markets without looking at anything. I declined and said I could last a little on an empty tank.

The first table I (almost) rushed to when I saw what I thought was a Barsony black lady figure, holy moley! And it was $100! Thank god I had Jess there to point out that it was a replica. A REPLICA!! She informed me that we would be seeing more of them in the future as it was a thing now and the table we were standing at specialised in replicas (and not advertising the fact they were not originals). Stung a little by this reveal I managed to pick myself up and press on with Jess and her adorable baby girl G.

We circled the aisles, delved into boxes, chatted, swooped, enabled and haggled. It was a fantastic morning. We are definitely drawn to the same things so we had to be chivalrous about some items but we did end up buying matching vintage posters that were far to sweet too leave.

Meeting up briefly with my sister-in-law and the family for brunch, Jess proceeded to take me to her ‘secret vintage lair’. You know, every collector has one. A store that continually turns up great finds that it is your own precious gem. Sworn to secrecy I wasn’t even allowed to take photos, but needless to say I came away with a trolley filled with goodies.

And to prove our staying power, we ended up being kicked out of the store at closing time. Meaning we had junk hunted from very early morning to very late afternoon. A compatible match for sure.

Leaving the marketings and the vintage lair I felt completely sated but slightly worried about how I was going to fit everything in my suitcase for the plane ride home.