In the building where women once hatched schemes to improve the Crozet community, Patty Roberts has opened Crozet Antiques, a carefully-curated collection of rural antiques, decorative and useful items, and clock faces of all shapes and sizes. To pull together the sunny store, which opened February 25, Patty enlisted longtime clock expert Don Goldstein and artist Christine Kennedy, whose scenes of rural buildings and animals are displayed in the rear corner of the shop.
“I was one of those people who always loved old things,” Roberts said. “If I didn’t know the story behind a piece, I’d imagine one.” But it’s not just the inherent history of old furniture, or china, or tools that appeal to her: she loves the workmanship of long-ago craftsmen as well as the ingenuity that drove the invention of items that solved a contemporary problem. She has created a “What is it?” display designed to stump shop visitors, and it will change periodically as people guess how the now-unfamiliar tool was used.
Roberts credits Kennedy with helping her pull together the shop’s tasteful yet exuberant design. Kennedy has been painting ever since she can remember. As a small child she needed multiple surgeries and her parents bought her a child’s paint set to help her pass the time needed for recovery. After years of exhibition at shows and as part of a cooperative showroom, she’s glad to have landed a permanent studio and exhibition space in a portion of the shop. Many of her watercolor landscapes will look familiar to area residents. She loves the mountains, farmhouses and domestic animals that surround her home. Of special interest are her paintings of local birds, close-up portraits of inscrutable predators peering out through hooded eyes.
Thanks to Goldstein’s knowledge of antique timepieces, Roberts is able to offer a selection of beautiful and functional clocks, from cuckoo to grandfather. One display on the chimney is mounted on a child’s set of mattress springs, allowing the clocks to look as though they’re hung on the stones.
Other pieces, large and small, immortalize the daily industry of the rural household: jelly cupboards, hoop skirts, crazy quilts and blanket chests. “All of these things made a real difference in people’s lives,” Roberts said. The larger pieces are characterized by good woods, expert craftsmanship and classic lines. She thinks one of the pieces was probably constructed within the house, as many large old pieces were. Other items, like the collection of blue and white china plates, were passed down through generations.
Crozet Antiques is located at 1171 Carter Street on the corner of Jarmans Gap Road and is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Sundays, when it opens at noon, and Wednesdays, when it is closed.