By Debbie Nania
Our city of Spokane, Washington has become a sort of Junking Mecca! From our many antique stores, vintage shops, and junk shows, Spokane is the place to be for people who see beauty in things from the past that many would consider JUNK! What used to be a four-letter-word is now a word that causes a rush of excitement and adrenaline in the hearts of those of us who simply love anything old, used, and worn. To us the words chipped, rusty, worn, faded, and old describe something beautiful. We are each a sort of vintage hero! There is a feeling of relief when we rescue something from the garbage pile. A rusty, broken, metal mop bucket, used only to clean up life's messes, now has new life, overflowing with flowers, living a dream of beauty on someone's patio.
While it is noble to rescue something rusty, chipped, broken, worn, and headed for the landfill, it is simply amazing to see it with the eye of an artist and the heart of a craftsman; transforming it into something not only usefull again, but beautiful, as well! This is what Coquille Gallagher, of Coquille Vintage was born to do.
Coquille creates with Junk. As an artist, her style is unique and her talent, obvious. With memories of her grandfather, Coquille's work is infused with love, practicality, and true craftsmanship. As lovers of vintage and junk ourselves, the Mermaids wanted to learn about Coquille and why she does what she does, in both her own words, and the words of her supportive husband, Brian Gallagher.
Brian made a life-changing decision to fully immerse himself in the work and passion of his wife and ending up finding a passion of his own. We love their story! In each of their own words, they share the story of a Family that Junks Together.
From the beginning my name has set me apart, and it has now become my trademark. My family is full of artists and tradesmen, from carpenters to a leathersmith, whom I am named after.
Growing up as a pig farmer's daughter in Eastern Washington, I learned to use it up, wear it out, and pass it down to the next person. At the age of fifteen, on a run-down ranch on the butte, I found my first piece of junk - a tiny pair of toddler's cowboy boots. It was then that I realized, odd places can hold treasures, thus starting the "itch" to find neat stuff!
I began vending at craft bazaars in 1998, and then moved up to the world of junk shows and vintage fleamarkets. My style has evolved through the years, as has my motivation.
I now build furniture and upholster with reclaimed fabrics. My interesting take on building something is similar to my grandpa's. Granny needed a jelly cupboard "this" big. Gramps would hold out his hands to measure, using salvaged barn boards in order to fulfill his "honey-do" task. My memories of him are why I love the idea of using wood that has had a previous life. This, I have been told, is the reason the ladies at PINK Salvage Gallery, in Spokane, asked me to join them in their beautiful store.
We also involve Junk Nation Review, our family business, in the the gallery. We sell miscellaneous JNR items and also make it our meeting hub for clients and advertisers. JNR has become an ideal tool for getting husbands to see what their wives see in junk! My husband, Brian travels to flea markets, junk shows, and corner antique stores, offering a man's perspective on the world of junking. He takes awesome pictures and reviews vendors to help bring their particular style into the limelight. Brian's journaling has also given men an appreciation for what we, junkers, consider to be, "the good stuff."
With work that is a passion, and a husband that I love supporting me, I feel I am on top of the world! I want you all up here with me. I am a funny and funky girl from Spokane, Washington who dances like no one can see me, while singing like no one can hear! Keep Junking.
When Coquille first started building and repurposing I wasn't really into it. I just didn't have a full understanding or appreciation for junking. I did, however, always know that my wife was extremely talented as she turned salvage into fantastic pieces of art. She would spend endless hours building, painting, and distressing different creations so she could sell them at shows. I finally decided that I needed to go to a show and see what was really going on. Little did I know, that my life was about to change.
I was able to see, first hand, what Coquille had been telling me for years. The talent of the various vendors was unbelievable. I wanted to buy almost everything I saw, and not only because of the quality, but but also because of the hard work that I knew went into each piece. These ladies were dedicated to their chosen profession. I was also excited to learn about some really cool antiques and how they had been used "back in the day." I now had new appreciation for the junking community.
I returned home that evening and Junk Nation Review was born. JNR is my way of sharing antique, junk, and vintage shows with the rest of the world. Through journaling and photography, I knew that I could get some of my fellow men to see and appreciate the talent and the market for junking. Maybe I could inspire them to get involved, as well? Today, I go junking with my wife whenever possible and fully support her. Without Coquille, there would no Junk Nation Reveiw, as she is my life and energy.
I promote junk and vintage shows as much as possible so other people can plan to attend, maybe even bringing out the creative side in someone. Basically, I travel to shows, take pictures, and give a guy's view on them. I then post them on my Junk Nation Review Facebook page and also on Junk Nation Review.com. My goal is to eventually travel the nation full time, reviewing shows and sharing pictures. I want JNR to be the place that everyone visits to see all the new creations and hottest ideas in JUNK!
To sum it all up, we are a family that junks together. Coquille is working full-time from home, PINK Salvage Gallery, and as a vendor in many area-wide junk shows. I use JNR as a relaxing way to decompress from my full-time job with a 60 hour work week!
Brian Gallagher and Coquille (Burbank) Gallagher have been married for 15 years. They have three wonderful children, Tyler- 14, Jacob- 13, and
Amber- 8. The Gallagher's live in Spokane, Washington.
Coquille's work can be found in beautiful
PINK Salvage Gallery
154 South Madison, Spokane, WA
and in various junk and vintage shows in the the Pacific Northwest.
Follow them on Facebook:
Junk Nation Review