I like a good trend. It keeps me in step with the masses and gives me common ground at the office water cooler. That’s why I’m a little sad to let go of “winning” as my catchphrase du jour. Sure, it was hot three months ago, but now that the zealot’s gleam has faded from Charlie Sheen’s glassy eyes, I’m left with the existential question: what do I do with the stale catchphrases, my MC Hammer pants, my jelly shoes and all the left over odds-and-ends of trends past?
To Baron Roane, owner of Recycle Studios at 5310 Germantown Avenue, the answer is obvious: recycle. That’s what Roane, a former antiques dealer, did when the local antiques market began to dry up in the late 90’s. “The [Antiques] Roadshow killed it,” he says. “The internet came along—that killed it.” So Roane, who’s always been an artist, decided to recycle his business by transforming his inventory into art.
The result is a shop which he admits is “more a studio than a store.” Most days you’ll find him outside on the stoop painting, sculpting or whittling beside a display of items for sale. On a rainy day like this one we stand inside the shop’s doorway where he shows me records turned into sculpture, buttons turned into dolls, and frames newly encrusted with shells and stones.
Roane repurposes and restores used objects some would consider stale or obsolete. “Anything that’s on the back of the scrap truck I grab off,” he says. He gives these items a second life. If he’s particularly fond of a new creation he won’t part with it. He’ll bury it inside the shop among other objects.
When asked if that kind of attachment to his art is good for business Roane reminds me that it’s not about money. “It has its way of evening out, so I keep doing what I’m doing,” he says. “Life has its way of taking care of you.”
Suddenly those MC Hammer pants in the back of my closet are filled with new potential. They’d make one heck of a gold lamé slipcover.