Ralph Lauren’s Creative Director includes America’s favorite picker in her new book about collecting treasures
Mary Randolph Carter has worked alongside Ralph Lauren for the past 30 years, season after season helping create the perfect backdrops for his iconic designs. Her personal passion is the pursuit of vintage Americana, or as she puts it, “junk,” and she’s spent her fair share of time on the Two Lane back roads digging into the flea markets of small-town America for her next favorite find.
Carter has written seven books on her brand of picking, earning “best-selling author” accolades as well as making a name for herself in the thrifting community. Her new book, The Joy of Junk, draws on her years of experience as a passionate flea market hunter and collector. Highlighting her favorite junking haunts, she also shares valuable tips for finding treasures wherever you may be hunting. Her beautifully photographed book showcases fifteen passionate collectors, including her friendMike Wolfe.
Mike invited Carter to his home in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee for a rare glimpse inside his man cave — a museum of antique bikes, memorabilia, and rusty gold — for inspiration about picking and preserving America’s stories.
“From when I first began thinking about The Joy of Junk, I knew I wanted Mike Wolfe and his collections to be part of it,” explains Carter. “I was looking for things to showcase in the book that I don’t collect and know nothing about — bikes, motorcycles and all that cycle paraphernalia that’s Mike’s special passion. Everyone, including myself, who watches his show, knows the man not only has an incredible eye, but also a feel for people and their stories.”
The two sat down outside his garage for several hours as she listened to Mike spin the stories about where picking has taken him.
“The first bicycle I ever owned I pulled out of the neighbor’s trash in LeClaire, Iowa,” explains Mike. “After knocking on the person’s door for permission to take it, I finally had my two wheels of freedom. I couldn’t believe someone would discard something like that because to me it was priceless. I began rooting around in junkyards and alleys seeing what else I could find. For a curious kid like me, it was a real-life treasure hunt. Picking isn’t just about the piece. It’s about the journey, and most of all, the stories.”
The book also includes a helpful “Junkers’ Guide” to some of the best places to hunt throughout the country, including both the Nashville and the LeClaire Antique Archaeology stores.
Carter’s message in this and all her books is that even the wackiest thing might bring you joy, and if it does, feel free to fall in love. “It’s not about how much something is worth. If it’s worth something to you, therein lies the value. It’s all about the worth of the worthless.”
Order your copy of The Joy of Junk HERE
The Joy of Junk By Mary Randolph Carter
Images by Carter Berg and Rizzoli New York
ISBN: 978-0-8478-6210-8 / Rizzoli New York / Release date: October 2018
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