CAMDEN — Unless you're looking closely, it’s easy to miss the original Maurice Sendak prints behind the counter at Bubbles and BEAN Children’s Consignment, located in the Reny’s Plaza in Camden and owned and operated by Andrea Palise.
Christine’s Gallery, a frame shop in Linconville, provided the Sendak prints, among other framed prints on the wall. “Sometimes people will leave original artwork at Christine’s store to be framed and they just never come back, presumably because framing is expensive,” said Palise. “So she gave us three rare vintage prints from an original 1963 print book, including a Where The Wild Things Are print, which has already sold. This print book contained 17 original Maurice Sendak prints—there were maybe a few thousand copies of this print book sold at the time.”
According to Palise, on eBay, the Sendak prints might normally go for $500 and on art dealership websites, for thousands of dollars. There are two Sendak original framed prints left, each under $200. “Basically, this is an unbelievable steal,” she said.
The interesting thing is that Palise, whose primary business is selling children's clothes and other items, isn’t an art dealer nor wants to be. She said she just sees consigning these pieces as a way to help fellow artists and crafters in her community. When they're gone—they're gone.
Individuals and artists like Christine Buckley-Clement of Christine’s Gallery find Bubbles and BEAN’s store a perfect fit for artistic consignment items with a children’s theme, which wouldn’t necessarily appeal to her own older clientele in Lincolnvlle. In addition to the one-of-a-kind prints, Buckley-Clement mats and frames custom pieces spelling children’s names using the 1926 Mother Goose Alphabet and prints from Mary Englebright, a famous children’s book illustrator in the 1970s.
Palise accepts unusual and individual art and crafts that would fit well in a child’s room, such as watercolors from another local artist and a series of origami mobiles that another new mom did while staying at home with her young child. “These came from a lovely young girl. She doesn’t really get to go out at night so she makes origami. It’s her hobby,” she said. Palise points to another display she accepted from another mom, of handmade pacifier holders, each artistically rendered.
“It just comes out of the woodwork, sometimes,” she said. “It’s important to me to be able to be a storefront for these women because there is so much diversity to this work and so many talented people in this community, from toymakers to knitters to these unusual origami mobiles. We like to offer something different than your Wal-Mart clothing,” she said.
In a way, Bubbles and BEAN sort of functions like a bricks and mortar Etsy for children's crafters in the area. “I give more than a fair percentage to these crafters because I love having their products in here,” said Palise. “Especially in our area with the tourists—they love it. I could just do clothes, but it’s all about the kids. In our homogenized world where everything ends up looking the same, this is made in Maine, local and it’s fun for the kids and fun for the moms. They know when they see what crafts we’re offering that this is not made in China and doesn’t get distributed by thousands of stores.”
For more information visit Bubbles and BEAN's PenBayPilot Affiliate page.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.