A Technically Timeless Adventure
By Kathi Caldwell-Hopper
I love old stuff. I always have. When I was a kid, the 1970s craze for digging up old bottles was on the rise and my parents joined in. I recall more than one summer Saturday spent studying the ground in all sorts of places, often deep in the woods, where my parents “had a hunch” that someone had, just maybe, had a dump pile. And in that pile, now covered with dirt and weeds, there would probably be old bottles.
From old bottles, my parents moved on to attending auctions to buy old items. That led to yard sales and “trading” as my Dad called his deals with junk haulers and second-hand sellers. He had a yard sale almost continuously after he retired and there were many old, rusty, dusty things in those sales that today’s dealers would fight to get. Of course, growing up around antiques and rustic items kind of rubbed off on me, and over the years, attending sales and auctions is something I have enjoyed.
Since the advent of such television shows as Great American Pickers, everyone has a new appreciation for old signs, rusted items and vintage décor. But not everyone has the gift of seeing something old and ready to be discarded, and envisioning it as something new.
That ability to see something old and imagine it as something else is what led to a new and fascinating shop called Technically Timeless in Gilford, NH.
During this past summer, I started seeing social media postings and photos of interesting items…lamps made from other things, furniture that might have once been thought good only for the junk pile now beautifully redone, and my favorite, drink coasters made from old circuit boards and encased in hard, clear plastic coating.
Like many good day trip adventures, I set out with an open mind and the knowledge that I had no idea what I would find. Hopefully some good junk. Hopefully some beautiful items made from what was once tossed-aside chairs and tables and who knew what else. And hopefully whoever was making this stuff would be interesting to talk with.
I scored on all counts when I stepped into the unique world of Technically Timeless. Part shop, part art gallery, part incredibly unique home furnishings destination and part studio where co-owner Jake Farrell turns every day, often unwanted things into new, fun pieces that adorn homes and make totally unique gifts.
As I entered the shop, I was greeted by Cassidy Bisson, media director and curator of Technically Timeless. The first thing I noticed about Cassidy was the beautiful and one-of-a-kind necklace she was wearing. I could tell it was made by an artist, and it was a mixture of jewelry pieces that had once been something different. Cassidy laughed when I exclaimed that I coveted the necklace and said there were more pieces of jewelry in the shop. (And indeed, there is a selection of beautiful, unique necklaces for sale that are just right for a person who dresses creatively.)
She was joined by Technically Timeless owner, Jake, who told me he has always been interested in art. He immersed himself in art classes in high school and comes from a family of artists. After a stint as a chef, he got into art once again and found himself working as a graphic designer in the printing field. “I worked on all sorts of things - production of some Hollywood films and digital media.”
As time went on, his interests shifted to making things in a different manner. He made a unique bed for his step daughter, and people were starting to bring him all sorts of things, from door knobs to metal and wood, they no longer had use for but thought he might be able to transform into something new.
Slowly, he realized this was his calling, and it could include a shop featuring the things Jake had reclaimed and given new life. Also, this might be a way to help other artists who did not, nor would they ever, fit into the mold of a typical artist. Thus was born Technically Timeless, a shop and studio like no other in the area.
Jake uses the word transmuting, which he defines as taking one things and using it to create something else. It happens every day in the shop, often because a customer or a friend will bring Jake something they do not want but thought he might be able to use or transform into something new.
Case in point is the incredible, unusual and very long sofa in the shop. Just glance at the sofa and you will be transported back to the 1970s when tan and burnt orange and plastic coverings were design elements of furniture. Jake laughs as he explains the sofa was once used in the waiting area of a Sizzler Steakhouse, which explains why the piece is so big, having to offer seating for many customers waiting to get a table at the restaurant.
Today the sofa has been transformed by Jake and includes an end table just right for a lamp and books and magazines. While not for every décor, the sofa would fit well into a mid-century modern or funky, unique home.
There are other pieces in the shop that Jake has “transmuted” into something new, such as a wonderful item that was probably once a standard little stand or bookcase. Now, it has a place for wine glasses and a surface for preparing drinks. With lighting that Jake installed, the piece is a fun alternative to a standard bar area.
Cassidy handles the marketing and media relations for Technically Timeless and her style fit the business seamlessly. She is enthusiastic about everything Jake creates and clearly grasps the goals and mindset of the shop.
When asked how they find things that Jake turns into something new and unique, he laughs as he says, “I don’t find things. Things just find me! I see things on the side of the road, at flea markets and yard sales.”
The shop is a place for everyone, no matter a customer’s age or tastes. To see the things Jake has salvaged and made into something new, beautiful and useful is a treat in itself. “Our customers are a broad spectrum of ages. We had an opening gallery night and that crowd was younger. But we have people of all ages finding us and coming into the shop.”
Indeed, the morning I visited, two women were browsing (and enjoying a sit-down on that cool, Sizzler Steakhouse sofa!). They were older people who well remember the décor of the 1960s and 70s and were finding a lot to like at Technically Timeless.
Along with Jake’s creations, there is a large wall where other invited artists exhibit their work. “We plan to feature new work every six weeks. We will put out a call to makers and they can submit their work. If it fits the concept of the gallery, we just may feature them here,” explains Cassidy.
For those who want to transform something they own into something new vs. discarding it, Jake can help. “We can work with any budget and take something you own, such as an old dresser and turn it into something new.”
I was also intrigued by an area in the shop, where the metal objects of artist Matt Black (www.dumblucknh.com) are featured.
As a lover of unique artwork, I am always drawn to the different, the daring, the colorful and art that makes a bit of a statement. The collage art on view at Technically Timeless by Andrew Hillman is unique, as well as beautiful.
Also in the shop, there is a section that features lighting. I am always looking for lighting that is not the standard lamp; I found when I saw the variety of unique lights from Light-Q Creations. The lighting is described as Steampunk and re-purposed antique lamps and lighting fixtures and I pretty much loved every piece I saw!
With holiday gift giving just around the corner, we all have someone our gift list who is super difficult to please. No ties, no standard earrings, no gift card will suffice for such a hard-to-shop-for person. But I think any of the things in Technically Timeless will knock the socks off the person who receives something from the shop as a gift.
At a time when many of us are rethinking the number of things we toss out (and, if like me, feeling a bit guilty about all the “stuff” we seem to acquire), Technically Timeless certainly feels right. And beautiful and creative and often, just plain fun and a bit of a trip down memory lane.
The shop is open during the winter on Wednesdays through Fridays from 11 am to 6 pm and Saturdays from 11 am to 8 pm. Always willing to chat about art, transmuting, antiques and creating something new from something used, Jake and Cassidy are also open by appointment on other days and times. There will be opening night receptions when new artists are featured; watch Technically Timeless Facebook and Instagram for updates or call 603-409-2033 for details.
To see more creations, visit www.technicallytimeless.wordpress.com. And, you can find all sorts of photos and more on Facebook and Instagram @technicallytimeless.