Friday, January 11, 2013

The Origin of my Obsession with Wunderkammer

Being someone who is considerably influenced by her surrounding aestethics, I am constantly reflecting (and overanalyzing) about design and who may have been the person to open my eyes to concepts, ideas, patterns... There is no doubt that my mother and grandmother had an intense influence on my life as the number one and two tastemakers.  Even the constant chatter between the two of them on types of wood in antiques osmosed its way into my mental encyclopedia. 
There is one very colorful character who also appeared consistently in my life, my childhood physician, Dr. Koelliker.  I had an epiphany the other day that this man single handedly influenced my comforting love of the Wunderkammer (Cabinet of Curiosities). 
Dr. Koelliker was a piece of work, and that is an understatement.  He was a wonderful doctor - a true intuitive physician.  I don't think I had a throat culture until college because Dr. Koelliker could diagnose strep throat simply by observing my appearance (this is a slight exaggeration).  I knew he was nutty in the best kind of way, even when I was five. 
His office was decorated like an antique apothecary.  The man's true passion was antiques.  I think he kept his practice going for the mere chance to converse with (or buy from) some of the best dealers in Northeastern Ohio.  There were shelves of bottles, specimen, books, labeled drawers, and feathers. Rugs, leather, nail heads and trunks furnished the waiting can see where I am going with this. 
A Character attracts other Characters (my family being some of them, and my family being antique dealers...).  I remember one visit when Dr. Koelliker ran very behind in his schedule (there were so many wonderful things to look at every time I didn't really mind waiting for what seemed like two hours in kid-time) brokered some kind of deal for a trunk or a rug while hanging out of the open window of his waiting room with a man in the parking lot. I cannot make these things up. 
Dr. Koelliker's office nurse, Angie, was incredible, too.  She was the perfect yin to his yang.  They both hustled around the office in white, rolled quickly on the small leather stools in examination rooms, and were quick in their deliberations.  The best part for me, as a child, was that they bickered constantly.  Angie wore a white nurse's dress and those huge orthopaedic looking wedge lace-ups topped off with the most incredible late Seventies glasses.  And she had a blond Bob haircut. Well that's how I remember her at least.  She also slung responses to Dr. Koelliker's nips and gnats that made me a little afraid of her, and also led me to believe nurses were in charge of doctors. 
Dr. Koelliker was a genius.  He wasn't a peditrician, he was our family doctor.  We were lucky enough to be invited to his "barn" where so many antique treasures lived.  He gave me a teddy bear from the barn, and my mom talked antiques with him.  I wish I could have access to that barn now.  At the time I think he was making space for one of his kids to move into the barn, but I am not sure.  That memory is about thirty years old now.
Here's a thanks to Dr. Koelliker for exposing me to another level of an education on taste, style, antiques, curiosities, and breaking new developments in flavored penicillians in hte early 80s.  When I find myself loving shelves filled with odd bits of this and that, and cabinets of drawers, I will think of that waiting room where I spent hours of my life unknowingly absorbing his style. 

excellent display at The Paris Market - where I had the epiphany about Dr. Koelliker's stylistic influence on my life.

The Paris Market, Savannah

More of The Paris Market...

And finally...The Paris Market...

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