From A to J – AJ’s Antique Revival
With a degree in Fine Arts, majoring in Photography, I was working my way up the corporate ladder, and if you have ever tried being creative in a normal corporate setting, you know that is almost impossible…though I tried. Having to jump through hoops to get my ideas across, while making money for someone else, was no longer doing it for me. Besides, I have always been an entrepreneur. I started working in the family business in sales at the age of 6 and had my own photography business coming out of high school. So when I finally decided that the corporate grooming process was sucking away too much of my creative soul, I knew I had to get out.
My parents had a keen interest in antiques, so growing up, I was always surrounded by Canadiana pine, elaborately carved chairs and fine china. My interest then in antiques, was how to survive as a rambunctious child without breaking things! But as I grew older I started to appreciate the fact that our furniture had a past, our tables and chairs were unique, one of a kind really, and that if they could talk, wow the stories they would tell.
In 2012, at the age of 24, I started AJ’s Antique Revival. I started to teach myself refinishing methods, set up a workshop space north of the city, began going to auctions, estate sales, and filled my weekend agenda with garage sales. I left my corporate job for a life of treasure hunting and jumped head first into repurposing vintage pieces, making tables from discarded industrial scrap and even restoring old radio chassis. Everything has been self-taught, and I am proud of the work I do. I hope to inspire other women to embrace the world of power tools and handcrafting.
Shortly after I started, I happened across the Arts Market, in Leslieville, where I met Daniel Cohen the owner and market coordinator. I found a home there for my work. I am in both Arts Market locations in Toronto (1114 Queen St. E in Leslieville and 846 College St. – College and Ossington). I have my finds and creations online in my Etsy shop, and I am looking to expand my new venture into the world of lighting design.
My original vintage industrial lamp designs are pieces I have been working on for a while. These lights are definitely a conversation starter; a great product that is fun, inventive and unique. I pair antique glass mason jars with piping, wood, and industrial objects such as gauges. I also do custom work for clients, including larger installations such as chandeliers and ceiling lights for over dinning tables and bars.
My goal with AJ’s Antique Revival, is to bring creative furniture and lighting from recycled materials or restored pieces into peoples homes. Pieces that are worthy enough to be passed down and strong enough that you don’t have to replace them after only a year or two of use.
Revamping and repurposing tired things, and making them useful again is what I do! I love breathing new life into vintage and antique furniture, and brightening up your space with my industrial style lighting!