Karyn Sparks - VE and Molecula

How did the idea of a starting a magazine come about?
I first learnt about the antiques trade in my early twenties whilst working for a newspaper company on an antiques magazine – after four years I was made redundant. By then I had such a passion for the trade that a month later, without any in-depth knowledge of the print industry, I launched my own magazine Antiquexplorer – that was back in 2000.

Most people in the trade pick up quirky items for their homes. What interesting and unusual items do you own?
I have shelves at home laden with brain coral, starfish, a shark’s jaw, boxed butterflies, etc. I also have a caiman (crocodile) the length of my sideboard called Gary, and a smaller one named George (after my granddad), a taxidermy owl called Steve and a turtle. But my house really isn’t as weird as it sounds. It’s a Victorian semi, brimming with an eclectic mix of everything we love – from antique clocks and chests
of drawers to Danish rosewood, Scandinavian glass and 70s movie posters. Pretty much everything in our house has a key word/hashtag – even the cat dish is Denby Arabesque!

How do you cope with tight deadlines? In particular with a certain article that always seems to arrive just a few days before you go to print?
Admittedly, it does feel a bit weird answering your questions instead of editing them – and here I am writing this off the top of my head two days before deadline day. But that’s the nature of the beast! I actually find I get more done under pressure – I guess I’ve got used to it over the years. Sometimes I wonder how on earth we’ll get it all finished on time, but we always do.

Have you always had a passion for antiques?
Yes, it feels like it. I’ve always loved items with history and patina. One of my earliest memories was of my Nan’s corner cabinet, which was full of fascinating treasures: a scrimshawed whale’s tooth, a miniature treen gong with its hammer, and all manner of interesting things. I was allowed to look, but not touch!


Woo Gilchrist