"Everything old is new again."
|Meet the "Mayor": Steven Michael Millington of New/Old Jewelry|
"My company is New Old Jewelry and I’m the man they call Mayor. I have been vending with the Midtown Bazaar since the day it opened in June. Rather then go on about myself, I would like to share some of my experiences with this unique group of artists. From the day I got involved with Sabrina and her crew, which includes her wonderful mother, Carmen, I knew there was something special happening here. I wanted to be a part of it. "
Steven Michael Millington is someone that would NOT be described as a shy man. Naturally outgoing and gregarious, Steven has been known to go out of his way to introduce himself to everyone in the room. He is probably the first person you'll remember when you visit the Midtown Bazaar, and his jokes & chat are probably the last thing you'll forget.
Millington put his charisma to good use and quickly added his talents of marketing to the promotion of the Midtown Bazaar. His turn as "Mayor of Midtown," decked out in full regalia, and heading the bi-hourly raffles that run through-out the day add a lot of fun to the weekly event. Ruggedly handsome, reed-thin & tall as a Redwood, Steven Michael Millington carries a lot charm. This charm is used more on drumming up interest for Bazaar than on promoting his own business. So far, his business, New Old Jewelry by Foster-Millington shows no tear for the wear. "This is a family of artists that use each other as their muses, and I'm happy to be apart of it." declares Millington.
|Examples of NOJ jewelry include a clever re-use of buttons, vintage charms and glass beads.|
Since Millington is usually busy being the social butterfly at the Bazaar, he entrusts his long-time friend Marilyn Montague to "man" his booth for him. Steven and Marilyn's friendship goes back over 20 years when they first met on a job site. "I didn't like her when I met her," Millington laughs, "but now I LOVE her!" Marilyn plays straight-man to Millington's humor, and it's her warmth and friendliness that holds down the NOJ fort. The booth is filled with a remarkable collection of jewelry using recycled elements. NOJ uses everything but the kitchen sink: buttons, scrabble tiles, glass beads and upcycled leather belts.
"When I started this about 7 months ago I had no idea what I was getting into," Millington is explaining the origins of NOJ (New/Old Jewelry.) "I've been a crafter as long I can remember: knitting, crocheting, doing needlepoint and building things since I was a child, so this is just another one of the many things I love to build." If you were talking to Millington instead of reading this, the honeyed lilt of this North Highlands resident becomes evident. This lilt suggests a Southern good ol' boy, but the origins point to Troy, New York.
This exuberant cocktail of sugar-pie charm and showmanship make for an effective frontsman/mascot for the Midtown Bazaar. However, it's Millington's creative re-use and crafting that makes New Old Jewelry, a resounding success. "I've been blessed with a huge antique button collection and have always wanted to make jewelry as they did in the 20’s and 30’s. After making a piece for a friend, a few people got wind of it and a month later I was out selling at the Midtown Bazaar. I have made and sold over 500 one of a kind original pieces and have another 100 + pieces available for consideration."
"I'm always at the bazaar, and on Second Saturdays, you can find me in full costume, barking people in off the street. It is my pleasure to work with Sabrina and her crew each week. Although my partner, (Robert Lee Foster) can't always be at the Midtown Bazaar, he's always with me in spirit; he's the driving force in my life." Together, Foster and Millington run their burgeoning jewelry business via the Bazaar every Saturday or online via their Facebook page, facebook.com/NewOldJewelry.
The "Mayor of Midtown" will be at the Midtown Bazaar THIS Saturday, December 18th, for the last Bazaar market of the year. The Midtown Bazaar will be closed Saturday, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day but will open in the new year, Saturday, January 8th, where you'll find the Mayor of Midtown presiding, and the rest of the Midtown Bazaar gang, including many vendors and customers he counts as friends.
|A show of hands: North of Jewelry by North created this custom piece for good friend Steven of NOJ.|