For those who have never been to Bazaar, explain what the shop is like.
We're a curiosity gift shop in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore. We carry taxidermy specimens, antique and vintage medical equipment, unusual jewelry, skulls, anatomical charts, air plants, and weird home decor. The shop itself is very small, but we try and pack it full of strange items.
How did you guys meet and decide to open Bazaar?
We met several years prior to opening the shop. We had both always been into the strange and unusual, and opening a shop was the perfect excuse to buy a lot of really cool stuff, haha. Hampden is a really great neighborhood for shopping, and so when the space became available, we jumped on it. And everything sort of fell into place rather quickly from there.
What's the most unusual item you have had in the shop?
That's a tough question, but it's probably the horse-woman sculpture made from pig intestines, gold stitching, and glass beads. Artist and date are unknown. It was found in the attic of an old farmhouse when they were cleaning it out, and it's about as creepy and unusual as it gets.
One of my favorite items just sold - it was the severed head of fortune teller from a penny arcade automaton. But at the moment, I'm really into our raccoon skull planters. These are made from craft-grade skull tops of raccoons and stuffed with moss, dried flowers, and a live air plant. The skulls are recycled from roadkill that would otherwise be incinerated or thrown away, and It's a really cool combo of both fauna and flora. Because each one is unique and they are only $24 each, it's kind of like a no-brainer gift idea for anyone into natural history.
Has anything totally grossed you out?
Occasionally we will get specimens in that are too far gone to do anything with. Too much rot to salvage anything. At that point, all you can really do is clean it for the bones. And that tends to be a stinky and unpleasant maceration process. But other than that, I am not grossed out by anything on the shelves for sale. You get accustomed to it, for sure.
How do you find the items you have in the shop?
Some things, like our incense, gag gifts, books, etc., can just be ordered wholesale like a normal retailer. Some other items we make ourselves, like our greeting cards, soaps, and bone jewelry. Sometimes we get really lucky and people bring us awesome stuff right to the shop. But mostly, it's a lot of auctions, flea markets, private collections, picking through junk, etc. We basically have to follow every lead we get. Sometimes it's pure luck and we strike gold, sometimes it's a bust and we'll see a lot of things that are interesting, but not quite a fit for the shop. We don't have a lot of space, so we have to be very discerning.
Anything new and exciting in the works for Bazaar?
Always! We are putting together another taxidermy workshop on May 31st. This time around, the class will be mounting European starlings. It will be our first ever bird taxidermy class, and we are stoked! We're also working on a very special event in September in conjunction with The Walters Art Museum, and it's going to be a blast! More info on that very soon, so stay tuned. Anyone who wants to keep up to date with our events and also see pictures of new items in the shop can follow us on Facebook - www.facebook.com/bazaarbaltimore - or on Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr - @bazaarbaltimore. We also have a small online store at www.bazaarbaltimore.com.