First sex change; now leaving antique mall for flea markets Jennifer Blake is going through a transformation from a mall/shop dealer to a flea marketer. This might be a big life change for most, but for Blake it hardly registers as a tiny blip on the landscape
News-Antique.com - Jun 25,2010 - Jennifer Blake is going through a transformation from a mall/shop dealer to a flea marketer. This might be a big life change for most, but for Blake it hardly registers as a tiny blip on the landscape of her life.
After moving out of a popular San Fernando Valley antique mall, Jennifer Blake is hitting the ground running, by getting up early and setting up at the Rose Bowl and Long Beach every month.
Known for her flashy jewels, she offered what she calls a “runway” piece crafted of ametrine and sterling silver vermeil at the June Rose Bowl.
“It is really a red carpet piece,” she said.
Blake created the piece herself, and offered several other showy necklaces crafted from semi-precious stones.
In her 50 years of being in the antique business, she has had mall and shop spaces and booths at both indoor and outdoor antique shows. She has sewn pillows from vintage fabrics and designed jewelry from nothing but parts, she has found vintage odds and ends in the strangest placed. This creativity started when Blake was just in short pants.
“I was a junkard, a rag picker as a youngster,” said Blake, who grew up in the toughest city in America, Detroit, in the 1950s.
Among the chipped seltzer bottles, torn Valentines, and cracked porcelain dolls, Blake picked up a pink cardigan with a missing button, a Lucite purse with a broken handle, a ladybug pin with a splintered wing, and a half-dozen right-hand satin evening gloves.
At the naďve age of eight, she blithely came to class wearing some alley finds, a mid-calf length plaid skirt and a white button-down blouse. She wrapped her short blonde hair in a scarf and skipped to school.
Blake had dressed in her own avant-garde ensemble expressing a creative flair that clashed against the Methodist Midwestern town’s strict social structure. She was not a rebel so it was shocking to her that while swinging on the monkey bars she was castigated for what she was wearing. With only an hour and fifteen minutes before the final bell, she was banished to her house with the principal’s admonition: “Little boys don’t dress in girl’s clothes.”
“Intuitively, I was always cross dressing,” admits Blake. “When I was kicked out of school for it, it was devastating to me. It was rejection.”
Blake did her best to abide by the rules and accept that she was boy, both dressing and playing the part. The humiliating schoolyard encounter at the age of eight was the first time she realized that there was something different about her. That incident set into motion a series of events that led to the most pivotal decision of her life.
Four years later, as an awkward pre-pubescent boy forced to endure an embarrassing voice change and sudden growth spurts, Blake was once again jolted by his own appearance.
He was watching a home movie of a friend’s birthday party projected on a 4’ x 4’ flickering screen by