Favorite Things

Tiesha King and her cabinet of oddities

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Tiesha King is the owner of Thrift Witch, a collectible and vintage store in the REO Town Marketplace that’s stacked with eerie oddities. Her love of all-things spooky also inspired her to cofound The Dark Art of Michigan, an artist collective. Amid these stay-at-home days, King has been spending ample time revisiting her own personal collection of ghostly goods. Here’s what she had to say about her favorite thing:

I’m always surrounded by the macabre. My favorite thing would have to be my collection of oddities, weird toys and antiques in my curio cabinet. I’ve been a collector of old things my entire life, so I have amassed a creepy little collection of toys and collectibles displayed in my home.

Anytime I’m out searching Michigan’s resale underbelly for hidden gems for my store, I ultimately end up finding some keepers. My first love is my Ouija Board collection — the older the better. I’m definitely drawn to the history of these talking boards. They have been sold as a toy for so long and are still mass-produced as such, but they definitely still scare people. I currently have seven, but we don’t use them. 

Secondly, would be my weird antique dolls. I have many different types of composite dolls and ventriloquism dolls. I prefer them to be imperfect. A little wear tells a story and creates a personal lore for each one. Some are very old and brittle and look like they could come to life in my nightmares. So Creepy! My oldest and favorite ventriloquism doll is so scary looking. I found him in the basement of an estate sale and they begged me to take it. A movie producer tried to buy it as a villain for a movie. I like it so much I couldn’t part with it.

I have a few skulls. Some wet specimens and some pinned-insect displays in there too. I find beauty in the entire circle of life, but it’s important to me that I find ethically sourced displays when possible. They are definitely not for everyone and usually shock the family when they come by.

I would say my last favorite group within my curio cabinet would be my antique Halloween party favors and decor. I’m obsessed with the imagery of vintage Halloween: Jack-o-lanterns, cats, moons and witches. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, I guess that’s why I opened they type of store I did. People say it’s like Halloween in a time machine.

This quarantine has got me a feeling a little stir crazy. Without thrift stores or gatherings like estate sales and yard sales to go to, I find myself daydreaming about things — like the back counter of the Volunteers of America, where they keep some of the rarer pieces. I miss the thrill of the hunt. So, while I use safe practices during this quarantine, I cleaned my garage and pretended it was an estate sale. There were so many things I stumbled on that I’d forgotten I had, that made it fun. I guess I just like to get scared and like scary things. 

(This interview was edited and condensed by Rich Tupica. If you have a suggestion for Favorite Things, email rich@lansingcitypulse.com.)

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