In Berkeleyside, and in a longer fashion in Quirky Berkeley, I have written about Dick and Beany Wezelman. I wrote about their lifelong love affair with Africa, their collection of African art and textiles and furniture, and their ethnic arts sales.
I wrote about the traditional Ghanian mud hut with a Dogon granary door that arborist Peter Rudy built in their backyard 25 years ago.
I wrote about her first trip to Ethiopia with the Peace Corps in 1964, of their wedding in Dar Es Salaam in 1966, and of their hitchhiking through the Sahara Desert in 1973 — hitchhiking through the Sahara! In this photo they are in Mauritania in the Maghreb region of western Africa.
I wrote of their time with the Tuareg and Hima and San peoples. I wrote of their 46 years in Berkeley, of their passion and their love for each other.
I told of the art of Quirky Berkeley Superstars Marcia Donahue and Mark Bulwinkle and Jana Olson and Mark Olivier in the yard and house. And in best Quirky Berkeley Big Love fashion I was able to add stories from Tad Brillhart about his grandparents Sam and Zoe Brillhart, who built the Wezelman house on Shattuck and lived there until 1931.
They began selling the ethnic art that they collected from their travels in 1972. For the first couple of years they sold every Sunday at the Alameda and Marin City Flea Markets. They kept the names and addresses of everyone who bought from them and began home shows in 1974 from the dining room and spare bedroom of their previous house on Capistrano. In 1978 they moved into their present house on Shattuck and continued the home shows. They’ve had about 130 home shows in all.
And now I write about Dick and Beany’s final African sale. They have said – “ENUF!” after 45 years of sales. They say that they are quitting — “or maybe just doing a MAJOR downsizing.”
The details for the final sale are:
Dates: November 3-4, 10-11, and 18-19
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Address: 1026 Shattuck Ave.
I have visited Dick and Beany’s home several times. I went again with John Storey this week and he made these photographs of some of the “lots of super ethnic pieces” that will be for sale. There isn’t a single thing that they are selling that would not brighten your home.
The photographs don’t need many words — a glimpse of what will be for sale:
Almost all the art for sale is African, although the Wezelmans bought and sold from Pakistan (rugs), India, and Thailand.
This story board, for example, is from Papua, New Guinea.
While the Wezelman sales may be done, the love for Africa is not. Beany was in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia in 2016, and in Madagascar this year. Dick is done with traveling, but Beany is not. She is especially drawn to Ethiopia where she worked with the Peace Corps and to Mali.
In Mali, she and Dick found the most and best artifacts. She considers Mamadou Traore of Mali a dear friend and plans more trips to Mali.
The Wezelmans have lived life to the fullest. Along with the ethnic art, also on display will be the passion and love of Dick and Beany for Africa, a love that burns like — quoting Kerouac — “fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” They are all that Berkeley can be. This sale is the end of an era — go check it out.
Tom Dalzell, a labor lawyer, created a website, Quirky Berkeley, to share all the whimsical objects he has captured with his iPhone. The site now has more than 8,000 photographs of quirky objects around town as well as posts where the 30-plus-year resident muses on what it all means.