Objects can tell a story as well as find a place in a photo without being the subject. 


Finding just the right piece has happened frequently in the seven years I've been visiting Relics. Deb Opyd, my friend and the owner of this Peoria curiosities shop, daily delights her customers (namely me) with unique objects that have helped to inspire a great photo shoot. 


I had the opportunity to catch up with Deb about her work and treasures. First, everyone should know the magic of this lady who sees herself as a modern day version of a 17th century spice trader - bringing back exotic and unique wares from her adventures to intrigue her customers. 


Deb started styling for photo shoots years ago. It happened randomly as she was leaving one job and as another door opened. Deb had already been collecting antiques when she stepped out to begin a new adventure. This adventure would see her styling for magazines across the county. 

One of her favorite styling stories was while shooting a Christmas set in the Hampton's. She had 24 hours to collect objects to create a magical holiday scene and what she ended up discovering was an antique haul of a lifetime.  Here is what we can learn from her ...  to find the best treasures you must be willing to ask and take a trip off the beaten path. 

In the beginning her store, Relics was to be exclusively an antique store, but Deb soon realized that her customers wanted more than antiques. Some wanted vintage and others a fresher take on classics. The formula of mixing vintage and contemporary wares has become her forte and built a loyal client base.

Relics is not just a cute store; it's an experience from the moment you enter. Expect to be inspired when you walk in and leave feeling creative. Each object is evocative of a smile, tear, or just a long lost memory. 

What can you expect to find here? Tribal bracelets collected on her last trip to South Africa, or a basket full of skeleton keys from the Ivory Coast. The shop is nothing short of an adventure into happiness. Deb, like the customer, takes their own adventure sorting through new and old objects.  

When I asked what objects contribute to a good photograph, she mentioned that she loves a great chair, a sofa, or benches - something with sexy legs… this describes some of her items vividly. I have to agree with her, these items definitely work in a photo shoot and she brings new ones into the store daily.


A few other vintage finds I love to use in a shot; an old bike, a painters easel ... use these objects to tell a story about you and your passions.


Fresh and happy are definitely words that I would use to describe Deb. She has created a space and a community and a true escape for any who venture in to her lovely store.


Find Relics here and visit the store at 1219 West Glen in Peoria, Illinois.