Dearest Thirsty Reader,
How I’ve missed you. Years have separated our electronic love affair, but you were never far from my thoughts. I have gained a few silver strands and perhaps a little wisdom in my absence, and am now cleverly disguised as a responsible citizen, homeowner and respectable colleague. Be not fooled, beloved reader. My heart belongs to you. My disguise is all just a means to a beautiful, artful, musical end. Allow me to quench your thirsty soul this second Thursday of May. First, a little confession, which all Catholics, devout or recovering, know is good for the soul:
I drive a gas gobbler. I drink non-fair-trade coffee from the Purveyor-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named drive-thru. I wear threads stitched by poverty-stricken fingers half a world away. I ignore the wretched man on the interstate exit who holds a tattered piece of cardboard letting me know that he’s hungry and homeless. I am hopelessly addicted to my cell phone and email. I lament that my relationship with my family consists of chats on said cell-phone while stuck in rush hour and pix messages of my nephews at the ball game 800 miles away. I find American politics to be the most steroid-infected dog-fight ever to taint our airwaves- and I love every second of this distracting spectator sport still called democracy.
I’ve seen you in the same stores. I’ve seen you next to me at the stop light chatting into your phone or in my rear view mirror picking your nose, or walked past you in the coffee shop as you ponder your choice of latte while digging through your fake-couture purse. You are just as guilty as I am, and if you’re not, you’re just being smug. We’ve all got to live on this planet together, one way or another.
Truly, the only pure thing is art, in all its forms, and it is our salvation. Salvation. Salvage. Don’t throw it away – find another use for it! Almost anything can be converted to beautiful and useful, including us.
I may not be able to give up my corporate coffee and tainted threads, but perhaps a little mitigation is in order. Simultaneously guilty of shopping the big-boxes, I frequent my local joints too, like the antique/vintage shops for furniture and cool home stuff (like the commercial size vegetable shortening can repurposed as a dog-food canister: way cooler than the ugly, BPE-laden plastic canister from PettWorld, and with an air-tight seal). Stores in my town like La France, Sherry’s Yesterdaze and Now and Again Antiques inspire me with the Reduce, Reuse Recycle mantra- and if I’ve already spent my money there, I don’t have any left to be tempted into BullsEye.
I recently discovered decoupage, and so now save all sorts of things to create nifty little decorated boxes to house that vintage jewelry from LaFrance (seriously, the best costume-jewelry counter in all of Tampa), or to separate the thongs from the boy-shorts, the dress socks from the crew socks, the cuffs from the ropes (Ahem. Come now. Organization is a good thing.) It may not be fine art, but it is fun, and repurposes all sorts of unexpected items, like tissue paper from gift bags, buttons, stamps, gold chocolate wrappers, even those little purple net bags for shallots. Decoupage is super-easy, crafty, and puts junk to good, decorative use. A jar of Mod Podge and a few cheap brushes are all the supplies you need to pull together your junk and create something cool and useful.
I found some lovely links to folks around the ‘net who seem to feel the same way, and who possess far more talent than I for creating treasure out of “one man’s trash”, so if you’re not feeling crafty, you can just go shopping and mitigate some of that corporate coffee guilt – or if you don’t suffer from this guilt, try it anyway, it still feels good, and might just snatch us from the jaws of disaster.
My favorite find from my thirsty jaunt through the ‘net is John Unger, artist and designer. He creates fantastic pieces from recycled objects like bottle caps and scrap metal. Not just pretty little pieces of wall art for your living room either. Check out his totally bad-ass fire pits – completely useable, and made from 100% recycled steel. From his homepage: “My specialty is impossibility remediation: if it can’t be done, I’m on it.”
Here’s to impossibility remediation. May it save us and our mother earth.