Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rescue Me - Take Me In Your Arms

I had a few comments about this photo on my Where Bloggers Create III post so I thought I would share the inspiration for it.  I actually sent a picture and little story to Somerset Studio a LONG time ago but never heard a word.  I didn't submit the actual artwork and I think what they say is true - the artwork often sells the article.  I made this piece right after a trip to the thrift store that yielded a particularly intriguing poke sack.
My affinity for "poke boxes" goes back as long as I can remember. Poke sacks, poke boxes, poke bags, bags o' unknown crap, call them what you will... I CANNOT resist one. All I need to see is one tiny trinket that catches my eye and it's all over. I have to find out what else is in there! Mysterious loveliness.  A tangled and intriguing mess just waiting for me to sort and smooth and ooh and aah as I bring order to the chaos and respect to the possibilities.
I won't bore you by cataloging everything that came home with me that day but it included many bundles and spools of acetate ribbon, the kind used for floral work; many, many colors and widths of satin ribbon; lace, both old and older; colorful rick-rack and braid trims; seam binding; some thread and a thimble; salvaged and new zippers, many sizes and types of elastic and a large spool of pink curling ribbon.  Plus a vintage piece of ephemera offering an apron pattern for 25 cents and a faded and stained piece of red satin blanket binding with a note pinned to it that said “Barbie blouse”.
I have heard it said that you should bring nothing into your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. I try. Really I do. But some things cry out in a way that is almost audible - RESCUE ME!
Through the years I think I've seen just about everything at the thrift store, from bronzed baby shoes to a burial urn. Yes, really. A burial urn. As I was unscrewing the lid my brain was processing that I was UNSCREWING the lid and I realized what I was opening at about the same moment that I peeked inside. Lucky for me there was no occupant but the metal toe tag at the bottom confirmed my conclusion and sent me and the urn straight to the front counter to suggest this might not be appropriate.  I really have seen it all, cradle to grave so to speak.

My favorite rescues are the bags, boxes and tins of buttons and sewing notions. As I poke through them I begin to get an impression of the former owner. You can tell a lot about a woman from her sewing box. Many utilitarian buttons, removed from the garments and saved for mending, punctuated by random glass or rhinestone buttons saved from a few "special" dresses or a good winter coat. Uniform buttons strung together on a piece of darning thread, perhaps all that is left of a loved one's uniform. A few marbles and bullets (yes, I have found bullets) retrieved from pockets on the way to the washer because boys will be boys and so will men. A precious baby tooth.  A felt needle case with "MOM" crudely embroidered on the front, surely a gift from a young daughter. A thimble stamped with S&H for the green stamps. Hand-tatted lace cut from the edge of a worn out pillowcase so it could be re-purposed as trim for a baby dress. Orphaned earrings. A bra extender because she put on a little weight over the years. Yes, you can tell a lot about a woman from her sewing box.
It tugs at my heart when I find these poke boxes in the thrift store. Someone, somewhere, picked up a box or a bag and up-ended the drawers of the sewing cabinet to "get rid of all that junk". Big sigh. It makes my heart glad to rescue them and respect that they are the artifacts of a creative life.


Annette said...

Exactly!!! You said what I haven't been able to put into words. And it is inspiring to be surrounded by those lovely artifacts!
I've had the BeeGees song stuck in my head since your words post and now I'm going to have this one stuck...thanks, lol! :)

Anonymous said...

I love the piece you created! And I also can't resist those "poke" bags. I bought three this week! It's so fun to discover what they contain, and to think about the former owners of all the items. I hope when I'm gone someone will buy and love the items from the MANY poke bags that will be hauled from my creative space.


My Vintage Mending said...

I love this. Can't believe how perfect each addition is. Beautiful. Smiles...Renee

laurie -magpie ethel said...

I am always rescuing things and marveling at the stories these little snippets tell. Love the term "poke" bag - not familiar with calling them that..I now have a new word to use!

Maggie said...

I just love how you put these thoughts into words! I think the same things when I run across sewing notions, especially. Little tidbits from a creative soul, probably unceremoniously hauled away from an estate--I'm always glad these items didn't just get pitched in the trash, as they so often do. A neighbor's wife died a few years ago; he brought in a dumpster and pitched ALL of her possessions into the trash (clothes, shoes, knick-knacks, dishes, everything). Didn't even bother to take them to Goodwill (and he wouldn't let me do any dumpster diving). It about killed me.

Crosby Kenyon said...

Even though I don't usually keep these kind of things, I look around my place and there are groupings. Being a creative person, I understand the attraction. The toe tag and the urn got me. Every picture tells a story, and I wonder what that one is/was.