Monday, May 3, 2010

A Quest to Discover Forgotten Art, Yard Sale Style

Last summer, my friend Cheri and I decided on a whim to go on a random treasure hunt via yard sales.  Cheri is actually a seasoned pro at this type of thing, and has discovered/gathered some pretty incredible trinkets over the years.  This particular adventure didn't lead us to much beyond the typical chipped coffee mugs and partially-intact board games, but on our final stop, I spotted an interesting metal object buried among the poorly framed posters and VHS tapes.  It looked something like an old counter display for jewelry or neckties, but was badly rusted, perhaps hinting at some sort of outdoor use (gardening tool stand?), or maybe just simple neglect.  There was something really striking about it to me, so I forked over the $8 and took it home.

Since I'm on a new personal quest to allow (ahem, force) myself to spend my weekend days participating in activities that aren't work-related, I decided yesterday (a good 10 months after buying it) to clean this curious object and use it to make sense of the various balls of tangled necklaces in my bathroom drawers.  It was covered in enough rust to require a Tetanus shot just by looking in its general direction, but I grabbed some steel wool, and with a little water and a lot of scrubbing (is it pathetic that my arms ache today?), slowly uncovered a really lovely piece of forgotten art in this hand-crafted wrought iron display.  Maybe it was just the pride I felt in actually accomplishing something that had nothing to do with work, but once it was clean and dripping with my freshly organized necklaces, I was almost taken aback by its simple - but genuine - beauty.

Reusing, recycling, upcycling, and re-inventing are all terms we hear incessantly in the world of sustainable fashion, and ultimately, the idea of creating new purposes for items otherwise landfill-bound really is at the heart of living a sustainable lifestyle, fashion or otherwise.  I'm actually kind of inspired to participate in these yard sale treasure hunts more often now, even if just to challenge myself to find clever ways to re-purpose unwanted goodies and give them another chance to shine.   

P.S. These stunningly professional quality photos were taken with my BlackBerry, but you get the point.  My only regret: not taking a 'before' picture.  My dreams last night were haunted by rust.

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