Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Saving Every Little Thing

It's strange how something someone says or does ignites memories. Reading the profile of someone who favored an item of mine, I was struck by the effect her grandmother had on her and the effects my grandparents, aunts and uncles had on me. She mentioned how her gramma saved everything, recycled long before it became fashionable. I remembered the same things growing up. And my people were either from the Dakotas or from Depression era Germany after WW I. To their dying day NOTHING went to waste. My aunt had hundreds if not thousands of neatly folded plastic bags, aluminum bowls, gift wrap or boxes neatly packed away to be used again. Nothing went to waste. Emptying my uncles house was a nightmare. And my mother-in -law. We have a store of office and picnic supplies for years yet!

Quilting Is America's Only Unique Craft
Quilting is a unique American art. It all started here. There are many stories about how it came about but it boils down to the fact many Americans were in the wilderness and had to make do with what they had. Scraps of cloth, and especially, during the depression, old clothing that couldn't be patched anymore, were turned into something useful like a blanket for your bed. No central heating in those days. Nights were cold and winter's were long. You wrapped up in a blanket it not around the kitchen stove.

Patterns were developed as ways to disguise the piecing of fabric and over time they become more and more intricate. Quilting bee's were common especially in the Mid-West. It became both a production line and social gathering as fingers stitched and gossip was traded. What began as a necessity became an art. Even the Museum of Modern Art in New York City has a stunning collection of quilts.

While my parents were frugal over the years I've become much less so. I will open a drawer and be surprised to find something I just bought again. I didn't remember where it was so I got another. We have too much stuff. My wife, who wants to thin the herd so to speak, would never, ever consider a storage unit. Our garage looks like one right now. You really do have to wonder why anyone would need to fill a storage unit. Few houses today are small. If anything they are often double the sizes of the homes we grew up in. 

We are not saving because of bad times, we are storing because we have too much.  We've filled the house and thinking we may need it later, the storage unit. It would be interesting to see how many times people actually come to retrieve something as opposed to putting more in. Watching that show "Storage Wars" I'd say not too often. The way those storage units were packed how would you ever find anything?

Our economy would tumble though if everyone acted like we were living in a real depression as many think we are. It doesn't hurt to save not does it hurt to reuse. Remember that many a great master used their canvases more than once and some even painted on the back. Great art then does't come from new stuff, it comes from using what one has. i urge you all to keep that in mind.


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  2. Here, here! I recycle everything that I can, but I also tend to hang on to things for that unspecified, possible future art project!