Awhile back, i taught my brother a new word - ephemera. What a great word, not only its meaning, but the sound of saying it. Go on, try it. Ephemera.
1: something of no lasting significance —usually used in plural
2 ephemera plural : paper items (as posters, broadsides, and tickets) that were originally meant to be discarded after use but have since become collectibles
Essentially, i keep many things most consider trash. Vintage ephemera is even better, and rarer. i find such beauty in old advertisements, labels from bottles, ticket stubs, and so on, and all these things can be added to my work. In this way, i am reusing items destined for the landfill, and making something more lasting and beautiful out of them. Even the stickers you peel off fruits and veggies are fair game.
A drawer of scraps from past projects, including the transfer from a praying mantis soft block carving i recently did. i'm outgrowing my drawer, and that's after cleaning it out last year and attempting to organize it into a couple binders. Yes, i said i put "trash" in binders; what of it?
The only problem with the need to keep such things is that eventually, you have a lot of it, and it needs a home. This is why, right now, my studio is a bit of a mess. i'm a great organizer, but have yet to tackle this growing mountain of materials and trinkets. i intend to fix this situation sooner rather than later, because as wonderful as it is to have so many materials on hand, it's a nightmare sorting through boxes and drawers and not finding the one thing you're looking for, or even worse, not even knowing what you have in the first place.
See that butterfly on the bottom left? Yeah...i've been toting that around, from one abode to another, for years...but someday, i will need it, i guarantee.
i walk a fine line between "collector" and "hoarder", so i have to be careful. Sometimes i do filter through the piles of stuff and give things away, or sometimes, toss something, if i see that it really can't be used for anything at all, but the latter almost never happens. i always ask myself, Well, what if 5 years from now i'm working on a project and need this very thing? What if nothing else will work for the piece but this? Many items have been saved and never used because i love them so much, no project is good enough for them. It's maybe a little crazy, this need to have but not use, but i'm an artist, so crazy kind of comes with the territory, does it not?
Far be it for me to encourage anyone to start saving every bit of trash they come across - some things are indeed garbage - but think outside the box (har, har) the next time you're holding the empty box your favorite tea comes in. Now wouldn't that make a nice little mini-notebook cover? Or maybe a repurposed greeting card? And if you just can't find a use for it, send it to me, and i'll give it a home.