Catchy blog post title, eh?
The latest edition of the Collage Club was about using 'the real thing' in your art - the actual vintage papers and ephemera you've collected. I've been thinking about my overflowing 'collections' recently. I know you have them too....old paper and books, rare ephemera and trashy ephemera, fabrics, beads, buttons, lace...should I go on?
Then, I received some timely comments this week. First, from Pam at Fairy Rocks and Things: I love old photo albums. I just hate to see those abandon families.
Then a comment from Julie (Jewels, how come I can't find your blog?) in which she says: I got to the point where I was asking"if I don't use it now will I ever". Can't stand the thought of something just siting in a box some where when I can highlight it in "art"!
It all percolated together for me....overflowing collections, abandoned photographs, if I don't use it now...and it made me wonder: what happens if I die?
Will any one of my family members treasure my bits and bobs the way that I do? Will any of them see a tub full of old paper as anything except trash? Will they have any idea what pieces of my stash are actually valuable and which pieces have very little value to anyone except maybe artists like me? Are my beloved collections about to become the forgotten cabinet card photos at the flea market...or more likely added to the recycling bin?
If you're like me, you have friends and relatives who 'don't get it'. They may love us, and our art, but they don't really get the magpie attraction we have to the faded and aged. Can you imagine their dismay at having to dismantle our collections someday?
So, I am committing myself to using the real thing even more often. Who will appreciate it and enjoy it more than we do? Would I rather it was thrown away by an unsuspecting relative 30 years from now, or would I prefer to take a deep breath and glue it down onto something beautiful, so it will be seen and appreciated...by me and my blog friends at least!
I plan to label the truly valuable things I would never use, like my French Holy card collection and my Tennyson calendar, among others. They're all in a special drawer anyway; I just need to add some notes about them so maybe the descendants will make a bit of cash.
Then, I plan to start using the real thing even more often: the dozens of magazine images, the damaged ledger pages, the ripped handwritten letters, the old book pages, the actual photographs, and torn bits of ephemera.
It's true for money, and I have to remember that it's true for art supplies too - you can't take it with you.