The Story of an Object

There is a thrift store just up the street and around the corner from our house, Super Chance, which I'm sure I've mentioned on more than one occasion. It's become my safe haven when I can't get work to go right and I'm feeling less than inspired; when my day is simply a mess of half-completed tasks, I will often put my shoes on, stop for a coffee and take my time to visually graze the leftovers of somebody else's life.

One of my recent and most favourite finds: cufflinks for my husband.

One of my recent and most favourite finds: cufflinks for my husband.

Today was one of those days. It started off with a most welcome email that got me excited and working in bed until almost 10 am. I sort of knew that by allowing myself to work without even brushing my teeth or my hair and not even getting down to the kitchen before 10, the day would be an awkward one. I also know that if I try to attack my day without a handwritten to-do list, that it will be as successful as trying to navigate a new city without a map — you may get somewhere but there will be a lot of guessing, getting lost and frustration. So finally, late in the afternoon, I knew it was a good time for Super Chance.

Walking the familiar route to the shop, freshly dampened by the afternoon rain and smelling of petrichor, I began to wonder about my obsession with thrifting. Why did I feel so drawn to second hand stores and get so excited when I found something beautiful? What was it about the remnants of somebody's old things that drew me in and piqued my interest?

The mirror and the wooden box (that the flowers are sitting on) — two of my favourite thrift finds.

The mirror and the wooden box (that the flowers are sitting on) — two of my favourite thrift finds.

Of course, as with so much of my life, it's the stories I imagine that come tethered to each piece. Sitting here at my desk, tapping away on my laptop, I look up at the round, gold-guilded mirror in front of me and wonder who looked into it before me and what did she see? Or the small wooden box I use to keep my writing supplies in; scratched in a million different places, a vintage sticker on the inside of the lid and a perfectly chiseled circle around the small hand-made latch that has been opened hundreds of times always leaves me thinking about who saw this box and decided they needed it? What did they keep in it? Who was the original owner?

It's the questions that previously owned items demand that make me love them even more.

Having them now in my life, on my shelves and and a part of my story gives them life again — allows for unseen stories to be quietly threaded into my own. I love the idea of making up stories to go along with these pieces and without trying, imagining all the different people who have now, in some indirect way, passed through my life. I do believe that my life is slightly richer for having a collection of other peoples junk as my very own treasure.

The gorgeous vintage letter opener I found while in New Orleans last year — one of my prized possessions.

The gorgeous vintage letter opener I found while in New Orleans last year — one of my prized possessions.

I think that Super Chance offers me inspiration through story, which is what I crave more than anything because what is art if it's not a great story?

Where do you find inspiration? Do you have a place you go to when the creativity is stuck? Or if you're a thrifter, what is the draw for you? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Until next time,

mMxo