Skip to main content

E is for Ephemera--The Beauty of the Impermanent #A2ZChallenge

Ephemera Vulgata (garden variety Mayfly)
From the Greek: Ephemeron--a short-lived insect. Members of the family Ephemeridae include dragon and damsel flies as well as may flies in the genus Ephemera.

For the rest of us: the detritus of our lives: concert tickets, bus tokens, valentine's day cards, matchbooks, packaging, coupons: objects meant to be useful for a brief period of time.

And then what?

Advocates of simplicity say it should be thrown away.

I have tried.  

But I don't think they're looking close enough.

Simply because it is not meant to be durable doesn't mean much of it isn't a tiny window into some artist's mind.

I am not ashamed to say I buy many things based on the cleverness or beauty of its packaging. I consider this a way of supporting the arts--manufacturers paid someone to design the structure, the image, the lettering. It may not be as grand and sweeping as an operatic performance, but the opera itself is ephemeral as the ticket. And no less beautiful because of it.

Still-I have become a sort of curator of ephemera: the small clever visual jokes, the quality of the material, the beauty of the text. The memory of the music from the opera.
Collaged 1957 Horse Show Program
Sarah Cannibal for Hipique

There are potential problems, of course. They do pile up.

I'm forever puzzling over what I can do with these small pieces of art:

I've been taking second hand band boxes at thrift stores and making funny little compositions: Kentucky Derby programs, horse show programs from the 1950's, wine bottle labels.
Re-purposed vintage Hat Box. Sarah Cannibal for Hipique

And even this is only packaging.
Just a box, after all.

And then there's these little labels for my up-cycled and custom clothing by Sarah Cannibal:
Label Pouch for Sarah Cannibal: Labels cut from items used; random tooth;
vintage button; a cord from puli dog


Popular posts from this blog

The Lost Designer of the 80's

Claude Barthelemy seems to have been one of those if-you-needed-to-ask-you-didn't-need-to-know designers. In the '80's, he was listed as a young, hot couturier alongside go-the-distance blue chips like Karl Lagerfeld and Lanvin with his oversized sweaters, minis, leggings and fur-trimmed stoles. Exclusive stores carried his soft-edged jackets to shoppers in the know.

And then what happened? His pleated skirts, intarsia sweaters, and naughty, zippered wool catsuits still fetch high prices in vintage world and any dealer with his elegantly simple, Gallic tag on her racks raises a flutter in second-hand seekers. He designed for Barbie, for heaven's sake! But the designer himself, who seems to have cut a meteoric swath across the runways and then...?

So what's the story with this wasp-waisted pleated skirt? I wondered what else this woman could have dropped off on her Goodwill drive-by--a Chanel original? A couture Pucci? Surely someone this linked in wouldn't just h…

Meditations: Easter Sunday Mass, The Goodwill, and the Slow and Agonizing Death of the Myth of Quality Time that Couldn't Come Soon Enough.

Quality Time is horse shit.

The entire trite idea--from its insipid, pseudo-psycho-babbly-style name to its central philosophy--of "Quality Time" is horse shit.

I was an impatient, self-involved, artsy-fartsy teenager when all those insipid, pseudo-psycho-babblers started bandying the term about and I knew it was horse shit. They knew it was horse shit but they sold the stupid parenting books anyway!! EVERYBODY knew it was horse shit. But, much like the fantasy-land of politically-mandated communism, people still want to believe it can work. If you just get the right people in charge, if you can just apply the right amount of legislation and force and if we can just keep everyone from fleeing the can work! 

It will not.

It is horse shit.

People, children, animals, weather, opportunities, tides, horses, flowers, tomatoes and so on won't do something or have something or be something you want them to do or have or be simply because you designate a moment that…

5 "Thrift Store Find" DIY Craft Projects They Keep Showing, for Things You Haven't Been Able to Find at Thriftstores Since 1987.

Me love Pinterest.
I know it's all a big, fantastic lie, but like every other pretty magazine catering to our fantasies before it, it makes us feel like we can achieve the same, heavily worked-over, fantastically styled, filtered, and photo-shopped perfection in our own lives. And sometimes that's enough.

But as a professional builder of ridiculous, up-cycled things, and a veteran thrifter (I can show you the scars!), some of these Pinterest DIY are just a parade of despair, false promises and dashed hopes. There's no call for that.

1. Vintage Suitcase Crafts:

Not only is this type of vintage suitcase VERY rare at your garden variety thrift store, follow this link to see how much rather highly involved work went into it.

2. Stuff made with old "thrift store" silverware.

Here's what you'd hope to find:

Here's what you're most likely to find: Oh, this stainless steel crap will bend alright--most of it already has the scars of the church community cen…