Friday, December 13, 2013

A Tangible Idea

Yesterday, I went to journal and then had coffee with a friend and then had a long - from mid morning to mid afternoon - lunch with another friend and then read a book. The closest I got to sewing was pulling out the pattern and the tissue paper and contemplating the size. Some days are like this. It's okay. Meandering is good for us too.

My lunch friend and I went to four different thrift stores and we were surprised by how much the prices have jumped. A couple months ago we'd been at thrift stores in another city and thought their prices were high due to location but now - in our own thrift stores - with prices we used to recognize - we could see a significant increase in the price and...

... a significant decrease in the quality. In her book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, author Elizabeth Cline talked about how as the quality of our clothing goes down, it won't last as long, won't look as good, and won't be as desirable second hand. In all my searching yesterday, I found a cream, raw silk dress for $5.00 that was stained and a brown, pleated, paisley printed, fine wool skirt for $7.98 that was very frumpy looking. Both would have been a start however, those are expensive starts because there are better, less expensive deals in my stash like the blue and green houndstooth fabric, wool, regularly $45.00 a meter piece and bought for $2.00 a meter in the bargain center. It made me think...

... about what I love about thrift stores. It's not to buy and wear a garment. It's to buy and refashion a garment. I may go back for the dress because it had great refashioning potential. Not the skirt. For me it was only a source of fabric. The sweater above is lambswool. I bought it in June on my way back from Design Outside The Lines when I was full to the brim of Diane's refashioning inspiration. It is not the sweater below. This one is...

... from Blue Mermaid Designs on Etsy. It gave me an idea for going forward because my sweater has been sitting in stash since I cut up the back in a drastic attempt to get the refashioning thoughts flowing and instead, they stopped short. When I saw Shelley's sweater... click. Two thoughts connected. Sweater + squares across the cut.

On page 94 of The Creative Habit, author Twyla Tharp writes - You can't just dance or paint or write or sculpt. Those are just verbs. You need a tangible idea to get you going. The idea, however minuscule, is what turns the verb into a noun - paint into painting, sculpt into sculpture, write into writing, dance into a dance.

Idea gathering is one of the reasons I search through second hand stores or snoop shop in high end boutiques. It's also why I look at images on-line. When I was out shopping on Wednesday, I noticed the newest issue of a refashioning magazine, flipped through the pages, and returned it to the stand. Every once in a while I'm tempted to buy this magazine and almost immediately regret it because it's an expensive, glossy product that doesn't really offer much in the way of tangible how-to and has a limited amount of inspiration that applies to me. High end, second hand, and on-line snoop shopping and a good conversation with a creative friend will generate far more ideas for me.

How do you idea generate?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - some slow days


  1. I've just finished a writing course with Sarah Selecky--she is adamant that our writing time includes reading (and this is focused, directed reading), walking or other exercise, and, if needed, quick naps! The reality is that creativity needs great pools of time for us to cast our lines into. Daydreaming and meandering is part of that.

    On a practical note re: thrift stores, here in OR, the DIY impulse has driven costs up. A year or so ago, I talked with a fiber artist who lives in Wyoming, and she talked about prices in Cheyenne. I nearly choked--no way you could match those prices here in Portland.

    1. I can see where Sarah is coming from with her comment. I do a lot of thinking about writing before I write and will often form paragraphs and thoughts while walking or doing something else. I'd like to know more about that course.

      Diane brings a selection of used clothing to DOL and some of it already has a bit of work done on it and the prices she sells it for are way lower than anything here and the quality much higher. When everyone starts talking about their finds, I'm envious. It's not like that here. Today's (Wednesday) posting shows some finds I got and they are really expensive in comparison.

  2. I haven't noticed a huge jump in thrift store prices, however I do notice a lack of wonderful things that so many write of finding. I see lots of polyester and acrylic, often thin and right on the edge of tatty and worn. But then, the quality has never been that great, at least the stores I get to. I'm thinking the good stuff goes to consignment stores first around here (eastern Iowa), where the prices are high. The bigger issue for me is finding things in my size, I think all the tall women around here wear their cloths until they're too far gone for thrift stores, like I do.

    1. YES... on one blog I read she collects cashmere pieces and if I see even one of those here it's strange never mind a lot of them, enough to be useful. I saw a LOT of acrylic and as you said, in poor condition. If you want to wear the clothing as is, sizing is definitely an issue but if you're refashioning it, maybe not so much. Do you buy pieces to alter and add to?


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.