In the Second Chance Cat mysteries Sarah Grayson runs Second Chance, a repurpose shop. She sells furniture, dishes, quilts, pillows, books and more. Many of the items have been restored or refurbished.
I love stores like Second Chance. Thrift shops, second hand stores, flea markets, they’re all great places to find material for my creative work. As a collage artist I’m captivated by magazines, maps and sheet music, photographs, books and costume jewelry. I admit to doing a little happy dance in the aisle at one of my local thrift stores when I found a pure wool blanket, perfect for cutting up to use when I’m drying handmade paper, for only $5.99.
On one hand, these kinds of stores are full of endless ideas for artistic endeavors. A box of buttons. A stack of postcards. On the other hand, the urge to buy all the things can result in a work space in which there’s so much stuff there’s nowhere to work. Over the years these are the guidelines I’ve found that work for me.
- Is it on my list?
At any given time there are specific things I’m looking for. Right now on my list you’d find cheap brushes, the kind that come with children’s paint sets, I like them for gluing; a book on fish, inspiration for a collage piece I’m planning; and green fabric. Coming home with a bag of sponges, a book of sheet music and a square of flaming orange fabric could lead to all sorts of fun projects but they won’t help me finish the ones that I’m already working on.
- Will I use this in the next couple of months?
I live in a small house and have an even smaller office. I have one cupboard for art supplies. And I’m a bit of a neat freak. That means I have to think long and hard before I buy something. So “yes” to the box of buttons and the wool blanket but “no” to the former classroom map of North America.
- Will I use all the parts?
Just about everything I buy for a collage piece gets cut up or taken apart. Bracelets are disassembled. Maps are cut into pieces. Shanks are snapped off of buttons. Recently I was taken with the flat, black medallion on a chunky beaded necklace. It looked like an over-size washer. But I couldn’t think of anything I’d do with all those chunky, angular beads. So, reluctantly I left the necklace behind.
- Is it in my budget?
I have a budget for art supplies. (It makes my little math geek heart happy.) No credit. No debit. Cash only. It forces me to think twice about buying things like that big parrot poster. I’ve never been sorry about not overspending.
- Can I be flexible sometimes?
This rule is why I have two boxes of buttons in my supply cupboard and that piece of flaming orange fabric I mentioned earlier. Because once in while it’s okay not to follow the rules. Sometimes you just have to yield to inspiration. And really, can you have too many buttons?
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