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Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Joy of Repurposing (April 15, 2010)

If you don’t browse thrift stores, you don’t know the fun of discovering a treasure hidden among the coffee mugs, sweaters and love-worn toys. The only rule of thumb for thrift stores is not to expect to find a specific item. Thrift stores, after all, are the gathering place of all things random. But stumbling upon something intriguing is what makes it cool.

A few days ago I treated myself to a thrift store gem. In the household goods section of the store I happened upon a ceramic candle holder, hand-made and glazed with various colors. At 99 cents, I couldn’t argue, and I knew immediately what my plans for it were.

Inside the candle holder there was a wad of wax gripping one wall of the cone-shaped interior. Perhaps the original owner didn’t know how to remove the melted candle and instead opted to give the holder away. I couldn’t believe someone would want to part with a one-of-a-kind piece of art, but I was glad to adopt it on the spot.

At home I turned on my hair dryer and aimed it at the candle holder. A few minutes later the wax was pliable enough to remove. I stuffed some dirt into the cavity and chose a few succulents from my collection outside. Being a plant junkie, I know that I can repot succulents with roots (and even those without roots). I tucked a few pieces into the dirt, ensuring that the plant was peeking out the cut-outs in the pottery. There were six tiny almond-shaped windows on each side of the opening of this piece, and I thought it would look great to see the plants growing out of the peek-holes. The fact that the piece is slightly asymmetrical just added to its charm. The irregularity it what makes hand-made art unique.

The hodge-podge nature of thrift stores makes them great places to go to exercise your creative muscle. Take something that calls to you and turn it into something else. Voila!

1 comment:

  1. Love it! I love thrift stores, too! One day I noticed that a highly ranked person at my work was wearing the exact same shirt that I got at a thrift store for about $3.