Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Acquisition Exception

The rule in this Third Third household – this household committed to decluttering – is No New Acquisition Unless Something Goes Out. Nothing In unless Something Out. This applies to the upcoming holidays, too.

Mostly, the rule was created to apply to pottery. Pottery is so beautiful and so irresistible, but pottery impacts kitchen cabinet space. It demands limits.

Sometimes the rule is really easy, like with clothes. Mostly, clothes don’t enter my closet until something is hopelessly worn out or out of date, so that’s not really an issue. Art supplies was a tough one, but since I seem to have less and less time for art-play as opposed to art-production (which I guess is a whole story there), I don’t need to be surrounded by art supplies I’m not using. They haunt me.

And containers are tough, too. It’s hard for me to turn down a good box. Recently, I recycled a perfectly wonderful reams-of-paper box with a lid, and it nearly killed me. Then, at a meeting, someone randomly mentioned they were moving and needed boxes, and I was unable to help (which, of course, is one of the prime reasons for acquisition to begin with: the lure of eventual helpfulness).

So what’s the Acquisition Exception? Rocks.

Rocks like you walk along the beach and there’s a perfectly round, smooth, beach rock. Do you just leave it there? Or rocks like you’re at the Kennecott Mines historic site and the ground is littered with rocks of bright turquoise-green. Or you’re in the Badlands of South Dakota and the red earth is so astounding in color, how can you not bring home a sample?
I’m not talking about the big boulders from the backyard that I get to leave out at the curb with a big sign saying, “Free.” And I admit, my disposal-to-acquisition ratio gave me lots of leeway after our house was robbed and they took my decorative boxes filled with … rocks.

I am talking about the twelve rocks that came home with me from the beach in Homer last weekend.

It always starts with perfectly smooth rocks that just feel good in my hand.
But this time, I also found a rectangular rock. I noticed it because it was smooth but had sharp edges, rare in a beach rock. It looked like a rectangle of a flag, so I had an idea. I would paint it to look like the Alaska flag, and when I visited my parents’ grave in New York, I would leave it on the headstone. My bit of Alaska paying respect.

Once the rock-painting idea was planted in my brain, I was reminded of the latest art challenge of my Bricolage group: playing cards. Those challenges mean “do whatever you want having something to do with playing cards.” Amazingly, rocks turned up on the beach in the shape of playing cards! After the first one, I admit I was scouring the beach for playing-card-shaped rocks (which are very hard to come by and require great stretches of the imagination to resemble playing cards). I’m not sure how I’ll paint them. Will their kings and queens become Fred, Barney, Wilma, and Betty?
I’ve seen quilts with rocks embedded in them that were gorgeous, and when I discovered Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr, who makes whole art of differently-shaped rocks, I was enthralled. I can’t do justice to his works, but here’s a sample and there’s more about him here.

Nuts! I should have looked at his work again before we left for Homer. I’d have spent the whole time combing the beach for … More Rocks!

1 comment:

  1. I just came home from 2 weeks with family and became aware of how much stuff stares at me from every corner, closet and horizontal surface. Time to get serious!


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