Saturday, March 2, 2013

blousy shirts and watercolor chairs...

When I was growing up we did a lot of thrift store shopping.

We weren't hip, or trying to add a layer of character to our new purchases, it was affordable and within walking distance to our Chicago apartment.

I was mortified to be seen in there. We lived in a fairly small community and as small communities go, everyone knew what you were up to most of the time.

It was the only thrift store in town and when you bought something there, it was usually someone else's that lived near you.

I was already "over" the fact that I was wearing some of my classmate's hand-me-downs to school, I certainly didn't want us to have their furniture cast-offs in our apt.

One day, during our scavenger hunt, it happened. I spotted a chair that I thought was the most amazing thing I had ever seen.

Mind you, I was seven at the time and my scope of "things I had seen" was not exactly vast.

Regardless, I was chair smitten. It would not be the first or last time this phenomenon would happen. Those that know me, know that I have a chair problem.

This magical instrument for seating was $9. The seat cushion had clearly seen better days and you could see a spring poking out from the bottom of the chair, but it was nothing a little weekend warrior project couldn't fix. I had already mastered (in my mind) the art of wallpapering, how difficult could it be to spruce this chair up? The upholstery was still in decent shape and that's what I mostly fell in love with. It looked like the best murky, moody, yet sunny watercolor I had encountered. Again, I was seven. Not much watercolor encountering had been going on up to this point.

I begged that we buy it.

Aside from the astonishment I think my mother felt for me even entertaining the idea we *buy something* at the corner of shame and mortify, she did not think it a wise purchase. This was a woman who would put, way too short for me and too big in the waist, wide wale cords on layaway--when they cost .75cents.

Needless to say, no matter how much I pleaded and promised to happily wear, what clearly looked like a girl's blouse my mother had in her hand for part of my "back to school wardrobe"--the chair was not to be.

One of the luxuries of being able to design, is that you can draw from personal experiences when you work on a project.

Thusly, I present to you my take on my beloved watercolor tapestry.

Also, I currently scour thrift stores on a regular bases. Happily.

I try to avoid blousy shirts. -angelo


Dixie said...

I share your love of chairs.. I own two of yours! Not sure when or where I fell in live with chairs... Loved your sweet story! And the beautiful chair!

dstoutholcomb said...

I love chairs, too. Our thrift store find was $1--a chair for the desk my grandfather salvaged out of a house he was tearing down. I still have that chair. It needs a new seat cover--my mom covered it in a 70's floral in terry cloth. Scary to think I still have that cover on the seat. I have a muslin seat cover over it to hide that.

My parents used to take us to thrift stores, yard sales, and flea markets--initially, I hated it, too. Mortifying. But, I learned so much and now have have lots of vintage and antique items--I would never part with some of them.

Dawn F said...

What a great story! I often wonder why my family didn't shop at thrift stores - or go to garage sales. We had very little money and what clothes we bought were new - cheap, but new. I could have used a few more choices!

Beth said...

I love this story.

I love that, as a little guy, you had such a can-do attitude about projects.

And I love even more that you're now able to create something even more beautiful. And share it with others.

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