the keepers, or notes on material culture*

June 18, 2009

I maintain that no matter what, there should be a few items in one’s possession not there merely for utility- the kind of things that make one’s heart sing for their sheer beauty and form.

This is a rule that dominates my craft supplies purchases. With the foundations taken care of (the best wire, the stuff that never fails; the best s/s findings), I can run riot. Well, a little bit. It’s my rule not to buy supplies that don’t do it for me, whether on colour, form or feel. I reckon that by following my instincts on these matters, people will respond, and they generally do.

Of course, there are disadvantages to this approach. It means I almost never work with some colours or materials, or use some techniques because the materials just don’t work, somehow. There’s something to work on.

The reason I write this is that, as I pack up my things and declutter and whatever else in preparation for this great big move, I am again and again coming across things that make my heart sing- and things that really don’t.

On throwing open the doors of my wardrobe, I see one dress that is what they call a ‘keeper’. I ordered this dress last year from the eeeevil genius (now plural) behind Fifi Le Rue. So far, it has seen me through every occasion you can imagine- graduations, office dos (oh, don’t get me started on that sartorial minefield), open nights, birthdays. It’s my Magic Dress, the one that foofs out and cinches in at the right places and goes with practically every pair of shoes I have. I have never had anything like it- even on the grim days, it shimmers in the wardrobe reminding me of dodgy 90s voguing, witnessing people’s triumphs, lovely surprises, all sorts.

I have recently been wearing a brooch from another Cow’s Lane-based designer. There is something in its simplicity and form that means I’ll be wearing this for years yet. I have a huge thing about brooches now, and it started with this woman right here. If you find me curled up in a gutter in Prague, whimpering about not getting enough for that second kidney, it will be Deirdre Griffin’s fault. Seriously.

Garnet and marcasite earrings from Ghent, a CZ silver bracelet from Maman, beads from my sister.. these are my keepers. What are yours?

(*Psyche! Got all the way to the end and not a single mention of good ol’ Thorstein ;))

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