pic of the week

Weekly photo blog


ephemeral xmas deco 1

last Sunday my friend Danny took me to the Ephemera Society‘s fair. until the moment we got there i didn’t even know how to pronounce the word ‘ephemeral’ leave alone what a thus named society would do with a fair and i was immediately struck by a whole load of impressions – quite ephemerally so because unfortunately i cannot recall but a few by now:

a large well-lit window-less room (inside a fairly soulless city hotel) that didn’t really smell of anything. it was also surprisingly calm and quiet and i didn’t get that sense of feverish customers that i might have expected at an arty fair especially at this time of year. in fact the most feverishness i encountered that afternoon was that of stall holders who were clearly obsessive collectors and possibly each others’ biggest customers – there was a quiet and intense busy-ness, a hunter-gatherer chase for yet missing pieces in someone’s precious collection, a bending over and studying things up very close and finally the dry smell of old cigarette smoke oozing out of someone’s jacket. equally intense were the conversations people tried to wrap me into, checking out my collector’s heart: ‘interested?!!‘ came up a few times and i was relieved when Danny replied ‘interesting‘ with a very friendly smile and opened up a gap in the conversation so i could un-wrap myself out of it…

i was surprised to realise that i was one of very few women – having grown up with a collection-obsessed mother and being quite good myself at keeping potential creative resources, i somehow expected a room full of women.

and somehow the biggest surprise to me was that the whole fair was based on ‘paper’ – one of the oldest and weakest of art materials: the tables (that were all very orderly placed and had their display equally orderly arranged – in boxes, piles, stacks with labels, information and if more precious also some protective plastic wrapping around it) were covered in anything artistic that had been put on paper: labels for vegetable cans, old restaurant menus, theatre programmes, sheet music, cinema posters, even lottery tickets and of course tons of photos and greeting and post cards. i hadn’t quite realised what a light-weight affair this would be – and there was something about all those men (lots of them also looking themselves quite light and delicate) cherishing these thin and light pieces of paper that really touched me. i felt slightly guilty for not being able to fully honour their dedication because there were only very few things i was more seriously interested in (old sheet music) and for a purpose entirely in opposition to their painstaking archiving and conservation work: i’d cut them up and use them for art and craft activities.

i almost felt their disapproval as i was eyeing through a stack of waltzes and marching songs and hastily turned away – ending up not buying anything. funnily we’ve just put up our xmas tree at home: a slightly controversial silver-tinsel tree that we all felt is so over the top that it’s actually quite good especially when decorated with something very plain and earthy: in the end we went for the xmas baubles i made last year from old plant books – after i had tried unsuccessfully to source some old sheet music for this purpose…

ephemeral xmas tree deco 2


The Author

Writer, Photographer, Craftivist, Facilitator, Founding Director of deep:black. Passionate about learning & discovery. "Immer noch offen"

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