Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Chamber Pot

One of the unexpected results of all this art dabbling has been that I have started intentionally moving outside the places my neuroses have had me stuck. Not that some of them are without valid foundation, vehicularly speaking. So for 10 years I have not driven that much. I mean, I drive when I need to, but as a small-town girl I have found back ways to almost everywhere, avoid freeways and rush hours, and consolidate errands into 1 or 2 days. And, I have never driven downtown. Well, not since one time when I was about 19 and had to pick my brother up at a bus station at 2 in the morning, and ended up driving the wrong way on a one-way street. So even though I’ve been here 10 years — wait, 12 years now — I have only gone downtown as a passenger, either with my husband or on a couple of occasions on a bus with my kids to see the Alamo and Riverwalk. So about a month ago I decided, as I have been doing in bits and pieces, to take myself downtown. To go alone except for my trusty GPS, to get all the pictures I want, to get lost and find my own way out, and above all to be proud of myself at the end of the day. So I did.

First of all, I found free parking at a parking meter and all I had to do was parallel park. Wouldn’t you know, of all the useless skills I have that I have absolutely not had use for in 30 years, I CAN parallel park like a wiz. Then I spent about 6 hours downtown before heading home. And on heading home I decided I wanted to go to the big downtown library first and look at books on maps (cartography being our AJC theme this year), and I did!

The best part of my trip downtown was an antique shop. I remembered having seen it years before (in 2005) when the kids and I were there on one of our bus trips (our first year as homeschoolers….gosh that was fun) but I couldn’t spend a lot of time there because the kids were all little and restless and this place had THREE STORIES of wonderfulness to explore. I found it! And I probably spent 2 or 3 hours just in that one place, taking my time. The downstairs was nicely staged, the middle floor a little less, but the top floor was just total crap and that was what I wanted to see. The stuff that didn’t get polished up for the big sell downstairs.

Through that doorway at the back, I found a completely icky little room with stuff just thrown on the floor and in shelves. It was here I found the little porcelain-covered pot that I just KNEW would be perfect for all my beautiful colored pencils and pens. So I bought it and brought it home, and Jessyca and Paul look at each other and back and me and go, “Don’t you know what that is?” Yeah, it’s a really cool… well, isn’t it cookware?” I tried to remember the items in the shelf around it….wait, there was one of those little throw-up pans, and a bedpan…. ewwwwwwwwww it’s a CHAMBER POT!! So I scrubbed it (and myself) with really hot water and oodles of soap and bleach.

But I still think it’s the perfect choice for my art desk. Because I really love old stuff. I always say that old stuff has a story that wants to go on, and when I re-use or upcycle something, I want to do honor to the life it lived and let it go on telling its story. In this case, however, I’m pretty sure that *I* am the best part of this particular item’s life story.

Go forth and make something beautiful!

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