The Chronicles of a Garbage-Picking Crafter, I

Today I begin a new series of posts about scavenging.

I hope these tips will be of value to all of my creative readers (and not just to those ‘on a budget’ as we like to euphemistically say). You could call these ideas ‘green’ and in keeping with some of the sustainability principles cropping up in Slow Cloth* and other environmentally-conscious circles. Or, you could call them the habits of the perpetual garbage picker…

In any case, during yet another session in the orthodontist’s office, I skimmed the latest Newsweek’s article about the ‘new rules of management’. These new rules are posited by the founders of “37signals” (read the founders’ blog here), and have fired me up to find ways to give away what I know.

But, first, you want to know what some of their precepts are?   Here are a few:

  • Avoid workaholics;
  • Hire the better writer;
  • You need less than you think;
  • Drug dealers are onto something, and
  • Emulate Chefs.

I am inspired by the last three, in particular. The idea of giving stuff away has been part of the internet business model since it was created (see, Lawrence Lessig’s book, “Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy“).  (So has theft and piracy, but that’s another discussion).  Nevertheless, I am inspired to find a way to give away what I know and to give away fabric, too (more on that down the road).  That’s the “drug dealers are onto something” tenet, which is to say, create something addictive and make people come back for more. “Emulate Chefs” is an important corollary to that rule and it posits the idea that great chefs give everything away and so should you.

What a lot of blather just to say — recycled clementine boxes make great fabric storage bins!!

They are a perfect size for what I like to call, “precious bits”. One can keep a crate near the ironing board as a quilt is being constructed and let the small chips of fabric that MANY would throw out but which could be useful down the road, land into the crate.  You’d be surprised (or perhaps, not) how many projects employ teeny scraps of fabric (see some of the Village quilts on my website, as an example). Look at how many of the fabric swatches in this quilt-turned-pillow cover are about the size of a postage stamp —

These crates can be stacked vertically like Lincoln logs, making good use of vertical space and preserving work surfaces.

People in my community throw these boxes out with remarkable consistency, making for easy picking (of course my city’s new restrictive garbage policies are bound to cramp my style in this regard — BOO!!)

And as if all those virtues weren’t enough, the blue and orange labels are cheery, and who doesn’t like glancing up at the word “DARLING” now and then?!!

*  if you are interested in Slow Cloth, visit Jude Hill’s site, Elaine Lipson’s blog, or Glennis Dolce’s site.  If you’re on Facebook, there is now a page devoted to Slow Cloth.

4 thoughts on “The Chronicles of a Garbage-Picking Crafter, I

  1. Ginny

    what a tremendous idea! i look forward to reading your tips, advice and seeing your items of interest. Darling boxes…go figure.

    We used to go on thursday night “Blazer Patrol” in Northport to check out all the bulk discards from the rich folk. We have so much stuff now we’re drowning in it and have abandoned all new acquisitions till some of the old are gone. I am going to start a monthly give away page for anyone who wants some overflow…so if you are in the neighborhood (electronically) and see something you like I will give you first dibbs.

    Reply
  2. Dee

    ooh, Blazer Patrol sounds like my kind of evening!! curbside picks are severely reduced now that our town limits what can be set out… thanks for the first dibbs!

    Reply
  3. Kaye

    If only I lived a little closer! Those crates are perfect. I’m still trying to perfect my method of storing postage-stamp-sized scraps…

    Reply
  4. Dee

    I know another fiber artist who buys pizza boxes from her local pizza shop and uses those… I don’t like my bins to have tops, however…

    Reply

Love to hear what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s