tchotchke altars

I have an absurd amount of stuff for a person that does not yet own a home: books, CDs (how unfashionable), shoes I never wear (even more unfashionable) and an embarrassing amount of tchotchke. I have tiny altars of shells, feathers, stones, pebbles, rocks, sand dollars, crab claws, and what seems like entire forest of vintage ceramic animals, staring with fixed shiny black eyes in every corner of my room.

I can’t help it. I’m an avid chronicler: a memory keeper, a picture taker and an image maker. When I find a special place, somewhere I feel magic, I have to collect it. When I go to the coast, I have to purposefully limit the amount of pebbles that make their way into my pockets. All handwritten notes, cards or letters are filed away into memory boxes. Gifts hold special meaning, the off-handed ones more so. A pipe cleaner bracelet given directly from a friend’s wrist in a show of momentary gratitude, a quote quickly typed on a typewriter after a night of drinking and conversation at Ben Moore’s, a piece of glass kicked down an entire block in Portland, passed back and forth between pairs of feet… these things hold magic. How could I ever throw them away? I need reminders, especially on long, lonely January days, that magic still exists.

A list of magic items, January 2010:

  • Mexican Folk Art Cross, Albuquerque, NM purchased while visiting Theresa Pfarr and Robert Rainy, 2006
  • Velvet Ship paintings, inherited from the printmaking studio while moving into new office, 2005
  • Ceramic vase given by a friend and fellow art student in Alfred, NY, 2001
  • Ceramic collie dog figure saved from a junk shop in Portland, 2009
  • Deer planter, purchased by parents from Finder’s Keepers, 2007
  • Five feathers from each of our chickens, summer 2009
  • Papier Mache sparrow (one of three) purchased from Vanessa Lang at the Olympia Film Society Benefit Auction, 2008
  • Postcard of Greg Luken’s painting, taken from his show at Northern, October 2009
  • Moon Snail shells found while trespassing with Erin on a private Puget Sound beach this past summer, 2009
  • Assorted pebbles, pacific ocean beaches, summer, 2009
  • Cactus candle given by George Allen while in his truck, Richmond, VA, March 2008
  • Suburban Home collages on wood given by Ji Eun, Vermont Studio Center, December 2009
  • 1970s Owl incense holder, taken from my parents’ house, 2003
  • Cast Typewriter ball given by Conor Peterson, Summer 2009
  • Fortune Cat, purchased with Marisa in San Francisco’s Chinatown, December 2007
  • Dancing Ceramic Cactus, purchased with Tyler in Arizona, 2004
  • Teabag Etching, given by Lisa after serving on the budget committee, May 2009
  • Ceramic Pelican bank from estate sale shopping with Willow and Avi, Fall 2008
  • Ceramic owl figure found by Willow at Value Village, Fall 2008
  • Wooden bowl of assorted stones, quartz, lava rock and Johnstown diamonds, found all over the country during various adventures, 1999 – 2009

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