Reduce, reuse, recycle…with love

This is a photo of a piece of linen that my mom embroidered on when she was probably not much more than 8 or 10 years of age. I have a box of over a half-dozen of these “samplers”, as they were called back then, and I estimate they are about 90 years old, despite looking pristine as they have been boxed most of those years.

We are in the slow but steady process of sorting through and thinning out some of the flotsam and jetsam we’ve accumulated over time. I hadn’t opened this box in quite a while. In addition to the linens were some of my mom’s baby clothes which are now over 100 years old.

Some possessions are easier to let go of than others, and I had a lengthy internal dialogue about the contents of this particular box. I let it sit on the table for a few days, and eventually inspiration struck. I’ve avoided using towels and rags for clean-up in my studio because then they just have to be thrown away, dried acrylic paint being what it is. But I looked at these samplers and thought, these are perfect for paint rags, and I would love actually using them, picking them up regularly, seeing the embroidery stitches, and adding my own chaotic abstraction of colors to the linen. I know in my heart that my mom would approve.

I’ve lovingly mauled this one with my paint-covered paws for a couple of months now, and it’s starting to stiffen up quite a bit. I’m going to throw it in a bucket with some soap and see if it has any more love to give…..if not, will let it go with a smile and a salute for its service.

Well done is better than well said.

Benjamin Franklin

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