Treasure hunts and empty spaces

“J’arrive quelquefois à ne penser à rien, et même pas comme l’ami Pierrot, à la mort de Louis XVI : d’un coup, je me rends compte que je suis là, que le métro vient de s’arrêter et qu’ayant quitté Dugommier quelques quatre-vingt-dix secondes auparavant, je suis maintenant bel et bien à Daumesnil. Mais, en l’occurrence, je ne suis pas arrivé à penser le rien. Comment penser le rien ? Comment penser le rien sans automatiquement mettre quelque chose autour de ce rien, ce qui en fait un trou, dans lequel on va s’empresser de mettre quelque chose, une pratique, une fonction, un destin, un regard, un besoin, un manque, un surplus…?”

– Espèces d’espaces, Georges Pérec.

:: :: ::

“I sometimes manage to think of nothing, not even, like Raymond Queneau’s Ami Pierrot, of the death of Louis XVI. All of a sudden I realize I am here, that the Metro train has just stopped and that, having left Dugommier some ninety seconds before, I am not well and truly at Daumesnil. But, in the event, I haven’t succeeded in thinking of nothing. . . . How to think of nothing without automatically putting something round that nothing, so turning it into a hole, into which one will hasten to put something, and activity, a function, a destiny, a gaze, a need, a lack, a surplus . . . ?”

-Species of Spaces, Georges Pérec.

There has been an empty space in the woods this year. Something – or rather someone – is missing. We haven’t heard the cuckoo yet. That could well be the very reason why the weather is so wet here.

Even without the cuckoo, even wet and muddy, the woods are still our playground…

Today’s Treasure Hunt in the woods was indeed successful.We did find a golden coin – see below!

Meanwhile on the Island of Sodor – on the other end of the table – some transformations are happening… using entire tubes of cheap watercolour paints and … ahem… my best brushes…

“Oh! the indignity!!”

In his book, Species of Spaces, Georges Pérec dreams of having an empty room in his house. A room with absolutely nothing in it and for no purpose whatsoever. Not a storage or a spare room. No. Just an empty space, filled with… nothing. Living in the South East of England where housing prices are extortionate, I don’t have this luxury. I don’t even have a loft or a basement. I have to store things under the bed (good job I have a king size bed!)

Last month we managed to empty our garden shed to turn it into a video recording studio for my husband. From then on, I have been trying to make more space. Getting rid of a lot of clothes and all the stuff that has been following us around, packed in boxes from one house to the next for years. It’s an ongoing work in progress, like most things.

I have been getting rid of a lot of clothes, in an attempt to have a capsule wardrobe… you know just a few outfits – the ones I wear mostly. I’m down to only two pairs of shoes, and not that many clothes left. I do always wear the same things anyway. And as I’m getting better at knitting, I get to make my own clothes, clothes that are durable, that I like and can’t find anywhere else.

I don’t really have anything fancy. I am more practical. My clothes need to be comfortable, multifunctional, and able to take a beating: I need to be able to walk in the woods with them whatever the weather, ride my bike, roll around with the dogs on the floor in them, stretch and well… live in them!

So these criteria make the paring down process easier. Whatever is too small, too smart, or has stayed for too long in the wardrobe, goes on eBay or in the bag I have been filling up for my friend, who is as tall as me, but thinner than me.

I mostly get my clothes from charity shops and occasionally on eBay. I’m started to get good at finding good quality stuff for cheap. I have learned which charity shops have the well made items and which ones have cheap tat. I have also learned to not buy more than I actually need. I have learned to only buy when I have found something I really, really like, that fits me perfectly and that I will really want to wear and not just keep for … one day that never comes :)

Taking Guerilla Knitting workshops has allowed me to de-stash a bit yarn wise, but I won’t mention all the books, craft supplies boxes and all the bits I stash and hoard for all these projects that are patiently waiting to materialise in the real world…

A completely empty room Georges said?? Hmmm, I wonder how long I could keep it empty for if I ever had the luxury to have one!

xxx,

Noémie.

11 thoughts on “Treasure hunts and empty spaces

  1. Ah a moment of having no thoughts…how lovely!! That is one creative happening on both sides of the table and woohoo, gold in them woods. And isn’t decluttering the most delightful thing to do?? I love buying my cloths second hand too and indeed there is lots of good quality stuff out there. Since I am so tall (6 ft +) I often have to alter a few things, so when that process goes south, I at least did not waste tons of money:o) But…only two pairs of shoes ?? Alas..that will never happen ;o) xo Johanna

  2. Wow, you and Boy have had another busy week! I love the tree and mud sculpture in the woods – was one (or both) of you responsible for that? It’s nice to meet a fellow not-obssesed-with-shoes lady too – the only reason I own more than 2 pairs myself is because not everyone shares my opinion that Doc Martens are perfectly suitable foot attire for all occasions! How are you getting on with your latest knitted creations?

    1. Well yeah, doc martens do go with absolutely everything, especially skirts! Who doesn’t agree with that?? Other work may need to update their sense of fashion and look up Vivienne Westwood on Google ;) yes, the face on the tree… That was me…

      1. Nice! I bet it was fun to do! And it’s workplaces that have the most difficulty accepting the beauty and practicality of the humble Doc – which is daft, because they are the ultimate work shoe! This is why I much prefer working for myself 😀

  3. I don’t get people who find it “therapeutic” to shop…I feel sooooo much better getting rid of stuff! I’m also starting my own make-your-own-clothing adventure in the hopes of having items I actually like, not just what I had to settle for at the shop. Love your little adventures!

    1. Ps: I have this fascination for work uniform and especially smocks like artist smocks… I am knitting one and if I succeed I’m planning on knitting it in different colours… Have you ever wore one?

      1. No, colored pencils aren’t exactly messy. However, my stepmom just gave me an apron she bought somewhere and it totally reminds me of a smock I wore in grade school art class!

      2. I want the smock looking tunic for the look… I don’t really get messy either with knitting or painting – Or maybe when I’m blogging… I might spill that cup of tea everywhere… :D

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