This is a re-post from one of my first blog posts in July of 2012. I love it as much now as I did then and I’m hoping that the summer memories will warm us all…
I love Goodwill. I love the friendly staff, even when they are grumpy. I love the funk music station which is always playing. I love the people you will find, I love so many things about it. I could write an entire blog about my love of goodwill- but alas that is not today’s story. However, Today’s story begins in goodwill.
I have parked my scooter in the parking lot and I am on the hunt for something wonderful: Stuffed animals. White stuffed animals to be exact. I walk briskly to the toy bins at the front of the store- immediately I find two large white Teddy bears and I am overcome with excitement and joy. This is good, this is really good. So many white teddy bears in there today. It’s like they knew I was coming and were waiting for me (or perhaps nobody understands the joy of a stinky dirty crusty used white teddy bear but me.) I start pulling all the white toys out and lining them up together on the conveniently placed bench in the middle of the bins. There is a headless white doll- but she doesn’t make the cut- I’m not going that route. The bunnies don’t make the cut either- well- one does- he is just too cute to be denied- he can stay. As I stand there looking at all of my new friends lined up on the plastic goodwill bench, I have the best realization ever: We are going to have a tea party!!
I grab all of my bears and head to the housewares isle. I am excited as hell. I don’t even have a cart- just six white bears of varying size- I’d like to think that this is more excitement than goodwill has seen all week- but you never know…
As a side note I must mention that In my travels to the housewares isle- the first people encountered were to Hispanic men with a vintage lamp in tow. It was made from 70’s looking vintage glass panels and on each of these panels was a wolf. Effing dreamy. I was one part jealous, 1 part super happy for them and their golden find. Wolf lamp. OMG. Must be mentioned.
So back to housewares, I’m carrying my six bears and looking for white teapots and teacups. I come dangerously close to breaking some sort of white religious mini-statue when I hit it with a bear- so i retreat and throw my bears in a basket. A wonderful, amazing, and helpful employee of the good good will is so kind as to get me a cart. He even brings me some teacups. I love this man! The woman next to me is salty like the Earth. Overhearing that I am on a hunt for teacups she tells me, “there is a tiny tea set right there.”
IT’S TINY!!!! IT’S WHITE!!!!!!! IT’S 99 CENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want to attack this woman with a joyous hug but I am quite certain that this wold be far too much for her to handle. All I can say is, “Oh My God! Thank You!!! You have no Idea how great this is!!” She doesn’t seem to understand the magic in her being the one to discover this tiny magic tea set for me. She was the key to it’s discovery!! She is a Magic Tea Set Woman!!!!!! If only she knew the perfection of having a tiny magic tea set for my all white tea party with my new bear friends!!!!! I tell her a few more times how great she is. She asks me if I am a teacher, I tell her no, I am a fashion designer, she looks confused. I love her all the same.
The man at the checkout is kind enough to give me $1 off of a bear that I left in a basket in the back. Oh Goodwill- you are your name! My bill comes to $25.49 and since I spent over $25 I get $5 off!! This is a Win!!! Six Bears and One bunny and 3 teapots and cups and saucers and a magic mini tea set all for $20!!!!! I want to run through the store and hug every employee there. I thank my cashier 5 or so times. I am very excited. This expedition has cut into my already lean grocery budget for the week, but it’s well worth it. I put one bag of Bears in my basket, one at my feet and the ceramics under the seat of my scooter. I can’t wait to get home and show Sally. She is going to love this!!! It’s Tea Time!
We step out of the car into the hot humid air. It’s nearing 100 degrees and sweat is dripping down my face in sheets. I’m starting to worry that I’m not going to look like the porcelain doll that I imagined when I covered my face with loads of foundation and white clay instead of powder, but i just hope that Sally’s photographic skill and the wonders of lighting and waterproof mascara will be my saving grace.
We step up to an abandoned house down the street with a wildly overgrown yard. I have had my eye on this house for a few months now. We walk through the overgrown path of weeds to the front porch that is covered in broken glass. The sign says no trespassing, obviously this has not been honored by us or whoever smashed the front door. Sally looks at me with some concern. “I hope nobody’s in there.” “It’ll be fine.” I say, “I’ll handle it.” Broken glass and crackheads aside, there is one final concern. Sally looks down at her pants and shrieks. It appears as if she is covered in hundreds of tiny little bugs. Oh dear. I look down at my outfit- which I might add- is all white and lace and it appears I am afflicted with the same strange condition. Weeds! I don’t know what they are officially called, but we are both covered in hundreds, if not thousands of tiny brown prickly things. I start trying to pull them off and realize it’s going to take far longer than what we are working with. “Fuck it!” I say, “lets just set up the shot.” I step back into the small overgrown path and lay down a white blanket. It too becomes attacked by prickly plants. I grab the bears and tea pots and start placing them around. I’m sweating like a football player and I’ve got a blue kerchief tucked into my underwear so I can mop up my face without ruining the shot. There are ants crawling near my feet and on the bears and this is feeling waaaay less exciting than when I was in the clean- unweeded, friendly and air conditioned Goodwill.
I step back to scope out the shot and that’s when I see him. A big fat bright orange wasp. My mortal enemy and greatest fear. He is less than a foot away and he likes my bears. This is not good. “Just be cool, he’s not going to bother you.” says Sally. Then she screams a little. It seems there is, “a big fucking spider” in the bushes to her right. I can’t take it I run into the street. The cars driving by must wonder what a scared looking girl is doing in a white tutu in front of an abandoned house. News of the day, I’m sure.
The wasp eventually gets bored and we pull ourselves together and get back in the weeds for the shots. We do all we can and then drive to a familiar hilltop for some safety and comfort. Here we can shoot unmolested by glass, bugs and attack plants. It’s far easier to take a blissful nap with bears here. A breeze has started to kick in and it feels like heaven.
That night when I see the shots I know that our adventure was well worth it. These photos are my favorite so far of all of our collaborations. They inspire me to continue taking my clothing in the direction I’m most passionate about- not a direction heavily intertwined with the world of fashion, but one that is heavily intertwined with art. The final shot posted here is my absolute favorite. I’m happy to have a friend and a roommate who is such a fabulous creative conspirator. I’m thrilled to see where our newest imaginings will take us 🙂
Shoot styling and Concept by Elisabeth Donaldson
Skirt and Headband designed by Monarch. Purchase Skirt on Etsy.
All Photographs by Sally Matsukawa of Toy Elephant Photography