Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Search for the unknown

Unknown quantity:
A person or thing whose nature or value is a mystery.

Today whilst enjoying my beloved habit of searching through op shops and forgotten stock in other stores, I entered moments of bliss - one of the easier ways for me! I entered a state of searching, without expectation, without an agenda or judgment on what passed before my eyes. Although the major motivation for my searches was to gather further materials for my work, I did not hold any fixed parameters for intended purchases. As much as I try, I find that slipping back into my judgements and frame of reference is all to easy, and requires ongoing practice to remove these shackles which can dull and confine our naturally limitless possibilities for, and scope of, perception. To see the world as fresh and new, in many different guises and meanings, requires conscious applied effort once we have been indoctrinated into adulthood. Regular op shopping deals a good, hefty kick to this. (So does boycotting current fashion and cultural publications from time to time, but that's another blog entry altogether).

And this is exactly where the blissful moments made themselves known: an experience of arriving at the new, of seeing old things as new, new things as never seen before, as well as finding the obsolete, which reliably refreshes my ongoing frame of reference. Why do I much prefer this to simply drawing up a range, and seeking easily available supplies? Apart from it being downright enjoyable for me, I find it constantly challenges me on numerous levels: to be resourceful; to be creative in both how I perceive as well as what I put out; and because it shakes my 'ruts of perception', especially where they are ingrained by dint of residing in this particular time and culture. And above all, it helps keep that channel to the unknown open, in that I truly never know what to expect - will this week's supplies be fur, old patterns, or lycra? Which decade will my influences be from, and will I find something I never liked and suddenly find new beauty in it?

Another perk is that the majority of what I will come across will be outside of the current prescribed "wants list". Hmm, perhaps I might refer to such as a 'prescription' from here on, the analogies are opening up immensely! The only surfacing of such fashion 'prescriptions' are in the more commercialised op shops, where the marketing onslaughts have influenced their pickings at times, and in recent times there has been a more steady supply of discarded fads. Although, creativity can be called upon and even the recent past's prescribed fads can be played around with, embracing a healthy irreverence for any originally intended purpose and style.

And ultimately, this method supports and enables realisation of my major motivation, which is to create items free from the constraints of the current dictatorship of fashion; some items may resonate with the current moods and themes, but are never created solely to fit them, and in turn are never an expectation that my customer would allow themselves to be moulded into something or someone that simply isn't them - I consider it almost sacrelige to negate any human's intrinsic being-ness in any way. I do hope that my customers feel they are offered items which can elicit or resonate with their true self, and I would rather a customer walk away without purchasing instead of simply buying out of an externally imposed view of themselves.

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