Thursday, November 15, 2012

Valuing Experiences More than Stuff - and other thoughts on Reuse Conex, vintage record players, and traveling 'round the world

Last month I had the opportunity to participate in the Reuse Expo at Reuse Conex, a three-day conference on reuse and sustainability put on by national group Reuse Alliance.  My friend Joanna Dyer (co-founder of SCRAP) invited me to vend at the Expo.

At one point during the day I noticed there was a rack of reusable shopping bags for sale (did you know that in my city of Portland, Oregon, single-use plastic bags have been BANNED from grocery stores?) and they were printed with a very interesting legend.  They said "I value experiences more than stuff" or something like that - wish I'd thought to snap a picture because I found it so intriguing. I could not agree more with that sentiment and I think it sums up the goal of the whole reuse movement.  If you haven't seen it before - go watch The Story of Stuff right now.  (It's only 20 minutes.  Seriously, go watch it.  I'll wait.)

It was a fun and inspiring day.  I was between Oregon Breakers (they fix and rebuild circuit breakers to keep them working and out of the landfill), and Long Way Home (they reuse plastic bottles and tires to build schools in Guatemala).

I also gave a little presentation on "10 Ways to Repurpose Vinyl Records."  Dont' worry - I will be sharing those tips in an upcoming blog post!

Here are some pictures of my table:

It dawned on me that I can and should use old record players in my display!  The one you see in the above photo is my old "Linoleum Hogass" record player. 

Long story but once upon a time at St. Vinny's in Great Falls, Montana, there was a roll of beautiful psychedelic vinyl, and we called it Linoleum.  One day Chuck said he would build a wall from this linoleum to make a room divider in our studio apartment, and I called him a linoleum hogass.  The wall was not built.  The linoleum came back to Portland.  I liked the pattern a lot and named my business Linoleum Hogass Records when I started selling mandalas at Portland Saturday Market in 1998.  I painted the pattern on the record player and used to have it on display at the market with a painted record spinning on it (every booth came with electricity) until something happened, it fried the circuit for all the booths surrounding me, and the lady who made knitted hats yelled at me.  The site manager for the market even attempted to fix the record player for me (maybe he felt bad for that one time he had my car towed after we left it too long in the loading zone) but the fix didn't last (and I do value that experience).  I think the cord is broken.

SIDE NOTE.  Interestingly enough, I have discovered the word hogass in the urban dictionary. And here I thought Melodie made that up in our 11th grade economics class to describe the horde of students descending upon the box full of magazines from which we were to cut images for a collage on the joys of consumption in a free market system.  What a bunch of hogasses.  (Or, hogii.)

Anyway, the record player doesn't work anymore but I can still use it in my booth!  I might never have thought of this, but recently an old friend of mine from high school (not one of the above-mentioned high school hogii) gave me another cute vintage kids' record player - which you can see here:

This particular old friend was in the process of getting rid of all of his belongings in order to embark on a journey around the world with his wife and daughter!  Now THERE is a family who values experiences more than stuff!!  I am honored to be gifted with his childhood toy record player.  I remember many an afternoon hanging out with friends at his house in downtown Oregon City...wishing them all the best on their big adventure!

(They have a blog and you keep up with their journey at was a great article about them in the Oregonian this week too.)

What you see above is some cool new packaging I've come up with for my Vintage Record Clocks.  YES!  Finally, a solution for the boxes and boxes of album jackets (they can't ALL be made into coasters), the lack of wall space for displaying the clocks, and the difficulty of storing them in between sales.  I am making the boxes out of 12" album jackets which make a perfect package for a 10" record clock. 

Obviously the jacket used is not for the same record as the clock that's inside (that would not be possible) but I did have fun matching them up loosely based on a general theme.  (You can now buy these at Tender Loving Empire and SCRAP's Re: Boutique.)

Ad don't forget, PORTLAND RECORDS!  Because Portland rocks!  And PORTLAND is still the secret code you need to save 20% off everything in the Eye Pop Art shop during the month of November.  Not that you need any more STUFF...but there is a big gift-giving holiday coming up, and if you're going to buy stuff, may I suggest you buy stuff that is handmade by an artist from reused, recycled, and repurposed materials?  That way, you can value the experience and the least, a little bit more than when you buy something from the mall. 

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