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  • Lydia Thomas

Ephemera

Let me be clear.


I don't need more ephemera.


I didn't go looking for more ephemera.


No, I went to the open air flea market at Expo New Mexico looking for frames. I've started looking unique frames to fit the pieces I've been (re)working lately.


You know, flea markets kind of remind me of a giant estate/garage/yard sale - filled with things that someone somewhere at some point in time treasured, things that may or may not hold value for anyone else. It brings me a special kind of joy - wandering through it all, watching for something - anything - that catches my eye.


I didn't see any frames that stood out to me.


Several vases captured my attention. (I have a bit of a vase obsession.) Old books, too. Unfortunately - or perhaps fortunately, from my bank account's perspective - I don't have the space to expand either my vase or book collections, so I had to pass on those particular treasures.


Then, I found some ephemera kits.


What is ephemera?


According to Oxford Languages, ephemera are "things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time." The word has its etymology in the Greek word ephemeros, which literally means, "lasting only a day."


Kind of a romantic notion, isn't it?


In the arts and crafts world, ephemera kits contain snippets of fabric. magazines, and paper along with other tiny treasures.


And you know what delights me about them?


They are explorations and discoveries all their own. You never know what colors, textures, and ideas you might uncover.


Let me reiterate.


I did not need more ephemera.


Being a cutter and paster, I have a folio stuffed with scraps that have caught my eye over the years. Words, textures, stickers,...


Earlier this year, I met an artist who curates and sells ephemera tins. Naturally, I was curious, so I ordered one. It was so fun to explore the little things that captured someone else's attention and dream of ways to incorporate them into my own work.


I did not go out looking for more ephemera today.


But you can probably imagine my sheer delight when I came upon a booth at the flea market today that had bins upon bins of stickers through which to sift.


And you can probably imagine my joy only grew at a booth that had bins of ephemera packets. (Two for $5, no less.) I can't wait to open them up and play with everything inside.


As I said earlier, the nature of ephemera is transitory. Maybe bringing it into my work is a way of giving it some roots. Maybe - on a deeper level - it's about trying to find rootedness myself.


Now that I'm thinking about it, maybe flea markets are less like giant estate, garage, or yard sales and more like giant ephemera packets.


Maybe that's what life is.








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