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Downsize, Exorcize or … Intercize? by Lorena Bowser

Downsize, Exorcize or …Intercize? 
by Lorena Bowser

 Everybody is downsizing now! Normally, I avoid what everybody else is doing for some very well-founded reasons, but in this newest trend, I see an awakening:  “Stuff” gets in the way of our freedom to be ourselves, and in the artist’s case, of our creative spirit.  So we’re getting rid of things we don’t need, no longer want, or can’t figure out what to do with and suddenly a huge weight lifts from our shoulders.  Mark “one” for the spiritual Vs the material.  We move out the extra material baggage and our spirits have room to move in. It feels so good! I highly recommend downsizing!

 Exorcism of course has its advantages when we have to root out our evil inclinations to keep everything we set eyes on because “we will use it some day.”  Have you used that lovely branch you picked up from the woods years ago for the wall hanging you were going to weave? … or those perfectly good empty yoghurt containers for that children’s art class you might give “sometime, somewhere”…or those cool cigar boxes that you rescued from a neighbor who was about to put them in the trash? (Admit it: a wooden cigar box is a thing of beauty!).  Exorcism is a last-ditch effort when downsizing gets stuck in sentimentality.

 Intercize is a word of my own invention.  Like “interstate”, it crosses the borders, in this case, between what goes and what stays, as we downsize and exorcise dozens of collected items we have no space for.  For me it began because I couldn’t afford those cool boxes and organizers I saw at IKEA for my art materials, and was still piling all my art tools in a mixed salad on the shelf.  The inspiration came from a growing number of items on my work table that I was “downsizing” and about ready to “hand off.”  I was still having trouble convincing myself that it was OK to let go of that little red thingamajig left over from the small French press after I broke the glass part.  It had been in my dish cupboard for two years just because I remembered how much I had fallen in love with the little red enamel French press when I had first discovered it at International Imports.  I could never find another – or the glass replacement.   On my table next to it was one topless empty coke can from the Beijing Olympic collection that my son had given me. So pretty! – and red!   I picked it up and tried it on (or “into” as the case may be) the remains of my French press.  It was a perfect fit!  This successful marriage of two pretty items that I had no practical use for whatever now holds my favorite paint brushes.

 That got me started…   I took another look at the collection of “dumb things I liked but had never used” that I was about to hand off to some unlucky “upsizer”: wooden gift tea boxes rescued from my son’s garage sale, those cool cigar boxes, cleverly-designed mini-crates and see-through containers from Trader Joe purchases, a blueberry juice cardboard six pack, the top from a prepared salad purchase at Whole Foods, a favorite large white dinner plate (chipped), dozens of plastic containers with tight-fitting caps from the make-your-own-peanut-butter dispenser and… far too many saved yoghurt containers!  And yes, I’m guilty of having kept a pretty branch for a never-realized wall hanging project – for four years!  I will string it up in my Murphy Studio and use it to hang rulers and my roll of paper towels. I have a secret wish, however, of accomplishing the wall hanging one day.  There are four skeins of exotic yarns taking up space in my closet - waiting. OK, nobody’s perfect!

 It didn’t take me long to get all my paint brushes, colored pencils, erasers and art pencils, printmaking accessories, pens, inks, diluted watercolor washes, and miniature art projects neatly stashed in containers, each one a proud individual in my newly-organized art cupboard. The dinner plate is now my favorite pallet for mixing large amounts of a watercolor. I’ll admit, my art closet is pauvre eclectic, but now there is “a place for everything, and everything in its place.”  Remember that?  I thought it was a line from a fairy tale. Not so. And if my organized closet looks a bit like pieces of an Andy Warhol exhibit, at least I can say it’s within the realm of artistic endeavors.

 You may have other ideas for “intercizing,” but the point is that handing off an unused treasured item or throwing it away is not the only option. Nor does recycling have to be synonymous with the big blue bin from the city.  It can happen at home. Just think: when two items become “one”, you double the space for organizing!  So it’s not too pretty?  Come on…is the new “found art” pretty?  Yet everyone’s doing it! Well, like I said…I normally avoid what everyone else is doing.  More on that subject next time…

Lorena Bowser is a lifetime artist and linguist. She has lived all over the world and really knows how to make the pennies scream. Enjoy more of Lorena's resourcefulness at her website and blog: at http://lorenasartandprose.blogspot.com

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