Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A Material Girl

My name is Shawna, I am a material girl and I really like fabric too.  Okay, I know that was funny only to me and doesn't even really make sense unless, like me, you grew up referring to fabric as 'material', as in "I am going to the store to buy some material to make a dress."  I love fabric, I love textiles of all sorts though I am not much of a sewer.  I mainly mend things and imagine that I am going to sew new things or re-fashion old things.  So I am inclined to buy textiles simply because I fall for them, but I try to be practical and buy them already made into something.  Something, such as a shawl or throw.  I have more than I need of those if you consider that they are for keeping a person warm but to me they are draped art and so I drape them all over.  I recently bought another one and am staring at it as I write, which is what has me pondering this whole material concept right now.

                                   Tibetan Yak Wool Blanket

I had a small holiday, a trip to Victoria, and despite being exhausted I enjoyed myself very much.  Although I cannot do what many would on a holiday, I do not see any reason to deprive myself of one, even if I have to rest in the hotel for half of it.  My favourite kinds of holidays are generally of two types.  One is where I go to a lovely spot such as the seaside and stay in a place with a view and enjoy the fact that I have gotten away to a beautiful patch of nature and do not have to cook any of my own meals.  I would probably not object to the warm sunny tropical beach type of holiday but I have never experienced one yet.  The other type is a trip to a city, where I happily feel anonymous in a crowd and yet go about smiling and talking to everyone like the small town girl I am.  On both types I am more focused on being than on doing.  I just like to be there and do not set myself an agenda of things to do.  This has much to do with not having the ability to spend a day touring, walking, hiking, climbing or rushing from interesting site to interesting site.  It is imperative that rest is incorporated into my day.  It is imperative that I find gluten free food.  It is imperative that I buy books.  Oh wait, no that last one is not imperative, it is just highly likely.

                          Book Inspector Sophie On Duty

On the second sort of holiday, such as the one I have just had in Victoria, I enjoy wandering about the city and I am inclined to purchase things, as any material girl would.  I like souvenirs of my trips but  do not have a fondness for snow globes or keychains.  I am also not likely to be holidaying in a location that is in any way exotic from my point of view.  In other words, I am not gallivanting around the globe collecting treasures from various cultures and decorating my walls with masks, my shelves with carvings or draping my furniture with textiles from the souk, though perhaps if I were living out life in a different body and with a different bank account I might, because whenever I am in a city I head to the fair trade shops and buy something from far away places.  Then I go to the bookstores.  Round this out with an exploration of cafes and pubs at meal times and half my day resting in the hotel reading one of the recently purchased books and you've got a good picture of the sort of holiday I take.

                        Regretfully I lost the tag that explains who made this adorable little purple elephant.  I think it was in Bangladesh.

Some people prefer to purchase experiences.  I am not averse to those at all and will happily go whale watching or to an art gallery, but I will still want to come home from my holiday with things, and I can't come home with a whale as it's just not done!  Instead of feeling guilt about materialistic tendencies I have decided to look at it differently.  I am a person who is drawn to talismans.  If I am out in nature I will come home with rocks and branches and leaves.  If I am in the city I will come home with books and textiles.  It is even likely that I will come home with purchases that could have been made in my own home town.  I know that some of you will shake your heads over that but it makes sense to me.  When I look at that book or that shawl I am reminded of a happy time I had, and I have something that continues to bring me pleasure repeatedly, which is more frequently than a one time experience does. 

 This green flower is one of a set of three crocheted in hemp by women in Vietnam.  It comes on a hairpin but I've just clipped it to my dress in this case.

Yes, you are right, I did buy a massive pile of books on Tarot and assorted pagan issues, both mythical and anthropological.  The joy of being a fiction writer is that I get to research different subjects that interest me when they are applicable to the plot or character(s) of my story.  If I am really fascinated by the subject I indulge in purchasing books. 


  1. I am so happy for you that you went on a holiday and enjoyed yourself! I love both being and doing, and at certain times being actually much more than doing, so I understand completely what you are talking about.

    Photos are very colorful and cozy!

    Glad to "see" you! :) xxxxx

  2. We call fabric "material" in Russian too, btw.

  3. glad you had fun in your holidays!
    we call your preferred kind of holidays "lung sanatorium" after thomas mann´s "zauberberg", lounging around in a deck chair and enjoying the view :-)
    buying or collecting some sentimental stuff is carved in our genes. in our animistic days talismans were much needed, even the "new" religions can´t do without little things to take away and carry around.
    i want to add that doing AND being are the same for me. i do not "buy" experiences but i love to dive into the new places witch often needs to "do" something physical, sometimes a actual dive :-) when i hike a mountain i do it to feel the landscape, when i climb i can touch/cuddle it without looking silly. swimming in a river/lake/ocean surf gives me a tactile experience of the place, exploring from a canoe is so close to the environment - only some thin woodsticks and and a rubber skin between me and the surroundings........
    and i can all this experiences recall because the body does not forget.
    love the purple elephant - tooo cuuuteee!!!!!

  4. Hahaha, I got the joke, very funny you sneaky funny lady you! :D I like to bring crap from my trips too, it just makes the whole experience more enjoyable, when instead of posting 1000 photos on facebook, you bring a little pebble or a branch even, to remind you where you were and what you did.
    You remind me of a friend of mine, she always manages to become friends with crowds of people, she's so freakin social, it's weird :D

  5. I'm another one who grew up referring to fabric as material, so you're not alone! It's great that you had a trip away, and I think people should do whatever makes them happy for their holidays - one size will never fit all, and that's fine. City wandering is right up my street too. Sophie's giving your books the sniff test (I hope she approves!) and your blanket and purple elephant are lovely. xxx

  6. Yes, we use material here too. I'm so glad that you were off enjoying yourself! You had some lovely finds. Love the purple Ellie and the throw! Lying back reading a book is one of the best parts of my holidays too. xo JJ

  7. I call it material too! and I love you call some of it 'draped art' how true! some really are exquisite textiles - I'm chuffed you have had a holiday, it sounds perfect, our holidays always involve a bookshop (for the others, I'm a terrible reader) although I do think I have the bottom book on your pile too (I was gifted Tarot Cards a looong time ago from an Aunt) - Sophie is the cutest inspector, and looks very efficient , ps love the colours of your outfit and the gorgeous hairclip/ brooch x x x

  8. I called it material too ... I wonder when we all got a little bit posh and started calling it fabric??
    Does this mean we will be reading one of your stories again soon?


I love visitors and I love comments. I will try my best to respond to everyone! Thanks for stopping by.