"100% Trash, So You Know It's Good!"comments (12) January 5th, 2009
When you love paper as much as I do, every holiday gift comes wrapped in a treasure all its own: I have the pleasure of the gift itself and the added joy of adding a wonderful piece of paper to my already bulging archive of fun, festive, unusual, and beautiful papers. I credit my grandmother with instilling in me this interest in rescuing and reusing wrapping paper. When she taught it to me, it was generally looked upon as being "frugal"; now it is commonly referred to as being "green." Whatever you prefer to call it, come January I am usually still writing and sending out thank-you notes to friends and family in appreciation of their holiday generosity.
As has already been established here, I have been known to be somewhat elaborate in my thank-yous. (In my defense, I feel compelled to show appreciation in proportion to the kindness that's been shown to me. Can I help it if my friends happen to be extraordinary people? I think not.)
This year was no exception, and one gift in particular caught me off guard both because it was unexpected (coming, as it did, from two very new friends) and so perfectly suited to my interests (the marvelous pop-up book ABC3D by Marion Bataille). To thank my friends for their thoughtfulness, I wanted to make them something suitably "holiday" related but also suitably ephemeral. When it comes to thank-yous, I have found that the best ones are those that last awhile but eventually fade away: for some reason, once a note is gone, the memory of it grows stronger.
So, this year, I looked at all the gifts I had with a fresh eye, seeing not only the presents themselves but also the sentiments they conveyed and the care and beauty with which they were packaged. Isn't a large part of what makes a gift a gift the pleasure of its surprise? And isn't that what wrapping paper does? Isn't that the work, the very essence of wrapping paper, to create surprise? If that was true, why relegate wrapping paper to merely hiding the surprise when I could transform it into the surprise itself.
The pieces I ended up making were loose and imperfect with plenty of fuzzy edges and flawed finishes, but they all had that wonderful element of surprise about them. As an added benefit, I rescued a small mountain of paper that would otherwise have been destined for a landfill. The resulting paper ornaments may eventually find their way to a trash barrel somewhere down the road, but for the time being they have been busily employed as frothy bagatelles signifying the unbridled pleasure of friendship.
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