going to the flea market with children is just not cool. for whatever unknowable reason, they don't seem particularly interested in 70 year old photos of some russian family on holiday at what looks like yosemite. and they aren't as enamored as i am with sorting through crate after crate of barry manilow and englebert humperdinck albums in search of that brubeck or nick drake album. instead, we go off searching for "toys," which mostly means broken transformers. sigh. i miss my saturdays at the flea market.
however, due to some divine providence (and eager grandparents), i was provided with a child-less saturday this weekend, and i headed down to the golden nugget flea market in lambertville, nj. now you need to understand one thing about me: as a collage artist, part of the draw of a flea market to me is not just what is on the tables being sold, but what is under the table and all over the ground being forgotten. flea markets are my art supply stores. so as i perused the albums and antiques at the golden nugget saturday, i also kept my head down quite a bit, and i walked away with all of this at no cost:
a few months ago our kids had been given some kind of melissa & doug stamp set for kids, and it came in this little wooden box you see below. most people would have thrown it away. but not me. i took the open side of the box, which had some little shelves in it, and i painted it black, as you can see in the next picture. that painted box has been sitting around in my art room for a couple of months, just waiting for the right moment.
and finally, the right moment arrived. i came home with a smorgasboard of scattered sundries, all desperately begging me to tell their story. so i put them together in ways that interested me, made me chuckle and made me go 'hmmmm...,' and then glued them down and covered everything in a clear finish. and i got this:
"at the flea market with my head down"
mixed media assemblage in wood box
gregory a. milinovich
another piece of evidence in my case that there is art all around us; grace in the gravel and the garbage. another witness to my call to keep my eyes open (my name, gregory, means "watchman," or "observant") and notice the joy in the most unsuspected parts of the journey. the little bits of color of life. the strange relationships that emerge when two previously unrelated entities are put together. the redemption of rescue.
and so i give thanks to God for a sabbath-like saturday at the flea market.