May 28, 2010

Trash into treasure: the Infinite Garage Project strikes back

It's one thing to espouse a minimalist lifestyle, and another to really live it. As it turns out, sometimes we find ourselves with an avalanche of belongings thrust upon us — as in the case of my friend Raina Lee, who's allotted herself one year to clean out the 35 years' worth of clutter her parents had stored up in their Southern California garage. The easiest solution would have been to throw the whole mess out, but with an abundance of humor, creativity, and thoughtfulness, Raina is exploring their collections piece by piece, chronicling her process on her blog.

Called Infinite Garage Project, it's intended, in her words, as "an attempt at examining life through objects however mundane, useless or beautiful." While it's not yet clear whether she'll sell the vintage pieces on Etsy, through an online garage sale, or in a roving shop of her own, the reminiscences on history and identity evoked by her latest finds make the blog a worthwhile read. A few highlights, above from left, include the multiple furs Raina's wearing while she types; her grandfather's Styrofoam tray collection; a cheerful ring sweater, modeled by Emily; and a surprisingly delicate butterfly tapestry.

All the multiples bring me back to somewhat unrelated alchemy of trash into treasure, this one by Stuart Haygarth. Back in 2004, the British artist and designer collected debris from the coastline in Dungeness, Kent, and assembled it by color to create this captivating piece, which I'll leave you with for today:

Photo via Philip Wood

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