You might have noticed that much of this week has in some way involved my dear LA pal Ruth Handel who was in town several days ago. Here's a story along with pictures that she sent me of her almost-free treasure that turned out to be The Gift of Thrift.
Ruth's own words are so beautiful that I'll let her tell the story:
Browsing an estate sale several years ago, I spotted a little 6" sculpture made of wood. The sale was heavily attended, but no one was looking at this little chipped piece sitting up on a shelf in a studio space. The sale was in the home of an artist, and we purchased a few of her photographs and knick-knacks. I was strongly attracted to the shape -- I've always loved kinetic sculpture. The sale organizers threw it in for a few dollars with the rest of our purchases. I've enjoyed looking at it on my desk with a collection of other little wooden goodies.
It's been raining a lot lately in Los Angeles, but this morning the sky is clear and blue and a light breeze is blowing. It's just perfect. I was out running an errand with my little boy over on Santa Monica Blvd. in Santa Monica, when I glanced up to admire the outlines of a wonderful 30 foot high kinetic sculpture in the corner of a mini-mall across the street. I could not believe my eyes: it's the actual sculpture of the maquette on my shelf. I blinked a few times to be sure.
We crossed over to check out the plaque and stood in silent wonder at Ellie Stern's beautiful work. At the time of the estate sale, Ellie was living with Alzheimer's, and her children were closing down her art-filled home. I felt deeply for this artistic woman who was unable to enjoy and control her life anymore. Thousands of people pass by her magnificent sculpture daily, and I wonder how often anyone stops to read the plaque, installed 30 years ago.
Here's to finding treasures, and more treasures, Of course to Ellie, if she's not around anymore--Hello up there!
Did you feel a tug at your heart like I did?
Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,
The Elegant Thrifter