I do a variety of art projects for no better reason than when I dabble with paint or mosaics or mixed media the world slips away and for a few blissful moments it feels like I am in conversation with The Universe.
Once the conversation ends I am left with a piece of what could loosely be called art that sometimes makes its way onto a wall or a shelf in our home. More often than not, the piece ends up being recycled for a second go around in another “conversation” to come.
Sometimes I like the pieces well enough, but too many accumulate and I end up donating a few to a thrift store. I confess that on a few occasions I have returned later to see what they have priced my work at and if it sells. I don’t know if that is weird, pathetic, completely narcissistic or all three. Don’t judge me.
A couple weeks ago I was in one of our local thrift stores when I spotted a mosaic piece I had made well over a decade ago. For years it had hung by the wood stove in our kitchen on the farm. When we moved into town, almost five years ago, I had donated it, not to see if it would sell, but simply because I was purging for the move.
I frequent this thrift store often and hadn’t seen the mosaic hanging there before, so I knew it hadn’t been there the whole time.
Plus the frame had been scuffed and damaged since I donated it. I figured someone bought it, hadn’t loved it much and then donated it again, or maybe it had just been kicking around the back storage room all these years and had suffered damage that way.
The only thing I knew for sure was the sticker read $3.99 and I felt sorry for it. I grabbed it off the wall like I was rescuing a puppy from a dumpster and carried it over to the till.
The ego part of me was hoping the salesperson would say something complimentary about the mosaic or perhaps marvel at the surprisingly cheap price tag attached.
“What? 3.99? There must be some kind of mistake. It should be at least 39.99!” but all she said was, “That will be 2.79 please.”
I handed her the two toonies I had ready and she quickly deposited a loony and a couple dimes back into my hand.
“Actually that’s not right,” I told her, trying to return the change. “It’s 3.99.”
She stared at me for a long moment, looking a bit like a deer in the headlights, before cautiously saying, “Um, it’s Senior Tuesday so I gave you your 30 percent discount.”
Bad enough my art was abused, rejected twice and mockingly priced, but now here I was finding out I look a full ten years older than I actually am.
But then I thought, hey, that’s what happens when you enjoy a lifetime of summers gardening in the sun. I can almost buy a pack of garden seeds with that buck seventy-nine savings. AND I get a mosaic piece I know for a fact cost at least twenty dollars in ingredients to make, all for a mere two dollars and seventy-nine cents.