This photo was a mistake.
I was playing with shutter speed settings and this was the blurred result. So, in theory it was a mistake. And yet ...
... in its atmospheric mistiness; in its resemblance to old, double-exposed, images; in its sense of time passing ... it's less of a mistake and more a reflection of the age and romance of the subject matter: an original, unused, 1920s index card file.
If you're one of those people [and, in all likelihood, if you're taking time to visit me here, I think it's safe to bet that you are] whose pulse quickens when in the vicinity of office supplies then imagine coming face to face with this when you're really not expecting to.
Surprise office supplies are a treat in themselves. But surprise VINTAGE office supplies ... well ... that's approaching dangerous excitement levels!
I came face to face with these delights while browsing around the vast Hemswell antiques centre in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire earlier this month; apparently it's Europe's largest antique centre [think thousands of ceramics, paintings, furniture, bibelots etc] and yet, somehow, my paper-loving eye managed to find rare papery treasure in among it all!
Perhaps paper-tracking is my super power.
This is what I first saw; a closed box:
With its worn edges it was sitting, quietly, humbly, on a highly polished antique table in between shinier trinkets and more colourful collectables and, to the un-stationary-obsessed eye it could have just remained 'a box' and a brown, scuffed, box at that. But I had a feeling ...
... so I glided nearer, with my blood and my hopes both rising and slid my index finger beneath the smooth curve of its handle, then gripped it with my thumb ... and pulled ... to reveal ...
I knew I wasn't going to be able to leave without them. [Even after those same fingers turned over the price label ... !!]
I knew that the next leg of their life's journey was with me ... and with you, here, and with the vintage paper-lovers [the paper's vintage, not the ever-youthful and glowing lovers!] who visit my shop because they recognise that I 'get it'.
I knew that, like me, you would be stopped in your tracks by a box of old cards that most people wouldn't look at twice. And you too would start thinking about filling in the blanks ...
Because it is all blanks. Literally and figuratively.
- They're untouched.
- They're just waiting for a new story to be written on them.
- be that through handwriting, typing, collage, sketching, art journaling ...
- Apart from the description of tham as '1920s index cards' I have no further details on them.
- Where did they come from?
- Why were they left unused?
- Where have they been since?
- Was I really the only person who wanted them?
- Or had someone else wandered past, had their heart stolen, but then ... pondered and paused ... and left without them?
If you can think of a scenario involving these cards I'd love to hear it. Which 'trades' were these used to record? Which 'goods'? What kind of customers had their details on record here?
It's a world of creative possibilities.
Ultimately that's why I love working with, collecting and selling vintage paper supplies; they may well be a fresh starting point for creating something new and yet ... they resonate with preexisting character, they bring with them a history waiting to be reinvented, re-imagined, reclaimed ...
... and where better to begin creating than with something inherently inspiring?