Finders, keepers



Some people just have a knack for pulling together a perfect room that reflects their personal tastes without spending a fortune.

The rooms might have a few inherited pieces, some knickknacks picked up on travels, each with a story attached. Some go a step further and find the perfect spot for foraged items – salvaging, recycling and repurposing found and natural objects to create interiors that truly express their style.

Foraging – whether in the woods, on the beach or even in the city – is not only thrifty but also eco-friendly.

I see the gorgeous images in The Foraged Home and think of the large corals I placed in a jar filled with sand from the same beach in Mexico I picked up the corals from. I didn’t think of it as foraging then, I was just giving the corals a home they would be comfortable in! I also have a mason jar filled with sea glass I found on a beach in Prince Edward Island.

But Joanna and Oliver Maclennan take foraging to a whole other level.

Foraging, they say, is for anyone, anywhere. “It doesn’t require a degree, a style guru or the latest magazine. Usually, it doesn’t even require any money. It’s amazing what lies all around us and what we habitually overlook.”

A stick lying on the ground could make a great curtain rod, adding character to a room. A pine cone can be made into a centrepiece for the table. Old furniture put out by others for recycling or a trip to the dump can be repurposed into interesting conversation pieces.

“For many foragers, these imperfections are celebrations of the thing itself, of the stories told through its chips and kinks and scratches. Embracing them is a modest push against consumerism and increasing waste.”

Finding new uses for foraged items can make one feel very Robinson Crusoe-ish, say the Maclennans. Shells, rocks, driftwood, they can all dress up a corner of your home, recalling happy vacations on distant shores.

The Foraged Home,  photographs by Joanna Maclennan, text by Oliver Maclennan, Thames & Hudson, $54.

The Foraged Home, photographs by Joanna Maclennan, text by Oliver Maclennan, Thames & Hudson, $54.

And a trip to a flea market can yield a rich haul.

Each of the ideas in the book presents a new way to create your own signature style.

The book is packed with evocative photographs of beautiful rooms filled with an esoteric collection of objects and stories about the people who created them. It’s like being invited inside for a tete-a-tete.

I see the large blue clay pot outside my window as I write this. I had spotted it at a garage sale at a neighbour’s a few summers ago. Never having met a clay pot I was not enamoured by, I picked it up.

“Actually, my son brought that out by mistake,” said the neighbour. “You may not want it, it is cracked.”

There was indeed a fine crack across the bottom of the pot.

“Oh, I’ll find a use for it,” I assured the lady and bore my find home. I couldn’t plant anything in it, obviously, but I plop a plastic basket of fuschia in it and voila! it’s a piece of Mediterranean on my doorstep!

I’m a forager, I realize, a proud member of the tribe.

Walk with your eyes wide open, you never know what treasure you might chance upon.


Desi News