It always seems to be the days I crave absolutely no materialistic satisfaction that I always find an eye catching, irresistible product to buy. I tend to dislike shopping. The mazes full of colourful, forceful signs and shops and people. The overcrowded carparks and outdated elevator music. The things I love for a short few moments that inevitably clutter and ooze out of the drawers once their infatuation wears off from me.
Don’t get me wrong— if my socks have holes in them, and my boyfriend won’t stop complaining when I steal his instead, we will haul ourselves to a shopping centre, and bear the heartbreak of falling in love with all the things we cannot afford.
On this specific day, there was not a second in my cluttered mind where I thought I needed something from a store, in fact I was making a conscious effort to spend as little money as possible. But as the wind blew my hair and I hopped off the tram, my feet strode in the opposite direction of home and straight into a discount store.
Yes, I hate shopping, but there is something exhilarating about buying crafty things. Embroidery, paint, pens, journals, beads, things that I will only use perhaps four days of the year, yet always hoard.
Today was no different. I was particularly salivating at the sight of the gooey fabric paint that I found. Never had I used these beauties before, yet I knew the fun and joy that would fill the rest of my afternoon would leave me quivering with excitement for days. I did not stop there (unfortunately), I continued using my inspiration as a sixth sense to see what other wonderous things I could do. It is fair to say that my attempts to spend as little money as possible were a mere fragment of my imagination at this point.
I rushed home, bags in hand and mind racing with ideas. First, I collected all the essential tools— old shirts, a scrap book for sketching, and Pinterest of course. I looked at different leaf ideas, minimalist bee ideas, geometric designs, the list went on. I spent more time searching patterns I loved than putting pen to shirt.
Once my inspiration level hit maximum, I tore open my gooey fabric pens and was hit with the cold realisation that the neon colours I had bought clashed all of my well-researched plans. The ink bubbled inconsistently out of the tubes making it hard to work with. I scratched all my previous ideas and summoned my inner ‘white girl’. Instantly, I thought watermelon, lemon, illuminati. It worked. Sure, they were lumpy and lopsided but at least the designs matched the very limited and almost aggressive colours I had at hand.
But I was not raised in an artistic family to just be a basic white girl, no, and she was getting quite peeved at the lack of vodka cruisers in the house. So, I knew I had to step up my game. I grabbed a linen Bali beach gown, the type you wear so everyone knows you’ve left the country at least once. It was pure white and crinkled— the ultimate material. I grabbed the easiest colours to squeeze and control, the yellow and pink, and began my masterpiece. It was time for a self-portrait; I had to make my mother proud.
I outlined the head, and positioned the eyebrows. I swooshed my fingers to make an accurately large nose. The lips were a struggle, but I managed to make a poignant arch. It looked like a head; I was proud. I knew it was missing something, but what? I added ears and began scratching threads of hair around the crown of my head. It began to look like me after a bad hangover. The shading was next, but was I up for it? Absolutely not. I had not expected to get this far at all, and continuing further made me fearful that my masterpiece would no longer be average. I let it dry.
The next day I revisited my works. The texture did not give in for a second. The only smudges were from my boyfriend’s feet—an accidental mistake. That was solely due to me finding the most inconvenient drying places for my new works of art. I was quite content with the outcome, and not disappointed by the level of ‘average’ I had miraculously achieved.
This activity is definitely for people with a carefree and underachieving expectation of their artistic skills, or for children.