Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Trash...or Beautiful Ephemera?

Or both?

With some types of ephemera, I am amazed when I encounter one.  One such item for me is napkins (or serviettes for you not in the U.S.!).  Here is one type of paper I don't think I've ever collected, believe it or not!  I kick myself for all those wasted opportunities while vacationing!

Oops, I take that back - here's one from Alterra Coffee in Milwaukee, which I kept just because I liked the rooster. 

But believe it or not, one can find old napkins for sale, and in pretty darn good condition, too!  Take these Schaeffer's and Schlitz beer napkins, which I got at Old Stuff Only - they're pristine!  Obviously these babies were just killing time in a dry, dark box somewhere for ages.  For something so gossamer, it's a miracle that they survived!

I just mentioned that I kick myself for not keeping napkins while on vacation - well, my Grammie did that for me.  It's amazing to me how similar we are when it comes to what we find interesting or collectable.  She held onto these for 25 years, until I inherited them (along with everything else of hers I've talked about here) in 2009.  These were from her first trip to Europe (and a little bit of East German toilet paper she saved too!).

I marveled when I found these Peanuts napkins online (can't remember where, now) and I HAD to have them - they've got to be nearly 50 years old.  They feel more like coasters - they're really thick!

Nowadays you can find almost any theme on a napkin, to match any decor and color scheme.  My friend Suze and I swap out cocktail napkins all the time and I have the best time using them in my art.  I am trying to save at least one from every pack for posterity (and maybe throw a few into the Perpetual Ephemera Depository!).

Here are a few of the art pieces I've made using the very versatile napkin:


  1. OMG, I have an Alterra napkin too!! Oh and I have some Caribou ones. I also keep the coffee sleeves... :-P

  2. OOH, that's a GREAT idea, Janel! :D Now I'll have to start saving those too! :D

  3. I've been saving coffee sleeves from our local chains, Starbucks and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (theirs are purple, and so are the straws), but I haven't figured out what to do with them. Now I'll have to start looking at napkins too, oh dear... :)