Acts of Salvage explores what the contemporary city compels us to cling to or discard.

Acts of Salvage is curated by Amy Lavender Harris, Geographer, Torontonian, dumpster diver and author of Imagining Toronto (Mansfield Press, 2010), which was shortlisted for the Gabrielle Roy Prize in Canadian literary criticism and won the 2011 Heritage Toronto Award of Merit.

alharris [at] gmail [dot] com.

Fall Forward

I’ve been shifting gears lately, propelled toward new projects by the sense of something turning, something pulling me along. Perhaps it’s the season: things accelerate, change, end, begin. The Imagining Toronto project began in the fall, almost (almost) as if by accident: events converged, and there it was, conceived as clearly as if it had been waiting for someone to notice and engage with it.

While plugging away at Acts of Salvage, another story — or more precisely a set of ideas — has begun to make itself manifest. For the moment I am sitting on that set of ideas, letting it percolate and produce steam. Perhaps in the winter there will be time to develop it into its formal form. It’s an urban project, of course; on a subject I’ve written about before: the curious relationships people in cities have with wildlife. Animals, of course, including raccoons and pigeons, but also wasps and bees and weeds and coyotes and trees. I’ve begun outlining, and talking to a few people, and made a few tentative stabs toward writing. And it feels good. It feels … proper. It feels like the natural next step. And so. And so I have begun walking down the long road to writing another book.

What does this mean for Acts of Salvage, which I’ve already promised to a publisher who will, if it works well enough, presumably put into print? Lately I have begun to see them as parallel projects, ideas spinning around similar orbits. There’s a fourth book, too, one I do not yet feel ready to write. But I trust in the ideas. I trust they will wait.

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13 comments on “Fall Forward

  1. So newsy about your great finds! I haven’t run across a swanky swig in ages. Love everything you picked up!

  2. Sir Thrift-A-Lot on said:

    I’ve got that toothpick holder, I keep it on my windowsill with my other owl items. Nice butter dish. A Butterprint butter dish is on my want list. I passed up a reasonably priced one in an antique market. Hate regrets.

    • alharris on said:

      What is it with owls? Can’t resist them! Hope the Pyrex gods bestow one upon you soon at a thrift for, say, $2.99.

      • sir thrift a lot on said:

        Hope they’re listening!

        I am going to 3-4 markets in the states soon, I have the space saver, but is on my list to. Will keep my eyes peeled for trade for balloons 441. What ia the condition? Is.there anything else you would trade for it? I saw some alright stuff last time

        • alharris on said:

          Hmm. What I’d really love is the Golden Poinsettia casserole dish (think that’s what it’s called) — the 045 — with cradle, or the Golden Leaf (I think that’s what it’s called) orangey-red Christmas 404 bowl with cradle and lid. Don’t know if either is a fair trade — would have to negotiate, I guess. I do also really like the Golden Pine space saver. No chance you’ve got a spare big ‘Eyes’ bowl …? My spare 441 Balloons bowl is in great shape –not mint, but bright and with only a couple of very tiny pin-pricks visible when you hold the bowl up to the light.

  3. Leslie in Texas on said:

    Love your blog, not only for the info about your thrift finds (your old post on Casual Ceram Jupiter pattern was what brought me here today), but the fact that you seem to simultaneously question your thrifting/collecting habits (I read your post on hoarding, and recognized myself in much of what you said) and yet still revel in thrifting/collecting. I have similar collecting tendencies (like the Pyrex, owls, glass), and I’m envious of your awesome find a while back of those three colorful suitcases. Been looking everywhere to replace the one I used as a girl. And I also have similar concerns about acquiring, storing and being weighed down by too much stuff.

    Thanks for the info on the Jupiter pattern — I’d found a platter in the pattern at a thrift yesterday, read your piece today and went back and got it. (Got a great Cathrineholm lotus skillet too.) I’m hoping the Jupiter will mix with my Midcentury Stonehenge Sun dishes.

    • alharris on said:

      Thank you so much, Leslie! You are so lucky to have found a Jupiter piece in the wild — almost never see them, even listed online anymore. Would love to hear how they work with your Stonehenge Sun dishes! And you are even luckier to have found a Cathrineholm item — her work is amazingly beautiful.

      And stuff: sigh; yes. So hard to find balance along the collecting-clutter-hoarding continuum. I have a six-month cycle marked by enthusiasm to collect followed by the desire to purge.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving! I enjoyed reading about all your finds. I’m envious of the barbed wire Pyrex (one of my faves!). So glad the “etching” cleaned up for you on the pitcher and the FK mug. Sometimes I find that soaking a piece in vinegar will clear up those issues if plain soap and water don’t work.

  5. You have some wonderful pieces of Pyrex and the punch bowl set is great.

  6. You have some wonderful finds to add to your collection here. I especially love the HA Tom & Jerry set. I have one with the Auld Lang Syne pattern on it and really love it, yours looks larger though. I hope you’ll share this with my readers at my We Call It Olde Link-Up, a new party started this morning. Take care – Dawn @ We Call It

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