OKAY, so I’m supposed to write the “about” me page about me and I’m not sure what to write so I ordered a book on how to write a good “about” page and while i’m waiting for it to arrive all I keep thinking is that I need to write the about me so I can give it to my web guy so he can put it all together and then people can read about me and understand my store a little better. So I’m just going for it and when the book arrives I will fashion this into a better about me until then I must start because I like to get things done. I will say I am impatient with things that I believe i can control. Other things that are out of my control I am mildly impatient. I understand we have to wait in lines and things like that. One thing that I wasn’t impatient about was growing up.
I wasn’t in a hurry to grow up, due to the fact I believe I had to take on a more mature role in life seeing how my parents divorced when I was extremely young. I remember my sister telling me we need to wake up and be ready for school so dad wouldn’t have to worry. I was in first grade and she was in fourth. So at a young age I was aware that if you got things done then you make things easier on other people. I also learned at an older age that people can take advantage of that.
I have a twin brother (womb mates) so I learned that the way I would see a situation could be the same as him or we could interpret things differently. I learned everyone has their own version of “what happened” ask my mom and dad why they divorced and see what kind of answer you get. So the lessoned learned was to listen to both sides and make an informed decision. Later in elementary school I was deemed a natural helper with my peers so I believe I did a good job at doing so.
So with no real original nuclear family I started noticing how people lived. My mom moved to Oregon from the traditional south. I grew up in a very small town that had a lot hippies and artist and doctors and lawyers, The main industry at the time was still logging so many of my friends dad’s still worked in the mills. So I had that mix of normal working families to avant gard people who never really knew where their next meal may come from but they were happy. They weren’t seen as weird or derelict . They were just making it their own way.
Then on the other hand my dad still lived in Alabama where he transplanted himself from Ohio. He is a worker. He loves to work. When he’s not working he’s eating or sleeping but he get’s very little of that because he’d rather be at work. So while we didn’t see him very much he taught me the importance of being a hard worker.
So here I am growing up between The great northwest and the traditional south with a artistic mom and a hard working dad and like most kids and I’m trying to figure out where the he haw hell I fit in. Because even though I made my best friends growing up in Oregon (and of course I still had Angie in Alabama) I always felt a little homeless. I could say that I was from alabama but I moved to Oregon when I was 7 so I wasn’t really from Oregon because I wasn’t born there and I left at 18 and the only family I had there was my mom, brother and sister, it’s hard to say where I’m from or where I really fit in. And so I learned to assimilate and I learned what it was like to feel out of place so I always make sure that when I’m around people they feel comfortable because I know what it feels like to be a fish out of water.
I went to college at the University of Alabama and did everything I could just to try it out. I worked at the radio station, I worked at the REC center, I was in the SGA, I was the president of my dorm, I volunteered, I drank a lot, I got ok grades, pretty normal stuff. I graduated with my BS in Human Development and a minor in photojournalism. I also saw how all my friends were getting internships so they could get “real jobs” and I moved to new orleans.
I worked for a family friend who runs her own business and learned a lot on how to run your own business and that I needed to grow up more. So i went from the attitude of Oregon to the bible belt to new orleans. And meanwhile I’m learning from people what makes them tick. What do the deem important. Why do the artists make art and why do the working people work. ( a lot of it had to do with drinking money, I mean I did live in new orleans.) To this day I ask lots of questions because i think it’s the only way I learn. So I’m intrenched in this city that holds jazz musicians and artists to the highest standard. Where they really do celebrate all things art. And I take a photography class and document the kids that tap dance in the french quarter. And I learn about their lives and they learn about mine and we hang out and I give them photos and that’s that. Meanwhile all my other friends really seem to be going places and doing things and now I have worked at a rap music store and am currently hostessing. One of my best friend’s from college calls and says she’s going to London and I should come too so I say ok! I cash in all my saving bonds and I’m off to London for four months.
I end up living in a house with two girls from los angeles, (we’re still friends today.) A girl from japan, france, ireland and two bulgarians. So I have no money because it’s all being spent on rent so I walk all around london and I go to art museums. My friend Kathy comes to visit we go to art museums my childhood friend from oregon who now lives in England comes to visit and we go to museums. I went to visit her in Brighton and it was just wonderful. So now I’m in Europe. 911 happens a week after I get their, so that sucked. I see flats and what the young people used to sleep on, eat with, what they spent their money on on the weekends (drinking was big there too) So now I’m learning about europe and the people there. I go to france and italiy and you have to remember I’m by myself a lot with no money so I’m really observing and checking things out and taking notes on the culture and counter culture and politics and everything else. So my time there is over. I fly back to alabama in december. The twin towers are gone. my dad and my little sister pick me up in birmingham and i’m wearing my london bus driver jacket that i bought for one pound and it was the best thing I have every bought in my life. We go and eat at the truck stop. Then it’s like now what?
I go back to new orleans for a little bit but didn’t want to go from one job to the next and I wasn’t making any money being a hostess so I end up moving back home to my dad’s house and working at a department store in what else but customer service! I know that I really love art and taking photos so I’m like, I’M GOING TO ART SCHOOL!!! That summer I got accepted to take a summer class a the international center of photography so I went and stayed on avenue c in the lower east side and documented my cousin who was NYPD working with the manhattan south task force on the night shift. After that I moved back to alabama and got into Grad School at the Savannah College of Art and Design. So I’m there and I’m making friends and taking photos and working five jobs because that too is really expensive and I’m surrounded by all these wonderfully talented people and I get to ask them questions and I’m taking all this info in and then I graduate and bam! I’m right back to alabama!!!
The plan was to work at my dad’s scrap yard save up x amount of money and move to NYC to be around creative people. Meanwhile my brother lived here with his family and my older sister had just moved back with her family and was looking to buy a house. So they do, and all I notice is how terrible they are decorated! Nothing in their house screamed them! It was just a bunch of stuff that was old and stuffy. My family maybe getting older but they certainly aren’t stuffy! So I start to notice that really wasn’t a place here in town that sold original furniture. And in most places I have lived everyone had beautiful vintage furniture. Everywhere I lived I was surrounded by people that found objects and made them into their own. I was starting to realize that I began making things into my own by the way I would see and interpret them. I would see the potential in the everyday in the mundane. I think they came into play a lot with my photography. I began looking at discarded objects and saying how can we reuse this? Is the life span of this chair really over? And working at my dad’s yard really opened my eyes to how much stuff people have. How we really are a nation of consumers. I’m thinking they recycle every where in america, why not alabama? What can I do to breathe life into old things? I think young people should have cool furniture. When I think back on my childhood it’s nice to see my mom in Oregon, grandpa in Ohio and my nanny and poppaw in Alabama all had gardens. I decided that I wanted to have a store that was fun and encouraged change and celebrated all the positives in my many travels. Do I think I’m reinventing the wheel at grace aberdean? no, but I think I’m making the wheel prettier and more inviting. I hope that I and my artists are making you question the wheel. I hope that I’m helping give artists a voice. I want people to find things that they want to make their own. I want to bring some happiness and fun into their lives. I hope people buy things there that make their guests ask questions or at least say, that’s neat. Where did you get it? It came down to instead of always searching for the perfect place to live I wanted to help create the perfect place to live.
Live life gracefully,