- things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time.
“there were papers, letters, old boxes—all sorts of ephemera”
- collectable items that were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity.
“Mickey Mouse ephemera”
I think ephemera is a great word. My Dad would say it was a fancy or even a kind word for a load of old rubbish. And if I’m honest there is a fair amount of it around this place. Putting aside the so-called short term popularity or usefulness or disposable aspect of my ephemera, the appeal is usually because the item is quirky or one of a kind or vintage or handmade or nature made or all of the above. Cardboard milk bottle tops, vintage postcards, odd little collections of hand-painted spinning tops, raffia pom poms, wooden cotton reels, peg dolls, vintage keys, hand-forged scissors, old wooden builders rulers, leaves, feathers, birds nests. And that’s not all, but even typing all these in the one sentence makes it sound like an episode of Hoarders. And I’m sure without a little self-control, it probably could be.
Some of my favourite pieces of ephemera are on the inspiration wall in my office. This wall is an ever growing and constantly changing wall of visual inspiration. It can also be a wall of visual procrastination, particularly when my focus isn’t quite what it should be. I stare at it a lot!
Little notes, artwork and cards from the girls when they were younger, lots of floral cards and images and photographs, some vintage ephemera by way of original luggage tags and unusual tickets and library cards and tokens, some little handmade tags, some dried flowers, lovely cards, favourite quotes, and because it is a wall intended to inspire, cards and pick-me-ups and tags from some of my most admired stores across the globe, like Colette in Paris, 10 Corso Como in Milan, Designers Guild and Atelier Abigail Ahern in London, as well as treasures collected here and there.
This wall may be mostly comprised of intended-to-be-short-term paper works, but most of them have a story attached somewhere along the line. Inspirational, aspirational and emotional keepsakes, that may not be worth anything, but definitely have value. That’s my definition of ephemera! And now I need to stop admiring my wall, and get on with some work!
(styling and photography by Amanda Holland for perfectly imperfect living)
P.S Inspiration walls like this are easy and fun to create. Because I am constantly adding to, and changing mine, nothing is fixed permanently. Most of my ephemera is fixed to the wall with washi tape, which can be peeled off your wall just as easily again without damaging paint or wallpaper. Sticky putty is used for odd shapes that need sticking down. For hanging tags and labels I use small upholstery tacks because I love their hand-forged nature. Where to begin when it comes to creating the wall? Begin in the middle off centre of your space, and choose a favourite ‘thing’ to stick up. From here work up, across, down and around, mixing your treasures up as you go. The beauty of a quick fix wall like this is that it is so easy to change if you want to move something elsewhere. Just start and have fun!