My mom Trish, (known to others as Pat, may she RIP), taught me the value of pulling the car off the side of the road and peering into other people's trash.
If someone saw us and I protested that we were getting caught, she'd offhandedly remark, "oh, don't worry. You'll never see any of these people again" she would say with a giggle in her voice.
My Mom was on the hunt for discarded furniture. Well crafted, wooden pieces that she would spend hours in the basement 'loving' back together. Stripping, staining, varnishing, and caning. Drinking hoards of Pepsi (dad drove a Pepsi truck for more than a few decades) and eating ice. Always there was ice.
An artist's statement that I wrote nearly 20 years ago spoke of the basement too. "...standing in front of my father's workbench and admiring all that lay before me... tangled wire and rust. Dusty cabinets hiding treasures beneath faded cobwebs."
My first workbench was in that basement in Wilmington, Delaware circa 1975 (I was 10 years old). I'd find old boxes and put objects inside of them — nuts, pine cones and dried weeds, carpeting from the upstairs hallway, nails covered in rust.
And so began a lifelong love affair with scavenging. Turning other people's trash into treasures. Long nights spent in the basement — considering, placing, digging through boxes of objects that others had long discarded.
A lifetime of making assemblages. A lifetime of scavenging through stuff others have thrown away and making art out of it.