Sourcing the Garland
10/16/2009 Festooned: A Minivan full of greenery.
About two years ago, when I firstly came up with the idea for text garlands, I found some cheap garland, played around with it a bit and decided it had just the right look. I thought that it’d be easy to get in bulk and affordable enough for a large scale project. Early this spring, I finally secured funding to start working on Evergreen (Thanks to the B.C. Arts Council) and I was eager to get started. Unfortunately, garland was not in season. I searched everywhere, was able to snag the odd bundle of tinsel covered garland at the Sally Ann, but I needed lots – somewhere between 1000-2000 feet of it.
When I wasn’t combing through the thrift stores, I was trolling internet liquidation worlds, exchanging polite yet ineffectual e-mails with PVC Christmas tree manufacturers in China, visiting Dollar Store warehouses throughout the Fraser Valley and drawing a blank everywhere. Of course I should have been snapping up the Boxing Day sale stock last Christmas, but a family crisis and the weather kept me snowed under for most of the winter and by the time I scratched my way to the surface it was spring again and already too late. So, short of ordering a shipping container full of PVC branches from Shenzhen or driving to an industrial park on the outskirts of Scottsdale, Arizona, it looked as though I was going to have to start knitting my own garland out of shredded garbage bags. Hmmm… interesting thought, but not quite right.
I was beginning to feel desperate. I’d planned to begin installing the first garlands in mid-autumn and I was worried I wouldn’t have enough material to even get started, let alone complete all 26 pieces. Then this thursday, I just had a feeling that there was garland somewhere out there in the city. I hopped on a bus and headed up Kingsway, to the closest Canadian Tire I could find ( where I’d come across the original ‘test’ garland ), walked in to the store just as they were peeling the shrink wrap off pallets full of Christmas stock. I scrambled through aisles of half empty cardboard boxes and there, at the back of the store was a clerk, banging shelves together and piling them high with ‘the’ garland!
I told him a bit about the project, said I needed all the garland he had, he told his manager and she very graciously gave me a discount and before I knew it I had a convoy of clerks pushing shopping carts full of garland through the store and out to the parking lot . I’ll skip over the details of me racing up and down Kingsway, trying to find somewhere to rent a minivan on short notice. Suffice to say, that in the end the enthusiastic Canadian Tire crew helped cram the van full of over 1000 feet of garland. Many thanks for their generous support of Evergreen.