In case you hadn’t heard, thrifting is the new black – if you know how to do it right. With unlimited potential to fuse together a story from worlds far away or right around the corner, vintage eclectic or modern chic, blogger Brooke Sloan Gibbons documents unique local finds and compositions of timeless treasures.
interview ciara bird // photography brooke sloan gibbons
Tell us about yourself and what you do. I moved to Charlotte from San Antonio in 2008 and I’m now a stay-at-home mom, blogger, and freelancer. Currently, I am the Marketing Communications Coordinator for The Center for Creativity and Healing and I operate a vintage Etsy shop called Cosmic Ephemera. I’m also instructing my first workshop on Nature Journaling in 2013, and I’m hoping to facilitate more workshops in the future.
How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to get started? I started a blog on WordPress called My Little Fawn just days after my daughter was born in 2009. At that time, online visual boards like WeHeartIt and Tumblr were starting to become popular and it was easy to get inspired by all that was out there. There were also a growing number of online photo editing sites that made it easy to add effects to my photos, and that was a fun hobby to pick up during those long, sleepless nights. I eventually started My Indie Charlotte, and began focusing on the abundance of lovely shops and urban space that this city offers.
How would you describe your decorating style? Is it influenced by your neighborhood? I’m all over the place. Every room in our house looks different. There’s a mix of kitsch, nature, period pieces, and worldly themes in here. But somehow it all comes together, or so people have told me. Overall, my husband and I are both thrifty and nostalgic. He likes mid-century and earlier and I prefer mid-century and later. Most of the furniture and décor in our house is either handmade or secondhand. But luckily we have our own spaces to play around with, because he likes dark colors and wood, and I lean towards bright, retro looks.
What are you most drawn to when shopping for your home? For me, I’m definitively drawn to the 50s through 70s. I love a mix of colors and patterns. And I’m always on the lookout for things to add to my numerous collections – I like deer, Scandinavian folk art, cheesy embroidery, old ads, and the list goes on.
Do you often change your décor or does it stay the same? I rearrange a lot. We’ve been in our house less than two years, but I’ve already switched out rooms and color schemes plenty of times. We haven’t even painted yet; I just like to be thrifty and quick when I change a room.
What are your favorite local shops and resources? Online? The Goodwill on Johnston Road is my absolute favorite for clothes, but I find the grooviest home goods and old books at all the Goodwill and Value Village locations. Pawsibilities, a Humane Society thrift store in Fort Mill is another favorite. I also love all the antique malls and events here, there is just so much. I love Sleepy Poet, The Depot at Gibson Mill, Metrolina Antiques, and Vintage Charlotte or course.
As far as online shops go, my husband loves buying retro clothes from Cory of Charchaic Vintage. He also has an excellent collection of Charlotte Hornets material. I’m also a fan of Vintage Southern and the handmade pieces of Free Spirit Jenny. We’ve all been vendors at Vintage Charlotte, and it’s just great that there is a growing community of us here.
In addition to blogging, thrifting, and being a mother, you spend a lot of time creating collage journals; how did you get started? Collage was my first real hobby, and I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. I used to do poster-sized collages, nothing fancy, just magazine cutouts. But when I started moving around during college and after, I realized lugging around big pieces wasn’t practical. I was inspired by the collage journals I was seeing online – Sarah Ahearn Bellemare and Natalie Malik are two of my favorites – and I started my first one in 2008. Now I have many journals for many purposes. I have my original which is almost complete, a couple of Smash journals for when I’m feeling lazy, another that’s a compendium of things I want to pass on to my kid, some for mixed-media, and plenty dedicated to all sorts of vintage absurdities.
Do you have a motto when it comes to your creative life? I got carried away when we moved into our home in 2010. I’ve been having a lot of fun filling the house up with my discoveries but for this year I feel it’s all about slowing down and living simply. I am trying to spend and acquire as little as possible and just enjoy what I have. In my craft room, I was beginning to hoard piles of paper goods and collaging materials, but I was never finding the time to tackle that hobby. “Everyday Topophilia” is my phrase for 2013. Topophilia means “love of place” and that’s what I’m trying to do. Wake up loving every day, being mindful of every action. Love what I have, love what’s around me, and live simply in my place and community. I want to be an explorer and a doer this year, not a hoarder. I want to turn my collection into action. We’ll see how that turns out.
This interview was conducted late 2012.