Mary Randolph Carter on “The Joy of Junk”

3rd July 2020

We revisit our conversation with Mary Randolph Carter. “Carter,” as she’s known, is the best-selling author of several books on the subject of “junk.” Her latest is called “The Joy of Junk: Go Right Ahead, Fall In Love With The Wackiest Things, Find The Worth In The Worthless, Rescue & Recycle The Curious Objects That Give Life & Happiness.” It’s all about the beauty and lessons that can be found through the art of thrifting. She’s also a creative director at Ralph Lauren! We talk to Carter about how her upbringing shaped her connection to “stuff,” her favorite junk journeys and how a trip to The Outer Banks during hurricane season helped prepare her for a career in treasure-hunting. Plus, we’ll chat about her experience working with the acclaimed design house.

Episode notes

Photo: Rizzoli International Publications

Mary Randolph Carter on the importance of “junk”

 

Mary Randolph Carter has an affinity for “stuff.”

Some may call it junk but to her it’s just the accumulation of a life well-lived. The stuff that occupies the spaces in our lives and our homes in between the work that we do and the people who we love. 

She makes her home in New York, a great place to collect a ton of great stuff. She’s made a career out of her acute skill to recognize treasure. 

By day, she’s a creative director at Ralph Lauren. 

She’s also a best-selling author whose first book, American Family Style, was published in 1988. Since then, she’s written several other books about our personal relationships to stuff. 

Her most-recent is titled “The Joy of Junk: Go Right Ahead, Fall In Love With The Wackiest Things, Find The Worth In The Worthless, Rescue & Recycle The Curious Objects That Give Life & Happiness.” It’s all about the beauty and lessons that can be found through the art of thrifting.

While many of us are at home this summer, reorganizing and redecorating closets and cabinets and drawers (Oh my!) we thought it would be the perfect time to revisit our interview with the iconic author. 

Carter chats with Bullseye about how her upbringing shaped her connection to “stuff,” her favorite junk journeys and how a trip to The Outer Banks during hurricane season helped prepare her for a career in treasure-hunting. Plus, we’ll chat about her experience working with the acclaimed design house.

 

This interview originally aired in 2018. 

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Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.

Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney’s, which called it “the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world.” Since April 2013, the show has been distributed by NPR.

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