Stuff

Still life with stuff, 2015

Still life with stuff, 2015

This morning I was defending all my stuff to my husband. As a maker of things, a producer and artist of terra firma, I am committed to stuff. My parents are still alive and they have some stuff left, albeit sifted and downsized many times over the past decades. Each time they moved, they culled more stuff from their archives and tag saled it or gave it to the Salvation Army. What a relief! I feel so much lighter! Well, then there comes the regret. What happened to that amazing set of Russell Wright dinnerware I grew up with? Just one serving bowl left from that entire set of mid century dishes that I would love to have in my collection. My argument to my husband this morning is this – yes, there is an inclination to go overboard with shopping and hoarding and making piles of stuff, but there is a flip side to that notion. My stuff is a record of my history, an archive of my choices over the years. As such, I think it important as a part of my chosen identity and the way I imbue meaning in my world. The meaning I find in my life is often attached to the things that I have chosen and sometime those items that have been gifted to me by others. The books, music, art and objects of living; dishes, furniture and linens, all lend their auras to the environment that is my home and where I spend much of my time. So, instead of giving into the impulse to throw lots of things away, ála Marie Kondo, I am choosing to take a breath – and find better ways to organize and display what I have. William Morris, perhaps a better mentor for the thoughtful interior space then the overly spare alternative.