Friday, September 7, 2012

Get Your Cutlery On

I'm feeling nostalgic today. Nostalgic for my family on the other side of the world and Australia, nostalgic for the past and weirdly enough, for the future that hasn't arrived yet. It's not a big deal, I'm just checking myself before wrecking myself, reevaluating, readjusting my expectations and plans in life.  
Nostalgia makes me think mostly of an idyllic past, moments frozen in time that hold some form of perfection in my mind. In our current unstable economic and political environment, it's become quite common to recede into the past, to grasp for an idyllic moment from it and hold on for dear life in the hope we get transported to a better place.  
This better place for some people means going back to simpler times. What simpler time than your childhood, or in contrast, your twilight years? Beginning and end, you come full circle and at both stages understand the universal truth that less is more. You appreciate the smaller things in life and delight in them. Your needs are simple and not overshadowed by desires or wants. It's just that somewhere in between, life just got complicated and you may have forgotten to look at the big picture.

Humanity is going through a shift, or maybe it's just the latest trend. Either way, people are realising the way we've been living our lives for the last 100-odd years is not sustainable for the long run. (Some) people are unsatisfied and growing a conscience. They're considering the world around them and in what state they want to leave it in for their successors. Reduce, recycle, reuse are words we now commonly hear.

My friend Em was telling me a bunch of her friends are going as far as ditching their corporate jobs [insert me here] and turning to artisanal crafts [insert her other friends here]. Cheese making; pop up dining experiences showcasing locally produced ingredients; knitting; community gardens; baking; jam making; pickling and fermenting. The list goes on. I'm just pulling on my grandma cardigan and the scarf my mum knit for me, before jumping on the bandwagon.

The other challenge some are tackling is how to turn waste or existing items into products we can (re)use. There's the dude that turns soft drink bottles into lights for huts; the garbage warrior eco architect; and now a whole industry dedicated to utilising trash and third world country labour to make household or fashion items.

So I'm doing my very small and insignificant part. In my travels the last couple of years I've come across the growing trend of using cutlery to make bespoke jewellery pieces. It's not life changing or saving the world, but instead a clever idea to use materials that would otherwise be discarded.
In Berlin last year I headed to an arts and craft market held, ironically enough, inside a derelict, abandoned department store.
Artists set up their studios and display their art in different rooms and in one of the main halls, craftspeople sell their handmade jewellery and crafts. 

I bought this ring made from a spoon. 
What I love about it is the organic, round shape and how comfortably it sits on my finger. 
Earlier in Manhattan this year, I visited the Brooklyn Flea Market pop up held in the Chelsea Market. I bought this ring made from the bottom half of a fork. 

I love the directional lines and how I can wear it differently depending on my mood.
I look at my rings when I wear them and think of my amazing trips to Berlin and New York, then wonder who used this cutlery before and what they ate with it.

What I'm getting at is that I too, like other people, am changing. I don't care what brand I'm wearing or how much I paid for it. What moves and motivates me is the story behind it. Did someone spend their precious time (we all know what a commodity this now is) making this with their hands? Was this item something else before; I wonder who used it; where it has been and where it's from? Who made it and how did they learn the skills to make it? 

Mastery is king and in a world that's consumed with meaningless, mass consumption and being busy, it's nice to know people still take the time to put love, mastery and craft into something.

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