Way, way back when, on a university trip to New York we were asked to produce a small project.
Whilst studying Interior Architecture we were taught to think in a very creative way; we caressed buildings (not kidding) we listened to them, but never licked them, thankfully.
Joking aside, it taught me to appreciate a space not just with my eyes, but to engage all other senses too. This enabled me to gain a deeper understanding of what a place can mean to someone – whether it’s a place of sadness or joy.
Other aspects of space to consider are the items we choose to keep inside it. These items become a reflection of our inner selves and we treasure some things that others would simply discard.
In New York as part of my project, I chose to go to a Sunday flea market with the cap on spend being $5 per item. The aim was to find 3 things that might be associated with the past, an object that has a use, but one that could also be seen as an object of desire.
These items may have been special to someone in the past, and my mission was take them on my journey too.
I appreciate that this may all sound a little heavy, but stay with me.
As I walked around the stalls I came across a small intricately crafted silver box, a printing stamp with the word “shell” and some impressive salt and pepper shakers. I then picked up a solid brass film capsule, which was priced at $5. I asked the vendor if I could have it, as I took the lid off… inside was a whole photographic reel of negatives – they depicted what looked like desert dwellers on a journey. The vendor immediately snatched the item from my hands and began excitedly holding up the reel to the sky. “$20 now”, he said.
As I had to stick to my rule of $5 I frustratingly declined.
I’ll never forget that moment and always wish that I had paid the $20. It also taught me a lesson about what people value, whether it’s antiques, items that hold history or clothing.
Our precious things hold memories, signals and sometimes inspiration, but we shouldn’t hold onto things and use them to replace memories or people.
It’s important to be reminded of the happy things in life, and through objects and images we can be transported back to those special moments.