Objects & Rachel Howe

We at Little Paper Planes have a passion for the objects around us, whether they are made, bought or given.  Humans create relationships with the things they own, and these things are often markers of a particular time in ones’ life.  They represent moments, people and/or places.  There is an inherent aura within an object andonce in our procession we create the meaning for it.  Our homes become filled of things,which  in some regards can seem indulgent or frivolous, however these things hold the emotional weight of our daily lives.  Whether they are utilitarian or art they  become the physical framework for a unique, personal narrative.

Creative people have a special relationship with things since we are the makers of them. Within this ongoing series, we ask the artists, designers and makers we work with to share stories about the objects they are surrounded by in order to examine their power and the memories associated with them.

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Interview #1

 

Name/location/what do you do:

Rachel Howe, Brooklyn NY, I make ceramics as Small Spells

 

In a few words, what is your relationship with objects and how do you view things both personally and within in our society?

My relationship with objects has been changing recently, actually towards owning less and less things, even as I am making more and more things. I value experience more than material things, although I do love design, and art…but now when I see an object I desire, I less want to own it and am more about feeling the visual pleasure, filing it away in my brain, and moving on. I think visual appreciation has definitely been manipulated by society to create a void that can be filled by buying more stuff, instead of it being inspiring and stimulating for individual creation. I’m always for more individual creation instead of consumerism, though there is something very special about owning an object made by someone skilled and creative, and of course I depend on people wanting to own things I made.

 

Do you have something you always take with you when you move? Something you could never throw away?

My relationship with objects has been changing recently, actually towards owning less and less things, even as I am making more and more things. I value experience more than material things, although I do love design, and art…but now when I see an object I desire, I less want to own it and am more about feeling the visual pleasure, filing it away in my brain, and moving on. I think visual appreciation has definitely been manipulated by society to create a void that can be filled by buying more stuff, instead of it being inspiring and stimulating for individual creation. I’m always for more individual creation instead of consumerism, though there is something very special about owning an object made by someone skilled and creative, and of course I depend on people wanting to own things I made.

 

What is a object that currently resonates for you? 

One thing I always love is when objects are personalized, especially if it reflects a certain style or trend of a certain time. I got these bookends at a flea market a while ago, and they seem to be regular metal library bookends that have been cut out and hand-painted. I did some research, and the 66th division was active in WWII, and was nicknamed the “Black Panther Division,” for their aggressiveness. So the year of 1981 actually holds another layer of nostalgia: if that’s when it was made, it was much later in the maker’s life, and commemorates a loaded memory from decades earlier. And the Black Panther motif alludes, although unintentionally, to the civil rights movement. So this one customized object holds reference to events from the 40s, 60s, and 80s, which is pretty impressive.

 

To learn more about Rachel and Small Spells ceramics, click here.  

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