Everyday Art

Why do some objects make a more significant difference in our lives than others?
Why do some objects make a more significant difference in our lives than others?

It's an old question that popped up again this past Spring during the stay-at-home as we started spending more time at home, working, cooking, and trying to relax in the company of my family and my go-to wares: the handmade knife, vintage wooden bowls, clay pots, marble flower pots, and handmade textiles. 

These objects keep holding a special place in our home, even in the face of affordable luxury and fast everything. 

So, I started wondering: what is it about them? Is it memories, design,  trends? 

And then, I stumbled upon Mingei, a 20th-century movement in Japan that values particular everyday objects as art.

Many people think of art as separate from functional items. Mingei instead focuses on everyday objects created by regular people, instead of highly refined works of art created by professional artists. 

The movement was likely a response to Japan's postwar industrialization, much like many of us are now reacting to fast, cheap objects created for global commerce.

The idea of valuing everyday objects made by people as art captures the principles that craftists and designers use in making objects today:

Authorship: a personal creative vision applied to unique materials, techniques, or design language.

Human touch: produced under the control of the maker (regardless of the production method used.)

Longevity: made sustainably and intended to provoke emotional attachment and be durable. 

Connected: Created as part of contemporary culture and everyday life.

Rooted: Layers elements of a particular culture.

So why am I bringing this up? 

I believe designers are a vital part of building lasting relationships that can bring together people, places, and products. 

If we are to create a more sustainable tomorrow, we need to make and trade objects that people will use and keep longer.

Diego, for Intoto.