A Generation without Heirlooms?

I took a stroll this morning, coffee in hand, through the inspired pages of The Design Files. A certain article grabbed my attention. It’s title “Heirloom Homewares”, it’s subject the creative works of brand Turner + Turner. A husband and wife team that handcraft timber homewares from long lasting Australian timber. It got me thinking, are we a generation without heirlooms to pass on? 

We live in a world of here and now. The best is always new and the products aren’t meant to last. Don’t even ask me how many plates, glasses and cups my clumsy self has broken in the last year. Trends change rapidly and homewares are becoming more accessible and reasonably priced. And I do love me some Kmart finds. In fact, buying something for a bargain is considered bragging rights, especially in Australia. “Oh this? I got it from Target for $10!”

Strangely enough the past is what we romanticised and retro items carry their own price tag or at the very least involve a dedicated search through OP Shops to find someone else’s history. What about the future, our future? Do we think about it at all? Maybe in a Netflix documentary fuelled global terror sort of way we shake our heads and attempt to recycle our plastics. We want to save the trees for our children, or stop bullying for our children or create a more loving world for our children. Which are all noble pursuits, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a global family and a greener planet. But... why don’t we romanticise the future in the same way our parents and grandparents did? 

When I was in India recently I bought myself a beautiful little ring and I thought “It can be an heirloom piece like the rings my mum and grandma have given to me.” Suddenly it hit me, I had never bought something like that before. I don’t know anyone who has. We don’t have Hope Chests or wedding gift china sets or even artwork for the most part, unless you’re that way inclined. What design items can I pass on to the next generation to treasure? Oh goodness, what will the OP Shops sell!?

Sustainability is so grand scale that I had forgotten the... I don’t know ... ‘cuteness’ of it. I want to be able to say one day “I bought this vase when I lived in my first apartment”. So I will! Anyway, that’s my little input for anti consumerism – pro heirloomism.


Photo credit: Design Files 

Written by Mekenzie Boylan