Transforming Stuff

I own a beautiful necklace.

It used to be a plate—a plate from a china set my mom got for me when I was in my early teens. It was important for a good Greek girl to have a fancy set of dishes. Maybe it was a financial thing. You know, people with money had beautiful things and this was proof. Or maybe it was a marriage thing. Good housewives have a well stocked kitchen. Although I was married I never used these plates. They sat in boxes for a long time.

Recently I very solidly decided I was going to use them every day because every day is special! Cliché? No. Truth. I mean, why shouldn’t I enjoy my grilled cheese on a fine china plate and my juice in crystal stemware?

Butterfingers

One night, after a tasty meal, the dinner plat slipped out of my hands while I was doing the dishes. It hit the side of the counter hard enough to break a huge and even triangle piece right out of it. I didn’t flinch. I didn’t even say ‘fuck’. Surprised? Me too.

Why do we have beautiful things if we can’t enjoy them. I didn’t use the fancy plates because I was afraid to break them—so they would last forever? That is an intentional and serious question. I actually don’t know why I never used the china. Seems like a shame that something lovely would never get used. What good was it in a box? It was meant to be used! Sometimes with daily use and enjoyment of our special things there are sacrifices, like a broken plate. That’s life and that’s okay.

Help is on the way

I put the broken piece in the garbage and then went to Facebook to find Sheri Wollf. I recalled her jewelry in a small gallery a couple of years ago in Elbow, Saskatchewan—I think. In any case the idea and product left an impression on me.

Sheri Wollf is an artist that up cycles broken dishware. Transformed is her company and the piece she created from my broken plate did not let me down. It’s a beautiful pendant on a long chain. A sweet memory of something that would have been trash otherwise. I dropped the plate off. She messaged me with the final design. I gave her the okay and then we arranged a pick up. Easy.

Treasure vs. trash

I think about how readily we throw things away. But on the other side of that we hide and hoard—cupboards, drawers, boxes, garages, storage rooms all full of stuff. It just occurred to me that throwing away and tucking away are kind of the same thing. In both cases we are not using beautiful and useful stuff.

This can mean a couple of things. First, we don’t need so much stuff. Secondly, we don’t need so much stuff! I didn’t need a set of dishes in my cupboards and a set of dishes in a box in the basement. I am happily using all my plates, daily. More may break or they may not. That’s not the point. The point is that the purpose of the plate is to be a plate and me using it makes it so. Once it came to the end of it’s little plate life I was able to find a way to repurpose it. Did this keep me from using the rest of the set? No. Sure didn’t and I ended up with a very pretty necklace as an accessory.

Lessons I learned: have stuff you’re going to use. Enjoy your belongings as long as you can. If you break something you can always give it a creative new life as something else. Everything has a purpose. And if the purpose changes then I guess you have repurposed.

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