Save your heart (and wallet) from the abundant urge to buy
By Sophia Yang | May 19, 2022
It might be a custom that dies in my reckless generation, but I do remember my mom’s cherished China set. Growing up, I watched her lovingly gaze at this wedding gift and only use it for the most important family dinners. When she finally broke a delicate piece, she gathered the remains with her trembling hands and sighed.
I asked intermedia artist Heather Savard what she felt when she broke her beloved tea cup. She said she was full of guilt for failing the duty of safekeeping. Coming from a family that moved around Canada, packing and moving have become Savard’s core memories.
“I went on a discovery journey with the tea set from my grandmother,” says Savard. “It’s so well preserved after all the moves. I wonder what it means for an object to be valuable enough to keep, especially in the current consumer culture.”
For her MFA thesis exhibition, Pattern 2451, Savard created a lightweight, flat packed paper tea set, covered with patterns. The idea was to retrace the delicate process and investigate the origins of middle-class objects of luxury. The other end of the exhibition places three pieces of Savard’s household items, all reflecting the same pattern in vinyl wraps.
“Have you noticed how expensive customized household items are?” laughs Savard. “I find it quite ironic. People choose to put extra values on the same item, only because they are in another pattern. But they are all waffle makers — they work the same!”