Last week I finished up a special jewelry box. The client provided the overall design, a pattern for the cherry blossom marquetry on top, and materials. The walnut came from a tree at the family home that was sawn up into boards years ago. All the knobs and pulls were handmade by the client. At their request I incorporated a secret drawer (behind the bottom one--don't tell!). It's a jewelry box, right?
The study of material culture and the meaning of objects says this is not a jewelry box--it is a reflection of the thoughts and feelings and values of the people that had it made. First of all, this box came from the desire of Don and Greta to create a special gift for their daughter. It is shouting, "We love you." They spent hours in detailed design to make it functional and beautiful. It says, "We care so much that we gave all this effort to the project." They wanted to contribute as much as they could through the crafting of the pulls. Their selection of wood that grew with their family speaks to the strength of the family bond. Don't you think that every time their daughter opens this up she will remember?
William Morris admonished people to have nothing in their homes that is not functional or beautiful. I might add, "Cherish things that are meaningful."