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From the Editor: Why We Love Mementos

By Julia Cosgrove

Sep 28, 2015

From the October 2015 issue

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Photo by Dustin Aksland

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I recently moved into a new house, and with that came the process of packing, unpacking, and discarding. My biggest discovery? I’m loath to part with objects that I have acquired while traveling. Unlike writer Edward Readicker-Henderson, who ponders the usefulness of souvenirs in “Dream Weavers,” I actually do buy stuff. Not a lot, but at least one memento per destination, items that refresh my memory of being there.

Tidying-up expert Marie Kondo preaches that you should only keep things that bring you joy, and I can honestly say that the things I buy on the road do that: the handbag from Via dei Condotti in Rome, the double ikat wall hanging woven in a village in Bali, modern glassware from Copenhagen, a wooden bird carved by an artist on a small island in Russia. I love bringing the world to the new house. Through furnishings and clothes, personal style conveys to the world who we are and who we want to be. In this issue, we showcase the beauty of style and design around the globe, from artisans in Kyoto reworking ancient crafts to Fulani women in Benin who tattoo their faces during adolescence.

The photo here may look like nothing more than a pile of rugs. But to me, these rugs reveal design at its best. They are beautiful, functional, superbly made objects that evoke a special sense of place, will likely last a lifetime (possibly a few), and are constructed by masters of their craft using the finest materials. Who wouldn’t want a piece of that?

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