Yes, it's a thing. How shallow, I know! It isn't really the best thing that ever happened to me, I mean, I have kids and I was a high school cheerleader. In TEXAS. But, holy toledo, when I unwrapped this bad boy from Ash, I had that "best thing ever" feeling.
You probably can't even tell what it is. Well, it's a brooch. But, it's more than a brooch, it's ART. It's an art brooch. It's brooch art. It doesn't even look like a real thing, all floating out in space, but it is.
It was made by Joe Sheehan. I could try and paraphrase his concept, but here it is, copied from his artist bio on the Pataka web site: "His work has looked at the commercialisation of the jade industry and the limitations it places on jade and its potential as a medium for relevant art practise, asking why much modern greenstone carving looks like museum-held works, rather than objects of this time."
Basically, jade carving (or greenstone or pounamu) has been going on for a long time in New Zealand. Māori used carved greenstone for implements and adornment and it is sold throughout New Zealand today, usually in adornment form and usually in traditional shapes.
Joe makes modern looking objects out of this traditional, beautiful material. Earlier works than this brooch included an incredibly detailed ballpoint pen, a working lightbulb and a cassette tape that played the sound of the river where the greenstone was found. He's kind of amazing. He's kinda my crush. So, when I opened this little parcel up, it had a pretty big impact.
But! This is not just a post to show off my amazing new brooch (but look how pretty!). No, it's to make you feel bad about shopping.
This gift got me thinking about art and presents and the fact that 'tis the season. And the fact that Walmart keeps it's workers in poverty and how terrible that really is. And how Ash and I always struggle to find the balance between our own ethics and our desire to see our kids do that HAPPY,JOY,OMG I GOT THAT PLASTIC THING FROM TV dance on Christmas morning. Especially considering we make our living from people who decide to avoid mainstream, big box, over-manufactured wedding rings and so it's pretty much bullshit that we don't do try our very best to do the same thing.
I know this is not a new concept. I'm really not trying to make you feel bad. I'm writing this now because there's still time. I'm writing this to remind myself not to be a jerk. We don't have to panic shop at Walmart. We can still order something from Etsy or buy the plastic thing of joy used from Ebay. Or some theatre tickets, or a handmade gift certificate for babysitting or a foot rub or to clean the windows or...THE OVEN. Let's do it. Let's just do that. I've never, ever regretted buying art (or plane tickets).