When I was kid I spent a lot of my weekends with my paternal grandparents. They lived in rural New Hampshire in a string of houses that were always in some state of construction, demolition, or reinvention. That was my grandfather's "thing,"I guess you could say. He loved a deal, the satisfaction of physical labor, and he flipped a blur of houses before I was fifteen.
He and my grandmother both had simple tastes and even simpler wants; Something that I found annoying as a bored kid/weekend prisoner. But they had the things that mattered and I learned to find a certain special kind of contentment when I visited them with my siblings. We played hours of Go-Fish, War, and Double Solitaire with my grandparents, that is when we weren't working on thousand piece puzzles.
We made three types of trips out of the house with them on the weekends: 1) To "The Candy Store" -- a rural gas station with a shockingly limited candy selection, 2) To the lake where we learned to fish, and 3) To "The Dump," which wasn't a clever nickname to get us excited about something simple like a gas station, it was indeed the town dump where my grandparents would haul their weekly garbage. While we were at The Dump we would visit The Treasure House, a small, stuffy outbuilding filled with items that people were ready to part with, but that they didn't want to put directly into the landfill. Most of it was only a fraction better than the actual garbage from which it was spared, but sometimes you'd find something really exceptional: And that was treasure.
From these weekend excursions I slowly matured through annoyance and boredom to pounding anticipation. I became a bit of a junk-junkie and would eagerly climb through the stacks of abandon things in that dark, humid building searching for my version of gold. On the weekends that we weren't visiting my grandmother would bring home items she thought we would like, which would greet us when we returned. Some were hits, some were misses. One day she hesitantly handed me a mismatched stack of collected tea cups and saucers, an unlikely gift for a ten year old. The patterns were varied but the color palette was a cohesive, vibrant aqua, white, pink, and many of the edges featured worn gold rims. I appreciated the thought immensely, but at ten years old the sentiment was all I recognized. I didn't have dreams to become a tableware maker and I'd long outgrown tea parties, so I carefully tucked the china away in my bureau, moving them with me place to place for nearly two decades, always tucking them safely away. Until recently that is.
Almost twenty years later, I now get those plates. I deeply cherish them not only for their sentiment but for my grandmother's attentive curation, and humble mix-and-match philosophy. Today I found a set of Sascha Brastoff plates to match a teacup my mother recently gifted me. This single cup was one of a few that were given to her by the same careful, treasure collecting grandmother years ago. I recognized the familiar pattern instantly and hugged the plates closely to my chest until they were paid for and the receipt was firmly in my hand. Not only will these plates keep my solo teacup company, but they perfectly complement my own line of handmade porcelain. Funny how life creates and reveals itself, isn't it? Without even planning it I've created a collection of porcelain that aesthetically connects to those pieces my grandmother salvaged all those years ago. Good design really is timeless and it certainly is treasure.