In Praise of Materiality
Weavers will remind you that the loom is actually the first computer, creating complex patterns in a binary (on/off) mode. While it is all too easy to get lost in the digital realm, the things we use every day can help connect us to be more rooted in the present.
In Glen Adamson's deeply insightful study of "material intelligence,” Fewer, Better Things, he reminds us that “when we ignore our material environment, we are essentially forgetting who we are and where we came from.”
I grew up in Pittsburgh, the epicenter of the Industrial Revolution in America, and left when the steel industry was in free fall. After 35 years in New York and Los Angeles, I recently returned to a city filled with a new kind of industry, a city fueled by technology, education and medicine. Pittsburgh still retains much of its original “place character,” rooted in a past of material labor that is still part of the social fabric of the community.
We started Pittsburgh Mercantile to celebrate this genius loci — offering things made with character by people living in post-industrial America. Things made by hand carry stories, and they enrich our connection to the material world. They are the perfect antidote to too much screen time.