Nadine Yokotake

Well-Loved

Well-Loved is a love letter to every handmade object worn down, and kept around past the point of recognition and reason.

Homemade knick-knacks, kitsch, and other sentimental objects hold intrinsic value through the feelings invested in them at the time of creation. However, the value in an object becomes amplified by the love invested in it by a recipient. It is through this belief that I refer to same sentiment is reflected in the children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams–“[…] It takes a long time. […] Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” The “realness” in a well-loved, sentimental object is a form of personification, developed from that object’s constant presence in one’s life.

The “blemishes” which mottle an object speak of time spent together, function fulfilled, and love invested. There is a story behind every stain, every tear, and every repair. The same way you would not throw out something you love just because it is well-worn, you would not dare to replace it. Even if it’s the same brand, model, color and even year, but simply newer, it’s not the same. The new one doesn’t have the same personality to it; it isn’t as soft as the other one, doesn’t smell the same– it’s not as real as the other one. The new one doesn’t have the same life in it as the old one did. Even if you force your hand to carefully store the old one away in a safe place, you want to visit it often, to make sure it isn’t lonely or neglected– to reminisce; because it isn’t just an object, it’s a companion.

Well-Loved is a visual research collage of a thin, quilted blanket I had received around the time I was 2 or 3, and have used since then. Through careful observation of the parts of it which have been loved past recognition and into oblivion, I am recording the cherished state of it as it is. In areas not rendered on duralar, empty cells are filled with drawings of events from my childhood. Both conceptually, and literally, this rendition of the blanket will contain my memories.

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