Things We Keep

 The staircase of The German Historical Institute in Bloomsbury Square

The staircase of The German Historical Institute in Bloomsbury Square

I love stumbling upon obscure exhibitions in quiet corners of cities. Recently in London I found a display of household objects at The German Historical Institute (which is worth a visit for the staircase alone).

The show was called “Things we keep” and was the result of a Kings College project which asked German expats to reveal the treasured possessions they had brought with them to England. 

The objects ranged from the sublime (a 1950s handpainted Christmas tree angel), to the ridiculous (4 ply toilet roll) but all the objects had a story which linked their owners to a sense of home.

 A 1950s German Christmas Tree Angel

A 1950s German Christmas Tree Angel

One of the exhibitors was displaying a set of beautiful blue and white China - a family heirloom for generations. Even though she could have bought new tableware in England she shipped the family china  as a way to tell the story about where she'd come from. For her it was also a source of comfort-  something familiar in an unfamiliar place. 

The tableware was the same Onion Pattern range we sell in our store. The design was created in Germany 300 years ago and is still being made today. It was featured in last month's World of Interiors Magazine.

  Onion Pattern  - a 300 year old design still being made today

Onion Pattern - a 300 year old design still being made today

The idea of objects as treasures from home resonates with me- this is what Spiero is all about. You can read more about Spiero’s story here

My grandmother was a refugee from Germany and although she fully integrated into English life she always surrounded herself with household objects from her homeland.

My kitchen drawer contains my grandmother's grape scissors. They are special, not just because they belonged to my grandmother, but also because they represent her German culture. The idea of having a pair of scissors just for cutting grapes seems so extravagant. But this is a part of German culture- to have a tool for everything and to do things properly. Especially when it comes to the art of dining.

 My grandmother's German grape scissors made by Zwilling

My grandmother's German grape scissors made by Zwilling

 The objects in our home aren’t just materialistic they can be idealistic too. Our objects are our culture. They define and describe us. They are the keepers of our memories.

The question I ask myself is, what would I take with me to remind me of home?

What would you take?