A Piece of Family History, a Beautiful New Purpose

 Guest Blogger: Jenn VanDerwerken

 

I consider myself to be a sentimental minimalist. This can get tricky, as you can imagine.

I am comprised of both an urge to treasure and collect the meaningful things that have significance to my life, and a deep desire to keep things organized, streamlined and efficient. I don’t want my home or my person to be littered with haphazard decorations, and I can’t stand the thought of beautiful objects going unappreciated--collecting dust in some neglected drawer or attic, never actually being enjoyed.

And that’s just one of the reasons I love the work that Virginia Fretto is doing with Razimus Jewelry, and why I chose to work with her on a very special custom piece as a gift for my Mom on Mother’s Day.

I am a first-generation American, and my maternal family all hail from Scotland. Our heritage is incredibly important to us and we try to incorporate special customs and traditions into the seminal moments of our lives. I lost my beloved grandmother (my mother’s mother) not long before my wedding in 2006, and since she was our strongest tie to Scotland and so very proud of her homeland, we filled our wedding with special Scottish nods whenever possible. I was bagpiped down the aisle to my husband. Relatives from Glasgow flew in for the occasion. And I wrapped my wedding bouquet in a piece of our clan’s tartan--the MacIntyre tartan, which was given to me by my grandmother and brought over years before.

I loved that I could honor my matrilineal heritage on my wedding day, and years later, when I had my second son, I even named him MacIntyre. 

That beautiful tartan scarf, a gift from my Nana Flora and a symbol of my connection with my own mom and our shared history, has languished in a drawer for over 12 years. That’s so sad! It wasn’t big enough or thick enough to wear in any kind of practical way, and I had no other ideas for its use. Why should something so special to me be absent from my life in any tangible way?

Enter Virginia and her beautiful mission and the perfect Mother’s Day gift. My mother loves bracelets and wears them all the time. I couldn’t think of anything she would love more than a wearable piece of our family’s heritage, a memento from the mother she loves and misses to this day, and a keepsake from my own wedding day.

I myself am the proud owner of a killer pair of Razimus indigo cloth earrings that I bought at a special pop-up shop last December, so I’m familiar with the quality and craftsmanship of Virginia’s pieces. They are sturdy, lightweight, and of course, one of a kind.

It was so fun to collaborate with Virginia on just the right style for my Mom and she had my full trust to take care of my heirloom fabric and return to me a gift that I know will be treasured for always. I even had a piece made for myself from the same fabric, a necklace, that I will wear with so much pride and can pass down to future generations.

I would urge us all to take a look at the objects of nostalgia that we surround ourselves with--the musty baby blankets in the gallon plastic tub in your attic that you can’t bear to part with, the worn to perfection flannel shirt that belonged to your Dad, the handkerchief you carried on your wedding day, and think about how special it would be to turn that cloth into wearable heirloom art. 

What was once a possession that you can’t purge but also can't really use can be so much more. It can transform into a special piece of jewelry for yourself or a loved one that represents history and family, and can hold within it a tiny time machine, taking us back to a place or a moment or person that we never want to forget.

         

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Thank you so much for sharing your special story, Jenn! 

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