Treasured Objects: Edith Garcia

Treasured Objects: Edith Garcia

Contributors share the personal significance of handcrafted gifts they’ve received.
woman with red glasses in black and white patterned blouse holding an face mask thats part decorative and part protective

Photo coutresy of Edith Garcia.

We value objects as time capsules, as keepers of our memories. This year, while living in a COVID-19 state, the objects around us have taken on more meaningful significance. I’ve turned to art for solace, companionship, and strength.

Earlier this year, with limited PPE (personal protective equipment) supplies available, I looked to the global arts community to see what designers, engineers, and industrial designers were developing. I discovered Josh Hughes, a Portland, Oregon, atelier owner who developed a 3D-printed mask with laser-cut acrylic shields. It was the first time I had come across a face shield transformed into a beautifully designed, functioning art object. I fell in love with his concept—protective masks as art. He donated a portion of his sales to the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. I ordered a face shield, and this purchase became the starting point for future collaboration.

Hughes then developed a singular porcelain ceramic face shield and gifted it to me. This object captures our time, discussions, and collective COVID-19 experience. It will forever remind me of 2020. Its surface—laser-engraved with a coronavirus emblem—gives me hope, comfort, and pleasure in its fragility and in its promise to keep me safe. I hope that this object shares the story of our willingness to thrive and serves as a reminder that objects can be lessons for the future. This breathtaking and breath-giving art object is a reflection of our contemporary history.

woman in black and white patterned blouse holding an face mask thats part decorative and part protective

Photo coutresy of Edith Garcia.

Edith Garcia is director of communications at NCECA and professor at UC Berkeley and California College of the Arts.

joshhughes.studio | edithgarciastudio.com

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Cover of Winter 2022 issue of American Craft