Mine

Mine is not a complex word however it has meaning in several different contexts. The possessive pronoun is the context used here.

‘Mine’ is closely associated with the identification of self in children and is one of the first words we learn to use with passion and intensity. It is a dominant word in the vocabulary of a small child and describes the relationship and sense of ownership the child has with an object specifically.

Although we train for self-control throughout childhood, the desire for possession stays at the core of us all, as an extension of and symbolic expression of self, representative of core values and individuality. By the time we reach adulthood we have most likely understood the concept of ‘sharing’ and can move more easily between ‘mine’ and ‘yours’. We have learned to accept that the object shared is not necessarily returned to us, however we will also have learned how to acquire another object we can call ‘mine’.

The maker identifies with the object through the act of creation. There will always be a lasting association preserved between the maker and his or her creations by way of the unique, distinguishing design and style, a maker’s mark and particular medium.

The maker of desirable objects creates in order to leave a record of him or herself, to produce items of value to others, to communicate and to be appreciated by others. Inherent in this is the notion of sharing oneself with others through one’s work.

Creating is an attempt to extend the self in ever-new ways. The time spent from conception to finish fosters an emotional attachment to the object, which can be difficult to dissolve. Such periods of creativity are followed by periods of loss, however much creating work is about the pleasure of sharing.

Ownership creates a feeling of pleasure. Buying and owning an object contributes to the sense of self, as in regarding something as ‘mine’ the object becomes ‘me’. There is a close link between possessions, self-identity, and individuality.

“Possessions shape our consciousness, our self-awareness and our perceotion of the world. It is through the interactive process with one’s possessions that they provide a space, comfort, autonomy, pleasure and opportunity that facilitates the development and cultivation of one’s identity as they are symbols of self”.†

Creators of objects learn to let go of their works not only to make money, but to move forward as artists. Letting go feels like giving up part of themselves; therefore they also must learn to trust that there is within themselves a mine of ideas to be explored and created in the future.

† Heiga Dittmar, Consumer Culture, Identity, and Well-being, 1992, p86.

Catherine Harrington
Head Teacher Jewellery, Object Design + Manufacture

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Australia, Sydney – 2011

Dank Street Gallery

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