Precious Things: Collected and Kept

Vancouver, BC

Precious Things: Collected and Kept explores how our most precious objects act as a physical record of what we value as individuals, society, and as a generation. Charlotte Spafford asked people across Vancouver for submissions of their most precious object, along with a description of its personal significance. She re-created these objects in her signature mixed-media style, capturing their spirit while transforming them into something new. These ‘art objects’ were collected and arranged to inspire new works, vaguely referencing the original objects, but still retaining their essence.

Spafford creates simple, delicate forms that tell stories and form relationships: both with one another, and with the viewer. Objects are seen from new perspectives, and in new states of being, revealing her curiosity in how we understand the things around us, and how they are imbued with-or stripped of-meaning.

She also considers how culture teaches us to relate with objects. in various Asian religious practices, the burning of joss paper (and more contemporary elaborate paper objects) encourages us to crystallize our values by selecting which things we would take with us to the afterlife. In addition, she alludes to museum artefact collections, twisting the narrative by appropriating objects that are still in use by the owner. By collecting and keeping these things, Spafford creates new relationships between artist, object owner, and the precious things themselves-and invites us to participate in her collection.


Interview: Artist Charlotte Spafford, SAD Magazine

Radio Interview, CBC’s On the Coast (listen at 1:28)

Charlotte Spafford explores the relationship between people and their precious things, Fortune Sound Club Blog

Thanks to the Vancouver Foundation DTES Small Arts Grant for funding this project.