BUY QUALITY - BUY ONCE - LOVE FOREVER
What is Heirloom Design?
It is to design a product where the whole lifetime of the piece is considered. Taking into account the following:
- High quality
- Slow consumption
- Pass through family generations
The modern trend is for throw away objects, cheaply designed products that are quickly and badly manufactured. Products that won't last very long and are designed for obsolescence. It's a short-lived and fast paced attitude.
Functional, and / or planned obsolescence is a method of product design, where products are made to purposely break or reach the end of their life at a specific time, so that customers have to buy them again. This also applies to fashion obsolescence, when products have their look and feel needlessly changed to attract customers again, and in turn they throw away their older products that may well work perfectly fine. It's an unfortunate result of the modern day consumer driven culture.
Heirloom designs are durable, they are designed with high quality materials so that they last a long time, from 50 to 100 years. They also aim to be repairable, so any components can be replaced in the future. If the product is tech, then heirloom design also takes into consideration upgrades, customisation and renewal as technology develops.
In opposition of the throwaway culture, slow consumption means that products are designed with serious thought to the complete life cycle. Products are made with the highest quality materials available, and are produced with quality production and finishing processes. It's anti-consumerism, anti-fashion and anti-commercialism.
This may give the impression that heirloom designs may be boring and lack style, only focusing on function and durability. Yet the designers that follow this ethos, they pour the heart and soul into making products that will stand the test of time and that convey effortless style. It's a challenge to make pieces that will be loved and cherished not only today, but tomorrow, next year and in twenty years.
There are iconic designs from the world of product design that are still fashionable, well made and in demand. The Eames chair is a great example, designed sixty years ago it is still a sought after piece of furniture that holds great esteem. It’s a design you only buy one of and you know it will last a lifetime.
Then there are products that you treasure that you pass down to your children and onwards through the years of your family. Typically watches and pieces of jewellery, often classic pieces of furniture, works of art and even cars. Heirloom pieces are cherished by the owners, the sentiment value is often priceless.
Questions to check if a product is a potential heirloom
- Will the design seem dated in the next few years?
- Is this product something you would pass onto the next generation of your family?
- Do the materials appear high quality?
- Who made the design and how?
- Is it possible to repair or replace any parts within the product?
My Heirloom Ethos
Here at Earth Balance Craft, all of my products follow the heirloom design ethos. As a sole proprietor, I am in complete control of the design and production process of my products. I hand-make every design from the beginning to the end. My designs do not follow fads or fashion, I draw inspiration from the natural world which is ever beautiful.
Whether I am designing wall art, hanging decorations or jewellery designs, I ensure the pieces have structural integrity with as much robustness in the copper wire work as possible to stand the test of time and normal use. I use high quality semi-precious gemstones and glass beads with the purest copper wire on the market.
The majority of my designs have a gloss finish hand-painted onto the copper metal. It is the highest quality metal varnish available and can be revived with extra coats as the surface layers naturally degrade over time through oxidisation.
A number of my commission projects have been to design and produce actual ‘heirloom’ pieces, to start an heirloom tradition in their family. I am always honoured to be part of these projects.
My aim is for my designs to be loved and cherished through the generations. So join me in celebrating the beauty and sustainability of artisan heirloom designs.
Buy quality, buy once, love forever.