after the jump: megan auman interview (mp3)

by Grace Bonney

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down for an incredibly thought-provoking talk with designer, educator and entrepreneur Megan Auman. I’ve been following Megan’s work as a jewelry designer for years and have really enjoyed the insight, advice and expertise she’s brought to guest columns for our Biz Ladies series. So when Megan mentioned that she was working on a new book called In Defense of Stuff, I was intrigued. As someone who both loves and struggles with the fact that I talk about “stuff” for a living (even if it’s handmade or DIY), I find myself constantly returning to this debate, especially whether creating “stuff” or celebrating it makes enough of a difference in the world. So I immediately invited Megan on the show and was thrilled when she joined me for what became a really engrossing, deep conversation about what it means to care about, make and love “stuff.”

Megan’s Stuff Does Matter Manifesto

Stuff has a place in our world and in your life.
Objects matter beyond their utility.
Caring about things is not wrong.
Your stuff helps you make sense of the world.
Stuff connects you to people — to your past,
present, and future.
Stuff provides beauty, meaning, and experience.
Stuff helps you remember and share.
 There’s a difference between mindless
consumption and the way you feel.
Value what you have.
 Buy only what you love.
Savor what you own.
Allow your things to enrich your life.
Choose gratitude over guilt.
Know that the things you love do matter.

Megan has some really great ideas, and I think we stumbled upon excellent topics and moments that warrant an even deeper conversation. If you’ve ever wondered about your own relationship to stuff, objects and the things we surround ourselves with, I hope you’ll take a listen (link below). Thanks again to Megan for taking the time to travel to NYC and talk with me. You can visit her website here or the brand new Stuff Does Matter website here. You can also leave your own stories on her SDM Facebook page here. xo, grace

*Previous episodes of After the Jump: Todd Oldham, Of a Kind, Genevieve GorderJason Goodman of Third Ward, Eric and Jonathan of The Brooklyn Flea, Meg Mateo Ilasco, and Sibella Court

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  • Literally, I was just sitting on our couch last night, sort of having a mini-breakdown to my boyfriend about the fact that I make “stuff”. The word “stuff” came out of my mouth with a sort of tone of… disdain. Almost like I was spitting it out. It’s not the first time that’s happened. : )

    So… needless to say… I’m intrigued and eager to hear more about this topic from other makers of, and enjoyers of… stuff!

    I’m excited to hear this. I’ve met Megan and spoken with her, and really enjoy her work, as well. Thanks!

  • Love this! I gave up my stuff and moved into Hare Krishna temples back in 1997. But in 2001 I got married and in 2003 started having kids. I love bringing treasures into our life as anchors for our memories. Conscious/conscientious consumption makes a difference, bringing beauty to our lives.

  • Grace, this was very interesting, a beginning of a conversation for me. Thanks to both of you for being vulnerable. I remember the day I found Design Sponge 3 years ago and it has changed my life utterly. I read regularly and my creative/artist/maker/collector self has been revived after many dormant years, starting with the “sewing pillows 101” diy article (I have since made probably 30 pillow covers for gifts, home, and a community workspace I helped design). That’s why, when you signed my book at anthropologie in Chicago I very awkwardly said, “thanks for being you!”. It has helped me be me. So much more than “stuff”!

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