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The Things That We Hold Close

People express themselves through their mental and physical environments.

A wood-burning oven, a horseback-riding blue ribbon, a handmade dulcimer, an Audrey Hepburn poster, and a pair of beaded bracelets all have one thing in common: they speak volumes about the people who own them. Materialism is a point of shame for most Americans, a negative trait treated as a stain on our national self-image. But material trappings are not simply a show of status - they are what make up our environments, and they reveal things about us that we may not even know about ourselves.

Our possessions take on lives of their own, containing within their unique personas memories, hopes and aspirations that we did not intend when we obtained them. The rich histories of Athens, Ohio flow through the people who call this place home, and are imbued in the objects and spaces that surround them.

Through observing other people's possessions, we attempt to better understand them as flesh-and-blood individuals, rather than just the sum of their parts. Their things are extensions of themselves necessary appendages for sculpting their own unique American existences.

  • Sarah & Piper

  • Sage

  • Andrew & Doug

  • Miaomiao "Kiki"

  • Charlie & Celia

Sarah Warda is a photographer and a graduate of Ohio University. She is building her first home with her partner Piper Avalokita, which they created using financially feasible green practices with the intent of being as sustainable as possible. Sarah's passion for the histories held by her family and the Appalachian region are manifested in the reclaimed and recycled materials that make up the walls of her home.

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