A Digital Museum Tells Time-Honored Stories of the Indian Subcontinent Through Everyday Objects and Family Heirlooms | The Slowdown - Culture, Nature, Future
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A Letter from Mother Teresa, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Siddharth Sunder. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A Letter from Mother Teresa, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Siddharth Sunder. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A checkbook from the Imperial Bank of India, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Saba Qizilbash. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A checkbook from the Imperial Bank of India, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Saba Qizilbash. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A wristwatch owned by Puran Singh, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by his grandson, Shatakshi Singh. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A wristwatch owned by Puran Singh, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by his grandson, Shatakshi Singh. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A 32-caliber Colt pistol owned by Inderjeet Suri, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by his granddaughter, Anviti Suri. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A 32-caliber Colt pistol owned by Inderjeet Suri, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by his granddaughter, Anviti Suri. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
The “dekchi”—a brass cooking pot used to cook “biryani”—owned by Leela Chander, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by her great-grandson, Vignesh Sivakumar. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
The “dekchi”—a brass cooking pot used to cook “biryani”—owned by Leela Chander, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by her great-grandson, Vignesh Sivakumar. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
The “bonti,” a kitchen instrument used to peel, chop, shred, slice and dice vegetables and fruits, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Kasturi Mukherjee. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
The “bonti,” a kitchen instrument used to peel, chop, shred, slice and dice vegetables and fruits, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Kasturi Mukherjee. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A Letter from Mother Teresa, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Siddharth Sunder. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A Letter from Mother Teresa, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Siddharth Sunder. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A checkbook from the Imperial Bank of India, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Saba Qizilbash. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A checkbook from the Imperial Bank of India, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Saba Qizilbash. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A wristwatch owned by Puran Singh, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by his grandson, Shatakshi Singh. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A wristwatch owned by Puran Singh, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by his grandson, Shatakshi Singh. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A 32-caliber Colt pistol owned by Inderjeet Suri, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by his granddaughter, Anviti Suri. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A 32-caliber Colt pistol owned by Inderjeet Suri, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by his granddaughter, Anviti Suri. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
The “dekchi”—a brass cooking pot used to cook “biryani”—owned by Leela Chander, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by her great-grandson, Vignesh Sivakumar. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
The “dekchi”—a brass cooking pot used to cook “biryani”—owned by Leela Chander, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by her great-grandson, Vignesh Sivakumar. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
The “bonti,” a kitchen instrument used to peel, chop, shred, slice and dice vegetables and fruits, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Kasturi Mukherjee. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
The “bonti,” a kitchen instrument used to peel, chop, shred, slice and dice vegetables and fruits, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Kasturi Mukherjee. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A Letter from Mother Teresa, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Siddharth Sunder. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A Letter from Mother Teresa, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Siddharth Sunder. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A checkbook from the Imperial Bank of India, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Saba Qizilbash. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A checkbook from the Imperial Bank of India, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Saba Qizilbash. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A wristwatch owned by Puran Singh, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by his grandson, Shatakshi Singh. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A wristwatch owned by Puran Singh, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by his grandson, Shatakshi Singh. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A 32-caliber Colt pistol owned by Inderjeet Suri, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by his granddaughter, Anviti Suri. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
A 32-caliber Colt pistol owned by Inderjeet Suri, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by his granddaughter, Anviti Suri. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
The “dekchi”—a brass cooking pot used to cook “biryani”—owned by Leela Chander, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by her great-grandson, Vignesh Sivakumar. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
The “dekchi”—a brass cooking pot used to cook “biryani”—owned by Leela Chander, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by her great-grandson, Vignesh Sivakumar. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
The “bonti,” a kitchen instrument used to peel, chop, shred, slice and dice vegetables and fruits, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Kasturi Mukherjee. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)
The “bonti,” a kitchen instrument used to peel, chop, shred, slice and dice vegetables and fruits, submitted to the Museum of Material Memory by Kasturi Mukherjee. (Courtesy Museum of Material Memory)

A gold dial Titan quartz wristwatch with a worn-out brown leather strap. A 32-caliber Colt pistol. A dekchi, or brass cooking pot for cooking the traditional rice dish biryani. A signed letter from Mother Teresa. An Imperial Bank of India checkbook. These are but five items in the collection of the Museum of Material Memory, an online repository of objects from across the Indian subcontinent, dating from or before the 1970s, including books, photographs, magazines, maps, jewelry, and family heirlooms.

Co-founded by friends Aanchal Malhotra and Navdha Malhotra (no relation) in 2017, the museum showcases user-submitted physical artifacts, and shares personal anecdotes about them, turning them into evocative—even tactile—digital stories. Think of it as a crowdsourced, upstart, Smithsonian-like archive for the South Asian region comprising Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Blog-style in aesthetic, the simple site is a rare and welcome online environment to behold: It’s thoughtfully curated, well-edited, fascinating in breadth and depth, and full of eye-opening accounts that speak to too often ignored spaces, places, peoples, and histories.

While many of the objects featured might seem mundane on the surface, they are rich in backstory, showcasing the many cross-border (and cross-family) traditions, customs, and conventions of the vast region. Similar to how the British artist, writer, and master potter Edmund de Waal has unpacked stories of his Jewish family’s heritage through objects and materials—most notably in his 2010 book The Hare with Amber Eyes (now an exhibition of the same name, opening next week at New York’s Jewish Museum)—Aanchal and Navdha collect myriad narratives from across the Indian diaspora, resulting in a tapestry of memory, meaning, and understanding. We recently caught up with the enterprising duo to ask them about how and why they built the platform, and their ambitions for it going forward.

What led you to create the museum?

Aanchal Malhotra: I’m an oral historian, and work with objects that were carried across the newly laid border between India and Pakistan. That’s my work: what refugees carried, essentially. I’ve traveled for many years across India, Pakistan, and the U.K., looking at objects, and [contemplating] whether we can understand the notion of belonging to a particular land. The border between the two [South Asian] countries is contentious, and people cannot go back and forth so easily.

The concept [for the museum] took time to take root within people’s minds, because many of the objects [featured] were mundane. They were really banal things, like shoes and books and pens, that I had to invest importance in through conversations [with their owners]. Eventually, people from across the subcontinent started to get in touch with me, asking, “Can you come to see our objects?”

How did you two meet?

Aanchal: Navdha and I have been friends since high school. We have the same [last] name, we have a very similar background, and we care for not just things, but artifacts—and for the preservation of culture that may disappear. In 2017, when I published a book about objects that were carried across India and Pakistan’s borders during partition, I asked Navdha if we should do something about this together. We started small, with things in our own houses.

Navdha Malhotra: Both of us are really passionate about ensuring that [the museum] is democratic. It was founded on the fact that it should be crowdsourced. It’s also about the flexibility of: How do we empower people to tell their own stories?

“Material memory” isn’t such a common phrase, but perhaps it should be. How do you define it?

Aanchal: It’s in the subtitle of my book [Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition Through Material Memory]. That’s where we borrowed it from. It has been most frequently used, in my experience, with objects from the Holocaust and objects from the great wars. But for me, the terminology of “material memory” is so linked to oral history. It’s the memory that people embed within materiality based on their experiences, or their engagements, with an object. The encounter with any object is contingent on human intervention. What we put into it is what we receive from it.

Navdha: [The museum project] comes from this need to think about, to analyze, to really look at things around us, and wonder why something was important enough to be saved. At the end of the day, it comes down to emotions. It can’t just be important enough to save something because it’s nostalgic. There’s almost always a deeper story or a learned experience.

Right. That’s apparent in the first-person narrative that accompanies each object you feature. Anyone can submit items via Instagram or a form on the museum’s website. How do you select the pieces for inclusion, and what goes into curating the museum’s “collection,” so to speak?

Navdha: We’re making life a little bit hard for ourselves by trying to maintain very, very high standards. Slowly, the number of submissions has started increasing. For the last year and a half, we haven’t had to reach out and seek them. We’ve now reached a level where the project is organic—people just send us messages. Instagram remains the most popular way to get submissions. It usually takes us a few months to complete a story, based on people’s availability. Our hope and vision is that we can expand with a team and get more people involved, at least in the archiving and documentation process. But we haven’t started that yet. We work very closely with each person who has written to us.

I should add that we almost never say no to a submission. We’re just kind of hanging onto the democratic flag, and believe that [this project] should extend to everybody. Because we don’t take objects away [physically from their owners], though, it’s important to visually showcase each one in the best possible light, which means that we expect really good photographs. We like there to be at least ten to twelve photographs that we can work with—old photographs, new photographs. Since we're not putting these objects in a gallery for people to walk around, we believe they should at least be able to see them online and say, “Oh, wow, this is the size, and this is the color.”

It’s almost like being able to touch it.

Navdha: Absolutely.

What do you hope these objects reveal?

Aanchal: Something about the person who wrote about them, and about the family that the object comes from. The most beautiful process happens when people start to write their story, because they’re [often] compelled to interview a family member. What ends up happening when generations speak with this kind of seriousness is that stories you haven’t heard enough [come out].

South Asia is moving to a modality and a pace that is far faster than in the West. We’re also emulating the West, which means that intergenerational conversation is dissipating quickly. The stories in the museum activate thoughts of family life. When we post a story about an object, it almost always takes on another story. Another story appears from someone else.

We did a story a couple of months ago about this cutting utensil [that’s common] in Bengali kitchens. It was used specifically for fish. When we posted it, we got responses from across not just India, but Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and other parts of the diaspora, saying, “Oh, in our language, it’s called this.” It was incredible. This is what we hope to do: make a web with countries of the subcontinent that cannot join physically. The digital [museum] is a great, democratic way to build connections between ordinary people that don’t have anything to do with political or national allegiance.

It becomes a form of cultural diplomacy.

Navdha: That’s our hidden agenda for all of it. If people who have made the effort of reaching out and writing a piece walk away feeling that they learned something about themselves and their family that they didn’t know previously—

Aanchal: I love it when people feel seen. [The project] is an archive of visibility, because it puts you on a platform, which is respectable. Your family history is visible, and it is important. It’s not just data.

Is there a particular standout object or story that comes to mind?

Aanchal: There was a story where a person [named Shubham Das] found these old Bengali novels. He didn’t know anything about them, and he knew that his father had been married once before. But his father never spoke about his first wife, who had died. The young man found out that these novels had been given to the couple on their wedding day. It prompted a heartwarming, very open conversation between him and his father about the resentment [over] the death of his spouse, and also how to move on in life, and about his remarriage. It was a [moment] of incredible growth in a family, all prompted by the curiosity of a boy who couldn’t let these novels just pass him by.

Do you have any plans of expanding this “material memory” project beyond the borders of the subcontinent, or to find partners in other countries to create extensions of what you’re doing?

Navdha: These countries are so vast, and there’s so much that we’re still learning about them. We come from Northern India [which is where most of our submissions come from]. We’re struggling to get stories from Southern India. I’m constantly reaching out to people [there, and in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan], randomly going, “Listen, give me something.”

I feel like [the region of] Punjab in India gets all the attention, and too much representation. [Aanchal and I] have such a common last name that people immediately know where we’re from, and associate the museum to that Punjabi background. I think that’s a bit unfair. We’re trying to break out of that, and to have as much representation—not just in geographic diversity, but also in caste, class, and ethnicity—as possible.

Do you have any plans of physicalizing the museum?

Navdha: Since day one, we’ve wanted to organize pop-ups. More than anything, to set up a space where people can come, interact, and engage with the objects. We’d like to curate something where people have written the [wall texts], and the owners of the objects can be present. We really want to be a platform for people to share their life stories.

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Japanese culture is known worldwide for its meticulous approach to hospitality—and, ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, thTokyo Toilet project invited 16 world-class designers to rethink this humble, often overlooked, piece of public infrastructure.

Two sculptural toilet paper holders.

Toilet paper, like so many everyday items, has become a political point of contention in this maelstrom of a year, one t$31 billion tissue-paper industry in North America, as designers Benjamin Critton and Heidi Korsavong, co-directors of the Los Angeles art and design galMarta, point out. And with their latest installation, “Under/Over,” on view through Nov. 1, they’re addressing this dark underlayer of the Big T.P. industry with a group show examining thPlant Paper (which makes toxin- and tree-free toilet paper using only fast-growing, FSC-certified bamboo), Critton and Korsavong in

Hands holding the threads of a white roll of fabric.

When New York Fashion Week announced its anemic lineup for this month’s showings, the writing on the wall was as plain aEp. 69 of At a Distance, the fashion and apparel industry is a known top contributor to environmental pollution worldwide—and, as it grapples w

Bradley Bowers making one of his cotton paper lamps.

To an industrial designer, plastics and metals are typically a native language while natural materials are a foreign tonBradley Bowers didn’t touch them until graduate school, at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and discovered an approach to manipHalo, debuted this past spring. Bowers’s flair for transformation shines through each fixture, where sheets of cotton paper,

Marbled, multicolor origami paper.

So you’ve tried your hand at jigsaw puzzles and need a different indoor activity to tide your quarantine boredom over. MOrigami Paper Shop’s themed kits, which include detailed instructions for making all sorts of creations. Fold cats, cranes, dogs, rabbits,

A Goshi towel in a yellow package.

Getting a full-body exfoliating treatment is an experience, to say the least—one that will leave you feeling silky smootGoshi towel, made in Gunma, a prefecture of Japan touted for its textile and silk manufacturing, is no mere loofah. Woven wit

A WaterRower machine on a white background.

Finding a new exercise routine that provides total-body training can be a challenge, especially as we spend more time inWaterRower rowing machine, designed in 1987 by John Duke and carried exclusively by the MoMA Design Store, is built around a patented fly wheel tthe high-tech Hydrow.)

A man in virtual reality playing an exercise game, floating on a disk above a lake.

We’re living at work, working at home, and, on good days, working out somewhere between, in the same space every day. ItSupernatural, offers precisely that in the form of a VR exercise class. The next-level experience offers a range of cardio, upper-bo

María Elena Pombo stacking bricks for an exhibition.

From textiles to fashion to research and installation art, creative endeavors often take on varying forms for the VenezuFragmentario, in 2016, after stints studying industrial engineering and working as a fashion designer. Here, she tells us about her

A black Angell bike on concrete in profile.

Bicycling has seen a welcome boom in recent months, as the pandemic has made restless city dwellers wary of both public transportation and gyms, and in nAngell, designed by Ora-Ïto and currently available for pre-order, may be the most stylish and affordable e-bike option we’ve inflatable prototype) can tend to look a bit goofy, the Mate City eBike combines performance and style for the more serious cyclist seeking a longer-term investment. The Danish company also pthis high-performance model with fashion brand Moncler). If neither space nor budget are an issue, look to the Dutch bike-maker VanMoof’s S3, a top-of-the-line offering that boasts a near-silent electric mechanism and a distinctive frame that conceals the batt

A pair of Felco shears cutting a small branch.

A skilled gardener or houseplant parent is never without a good pair of quality shears. In addition to removing damaged Felco shears have remained virtually unchanged for decades, and for good reason: They get the job done, and are a worthwhile additiothese elegant Japanese gardening tools from the Beijing- and Hangzhou-based Fnji Furniture, made with solid-cast zinc-aluminum alloy that will accrue a pleasi

A note card on a desk with a pen, carafe, and sprig of herbs.

People have been bemoaning the decline of penmanship since the earliest days of typewriters, the once-newfangled, speedynote card and stationery sets from the Canadian startup Maurèle add an artful, personal touch to the analog communiqué, with a range of customizable designs and distinctive typefaces

Five sake soaks in different colors.

Self-care is always a good idea—and given the anxieties and uncertainties of living in a pandemic, a crucial way to mainsake soaks by Basin take your home-bathing ritual to the next level. The bottled concoctions, made from Japanese sake and a blend of all-na

A jade gua sha tool next to a sprig of rosemary.

Anxiety and stress can take a serious toll on your health—and your skin. This may, in part, explain why the wellness worgua sha, a traditional Chinese medicinal technique for relaxing and relieving tension to aid in myofascial release. The method gua sha facials have garnered a particularly fervent following in recent years. You may have noticed, if you pay attention to tgua sha tools: small, handheld stone instruments that come in a number of shapes and contours, designed to smooth and scrape ovBrooklyn-based holistic healing studio Lanshin carries some of the best, carved from materials including rose quartz, jade, and nephrite. Founder Sandra Lanshin Chiu,online tutorials to get you started on your new favorite facial workout. Think of the small spatula- and spoon-like implements as doing

A person's bare back against a black background.

Five months into this pandemic, we can say with certainty that cabin fever is real. Very, very real. Even if there are na specific type of longing that psychologists call “skin hunger.” Our desire for touch isn’t just emotional, either: Studies show that physical touch reduces the levels of stress hormon

Five dye pots with colored fabrics inside them.

Textile artist Sasha Duerr centers her work around plant-based dyes with the curiosity of a dedicated alchemist, growingNatural Palettes: Inspiration from Plant-Based Color (Princeton Architectural Press), presents an antidote to the exacting industry-standard Pantone swatch—one that’s defin

White curtains in front of stalks of wheat.

When it released its air-purifying Gunrid curtains earlier this year, the Swedish big-box furniture giant Ikea made a compelling argument for dressing up your windows: “Aclean air has long been an issue of global concern, as we soon enter the fourth month of this pandemic, that quippy selling point couldn’t have felt more eerily prescient

Manufactum's seed pot press next to a seedling.

Seed pots, much like baking staples such as yeast and flour, have been in higher demand in quarantine times, as many peohelpful little molds from Manufactum make the task a bit smoother and more consistent. The two-part presses are made from solid-waxed beechwood, and are as

A round basket with a blue cushion and small cat figurine sitting inside.

After a string of announcements from the organizers of Milan’s Salone del Mobile that the largest annual event for the dJamie Wolfond, who made a name early in his career for his pleasing, utilitarian designs as the founder of Good Thing, chooses to see

Rose-colored Le Monde Beryl Venetian slippers.

Perhaps your new WFH commute includes spending more time in the garage or backyard; maybe your temporary “workspace” is Sasawashi’s room shoes, available from one of our all-time favorite shops in New York City, Nalata Nalata, are made from a soft, natural mix of paper and plant fibers that are a Platonic balance of comfort and durability. ForBuilding Block just launched a fancy upgrade to the standard terry-cloth house slipper, updated in smooth leather, and roomy enough that you won’t need to fuss over mixing up your left foot from your right.velvet Venetian slippers from Le Monde Beryl (pictured), inspired by the footwear worn by gondoliers. Available in mule, slipper, and heeled variations, they might

A man doing bicep curls with a Forme home gym.

As gym closures continue (that is to say, most everywhere), the age of home fitness has arrived, and with it, a spate of online classes to match. Popular fitness studios like Sky Ting and Modo Yoga have recently transitioned to hosting live sessions online (as has Ashtanga yoga teacher Eddie Stern, who was just a guest on our At a Distance podcast), while apps such as Nike Training Club are temporarily offering free access. We’re also fans of the newsletter TheWorkout.Today, which sends a fresh routine to your inbox each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, along with a self-reflection exercise toGorilla Mat, and some good ol’ motivation.

A bowl of yellow squash and tomatoes.

The prospect of starting a home garden might conjure some Thoreauvian notion of going “back to the land” or returning tothe Edn smart garden; another we recommend—an especially aesthetically pleasing option—is the SproutsIO system. There’s also a user-friendly mobile app for this new reality: Made by a team of British developers, Garden Plan Pro offers an update to the classic Farmers’ Almanac, with a detailed glossary of plants and flowers along with their peak seasonal ranges and the ideal plantings to pair tSimCity rolled into one. Siri, let’s get gardening.

A selection of colorful puzzles.

So you’ve made it through your Netflix queue while scrolling through your Instagram feed, wondering why you spent all thTiger King—it’s probably time to step away from the screen (any of them). May we suggest: an idle afternoon with a jigsaw puzzle, social media fixation on this purely analog activity has been building for some time, embraced for its slow and methodical meditative nature

A roll of Who Gives a Crap "Emergency Roll!!" toilet paper in orange wrapping.

While you may find yourself tempted to hoard toilet paper, we hope that, instead of overcompensating, you’ve picked up just enough to get you through the coming weeks. Consider this fact to put the temporary panic-induced shortages into perspective: MWho Gives a Crap, a cheekily named BCorp on a serious mission to improve the lives of the 2.3 billion people without access to a toilet

A wooden panda.

From Eileen Gray and Frank Lloyd Wright to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Frank Gehry, there’s a long history of famous arArchitectmade sells a range of such objects by some of the country’s most celebrated architects and designers. These include a range objets by more contemporary talents, including wooden animal figurines by Bjarke Ingels (a panda) and Nikolaj Klitgaard (an owl). The collection of sculptural items are imminently giftable and ageless, made

Snow Shimazu meditating next to a hotel pool.

Flying long distances does a number on our bodies—something that wellness expert Snow Shimazu, founder of the holistic tAir Beautiful, knows all too well. We can credit the grogginess and exhaustion of jet lag to the disruption of our circadian rhythms,Four Seasons New York Downtown spa) works with clients to provide a range of speciality massage and lymphatic cleansing services, but there are also many

A white Light Phone in grass.

Americans spend an average of more than four hours a day on their smartphones—and it’s hardly innocent fun. A new study finds that smartphone addiction can have the same effect on the brain as drug addiction, reducing gray matter and deliv

An Adam Fuss fungus photogram.

Artists, chefs, and scientists have long found creative inspiration in mushrooms, and for a variety of reasons. Prized fAdam Fuss—who creates photograms by placing spores on light-sensitive paper and letting them bloom in contact to create an abstra“Mushrooms: The Art, Design, and Future of Fungi,” organized by Francesca Gavin, examines the widespread influence of the humble organism, featuring the work of 40 artistMushroom Book of recipes and observations, artworks by Cy Twombly, and a series of events including a pop-up dinner by chef Skye Gyng

A wooden polygonal massage tool.

Designer Juliana Huang spent much of her childhood in Taiwan, before moving to Los Angeles after high school. Living halThe Wax Apple—affectionately named after her favorite fruit native to Taiwan—she’s able to share a little piece of her culture with a

The Gentlewoman magazine featuring Margaret Atwood, on a red background next to a centimeter ruler.

When British editor Penny Martin and the creators of BUTT and Fantastic Man launched The Gentlewoman, in 2010, it boldly introduced a new type of “women’s magazine.” Redefining notions of female aspiration and personal sThe Gentlewoman features candid profiles and in-depth interviews with figures across the age, cultural, and professional spectrum—everymini-magazine. Measuring less than 3.5 inches tall, and nearly as thick as it is wide, it’s designed to fit in the palm of your hand,The Gentlewoman’s cover stories to date, including those printed in its earliest (and now rare and sought-after) issues. At once undersIrma Boom fan in your life. With its sleek white cover, it makes for a playful foil to the everyman’s little black book.

An app screen of 72 Seasons reading "Major Cold."

Most would associate February with the dead of winter—long past the joy of the holiday season, yet far enough from April72 Seasons. Updated every five days, the average length of each micro-season, the app shares more about this cultural tradition, abrrr!—which is set to continue for the next few days. This is the peak season for red seabream, celery, burdock root, as well

Two astronaut gloves touching on a grey background.

Long before we learn how to speak or read an alphabet, we grasp and feel our way around the world, and listen to our bodinside our bodies has long remained a bit of a mystery—though researchers have begun to crack the code over the past 10 years.

The interior of Object Limited, with a floor marquee sign and rack of clothes.

With increasing awareness and reporting on the ongoing climate crisis, we’ve learned more about the top industry offende10 percent of humanity’s carbon emissions and a major consumer—not to mention polluter—of the planet’s water supply. Producing a single pair of jeans requires 2,Inconspicuous Consumption.)

Two hands cupping a dorodango mud ball.

Mudslinging gets a bad rap. But for artist and author Bruce Gardner, an Albuquerque, New Mexico, native, the natural andhikaru dorodango—the Japanese craft of making beautiful spheres from, why yes, mud. While it may sound deceivingly simple, Gardner, who by writer William Gibson in Tate Etc. magazine, details the range of the surprisingly complex and challenging practice in his new book, Dorodango: The Japanese Art of Making Mud Balls (Laurence King). “I am struck by how these objects, created from such a humble material, are the near-perfect expressiondorodango irrevocably completes the transition; dirt is no longer ‘dirty’—it is an art medium.”

A pink and blue throw blanket over a grey felt couch.

Sweater weather begets snuggly blanket weather, and we’re particularly taken by the lush and puffy woolen creations of NRøros Tweed. Named for the 17th-century copper mining town on Unesco’s list of World Heritage sites, the textiles company grew out available in the U.S. through Design Within Reach; you can also find Røros’s wares through the Scandinavian design retailer Fjørn. It’s the perfect warm-and-fuzzy for someone on your nice list.