about

Hi, I’m Megan, and I’m on a mission to change the way we think about the stuff around us.

Stuff Does Matter is a movement to help us understand that things play a crucial role in the way we experience life.

Stuff has gotten a bum rap lately, and not for undue reason. The current system of production, consumption, and waste from which we get most of our stuff is deeply flawed. Countless TV shows highlight the unhealthy addiction known as hoarding. And our desire for more and more stuff has, in many ways, led to stress, anxiety, and financial trouble.

The solution, it seems, is to stop imbuing stuff with meaning and cut ties cold turkey.

But I believe that stuff does matter. I believe that caring for things is not wrong. In fact, I believe that our current problems of excess and waste result not because we place too much value on stuff, but too little.

Stuff plays a critical role in our lives, and when we pretend it doesn’t have meaning or value, that it’s just “stuff,” we end up disconnected and alienated from the very things that can actually enrich our lives.

Stuff helps us make sense of the world.
Stuff connects us to people – to our past, present, and future.
Stuff provides beauty, meaning, and experience.
Stuff helps us remember and share.

Of course, not all stuff does this. But we all have things in our lives that will play this role if we let them. Like a wedding ring that might have belonged to your grandmother. Or the handmade mug that transforms your morning tea into a ritual and a sensual experience. Or a closet full of clothes that really do make you feel fantastic.

Caring about things does not make us shallow or wasteful, it makes us human. When we realize just how much stuff really can impact our lives, really can nourish us, we start to seek out better and better stuff.

Stuff does matter. And it’s only when we understand this that we can fill our lives with stuff that is good for us, that nourishes our body, mind, and soul.

This website is a celebration of our relationship with the good stuff.

Who am I?

I’m Megan Auman, designer, metalsmith, speaker, and writer. Stuff has always played an important role in my life.

I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania in a home filled with books and crafts and music and toys and art. My strongest memories from my childhood involve reading books again and again and again, a few favorite toys (that I still have) and making things. My mother was a painter and crafter, and my father owned a machine shop, so I grew up in a world where making things (and things themselves) were celebrated. I also remember going often to my grandmother’s house as a kid and exploring it’s many rooms (my mom was one of ten kids) with my cousins and siblings. Sifting through the items in that house was how I learned about, and connected with, my family history.

It’s no surprise that I decided to go to school for metalsmithing, and since then, I’ve explored the ways that stuff nourishes us. From jewelry that provides sensory experience to furniture that provides comfort and beauty, I’m interested in the ways that we relate to things on a visceral, emotional, and social level.

And I’m also incredibly passionate that things really do matter. I believe that loving things isn’t wrong, because stuff really can enrich our lives. I want us to celebrate those things, and I’m on a mission to help people understand that there’s a difference between mindless consumption and the way we feel.

I currently live in the same small town I grew up in, with my husband and our dog Grizzly. My eponymous jewelry line is sold online in stores across the US, and is built around my belief that the right piece of jewelry can make you feel more confident. I also write about running a business at Designing an MBA. I’m currently working on a proposal to turn Stuff Does Matter into a book.

Who are you?

Maybe, like me, you’re a designer or maker. Or perhaps you’re someone who appreciates a beautifully designed home or who loves to play with their personal style or just appreciates the virtue or an object made by (or that once belonged to) someone special.

You understand that most of our current systems of production are flawed, and that there is a lot of stuff in the world. But like me, you probably have certain things in your life that you feel connected to, that have meaning or value to you that you can’t quite explain. The things you surround yourself with have always held a special place for you.

And you’re here because you want to reconcile this conflict. You’re tired of feeling guilty about the way you feel. You’re not a mindless consumer. Stuff matters to you.

9 responses to “about”

  1. jenn ressmann

    I like stuff too! You’re jewelry is lovely! :) J

  2. shannon garson

    Dear Megan,
    I am a potter and writer and just wanted to thank you so much for writing this lovely blog. I have been writing and talking about this for ages and think it is very important for the makers to get into the debate and bring people’s attention to the connection and joy that handmade, crafted things can bring into a life. I wrote an article a while ago that included this quote from Joan Chittister who happens to be a nun who writes about contemporary craft amongst other things(!) you might like it……..

    “Beauty, in other words, lifts life out of the anaesthetizing effects of the pedestrian and gives us reason for going on, for being, for ranging beyond our boundaries, for endeavouring always to be more than we are. It enables us to pause in time long enough to remember that some things are worth striving for, that some things are worth doing over and over again until they become their breathless selves…Beauty is a moment in time that must be captured so that the human heart can, in the midst of pain and despair, cling to the notion that that which is capable of bearing beauty is capable of bringing new life, is capable of pervading the world, is able by penetrating our own souls to penetrate the ugliness of a world awash in the cheap, the tawdry, the imitative, the excessive and the cruel.” (pp.11-12 Creation Out of Clay, Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1999)

    Warm regards
    Shannon

  3. shannon garson

    ps.
    I am doing a Masters to! At the ANU in Canberra. Have you read Bill Brown’s “Thing Theory”?

  4. Sandy

    So thrilled to find you. I read a story on you in Australian Frankie magazine. It was such a welcome change of opinion. As someone who has a massive collection of objects yet a contradicting penchant for minimalism, my stuff is a bit of a torment. My husband is convinced I am a hoarder and I must admit I worry about my need to save every cool, beautiful unloved object that I go out of my way to find. The idea is to sell all these lovely things and save them from landfill, but because we are made to feel consumerism and ‘stuff’ is shallow, and we have so much we don’t need already it is sometimes hard to explain or justify myself. Even though its recycling and meant with the best intentions. Thank you for making me feel better. Big fan

  5. Kathy

    People give me stuff. I inherit stuff. I make stuff. I find stuff that I might make something from one day. I hunt out stuff and celebrate surprising discoveries of a beautiful thing where one might expect only ugliness.
    Each of these things has a story and meaning. I find it very difficult to get rid of them though I do sometimes have a clean-out: it feels like betrayal.
    Recently some of the stuff that matters has been given a new life in a ‘still life’. I am painting about the people who owned the stuff by assembling groups of things that they owned or are associated with. And painting it. So far I have done ‘Still life with my father’s paintbox’, ‘Stil life with Auntie Jean’s blanket’, ‘Still life with my grandmother’s gloves’, ‘Still life with my nana’s handmade animals’, and am working on ‘Still life with my mother’s kitchen scales’
    So with a houseful of stuff I will never, ever, run out of subject matter for my paintings! Happiness.

  6. Pauline

    Hi Megan,
    Great to have found you.
    I love stuff too. Only the really good ‘for me’ stuff.
    I’m interested in and work with introverted leaders and so overstimulation is a big deal for me and those I work with.
    Having ONLY stuff that is a pleasure, a delight and or useful around is a key way to make sure an introvert’s environment is just right for thinking and functioning well.
    So…I’m with you on the good stuff. :)

  7. Carole Richmond

    Dear Megan,

    I read your artilce in Frankie and it was balm to my soul. I would claim to be anti-consumerist but…I ordered a copy of Bill Brown’s book on the back of one of the comments in this post. And my walls are covered in vintage photographs of people that I am not related to but like the look of, and my shelves are covered in, amongst other things, glass penguins, book penguins, fifties art vases, vintage costume dolls. And you’ve made me feel better, it may be consumerism but it is not mindless. Each of my objects has a story to tell, each one of the books might help me to tell it. You’ve helped me get the perspective I need to celebrate my stuff and the stuff we have in the brilliant little museum I work in here in South East England. Your manifesto is printed out and will be a neat (framed) addition to my workspace.

  8. David

    DavidNorthwest, NJ
    A little perspective may be in order,…

    As physical beings we must constantly relate to items that serve, enhance or promote our presence. Appearance, utility, conveyance,…such needs associated with our species, and identity (both to ourselves, & to others) within our species, are intimately associated with material objects.

    Wealth promotes simplicity primarily by means of its assurance of ready distribution in service to its owner’s whim. The poor must secure their needs, while the rich may expect global solicitance to theirs. To whit, the poor man packs a lunch, while the rich man merely asks to be fed.

    Wealth promotes, indeed demands, discrimination in all matters of personal need or desire. Poverty promotes, sadly teaches, the hoarding of surfeit for tomorrow’s uncertainty. Wealth liberates, while poverty subjugates.

    Attributes of the things we possess also possess a Maslovian hierarchy of value from utility through to beauty,…all of which are subjectively fused to our earliest experiences of security, or lack thereof.

    That our culture is increasingly structured on the identification & promotion of our insecurities only serves to promote the value of self-loathing in the algorithm of successful commerce.

    Education’s greatest benefit is in its desire for beauty, be it a beautiful mind, or a beautiful space to promote it, or a beautiful vision to inspire it. Poverty is the brutal foe of beauty.

    Indeed,…a thing of beauty is a joy forever. (See Keats)

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