There is a trend now in home furnishings to allow pieces to adopt a weathered appearance. Worn edges, chips, flaws, fading …even rusting. Metal objects with a patina finish are heavily sought after. Dennis Gaffney, a writer for ANTIQUES ROADSHOW describes patina this way:
.”…The change in appearance is usually caused by the build-up of dirt, grease, polish, or chemical changes in the finish or the object itself. That ‘old look’ usually gives an object a rich and attractive appearance”.
It’s really a matter of taste, but I find it appealing, too.
Not only that, I like the idea that something can become more appealing when it shows some aging. Everyone should learn to like that idea, because we’re all aging.
I like shiny new things, too. And I’m disappointed when something shiny and once new becomes scratched or dented. A stain on a favorite garment is especially painful because you rely on it for the role it plays in your wardrobe.
But when something’s really done some living – like jeans, boots, tables, barns, barrels – it looks better. And it becomes precious, because there’s no more effective and pure way of getting it there than time. You can get a can of stuff that tries to replicate the effect, but it’s not the same as a genuine antique. It’s not as valuable, and it’s frankly not as interesting. When you look at an antique, you imagine the generations of people who have admired it, touched it, used it… You imagine the role it may have played in other homes, lives, and stories.
On our recent visit to Europe, I enjoyed looking at worn stone steps and centuries-old objects and imagining who had passed on this very step or sat in this very chair. A step this worn would never be acceptable in a new house….yet it is so much more valuable.
This must be more true of people than of anything else. People are full of stories – too many to tell. We are worn by time, some of it leaving marks or fading a surface. People, too, can arrive at a place where their patina, when appreciated by a true collector, is beautiful.
When I look in the mirror, I’m going to try to think of my growing wrinkles and sags and freckles and gray hairs as my developing patina finish. A weathered look that represents time. Mostly good times, even if some bad. And the way I look at worn steps, I will try to recall the things that put those wrinkles in the corners of my eyes. And the places I’ve been where the sun left its marks. And the years that have passed, leaving my hair to gray.
How much more interesting and how precious.
Age is a beautiful thing.