artifact noun 1. an object made by a human being, typically an item of cultural or historical interest: gold and silver artifacts.
I have an antique suitcase filled with old letters from my grandparents and their friends. It’s a time machine. When you slide the thumb buttons the latches twang open, and you’re transported.
It smells of paper and dust and mysterious attics.
The envelopes tell tales of transatlantic voyages.
The letters flow with cursive distinct to each hand. Most are concise, many informal, but less slouchy than our emails and texts.
Something happens when you touch something that someone made. There’s an intimacy, a mark of personhood transferred. If the artifact is laboriously made–if it took hard work, artistry, skill, patience, and risk–then the connection is magnified.
Write something. Then send it. Make something. Then give it away. It won’t be perfect. Don’t point out the imperfections–they are a part of your cursive.
“‘Here I made this.'” These four words carry with them generosity, intent, risk, and intimacy. The more we say them, and mean them, and deliver on them, the more art and connection we create.”Seth Godin, The Practice, 56.