Drawing by Katherine Ranieri

The exercise of drawing what I touch every day was prompted by a desire to have an intimate conversation with banal objects. Through the simple act of looking and drawing I found that the objects themselves are not banal at all. Instead it is my relationship with them that puts them wrongly in that category. I use them all as stepping stones throughout the day – and almost every day. Their commonplaceness is what grants them an added effect on the process of each task. Though it is a different button at the top of my shirt it is still a button and how round, crisp, and hardworking it is. With each glance back at each handle or knob or button or cloth I am reminded that someone made a choice about its shape, its coolness, its proportion, or, on occasion, its ineptitude for its function. I willingly inherit these choices, modify them if needed, or, at the very least, I accept them.

In architecture, which is my day to day, many of its elements are just out of reach and touched only with a gaze. When required my hands move from their resting position to engage with what is within reach as I navigate through a built environment. Through a small study of the commonplace objects in my day, I was reminded to see the elements that prompt daily handling as opportunities for thoughtful consideration of design.

Katherine is a designer and mentor for our All Women’s Design/Build Program.