I come from a family of artists, so beautiful things have always been a part of my world. But if you ask me what is my most treasured possession, (aside from my family of course!) I would say, my great-grandmother's photo album. It's not even the photos inside, although those are wonderful stoic portraits (people didn't seem to smile much!) of my ancestors. Imagine back then, the camera was a new invention, and I'm sure having a formal portrait taken was no small expense, so they really did take it quite seriously! The elaborate gowns and suits worn, the hairstyles, the children in their dressing gowns…but it's the cover of the album that really gets me…sculpted porcelain roses in bas-relief hand painted on tortoise shell with a brass clasp and velvet brocade. It is my most treasured heirloom, both for the history inside, the beauty it inspires, and for the story it tells.