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In my work I explore family objects as “families” of objects—individual silver heirlooms that are related to one another in a single collection and, collectively, to the individual families that put them into domestic practice and social circulation. I’m interested in the histories and lifespans of these objects, their ability to reflect our own personal life stories and family histories, and the way they continue to connect us to one another in time and space in an increasingly digitally mediated and disconnected world.

Silver family heirlooms, such as flatware and vessels, intrigue me because they seem to have an eternal life: although they may tarnish and age beyond recognition, polishing them quickly returns their original luster. Such items pass through family generations as cherished heirlooms, survive the purgatory of antique markets, or perhaps find new life at estate sales. As their stories evolve, they form a lineage that connects us to one another, across generations and geographies.

By composing individual portraits of silver heirlooms, I explore the character evident in their inherent design and ever-changing patina. Each singular object’s form, condition, and character transform an otherwise functional object into something rich with history and artistic beauty, with the power to reflect our own life stories and family histories in the process.


Born in central Texas, Leslie Lewis Sigler studied painting at the University of Texas at Austin. Since 2008 she has made the central coast of California home and has exhibited in solo and group shows in California, New York, and Massachusetts. Since 2011 she has been scavenging and painting family heirlooms while witnessing their stories and histories unfold as she translates their portraits to panel and canvas.

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