Leigh Patterson


This week we spoke with Austin, Texas-based creative and editorial director, Leigh Patterson. Leigh is the founder of the creative studio, LUCCA, and is the visionary force behind many of our favorite brands and designers. Leigh also runs an ongoing project called The Moon Lists, which started as an online series but evolved into a book — just launched last month! Given that Leigh is someone who thinks about objects of personal importance as much as we do (a question she asks all interviewees for The Moon Lists is to reflect on an object old and new), we were excited to see what she would select for her own 'permanent collection.'

Leigh Patterson: My 'permanent collection' thing is a delicate gold wristwatch that belonged to my mother’s mother, Lila. The watch stopped working a few years ago but I actually have never used it to know the time; I wear it with the face adjusted to the inside of my wrist, making it look almost like a chain-link bracelet.

Permanent Collection: Tell us the story behind the watch.

L.P.: I feel a deep connection to my grandmother…our physical similarities are striking and I think due to this (and due to never really knowing her — she died when I was 14), I have projected a lot of ideas onto imagining who she was. She lived alone from when she was in her 40s until she died at age 83, was a woman of specific, discerning taste, an intrepid traveler (she took a solo trip to Spain and Portugal for her 80th birthday!), and unapologetic for living exactly on her terms.

P.C.: That's beautiful! What joie de vivre! Besides this special watch, is there another gift you've been given that remains unrivaled? 
L.P.: As a wedding gift, my friend Gabriella gave me a tiny vase made from Roman green glass, a style that became ubiquitous around the first century amid an era of rapid advance in glass’s accessibility from luxury good to commonplace material. Let me reiterate that this particular vessel is TINY, maybe one inch by two inches? I love wondering about why this tiny, tiny artifact was made, wondering if miniature things also elicited wonder in the first century, wondering about what kind of care was required for it to have survived so many years, crossed ocean(s), had multiple owners, and ended up in my possession, and now displayed inside a lucite box mounted to the wall.

P.C.: Love that! But we also need to get the good intel. Tell us: What are your trustiest sources for vintage, thrift, etc.?

L.P.: The thrift stores in San Antonio, TX where I grew up. And! My favorite shirt I currently own and wear weekly is also from a vintage spot (or maybe I just connect it to a special trip) — Boutique Nadine in Florence. I recommend!

P.C.: Can you share some of your favorite museums and galleries?

L.P.: Harry Ransom Center, Austin, V&A, London, George Nakashima house, PA, The Broad, Los Angeles.

P.C.: What dish would be the equivalent to your ‘permanent collection’ thing?

L.P.: Toast with sour cherry jam and a soft boiled egg. I’m not much of a cook, more of an “assembler.”

 P.C.: Can you describe a current project you are currently working on, or a current obsession?

L.P.: A part of my Moon Lists project is dedicated to the realization/preservation of the “you of now,” a theme I’m highly interested in taking stock of. Some recent obsessions for me: The human microbiome (discovering we are 50% bacteria is blowing my mind in reframing an understanding of what “being myself” even means).

Summer of coleslaw (My friend Megan introduced me to her coleslaw-making ways at a bbq and I have been making a weekly batch of vinegar-based slaw ever since. I chop green cabbage + white vinegar + tons of herbs + jalapeño + a thimble of mayo and it’s really great. I’ll find an excuse to serve basically anything with a side o’ slaw.)

A time tracker (Filed under: How to be a person. Despite being self-employed for many years I have never tracked my time. I recently started and it’s profoundly realigned my ability to focus on one measured task at a time.)