Leah Thomas’ Botanical Glass Mobile Brought Her Joy at the Right Time
What makes a purchase “worth it”? The answer is different for everyone, so we ask some of the coolest, most shopping savvy people we know, from small business owners to designers, artists and actors—to tell us the story of one of their most prized possessions.
At 27, Lea Thomas made a name for himself as an intersectional ecologist. From its platform on instagram with over 230,000 subscribers to his aptly named non-profitintersectional ecologist, and recently released book, Leah now spends her time as a consultant and educator focusing on how climate and identity intersect. For her, it is crucial that we move away from the idea that we can “buy” sustainability – $500 organic pants and other inaccessible bandages – and start questioning the history of environmentally unfriendly practices (index : white supremacy is a key player).
“It’s not just about ‘saving the salmon,'” she says, referring to popular movements to protect specific animal species. “It’s about looking at the fishermen who live off of that salmon and the indigenous community that survives off of that salmon. It provides equitable solutions for an entire economy. Her book, which debuted this month, is the playbook she wishes she had before entering this space, covering everything from eco-feminism to misogynoir.
Particularly during the pandemic, Leah has found herself building a career and a new home. “It was a really uncertain time in my life, I barely left the house some days,” she says. Like many of us, Leah found solace through artisans on Instagram – that’s when she came across jasmine law.
Jasmine is a Portland-based artist who combines stained glass and preserved plants to create delightful home accents. Leah says she’s been sitting on buying a piece for a long time, but they often sell out quickly via Instagram DMs. When this disco ball piece was posted, Leah knew she had to have it. The three concentric circular parts of the mobile decrease in size, each playing with a gem in its center, the larger and taller part featuring compressed white leaves. Flirting with the sun, the piece reflects an equally bright shadow that seems to be an integral part of our solar system.
Quite simply, Leah needed joy in her space. Her personal and professional turn warranted something special, something she could take as a reminder of investing in herself. Leah doesn’t usually splurge on pieces, mostly because she didn’t grow up in an environment where spending money on something like art was common practice. Compounded by expectations placed on activists by their supporters to hold on to their wealth as a way to “prove themselves” — especially, Leah points out, for those who don’t come from generational wealth and are black women — a lavish buy for Leah is few and far between. But this room was different.
Suspended above her yellow sofa in Santa Barbara, California, the piece hangs down and captures what Leah describes as “the most beautiful light” entering the living room from her window. Her continuous movement makes the activist happy as she takes on the daily work of restoring equity.