biophiia • culture • technologie


the story of saṃsāra

saṃsāra is a creation of two people who met through the common enjoyment of one of North America’s most enduring and endearing cultural institutions: the tag sale.

Once upon a time, Marilyn Burke, a biophiliac gardener of Italian descent whose claim to fame included a grandfather known for the best tomatoes and basil on all of Long Island, stopped by a tag sale at the 1800 era farm of Keith Harmon Snow.  So overtaken was Marilyn by Keith’s astonishing assemblage of anachronisms mixed in with paraphernalia known to the white man as “exotic” merely due to the nature of its being from some “other” culture found only across some distant sea mixed in with assorted bolts and discarded treasures and oddities cast off by society for their supposed uselessness, that Marilyn — meanwhile snatching up goods and stuffing them in her SUV — pondered the mutual alliance of these two odd ducks who clearly both and each suffered the hardship of not having a store front to call home and before too long she reappeared on the scene at the family farm to propose a beneficial alliance.

Well, it was precisely because of their commonalities and similar inclinations and their mutually lasting love of biophilia, cultural diversity and technological mysteries that the two odd ducks who met at a tag sale joined forces to bring saṃsāra to life at 26 Strong Avenue in Northampton Massachusetts in the United States of America on planet earth in the Milky Way galaxy and the ever expanding and contracting universe that we all know as life.

Marilyn began gardening at the age of three and she would love to share her knowledge and experience in nurturing succulents and perennials, and in creating and caring for terrariums with you.  In his 1790 publication the Metamorphosis of Plants the great German poet-philosopher-scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe announced to the world his conclusion that plants have a soul, and so at saṃsāra Marilyn has taken it upon herself to provide for our customers the sacred service of always being available to help you care for your plant long after it leaves the store (presumably with you) and to assist you in all ways reasonable to make sure your new succulent or air plant thrives under your stewardship.

Keith’s years of gardening are overshadowed by vast travels to the farthest reaches of the earth and you can see some of his experiences underscored in the cultural artifacts and photography displayed at saṃsāra, and Keith’s countless hours hunched over like a gnome while sanding beleaguered woods are evident in the hand-polished beauty of repurposed goods.

Hence Marilyn and Keith are not mere shop keepers or haberdashers or clerks or wandering salesman and woman who have renounced their gypsy ways for a sedentary taxable existence!  Hear ye!  Here ye! Rather they are botanists and curators and designers and anthropologists and technological dystopians and ecosophers and artists and archeologists and, well, very odd ducks of the anthropomorphic species. Keith is also a snoot.

saṃsāra is an eastern Asian term describing the endless cycle of birth, life, and death, transformation and rebirth that is as fitting a description of the repurposing of a Klondike brand steel drill bit sheath as it is the reincarnation of a soul. saṃsāra offers antiquities, textiles, plants, unique home furnishings, photography and art.  The GALLERY space at saṃsāra affords another dimension to the project whereby Marilyn and Keith have been given the chance to curate unique works of art (of all kinds). saṃsāra also offers CUSTOM DESIGN work, interior decorating and staging, and Marilyn and Keith would be happy to work with you to create something special you might have in mind, or consult on a project that feeds your own passions.

Marilyn and Keith look forward to making new friends and sharing their creations and their romance with rust and exploring the philosophical implications of nature through this modest and humble enterprise. saṃsāra is not just a boutique or a gallery, but an attempt to to offer a very unique lifestyle experience, and they hope you will find it a place to rebirth and investigate wonder.  Namaste.