I’m attracted to the object but drawn to the hunt. The search for treasure. The quest to discover the forgotten or see the unseen. Alas, I also find myself saddled with a great affection for, and tendency to personify, inanimate objects. As in, I might be wandering an antique or thrift store and come upon a small wooden goat, just sitting on the shelf, all alone. And the next thing you know, I have great empathy for the loneliness of said goat and I purchase it with my quarter and take it home and place him in a spot of prominence in my house, where he is adored daily and, I come to believe, is much happier.
I collect a lot of handmade items. Embroidered textiles, quilts, table linens, pottery, and quirky handmade art, purchased from flea markets and thrift stores. A lot of my reasoning for procuring these items is not based on “sound” mind, but more from “feeling.” I find myself considering the maker and the time and care they took to create the item. I consider the delicate stitches and am struck by the patience they required. Or I notice the hurried and uneven stitches, demonstrating a drive for completion versus a desire of perfection; both create beauty in the end. I think about the individual making the item and wonder why there are no loved ones holding on to this bit of history, no family to admire this connection to their past. This makes me thoughtful and a bit sad, often driving me into my own almost-empty pocket to purchase the object and call it my own.
My consideration of the object is equal to my consideration for the creator. I honor those who came before me, whomever they were or still are. The residual energy that was once in their hands now lies in my own, evidenced by their creation being recognized, appreciated, and welcomed. If I am able to purchase the item or am only able to honor their energy for a fleeting moment, I am grateful to fill this role.
I have been an avid collector of one thing or another for most of my life. Yet, with every filled space there must be an equal empty space. Somewhere. There must be balance. Even I reach limits with my madness, particularly with items that are not handmade and/or take up a lot of visual space. I’m a skilled purger of “stuff.” The Fiestaware dishes I had amassed became a monkey on my back and I rid myself of all of them. I’ve downsized my collection of wind-up toys (shown above, prior to downsizing) to only ones holding sentimental value. And I don’t seek out Peter Max items anymore, although I have yet to be convinced to rid myself of what I own. Oh, and that goat ^^up there^^? Come to find out, he was created by a Swedish designer by the name of Gunnar Ander. I sold him to a collector. He was actually kind of hard to let go, but I knew he would be properly admired, so we parted ways.
All in all, I’m much more discerning these days, only picking up items I simply can’t resist, for one reason or another. My book collection grows and grows, shrinks a little, and then returns again. That’s about the only thing I collect wherein I find I have too much and then, suddenly, not enough. Well. Books and booze. Liquor takes me in an opposite direction on the creation timeline, though. Instead of honoring the past while appreciating an object made long ago, I look towards the future and consider all the possibilities, all the concoctions I could create. Because, really, there’s not much more satisfying than an evening spent browsing through books on your own living room floor, with a freshly made cocktail in your hand.
Or maybe that’s just me.