thirteen :: collection

this week's word chosen by shari

SHARI'S response

when i was a little girl, i collected stamps. this was in my eyes a true "hobby collection". it didn't last long. i just wasn't very interested in stamps but i've always enjoyed having some kind of collection. in college i began a teapot collection but have since given most of these away to friends or goodwill.

the latest in my mary jane shoe collection.

now, i have some smaller collections that i really treasure:
vintage tablecloths (preferably from the fifties)
heart shaped rocks
found paper for collages
tiny showcase art (but only by my favorite artists)
mary jane style shoes
optic nerve comic books
art made by blogger friends such as a p2p card collection, an underdog
ring collection, and a small collection of abigail percy jewelry.

just a few heart shaped rocks from my collection

music (cds and vinyl) + instruments (tom's collection)

what is it about collections? why do we have the urge to collect objects, images? i think my three biggest collections are my book, music, and photograph collection. i am really interested in the similarity in collecting material objects and collecting images via photography. in thinking about why we collect, i turned to alain de botton's the art of travel, he states, "a dominant impulse on encountering beauty is to wish to hold on to it, to possess it and give it weight in one's life." we collect what we love, what speaks to us in some way. we collect things that help define us.

teacups inside

my newest collection is a collection of handmade white tea/coffee cups. i have two by karin eriksson, one from white forest pottery , and one from diana fayt . i love that they are mismatched and i look forward to serving guests beverages in these beautiful, beautiful vessels. last night when i was asking tom to build a shelf for these cups, he asked if i was intending to have a four cup collection. i said no, i wanted one of paula's raku cups. so he said five then? and then i said six, a nice even number.

that's the trouble with collections. there's always room for just one more. :)

what do you collect and do your collections change?

one final note. see if you can name the band who wrote these lyrics:
"you've got a great collection of things cause that's the best you can do."

MY response

collection. i am a bonified pack rat. maybe i inherited this trait from my mother or my grandmother [or heck - maybe my grandfather. you should have seen the tin of miscellanios nails, screws, nuts, , washers i inherited from him]. i definitely didn't get it from my dad. he's of the if you don't use it throw it out or get rid of it philosophy. the anti-collector. sometimes i'm envious of this.

if i think back to the first collection that i was really ga-ga over as a kid [i also had a stamp collection which i liked, but didn't get deeply into] was STICKERS. how many photo albums did i have full of them? i liked the scratch and sniff kind, the rainbow kind, the sanrio kind, the foil kind, the puffy and soft ones. i pretty much liked them all. i loved trading my friends for the one i needed to round out my collection [oh little twin stars. i have none of those!!!].

{aside :: as we go along in this project i am more and more amazed at how shari and my lives intersect and cross over. the stamps, the mary janes [oh i have those too].... this happens every week!}

when shari picked this word i was a tinsy bit scared. do i really reveal all the different wacky collections i have? what will they in turn reveal about me? which are the most interesting? what do i have the most of? [clothes? shoes? bags? rings? and then there's the books, notions, vintage fans]. what actually constitutes a "collection"?

i pretty much concluded that you must have at least 2 of something for it to be a baby collection. over 10 and you are a "serious" collector. over 50 and my goodness... well... i'm a fan of obsessiveness so there will be no jugement here. there are some things that are life-long hunts, no? and there are some collections that we grow weary of and stop. i wonder what pushes those desires. [i once vicariously fell in love with a friend's collection of vintage typing ribbon tins. THANK GOODNESS i didn't actually get that bug - but it was close].

i think a big part of the fun of collections is the hunt for the objects. that moment of glee when you find something for a price that is unheard of [or is at least in your budget]... or where you find the one missing piece to your collection that you have been searching for.... there is something joyous about coveting... about wanting about dispalying things grouped together.

just for fun i did a search on the word collection on martha stewart's website . 315 entries. [granted not all relevant, but still].

so now i present to you some collections from my casa.

japanese craft books

if you are a long time reader of mine you've seen these before... my vintage bottle collection [large and small]

vintage lunch boxes [i had to stop at 3 as we have no room]

glass beakers

my mini jello tins

one of my favorites... nests.... [3 from my yard - one from grad school]

and risa asked me what i did with all my polaroids. they live in a metal box... like this

i can't believe i didn't even touch on the art... or the vinyl that my husband has... shari maybe we should devote two weeks to this word??


Aimee said…
oooh! i'm new to your blog and love delving into the idea of what we collect. i also collect heart shaped stones (it's how i named my small, new blog!) as well as small poetry books, sea glass, wood-carved minatures, hamzas, the art of my friends, and vintage red kitchen ware of all sorts! thanks for sharing, and i'm excited to keep up!
julie said…
Great fun post - i think we all collected stamps as kids (until it got boring) but now i collect used stamps again!!! Lovely pictures - i love pictures of groupings too!! I love both of your collections - found papers, heart shaped rocks, art, vintage bottle and NESTS!!!!!!! and Shari, i would have two shelves built ;)
I agree with what you said about the 'hunt' and excitement of finding a missing piece! That does it for me ;)
Lovely, lovely!! xxx
gracia said…
Great, great collections L & S. You've just got to collect what you love!
see you, g xo
Maditi said…
a wonderful post for a fellow obsessive collector :)
now I also want to collect white tea/coffee cups and vintage glass bottles ... oh and the nests are awesome!!
Marieke said…
Ah collections - every artist/designer should have them! And I envy yours a lot - those craft books... :-)
shari said…
hi lisa,
as i mentioned earlier, thanks for reminding me of my sticker collection! it was far superior to my stamp collection in every way. now, i'm wondering what happened to those photo albums? i'd do anything to open up those albums and see what's inside. :) our lives do continue to intersect and that makes me smile. love your vintage lunchboxes and the beautiful nests. i have never made it to a japanese bookstore which is probably a good thing. books are quite easily my downfall. xoxo
eshu said…
so great! as soon as you said "stickers" i went YES! i had such a sticker collection, in fact i wish i still had all of those books. big stickers, glittery stickers, fuzzy stickers, smelly stickers... oh stickers, how i love thee. and vintage bottles, i am accumulating a collection of bottles... though unlike yours mine are spread sporatically through the apartment, i wonder if they'd look better lumped together? i'll have to experiment.
hannah said…
oh this brought back memories. i had stamps for a short time too, but stickers was where it was at! love seeing your collections ladies!
Camilla said…
I'm making a piece of work at the moment to do with collections- hope you don't mind if I link to this post? Here's my call for info:
wendy said…
i love collections, but I am not a collector...I am with you dad, if I don't use it, if I don't love it, it is out.
but I think collections of pieces together are really beautiful.
thanks for sharing!!
Casey said…
hello! I really loved reading about the collections you both have; I'm an obsessive-collector-type. It doesn't help that I loved to antique/thrift and have an intense love of anything old. I think my biggest collection right now is my National Geographic (I have issues from 1912 forward...), with vintage clothes, jewelry, photographs and magazines coming up a close second. :) I collected stamps as a kid too... still have them! I've been wondering lately if I should incorporate them into artwork or something. :)

Thanks for the inspiring post--I always love reading about what other people find collectable!
Listoria said…
After reading this, I started thinking about my collections. Fabric is right at the top and though I do try to use every piece I buy, there are many that it just physically pains me to have to cut.

Shari, I love the mugs (and Archers of Loaf, rock on!)

Lisa, your bottle collection is

Have a great day!
LeeAnn said…
I loved all the photos and you made me realize I have started collecting things. I never thought I was a collector before. My grandma says 3 or more of anything is a collection. So I got milk glass, colorful glass bottles too!, buttons, frames, and does fabric count?
sarah said…
i love seeing your collections girls, i always feel that the things we collect give soul to the spaces we inhabit, i have too many to mention! oh and you would love our friday night (must see) viewing...
vegasandvenice said…
Oh dear Lisa your collections are beautiful. I just thought of another collection you have: Fans!!

Hugs and Hugs!!
cruststation said…
I love collection of things and how they look together when displayed. The quote from 'the art of travel', delivers this desire so well. (I vote for opening this topic to everyone).

shari: Love your mary jane style collection, they are sweet like you. Pieces of artwork- I am starting my own little collection here. Love the heart-shaped rocks, where do you find them? The white pottery, very calming and organic (it's such a great collection already, definitely a bigger shelf).

lisa: I find it difficult to throw things away too, it seems we all began with stamp collecting then moved on. Your Japanese craft book collection, wow (I am so envious!)
I agree with you on the fun of the hunt, like finding a missing piece of jigsaw. Great vintage bottles and lunch box collection.
vanessa v said…
Okay. I could go on for a lifetime so let's just say, my collection cups runneth over. And, I have to say, I gasped at your rock heart collection. As, my darling man-boy has been hearting me for years. 7 years of heart shaped rocks, with a made up poem about me or our love on the bottom side, dated too. Usually received on a birthday or Valentine's day. I adore them , I relish in them. They make me happier than anything that I could ever receive of monetary value. Soo, collecting...Bottle caps, Perfume bottles old and new but have to be very special new, creatures (not living), religious statues, books and books and books. I buy them to do art, and then I can't part. I have gone so far as to pull out a page, and then paste it back in, as my mind had changed about using it. Books, they are my life. xxo,V ps: Great POST!
momo said…
great collection, Lisa!! ^_^
Janet said…
Wow, this has made me look around and realise what a huge collector I am, and strangely without intention. The list begins with Babushka dolls,Japanese kokeshi dolls, blue and white enamelware, gaytime and acapulcoware pottery, dala horses, Danish pottery, Vintage tins, 80's vinyl, and Art in every shape and form. It has made me feel a little bit frivolous and ashamed though to be honest. Time to start editing my house i think! A wonderfully thought provoking post from you two again
UNIFORM Studio said…
I love seeing and hearing about both your collections. And I remember seeing Lisa's coat collection awhile ago....I am a coat-a-phile too:)
I think I love the idea of collections more than the actual collections. I love seeing other peoples collections and what that might say about them. I love the collection column in Martha Stewart Living. I like to think about things I might collect. I love seeing groupings/massings of things. I think it's the whole idea of field vs. object that I relate to.
I really only have one collection though -mid-century modern dinnerware. Granted, this takes up alot of space....but I think the side of me that likes uncluttered space wins over the side that wants masses of similar things....
lisa s said…
hi aimme... thanks for coming by - the documentary project happens every monday on either my or shari's blog :) i think she'll be happy to know you have heart shaped rocks too!

julie... i think i'd like all my stamps more now. i should see if they are around :)

gracia... XO true... what you love.

maditi -- you are so not alone... i want vases. wanna trade?

marieke... :) i wish you were here - you could borrow any of the craft books....

shari dear - seems like stickers were big w/ many of us. :)

hannah - got any left? i'll trade ya!

camilla - thanks for the link to your project!

wendy - i think you are wise not to collect things. i'm sadly addicted.

hi casey... thanks for your great comment. it's nice to hear about other people's collections!

tiff.... fabric. i have too much and i don't even think it's a collection :)

leeann - oh yes - fabric counts! i'd love to see your glass, buttons, frames... all of it!

sarah - that show - oh that show! i have too many. i only mentioned a very small portion.

v&v- hee hee - fans! yes!! hugs back

babelfish - i like it when things are displayed together too.... if only i had enough room to store and rotate!

vanessa v - you are not alone.... let the collections live on!! :D

hi momo!

janet - mmm hmmm... many cross overs here....

martha - i WISH i had your restraint. or more storage... i'd love to hide most of it and showcase some of it at a time. i would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see your dinnerware. will you share some?

bugheart said…
such a
great post!
you both know
how i love
maybe i need
to revive
my collection
collective again...
i still have so
many more
simple me said…
At this point in my life this is an interesting subject since I'm clearing out part of my "collections".
Is it enough to keep 2 of similar things to make it a collection? I wonder.
I may write about this tomorrow, if you two don't mind that is, as the subject has been going around my mind for quite a long time now.

ps: gorgeous collections from both :)
natasha said…
your home looks lovely. nextly, i cannot believe how many things we have in common...i collected stickers. i NEVER stuck them down, i put them in photo albums for fear of sticking it down and then regretting it. i still have that issue with other things that i love. i collect old boxes of almost any sort. i use them in my artwork, but i am always afraid to. or any other random ephemera, i think it is so gorgeous in its own imperfections that i have a hard time doing anything to it. i collect nests, too. they amaze me. in so many ways, the are just like us and what we use to make our find little pieces of litter, paper, hair, fluff, yarn, cloth, cigarette butts, you name it, the bird is able to see it as a part of their home, rather than trash. a cat wouldn't see this stuff and think anything at all. a bird sees it as useful and therefore beautiful. is that odd? i am an utter packrat, i love junk. it makes me heart ache. okay. you just inspired a blog post. must. do. that. to-morrow. when i am not so sleepy. again, i love seeing your world. it is such a lovely place!
shiso mama said…
this is bringing back memories for me too. i used to be such a collector of just about everything, especially books (which i've hauled back and forth between coasts). but since we've moved into our new home, we've really simplified. i think because we moved so many times the past few years and kept many of our things in boxes, we finally realized that we're just as happy without them. even our beloved books. although i think i will make an exception for fabric and my baby's outgrown things.
Alison said…
Like Martha I like the idea of collecting, but not necessarily the effort of creating a collection - I like the idea of haphazardness, of lack of intent and one day you look up and realise your entire shelf is littered with white ceramics. A 'collection' sounds so formal - and I feel a little ashamed that nothing I 'collect' is formalised in any way except as groupings of inspiration. My groupings - for want of a better word - are containers which always push the boundaries of what is more important - the contained or the container. And little pieces of artwork - a little Tiny Showcase collection like Shari has.

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