Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The urge to collect- and display.

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The urge to collect is strong in people of all ages.

People collect things for all sorts of reasons. Some people focus on collecting varieties of one item while others are more eclectic. Some collect because they just like the objects they collect, others collect because aesthetic or visual reasons, and some because they buy and sell their objects.

When you visit people’s homes what they collect and display indicates what is important to them. Nothing is displayed with out some thought behind the object – each object has its own story to tell to the collector and to a visitor. Collections reflect the personality and interests of the owners.

The urge to collect starts young and for some people early interests become lifetime occupations often turning into careers. Such people are lucky.

I guess there is a fine line between having a few items around one’s house and a collection but when visiting anyone’s home the real collectors stand out; in some cases collection have become harmless obsessions

As a collector (of the general aesthetic sort) I am always curious about what others gather around them. I have visited friends who collect such items as: art, books, CDS, match box toys, stamps, coins, geological specimens, shells, model boats, old books, crockery, historical artifacts, Bob Dylan records, New Zealand ‘Kiwiana’, furniture. The list is endless – recently I visited a house where the owner collected thimbles. I once had an aunty who filled her house with elephant ornaments. And a cousin who specialized in moustache cups. One idividual I used to visit turned his house into a museum featuring World War One!

Collectors are always on the alert for new items to add to their collections. For such people it is a never ending search. For many collectors a new item is picked up as part of a holiday adventure. Garage sales are the haunt of specialized collectors – one persons cast outs is another persons treasure.

Often collections of particularly passionate people transform themselves into personalized museums. An excellent example of this is Nigel Ogle’s Tawhiti Museum a wonderful example of collecting, local history and art all mixed together.

I always wonder how such interests develop and think that schools should capitalize on this basic desire to collect.

I particularly like visiting homes where the objects are part of the décor of the home – and displayed with the same care as the art work. They are a stark contrast to those homes that have little of visual interest to capture ones imagination.

The collections I particularly like tell a lot about the people who collect them.The artifacts collected become part of the identity of those who collect them.

Such collections add personality to the homes themselves.

Interesting collections indicate interesting people – people whose curiosity is alive and well.

Collecting should be encouraged.


Anonymous said...

I agree, collectors are often people that are interested and curious about their environment and see beauty and wonder in things that many overlook. The old saying one persons junk is anothers treasure is so true. Unfortunately this is a source of conflict in some households as children's, or others, treasures are seen as untidy dust collectors. I think as you say that collectors should be encouraged and at least tolerated. I think there is nothing worse than going into a house that says nothing about the personality and interests of all of its occupants.

Bruce Hammonds said...

Couldn't agree more. I guess the environments I like reflect the owners - if there is conflict I guess collections are kept in the basement! Wouldn't suit me!