It piques my curiosity when I learn that someone is a collector, and the revelation of the object they collect is a window into who they are. There’s always a story behind the passion to collect a certain thing. What is it about that object that a person loves so much that they gather dozens (or hundreds)? Often it’s something to do with a fond memory from childhood. Somewhere along the way they became attracted to a particular thing and as a result began collecting it.
Matt is a numismatist, he started very young collecting coins and going to coin shows and although he’s bought and sold plenty over the years, he still collects rare coins to this day. I have one friend who collects Fiestaware and another who collects vintage GI Joe dolls. I’m not an avid collector of any one particular thing, the only thing I truly collect (if you can call it that) is a unique piece of art from the places where I travel, and it’s usually by a street artist.
In this KonMarie age when the movement is to eliminate excess stuff, it begs the question how much of a material thing should one accumulate? But since one of the tenants of the movement is the requirement that the thing “sparks joy”, collections qualify. I came across this image a few months ago where a family has a Thermos collection on display and thought to myself, well that’s quirky and cool, I wonder what the story is there.
Collecting art I understand the most. I find it interesting and visually pleasing when a specific style is displayed on one wall in a gallery style, like these vintage dog paintings, engravings, and seascapes.
My sister in law collects antique floral patterned teacups and she has a collection on display much like this image below. I find that so charming. It takes up a small wall in her dining nook and she’s served coffee to me and to friends on many occasions. She actually puts her collection to use so not only do her teacups make her feel good looking at them every day, they also serve a purpose of connection and friendship.
I’ve become more minimalist with my own decorating, seeking an airy aesthetic and appreciating more the impact of negative space. It stems from my internal dialogue to simplify and my focus on attaching myself less to material things while placing more value on experiences. However I do get a thrill from seeing something vintage or unique gathered up and displayed in one area.
I was walking through Portugal and stopped into a cafe where all of the walls were filled from floor to ceiling with glass cases which were filled with vintage tchotchkes and my first thought was “wow, cool” and my next thought was “but someone has to dust all of this” :)
If you watch any of those antique appraisal shows you know that there are plenty of material things that exist that have absolutely no value to one person but have real monetary value out in the world because of their uniqueness or scarcity or desirability.
Groupings of unique things that share commonality are visually pleasing. When styled in an appealing way, the collection draws the eye to the artful display.
I find it enchanting when people get excited about certain objects they collect, enthusiasm is such an attractive characteristic in humans. I enjoy seeing the light in someone’s eyes when they are talking about some thing that they’re passionate about collecting.
Do you have a collection of treasures? What’s the story behind it? Can you share any funny stories of collectors you know, friends or family?