February 5, 2007


Collection (noun) something that is collected; a group of objects or an amount of material accumulated in one location, esp. for some purpose or as a result of some process.

My theory is that more than three of anything amassed with purpose constitutes a collection. Before I moved to Wales, I collected a large number of things, mostly because the thrill of the hunt was fun. I hadn't learned to edit what I collected for effect. When I moved, I de-accessioned about 97% of everything I had.

I also think that people are genetically pre-disposed to collecting. My father was described in a newspaper article as being "a writer, gardener and collector", and I think that's where I come from.

Some of the things I collected were:
1. Spheres in willow, copper, twigs and other random materials.
2. Books, but I really don't think that they count. I certainly can't imagine ever, ever, ever having fewer than three books. But I think that I can subcategorize this into design books and old travel guides.3. Copper. I started collecting copper pots and pans from thrift shops, flea markets and the like. Some of it needed to be re-tinned before I could use it, and other pieces were just always going to be decorative. I found an "M" from the late American Brewing Company in Baltimore and hung it on the wall like Mary Tyler Moore.

Now that I am working on re-creating a home from scratch, I am not collecting as much anymore. Some of this has to do with my recent robbery, when all of my silver, jewelry and electronics were stolen and I don't want to replace much of this yet, still being a bit gun-shy, so to speak. I did collect some lovely bone or French Ivory-handled silver in the UK, but I am at a stand-still right now.

So, here's the question: what do you collect and why do you collect it?


  1. I think I've been a collector since I was a child, when I used to collect stamps and rocks.

    I've been through many stages, used to collect match books and then a stage where I collected bird houses.

    I have grown particuarly fond of minimalism and crave simplicy. Several moves have forced me to downsize several times and now I am more restrained in my collecting. I fell in love with pottery several years ago, and this fascinations seems to be one that is sticking. My aestehic is finely honed, I love white pottery with a matte finish. Not easy to find, and fits with my love of minimalism.

  2. Thanks, Peggy. It was hard getting rid of all of my collections and other things, but once they were gone, I didn't have any regrets.

  3. Fairfax I love, love, love, love,love the old French cutlery. I would love a set like this one day!!

  4. Anna - I picked up dozens of pieces in England, mostly at charity shops for about 50p a piece! I will do a story on it.

  5. I think people are either collectors or they're not. My father is and my mother isn't (she says that there can only be one collector in a household. I think she's right!) I collect old design and cookery books, porcelain, faience, Porthault, and matchbooks. Now I just may have to start collecting old French cutlery too ;)

  6. I collect way too many things. There was a great article in Vogue Living by Joan Juliet Buck about purging everything. It was inspiring but I don't think I could actually do it since I collect many things, books are just the beginning! There are some things I just can't part with, I know I will regret it later on if I did.

  7. Alyssa... I did get rid of everything, except what i could pack in two suitcases and six small boxes. I also kept a way cool stainless steel free-standing kitchen counter... When I moved back to the states, I had to start from scratch. So, even though I was/am a collector, I found that getting rid of things was liberating.


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