Wednesday, September 7, 2011

it's about passion



my vintage rosaries
click to embiggen
I'm not sure exactly how I contracted the passion for collecting, but the symptoms were evident at a very early age. Maybe I enjoy collecting because it takes me back to the simple comfort and joy of my childhood Little Golden Book and postage stamp collections.  

It may lie dormant for a while, but once you have caught the virus, it is a life long condition and it often returns with a renewed vigor. It might just be that it is instinctive for humans to collect, just as a magpie is compelled to hunt and gather shiny objects and drag them back to her nest.  I definitely like to have my things about me, like Mary Kate Danaher in The Quiet Man.



McCoy pottery, mercury glass, insulators, tarnished silver
in my retro metal medical cabinet

chalkwork icons
click to embiggen

There is a certain explorer spirit in me. I like to dig in dusty places. One discovery often leads to another, to a fresh search and the start of a new collection. In fact, I would have made a great archaeologist.  

Garage sales, flea markets, Gee-Dub (my local Goodwill store) and various antique shops are my favorite places to forage...the junkier the place, the better.  The rarity or value of a particular piece, is not the objective for me, but the mellow and a little bit worn, the unwanted, the unappreciated and orphaned, are what happens to strike my fancy.


the manor is filled
with the scent of old books
Other people's gatherings are endlessly fascinating, since it reveals an obvious look at the personalities behind the collections.  What objects do you like to hunt and gather? 

I think that interiors need 
a bit of a twist... most have 
no sense of irony or of real life, 
and there is nothing harmonious or soulful.
  
--Hubert Zandberg

60 comments:

  1. we seem to share the passion for collecting things with history...I love my tea cup collection, whenever I drink from them I wonder the story they could tell...or my jade ite collection, my art collection, my many antiques...they all tell a story, you can feel the history as you use them, sit in them, run your hands over the well worn wood...and yes, I top even vcollect rossaries:)

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  2. Cake stands and cookie jars ....

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  3. Dust.

    Ok, besides that books; especially signed ones if I can get my grubby little hands on them.

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  4. I rescue! Mend,repair and tinker. Renew and give away. Even books don't linger when someone show's an interest, the desire to share discourages hording in my case. Where there is a missing knothole I will place a glass bead just right like an eye..to watch over the next owner..That's what makes me happiest really, I will pass little when I go but what little there is will be precious to me.
    Cheers Mate! Lovely insight.

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  5. Jeffery, I wouldn't call myself a hoarder, either, in fact, I do a lot of recycling, as well. Not only do I give away many of my objects, I regularly donate to my local Goodwill store.

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  6. Hehehe! I meant no disrespect M'lady. I just meant I'll never be like Smaug keeping watch over his treasures from those that seek to plunder!..Mind you! I can be fiery like an old dragon..Sharing is the greater pleasure when it comes to collections I always thought.

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  7. Oh, no, Jeffery, I didn't take it as such...just clarifying, so my readers don't think I'm sitting in a mountain of wasted rubbish! ))

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  8. Books, of course, and of late, fountain pens. I'll be in England in a couple of days, and there I'll be hunting for dip pens -- nothing fancy, just something I can write with. I have no interest in collecting things that just hang on the wall or sit on a shelf. My favourite art objects are things that I can use, teapots and wooden spoons, cups, pens and books. In the city of Exeter, there is a beautiful shop full of old postcards. The last time I was there, I bought my first vintage postcard, and I know that I'll be collecting those, now -- fascinating snippets from other people's lives.

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  9. Sandra, don't even get me started on vintage ephemera... oh!

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  10. weird, those two pendant crosses closely resemble the pendants wore by the two women tennis players who played late into last nights US OPEN

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  11. I have a special affinity for your rosary and Madonna collections. I could look at them endlesssly never tire of their beauty. You are a "connoisseur of collectibles" : )

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  12. Wonderful photos of your collections, Tess! I could live in old flea markets and antique shops. Even as a little girl, I used to like when my mom visited them--I'd wander off and pretend I lived there, and sit down on couches and chairs as if they were mine. Great fun, that.

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  13. Buddhas and Bells (must have a pure clear note - or be so beautiful it doesn't matter.)

    Loved your pictures!

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  14. Love looking at your collections…. I’ve never been a collector, but love to look at others, especially old stuff and think about where it’s been and who owned it. I never have had the desire though, to bring more than the memories or my thoughts and maybe a photo of the experience home with me.

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  15. My collections have all found me and they are all family: watches and clocks, crocks, china. Space fillers all.

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  16. Tess - I have so many collections but the main thing a collect are small wooden cats. We have a bunch of really great flea markets here so I check those out frequently. I love the vintage, beads, handbags, books and postcards. I like to take the postcards and make small slits in another larger card as a frame for the postcard and use that for writing letters, etc.

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  17. I collect chess sets, and table lighters from the golden age of smoking (1930s-1950s) ... and, of course, like everyone else here ... books ... I'm not at all religious or remotely spiritual, but your rosaries certainly are eye-catching Tess ...

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  18. R.A.D., I wouldn't call myself a religious person, but I am deeply spiritual. I find a certain solace in the symbolism of the rosaries... positive energies and love.

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  19. You're right about the best "stuff" coming from junky looking places. In my neighborhood, the secondhand stores contain donations from our middle class neighborhood, where people buy new things every couple of years. Consequently, the stores are full of things too used to be considered new, but not anywhere near vintage.

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  20. We are definitely kindred spirits on this front! I loved your eloquence in describing the passion of collecting.

    For me also, it's the neglected/ aged/rusty/cracked/chipped/orphaned object that is of most interest. Garden materials, architectural remnants, orbs of any sort... none are safe around me.

    Happy hunting.

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  21. I am not sure if I am a collector. I certainly chased books for a long time, but right now I am quite happy with what I already got. I admire people who have a serious compassion to collect.

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  22. My joy is finding religious icons for a friend who collects them. I get to see them every time I visit and she does the dusting. I don't have a collectors bone in my body. My friend would love your Madonnas!

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  23. Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones...I'm diggin' it!!!

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  24. A great quote and so much truth to it. What is a home if not a reflection of yourself?

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  25. Interestingly, I too, collect rosaries and statues of the Virgin Mary. I also collect matryoshka dolls. I love them for so many reasons!

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  26. Karen, the Madonna icons, for me, symbolize notions of the divine feminine, rather than anything relating to Catholicism.

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  27. Wild Thing, I knew you'd dig this post...

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  28. I went through a heavenly treasure
    hunt in basements, attics, abandoned
    barns and homes, looking for old
    newspapers and magazines, to pull
    out the "framable art"; starting with
    vintage movie ads, then adding old
    car ads, then vintage Coca-Cola ads,
    then other sodas and beers. After a
    decade, just before I married Melva,
    I had tens of thousands of ads, all
    cataloged. When I moved up from
    CA back to WA in 1983, I had to
    weigh the boxes they were in, and
    it was over a ton of vintage paper.
    Finally I shrink wrapped a bunch
    and sold them, and then a shiester
    bookstore owner took all of them
    on "consignment" in Tacoma. One
    day he closed the store, which wasn't
    his actually, and disappeared along
    with my pick up load of ephemera.
    So now I just have to be content
    with my basement full of DVD and
    VHS films; as stated previously,
    over 30,000 of them. It helps to
    have an understanding spouse.

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  29. I have a love-hate relationship with my collecting tendencies! I am desparately trying to pare down and simplify but I am not really able to! I have fun finding inexpensive treasures too...20th century crossstiches from kits, McCoy, brown transferware...just a few that I still keep my eye open for:)

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  30. i'm not a collector... however, i've collected a few people who are - over the years. :)

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  31. Tess, I'd love to see you scaling barn heaps with the American Pickers! What a riot that would be.

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  32. A collector of books and papers — which contain ideas.

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  33. you have such an eye. not all collectors can ferret out such beauty as you do. and your photographs, too, are stunning. i love those crosses especially.

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  34. One of the first things I do when I go in someone's house for the first time is look at allmtheir stuff.

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  35. Books, mermaids, my friend Moye Thompson's pottery, postcards --

    I received your chapbook in the mail today -- it's fantastically beautiful -- bravo to you!

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  36. Large antique white oval plates; why can I not resist them.

    When I visit other people's homes, if there is no sense of their own past, or the past in general, I find myself wanting to leave immediately.

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  37. I know exactly how you feel, Tess. Remember this one?

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  38. Yup, I caught the bug from my mom, who toted me along to all her garage sale forays and antique store searches.

    One thing I can't stand is "museum" antique stores... you know, the ones where everything is polished and set on a plinth, with enormous price tags.

    The only way to go is the places where everything is piled up to the ceiling, covered in dust, and you have to go hunt someone down to find out what they're charging for it, which half the time they don't remember and they let you have it for whatever you're willing to pay.

    There's something primal about unearthing a treasure from a pile of rubble... the best days are coming home with a full shopping bag and dusty hands!

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  39. I am reminded of George Carlin's routine about "stuff." A few years ago in my life, I lost everything that meant anything to me, and it changed me. I live in a very small house, and have no room. I still love my stuff, but I realize I won't die without it. I guess I focus on my work now, without distraction, of wanting more stuff. We had a robbery recently, and somethings I really loved were taken, it has hardly touched me...

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  40. wonderful collections. in my twenty year rental i had lots of collections: old hats, hat pins, compacts, little shoes, pansies decorated items, old books, dolls, dishware, on and on.

    one does need a semi permanent residence to collect though. since i have not had that for seven years i have given away a lot of my collections. i have resisted buying anew. though my fingers sometimes itch.

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  41. OOooh yes ! mostly books, art and post cards- used to be foreign coins, shells, stones, you get the idea. Of course Gods wayward animals often found me as often as I them...

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  42. I can perfectly understand the passion although - apart from stamps as a boy - I have never been bitten by the bug. There's something lurking in the depths of my being, though. I feel it will out one day.

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  43. Elizabeth, thanks for your support, dear friend...glad the book arrived safe and sound! xx

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  44. Cro, I have friends whose homes look like furniture showrooms...nothing personal, nothing from the past...it is a sterility that makes me uncomfortable.

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  45. Martin, thanks for the link...yes, I remember your piece well and enjoyed reading it again. I definitely connected.

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  46. Marcheline...yes and yes. I love a place where you have to dig and get your hands dirty. It is that primal part I connect with...

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  47. Tess,
    I collect FDCs (First Day Covers)and it seems I'm a loner here as none others mentioned it.

    Your pictures are great!

    Hank

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  48. I am a collector too...I wonder when it will cease to be of great enjoyment...but so far I still love the search and the occasional fabulous find....xv

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  49. Your medical cabinet looks a trove of delights!
    I love visiting friends who collect cool stuff --yes the excitement of the hunt and finding something 'just right'. However, I spend my life divesting myself of things to be terribly, terribly simple.
    So I can get more things......
    The manor must be a joy to visit.
    Any ghosts lately?

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  50. friends

    books

    dust

    clutter (i have way too much stuff and a lot clumps into 'groups' but no real organized serious collections, just dalliances - like my kermits, indy bookstore bookmarks, and some other silly things)

    oh and of course as a quilter fabric!

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  51. Collections are wonderful -- a quest every time one sees a junk store/flea market.

    My collection of books is the largest -- with old OZ books and novels from the early 1900's. I'm also a collector of blue and white china, netsukes, and old quilts.

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  52. Dear Willow, I DO have some books, stacks all through the house, and I received a very special one today from Finishing Line Press.
    What a great treasure to come home to!!!

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  53. Thanks, FireLight, for your kind support, dear friend...glad Patina made it to your Stone House! x

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  54. I am a collector, too. In the last couple of years I've had to let go of many of my 'things', but doing that made me whittle down my collections.....I collect Madonnas as well, with the same feeling that they are representative of the Divine Feminine. Adore Mercury Glass, teapots, white jugs or pitchers, angels, dog statuettes, esp. Doxies, and LOVE old holiday decorations. I got the bug from my Grandmother.....when she died, she had accumulated a collection of over 1700 salt and pepper sets....you could say I come by the addiction honestly.
    S

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  55. Don't you wonder what is it that calls us to certain items...the spirit of it,its energy?

    I have such a divining rod, too
    and gather when I must
    But like you...I rid myself of things that no longer hold this power or magic over me...and that too is a question...why?
    I think these objects of desire are a barometer of being

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  56. Suz, barometer of being...I love that. Absolutely.

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  57. You have wonderful collections. Mine is Venetian glass. No one knows how incredibly expensive it is, but it reminds me of my childhood in Italy and collecting little pieces from roadside stores.

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  58. Filled with the scent of old books? how inviting and dreamy really. That photo of the pottery in cabinet is fitting enough for spread of Vogue or something. Beautiful.

    My place is so simple and sparse actually, but i still love to see old woods, antiques (real antiques that is!) but they are even sparser in these parts.

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)