Have a seat my friends, I would like to play a short and curious game this week with you with a topic that applies to both art and horticulture. I am curious about this fever that might affect or plague others as much as it affects myself and a few friends I know, the art of collecting. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure they say and oftentimes it has been the justification for purchasing something shiny and bright that my eyes have rested upon.
There have been periods in my life where I sought out certain things only to later on move on to something else though not necessarily ceasing the cultivation of the prior collection either. As a very young child I used to collect stamps because one of my adult family members suggested it, they could have ‘value’ they said, but I grew bored of them. I quickly moved on to stickers because they were brighter and more fun than their serious counterparts, I mean the stamps couldn’t even be used because they would be null and void in value. Fast forward to when I was about 13 and I started collecting furniture (I still do), acquiring so many pieces that it would be necessary to stack tables on top of tables in my bedroom, eventually stopping because my parents made me. Some habits are hard to die and recently I disbanded a collection of interesting though not always comfortable chairs, selling them off when I moved out of the U.S. It was sad to see them go, but I moved on to other things.
Notebooks are another downfall and can always be justified for some reason, such as writing garden notes, or for museum and gallery visits, which eventually hold all my tickets from said places. They are perfect for whipping out and sketching too. I have stacks, though small pocket sized ones are my favorite. That colorful stack above is one of my favorites, which each notebook consisting of a different paper texture. (I know, I know, I like paper too so it’s a double whammy). In front of those notebooks is a skull, another (sigh) ongoing collection that is sadly tucked away in boxes in New York. I would like to clarify though that I find skulls and bones to be objects of beauty and are only added to the collection when they are found on the ground in their natural environments. Often friends come across them too and thus find their way into my collection. Some people get weirded out by that collection but I see it as nothing but beauty and am amazed how each species can be so different. They are perfect specimens to draw and sketch.
A few years ago, while I was traveling abroad, I started collecting ceramics and pottery from the different countries I visited. Currently this collection includes pieces from the U.S., England, France, Israel, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. This is another easily justifiable collection, since I am a gardener and these sculptural vessels can be appreciated with or without floral arrangements. Are you buying it? By far the best country to collect these pieces were in the Netherlands where there seems to be an abundance of exceptional pieces. Each piece has a memory attached to it and deep down it is the reason why I do it. Now whenever I travel, local ceramics are the prize of choice to take back home.
The last collection I have started is slabs of marble and stone for no other purpose except for its beauty. The veins and color of these pieces are astounding and I realize as I type this, they are a more polished version of the stones and gems that I collected as a child. But enough, as I realize now I might sound like a hoarder, and that I am not, though I might have a problem. Most of my collections are purely collected for the aesthetic reasons or for memories attached, to each their own. But look at them…..
Everybody collects something, some for investment and others for enjoyment. But I want to know what you collect. Maybe it was something that started when you were younger with one piece that motivated you until it snowballed out of control? Is there a collection you are proud of? You might collect plants, art, or something else. This is where my curiosity comes into play. I would like you to share with us a good snapshot of your prized collection, no matter how large or small it may be. I want to know more about you, the reader. What is your poison?
You can send it by one of two ways:
- email us, using the subject line Collecting and tell us a few words about it. Emails should be sent to: plinth.et.al(at)gmail.com
- or if you are on instagram, just take a shot and upload it, using #plinthetal so it can be found. In a few weeks I will put together a roundup of some of the collections you, our readers, have built. (with permission of course) I look forward to seeing who and what is out there.
We are expanding our reaches. Are any of our readers on instagram? If you are there, let us know (james.mc.grath) & (EHSU2003), we would love to follow you and see what you are up to. It could make for some interesting future collaborations. – James