Friday, January 31, 2014

The Love of Collecting

*I'm skipping this week's Favorite Things Friday so I can talk about one of my most favorite things.

Why are we drawn to collecting?  It's a very intimate and emotion-driven process.  According to Wikipedia, there are several reasons one collects.

Collections allow people to relive their childhood, connect themselves to a period in history or time they feel strongly about, to ease insecurity and anxiety about losing a part of themselves, and to keep the past present. Some collect for the thrill of the hunt. Collecting is much like a quest, a lifelong pursuit which can never be complete. There is the happiness from adding a new find to the collection, the excitement of the hunt, the social camaraderie when sharing their collection with other collectors.

When you think about it, collecting starts happening pretty early in life.  I watch my almost-two-year old going through her toys, and pulling out all of the things that go together.  Putting them, one by one into her purse. Carrying them around for a bit, and then taking them out, one by one, lining them up on the living room rug. Lather, rinse, repeat. 

The first collection I had, that I can remember, was in middle school.  I collected teddy bears of all shapes and sizes.  I kept them in neat rows on a beautiful walnut bookcase my grandfather made.  My second collection also began in middle school; 7th grade, Sweet Valley High books.  Oh, what fun it was to make a trip to the Walden Books at the mall, with my baby-sitting money burning a hole in my pocket, so I could get the next book in the series! 

Once I got to high-school, the bears and the Sweet Valley books were given away as they no longer fit in with the image I was trying to achieve.  You know, Doc Martens, lots of black clothing, posters of The Cure's, Robert Smith, on the bedroom walls.  

In the tenth grade, I became obsessed with Marilyn Monroe, and I started collecting Monroe posters.  Robert Smith was soon replaced with images of the blonde bombshell.  I kept those posters until I was about 21.  I moved them out with me to my first apartment where they stayed until I moved into my second apartment.  Then it was cherubs.  You know the ones.  It seems like they must've been pretty popular in the mid-90's because it sure wasn't hard to find them.  I like to think that my decorating tastes had improved some because I was no longer hanging posters on my wall.  My sweet cherub prints were actually framed!  

A year or so later, I fell in love with the work of Alphonse Mucha.  I bought a yearly calendar from Barnes & Noble that was filled with those beautiful ads. Before the year was up, I'd cut the images out, spray-painted some plastic Dollar Tree frames gold, and framed them.  I'm not sure what happened to those prints.  I'm sure they were lost during a move at some point.  I'm pretty sure if I still had them, they'd be hanging somewhere around here, though probably in much nicer frames. 

It seems like I stopped collecting for about a decade after this.  I'm thinking it's because any extra money I had was spent having a social life.  The next collection that comes to mind was from just a few years back.  Creamers. This is when what I now think of as "true collecting" started.  I would go out to thrift stores, specifically for creamers, only white or cream in color.  I collected around 20, and then realized I had nowhere to display them.  I'd just been washing them, and putting them in a cardboard box. Off to Goodwill they went. The same thing happened with milk glass,  I started scooping pieces up whenever I saw them, and soon amassed a pretty large collection of mostly vases, all tucked away in boxes.  I finally started selling those off in groups on Etsy last year, keeping only my most favorites which are boxed up, in the garage.  Ahem...

Since I no longer have most of these "collections", I'm pretty sure I collect for the thrill of the hunt.  I love curating these things, but I don't have a problem letting go of them.

For the past year or so, I've been buying old plates.  Once I feel like the sets are complete, I'll probably list them in my shop. Right now, I'm just having fun adding to them.  

My favorite right now, is the collection of blue and white plates.  I'm planning to keep these, and hoping that when we move into our forever house, I'll have the perfect place for them.  Right now, they're just sitting on a shelf in my studio. 

I've also got another stack going.  It's made up of various floral patterns. These will most likely be added to more, and then sold.  

Here's a pretty stack of Limoges that I found for 50 cents each.

Then there are the state plates.  I recall seeing this on Pinterest a couple of years ago, and thought it was really cool, even though it doesn't fit my style.

I figured there's a market for them since, you know, they make them, and so I started buying them when I saw them.  I've been selling them individually on Etsy, but since I have several now, I'm thinking of selling them as a set. Instant wall art!

A couple of weeks ago, I went to my neighborhood Goodwill, and happened upon a bunch of vintage plates.  I was both giddy and sad at the same time. Giddy because, I'd just hit the motherload, but sad because some old lady either died, or was put into a home, and her collection is no more.  I didn't buy everything they had, but I got some good ones.  

These two crack me up!

There are some really great plate-walls out there.  Have you seen any of these? I love them all, but I'm really drawn to the floral pastels.  

Sources, clockwise from top left:
1- Addicted to Decorating  2- Domestic Fashionista 3- View Along the Way  4- Silver Lining Decor  5- the nest  6- It's Great to Be Home - Flickr  7-  Canadian House & Home  8- The Inspired Room  9- The Find  10- Liz Marie Blog

What are your thoughts on collecting?  Do you have any special collections? If you've got a blog post showcasing them, I'd love to have you share in the comments.

Linking to:
Thrifty Thursday @ Living Well, Spending Less

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