We all know someone who is A Serious Collector. You know–the kind of person who plans trips and vacations around places where they can hunt for another Whatever-It-Is: beer steins, cat plates, sock monkeys, 1963 Wisconsin license plates. Those are the serious collectors, but they’re not the only ones. There are also the Accidental Collectors, people who got a ceramic Elvis as a joke gift and then, foolishly, blogged it and then ended up with an entire shelf full of ceramic Elvises in every size and shape, from Young Elvis to Enlarged Elvis.
Then there are the the people who aren’t collectors but have a lot of stuff. I, for instance, have a lot of beads and embroidery floss and fabric. A lot. But I don’t think of it as a collection because I don’t go out hunting for it–there’s no thrill of the hunt–and I don’t keep it. I use it. I keep a lot on hand because I use some of it every single day. It *looks* like a collection, though:
Then there are mixed media artist collectors, and that’s where it gets interesting. There are those who have actual collections, things for which they hunt and scour eBay. Rusty keys, paper ephemera, old doll parts, vintage jewelry. There are those who collect anything they think they may someday use in their work. Whether it’s collage or assemblage, there’s always the chance it might require a dozen postage stamps from post-war Germany or joss paper or a corner from an old love letter. And then there are those people who blend the two–they collect things they love, sometimes thinking they’re going to use those things and–more often–knowing that’s just an excuse to buy them. We all know people who have fabulous things that would fit perfectly into the work they do, yet they never use the actual piece and rely, instead, on photocopies and castings.
Where do you fit in? Do you collect stuff? Do you use what you collect, or do you (ahem) hoard it? Not to imply you qualify for the tv show! Not at all! Can you envision a day when you’d get rid of it all–use it up, pass it on, sell it? How do you feel about the things you collect? We’d love to hear about it–
Ricë also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.
MORE RESOURCES FOR MIXED MEDIA ARTISTS