Most of us have a collection of some sort - maybe one, maybe even several. A collection is the act or process of collecting someone or something. It's also a group of people or things. A collection may start intentionally, or not. I've never really thought of myself as a collector but I certainly have small collections in my home - matches from restaurants here and abroad, silver candlesticks, rolling pins, cabbage pottery, coffee mugs, cookbooks, seashells, copper pots and pans and interesting pieces of silverware that I have both inherited or found at antique stores or flea markets, and a collection of old New Yorker covers. Most of these items are not on display. The mugs, cabbage pottery, silverware and rolling pins are tucked away carefully in kitchen drawers. (I have 6 rolling pins, when I have a couple more I will hang them on the kitchen wall.) My cookbooks are neatly tucked away in my kitchen bookcases and above them, and around the kitchen you'll see various pieces of copper. My candlesticks are grouped together on my fireplace mantel, and just below them, in a large glass jar is my match collection. I have two silver candle snuffers, perhaps I will accumulate more one day.
I didn't really think much of collections - mine or any other until I went to visit my friend Amy at her lovely country home in the northwestern-most corner of Connecticut last Spring. Her home is gorgeous and has been featured in many magazines from New England Home to Better Homes and Gardens. Amy has many collections throughout her home and each tells a story. What makes them so spectacular is that they are all grouped together and not simply scattered throughout. They tell a story and make a bold decorating statement. Collectibles, haphazardly placed throughout the home can tend to look junky, silly and amateurish... Think of the Crazy Old Cat Lady with her cat figurines in every room... Below, starting with images taken of Amy's home by the amazingly talented Nicole Cohen of Sketch 42. For more of Nicole's images of Amy's home click here.
None of my collections started on purpose. In my 20s I went to lots of antique stores and flea markets. For some reason I was drawn to these odd silver pieces and rolling pins. I bought them because I liked them and for no other reason. The candlesticks were both gifts and inherited. Everything tells a story. That's what I love about collections - They mean something - every collected item has a meaning. They can serve as a souvenir, a simple reminder or a memento to something important and significant. I have two favorite collections, and as silly as it may seem,
I like my matchbook collection and my New Yorker collection most of all. I don't smoke and I almost never use the matches to light my candles but they remind me of places I've been and who I've been there with. The pretty little boxes bring back so many happy memories.
I started collecting New Yorker covers when I was a child - not even a teenager. I loved the artwork and the stories they depicted. They were about my hometown, my city. Even after all these years you can take the girl out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the girl. Often the covers were thought provoking and amusing, sometimes they were controversial. Each cover represented an event - a moment in time. Growing up The New York (along with The Economist and The New York Times) were fixtures in my home. When I was a young teenager I told my mother I was going to paper my bathroom walls with New Yorker covers. I still love the idea - I think it's playful and imaginative. I will one day too - and I can't wait!
Displaying collections are a great way to add color and decor to your home. Your home should be a representation of you, your family and your lifestyle. There's no better way to do this than by displaying a collection. When you do so, you should take your current lifestyle into consideration. If you have young children around, you'll want to keep valuables and breakables out of their reach - at least until they are old enough not to cause potential damage. Bar carts with liquor displays and fancy decanters may not be such a great idea! But do be sure to include your family in your displays - black and white family photos will enhance any room and they'll tell a story... your story... as it unfolds.
Displaying collections are a great way to add color and decor to your home. Your home should be a representation of you, your family and your lifestyle. There's no better way to do this than by displaying a collection. When you do so, you should take your current lifestyle into consideration. If you have young children around, you'll want to keep valuables and breakables out of their reach - at least until they are old enough not to cause potential damage. Bar carts with liquor displays and fancy decanters may not be such a great idea! But do be sure to include your family in your displays - black and white family photos will enhance any room and they'll tell a story - they'll tell your story as it unfolds.
It doesn't take much to start a collection. You don't have to have a Faberge egg or rare artifact to do so. It can start simply, from your travels - pick up a poster or postcard or even some matches and grow it from there. An avid tennis player could start collecting vintage racquets. What are your passions? Your hobbies? An artist can collect all sorts of brushes. Literary types can look for rare and unique books. The possibilities are endless! Your collections should inspire you and you should be inspired by your collections. Often one leads to another.