This year is the beginning of Year 5 in my Five Year Plan. Some of you will remember my very first post where I explained my plan to achieve the goal of becoming a published children's writer and illustrator. So far so good. I am well on the way with one book under my belt and two more half way there.
But today I'm going to talk about Collections. The stuff that fills our houses with memories and dust. I love to collect blue and white china and Australian Carltonware in green and yellow. You might collect things for their sentimental value or as a hobby to wile away a Sunday afternoon. Recently I rummaged through my Dad's old stamp collection hoping to find the one stamp that might pay off my mortgage. No such luck.
Travel spurs the collector's habit for many of us. That's why souvenir shops survive. We all want to bring back a little piece of that wonderful holiday when the kids were small and all we had to think about was whether to have fish and chips or hamburgers for dinner.
When we visited friends of ours in Germany back in 2006, I noticed they had a shelf of at least twenty jars in a neat row in their living room. Each jar was filled to the brim with sand.
talcum powder smooth sand.
glistening with ore sand.
And carefully labelled on the back of each jar was the name of the beach. They had collected sand from every beach holiday they had ever been on. And there it was ... Burleigh Beach 1991 - from when they had last visited us.
Now I was glad at that point my own collections had never been quite so unusual. Until...
I noticed my husband picking up bits of broken crockery from every town, street, city, lakeside, beach and mountain on our family trip around Europe. While I was photographing castles on the Rhine, he was scouring the river pebbles for washed up detritus. Then he would proudly open his hand to display his treasure. A broken bit of pot, or teacup or plate, quite often blue and white.
"What do you want with all that rubbish?" I'd ask.
"I'm collecting them," he'd say, as if a collection somehow validated their worth.
The pile gathers in the dashboard shelf carefully labelled.
As the weeks and months passed the collection multiplied and at one stage we even had to mail some home. Heaven knows what Australia Post thought as it passed through the x-ray.
After a while even the kids were helping out.
A piece of Cornish Ware from a beach in Cornwall, a fragment of Delft from a Dutch village, a slice of Bohemian porcelain from the Czech Republic, a chip of clay-fired earth from the Andalucian hills of Spain.
Every day brought more treasures.
As the collection of bits and pieces grew I also came to enjoy the fossicking; the hunt for the perfect piece which would remind us of the city or country we were visiting. I thought about the people who had used each piece when it was part of a whole. What was their story, their history? I even found a piece in my aunt's garden in Croatia. And it is my favourite.
Now if you're out and about and something catches your eye and you add to it later until it becomes a collection - Do not ask 'Why?' But simply 'Why not?'
I'd love to hear about your whimsical collections....