Forever Bound Art

The Joy and Art of Collecting

What is it that makes us want to collect things?  The easy answer is that it brings up memories and evokes feelings that we wish to recall just by looking at our collections.  We can be on the hunt for more and more of our memory catchers on a daily basis.  Does this help us escape what is now?  I’m not qualified to get into the psychosomatics of collecting and whether or not it truly heals or fills a void.  Ultimately to me, none of that matters.  We love stuff.  Humans truly love things.  We chuckle about crows collecting shiny objects.  Well, so do we.  We collect shiny objects, dirty objects; small and large objects, expensive and free objects, pretty things, and some that are darn right scary.  Collecting is what defines who we are.  There is a DIY network show that even has a group of people come into your home to see if they can figure out “who” you are by the stuff that you collect.  Hmmm… That’s possible in my book.  Go into my mother’s house and you would see that she likes cats. Would DIY make a backyard with a cat theme?  The DeBruin’s house?  Lots of antiques, and antique radios.  Don’t put our radios outside buddy!

This leads me to the next fact about collecting, feelings and the passion behind it.  “No way will you touch, move or take one of my pieces from MY collection!”  You might have heard this line before, or even have said it yourself.  (At least thought it as an admirer was taking a gander at your stuff)  We have such conviction to the items that we feel define us or connect us to something.  Some of us want to be connected to sports (maybe childhood dreams of being the athlete, or memories of ballgames with granddad).  Some of us want to be connected to dolls (maternal feelings duh, woman have loads of that).  Whatever it is, we want it and we need it.  I say collect my friends, COLLECT!  We spend so much time hiding our feelings or keeping them at bay.   You have the gift to feel, that is part of being created human.  Don’t write to me later saying it’s my fault that “so and so” now collects way too much and is a hoarder.   Hoarding is another problem left to the psychologists.

I also believe that we collect things to feel connected to the past.  Not just our relatives past, but to all of mankind.  There was a world before us.  Many continents where the stories and events are mere fragments that we have only heard of.  Many we have only begun to scratch the surface on.  If we hold these ‘things’ in our hands, can we feel something?  Can it tell us a story?  Many of us believe that answer to be yes.  I sure do.  Why do you believe that vintage tools have become so popular?  They aren’t truly worth the price that we are paying for them, but they are when you base it on the history of it.  Someone used those tools to build the barn that stands in that country town still today, one hundred years ago.  It’s real.  Our collections hold stories and events that are real.   I have a passion for sewing items.  Buttons, thread, hook & eyes, sewing patterns, etc. etc., the list go on.  I don’t even sew, but it makes me feel fantastic when I have them.  I go straight to the bedrooms at estate sales because that is where they usually have the sewing items for sale.  I admire the women of the past who did use these items.   This is what collecting is all about.  Holding on to feelings because that is what connects us to reality.   Meaning, who we want to be, who we wish to be, and who we will be.  Items that we can touch help us to keep focus on what is important to our well being and future.

My friends, think about what you collect.  I bet it just made you smile.  Do try to live by the simple rules of life:

Enjoy your search and your journey.  Even better, share it with your loved ones.  Do be considerate to others and do understand that we all don’t see the same things in objects as others do.  Respect.  Please respect who you receive your collections from.  Don’t be greedy and please don’t forget that others may still have feelings attached to it as you buy it from a sale.  Smile and tell them you will take care of it or make sure you will get it to someone that will love it as much as they did.

Enjoy your journey of collecting my friends!  Share your stories; I’d love to hear them.

Laurie Ann DeBruin


Thank you & remember Historic Preservation IS fun!

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