Creative Collections

Episode 133 · July 11th, 2020 · 38 mins 8 secs

About this Episode

When artists collect, it’s often --but not always --related to our art practices. We tend to collect works of art that we’ve bought or traded for, art books, memorabilia like announcements and posters, and of course, art supplies. But what about the more unexpected things we gather in our homes and studios? What do our collections tell us about ourselves and our attraction to certain kinds of objects? Today we’ll report on what some artists had to say when Rebecca posed the topic on Facebook, along with our own musings about the meaning of collections.

Collecting can be seen as a creative activity in that there are connections to our playful selves and to lifelong interests, and what we collect can illuminate our personal interests and character. Visually, we enjoy the similarities and differences in the objects that have a relationship to one another, and enjoy arranging and displaying our collections. Writer Lydia Yee sees collecting as an extension of the childhood urge to bring objects together, to "explore, understand, and organize the world" which artists seem particularly drawn to as an activity.

In response to our query as to what artists collect, the responses range widely but natural objects were the most popular objects by far. These include rocks,bones, feathers, leaves, shells, insects, and more--it seems that many artists can't resist picking up what artist Emely McConkey called "special gifts" from nature. Some artists use these natural objects in their work in some way, while others just like having them around.

There is also a strong attraction for lots of artists to objects affected by natural processes like weathering, such as beach glass, driftwood, and rusty metal. Other collections that artists mentioned are comprised of whimsical, historical, or symbolic objects.

What quirks of our personalities lead us to certain objects? Often there is no apparent relationship to our studio work, yet collections may express longstanding aspects of our interests and personalities. While collecting may not strike you as a creative pursuit,t looking at it in this light may bring insight into your personal hstory, voice, and desire for play.

mentioned in the podcast:
Joanna Kidney

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