Collecting often starts in childhood. Remember the books, coins, stamps, figurines and memorabilia you accumulated when you were little? You may still have some of it; you may have passed it on to your own children. Many of us never seem to grow out of that charming and slightly obsessive habit. And, as a result, the objects we are drawn to throughout the various stages of our lives can reflect our growth and our changing taste and style.
Absolutely anything — from the practical to the sculptural — can be grouped together to create a collection. Nothing is too quirky; in fact, if you want a great talking point, the more offbeat, the better.
There's something particularly pleasing to the eye about the well-curated and edited. Collecting, however, is not only about the grouping together of well-loved objects; it's also about repurposing and using them in our daily lives. We've seen champagne corks turned into a corkboard, a beautiful antique bowl filled with an impressive array of old cricket balls, an umbrella stand stuffed with antique wooden tennis racquets, a battered wicker fishing basket filled with rusty (and still smelly) beer bottle lids, porcelain busts used as stands for sunglasses... and that's one of the best things about collecting, there are so many clever and unexpected ways to show off your foraged treasure.
Collections can be displayed almost anywhere and in almost anything. Think outside the box and try using other collectables: tea chests or old packing cases for China, leather doctors' bags for books and magazines, printer trays for tiny found items. In the kitchen, Hovis bread baking tins are perfect for holding cutlery. Repurpose a Danish bread cutter as a cookbook stand, hang handmade French timber cutting boards on the wall, convert Mason jars into a chandelier.
Oh and if you were wondering what to do with those fencing masks you just had to buy from that fabulous flea market you came across on your travels, why not hang them on the wall for a sculptural artwork? Wouldn't they make a great talking point? And they are so much more interesting than asking someone in to see your etchings.
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