Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Collecting of Treasures

I have been thinking a lot lately about why we collect things. I have been an intrepid collector for most of my life - gathering bits of beach or forest, or artifacts from travelling, not to mention textiles, wherever I go. I have stones from all sorts of places - mostly rounded, weathered stones - in bowls and little piles all over my house. And sticks and leaves from trees, and beads and carved bone from Africa. And I'm wondering why they're so important to me. I think it has something to do with remembering, and about guarding against the loss of that memory. But also something to do with touching and holding what I experience, thus making it a part of me. Below are a few photos of recent gatherings:

Often the things we want to hold onto cannot be kept - like the seaweed in the middle picture. This "collection" is one that occurred naturally, in this case the assortment washed up on a nearby shore after a week of high winds. A photo is all that can be retained, which is a "keeping" of a different sort, but still serves as an aid to remembering. Recently I have been looking at ways to incorporate some of these found objects and treasures into my work. The small African pieces I've previously shown you are examples of this. The two small works I made as companion pieces to "Swiftsure" are attempts to do the same thing. In these I used the strip pieced sea and beach as a background for a piece of dark green silk, and then mounted shells and a piece of driftwood on these. I like the juxtaposition of the finish of the fabric and the rawness of the objects. I called them "Beach Treasures".

Each measures only 12" X 12". They're mounted on a painted canvas, to aid in hanging them on the wall. I have a feeling there will be more of these in days and weeks to come.

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