Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Trinkets, Tokens and Treasures

On our landing, we have a huge cupboard, which contains many boxes. Most of these boxes have not been opened since we moved nearly 5 years ago. I know a lot of what's in there - mostly collections of toys, curios and pictures, which we just don't have room to display right now.

However, I know I need to go through them and sort out whether I really need to keep it all. So as a start, I opened one smallish box. It really was a treasure trove, as it contained mostly metal things. Firstly, my collection of enamel badges and metal pins. The photo above just shows a selection of my favourites. I'm particularly fond of the Noddy one.

Next, we have more badges, brooches, pendants and charms - some more weird than others.
And this last photo contains filigree-type things and dangly-type things, not all of which have any obvious use. (Again, just small selections of the whole collection)
You know what? I love them all. I love their weirdness, their prettiness, their ugliness, their shininess, their dullness. I put a couple of cheap pendants to the side as 'not wanted', but I'll probably end up keeping them. Some of them have been with me for years, in any case.

It got me thinking again about objects and my fascination with them. Jane wrote an excellent blog post recently about an exhibition of amulets and charms at the Wellcome Collection, and shared her own collection of 'amulets'. Whilst I wouldn't call my own objects amulets, I am always drawn to objects that have been given a value beyond their inherent worth. This value might come from memories or superstition, or might be because of what they represent - like a love token or a reminder to stay hopeful.

There is much to be said for William Morris's instruction, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful", but it completely ignores objects with special meaning. It might be the ugliest pot you have ever seen, but if it's your child's first attempt at pottery, you might want to keep it for a while. Old toys no longer fulfill their use as playthings, but if they invoke happy childhood memories, or remind you of a lost parent, then it doesn't matter how deformed and hideous that old stuffed dog is - you should keep it.

Of course collecting other people's old toys, love tokens, or souvenirs is another matter. There's still value attached, but it becomes a strange mixture of vicarious sentiment, collecting greed, nostalgia and aesthetic appreciation (or derision).  Of course, some of the stuff I collect has never been considered of value by anybody!

P.S. If you're interested in objects which have superstitious meaning, I can recommend this book, (although it's quite old and appears to be no longer available new)

Monday, 13 February 2012

A Few Doings

I haven't been feeling very inspired lately, so I'm afraid the blog posts have been few and far between. To be honest, I don't think I've done anything very blogworthy. Having said that, I'll show you a few of the things I've been up to. I managed a little drawing, but as you can see, most of it just turns out to be elaborate doodling!
I did manage to stir my stumps yesterday to go to a carboot sale, and for the first time in ages, got some real treasures. A lovely Midwinter plate (for 50p), and a kitsch cat in a hat. Flamenco playing cards and a cute dolly teacup. And some...ahem...clogs. I would just like to point out that I don't buy all the souvenir clogs I see. There are many, many, many pairs of clogs that don't make the grade and get left in the shop/ on the stall. But these were red ones, and just a little bit too cute to leave behind.
I've also been putting new stock in my Etsy shop.

And here are a couple of makes from before Christmas that I couldn't show at the time, because they were presents for a very new little chap called Jack. I crocheted him a little friend called Colin the Caterpillar.
And, as his nursery is cowboy themed, I also crocheted some cowboy bootees.