Collections and history are topics quite close to home for me. I am something of a collector of collections. My family has always collected and I am now the possessor of not only my own life’s collections but the collections of 2 preceding generations as well. I have my grandmother’s collections of eggs, ivory, Edwardian cameos; my grandfather’s seashells and vintage medical instruments; my mother’s South-east Asian Buddhas; my father’s guitars and banjos; plus collections of paper money, coins, stamps, fossils, cigarette cards, lead soldiers, skulls, matchbooks, taxidermy, antique keys, antiquarian books, pebbles, and exhibition catalogues.
As a child I travelled extensively with my parents and was encouraged to collect as a means of containing memories, focusing my acquisitive impulse and developing a sense of connoisseurship. During our years living in West Africa my husband I and I amassed a very respectable collection of Nigerian and Cameroonian art. If there were any design philosophy at work in our home, it would evoke a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ aesthetic.
I have always felt that there was tremendous artistic potential in organizing, cataloguing, re-arranging and displaying these collections. The arrangement and display of collections is a key element of their pleasure.