Friday, January 14, 2011

the art of collecting

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I am a collector- not to be confused with a hoarder :) I collect inspiration, photographs, momentos, things from nature and my favorite- treasures from the sea. I have only recently started to share my love of collecting in this public space but my passion for the ritual of gathering things has been such an important part of my creative process that sometimes I cannot tell where one starts and the other ends.


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I am pretty sure this part of my life may have been influenced by my grandmother. She was a nature lover, an environmentalist and perhaps if she had been born in a different time she would have been some kind of biologist or a botanical illustrator (she was also an amazing artist).


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She loved everything about nature and around her home were all kinds of treasures from her hikes and travels. My favorite was a big jar shaped like a turtle where she kept a collection of butterfly wings, colorful beetles, a squirrel tail, leaves, seeds, arrowheads, shells and more. My brother and I would spend hours looking through everything over and over again- 20 years and we never got tired of looking at her collections.


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This appreciation for the natural world has stuck with me and has been a huge part of the way that I find inspiration and come up with new ideas. Since I have lived at the beach for a most of my life, the ocean has always been my muse and beach combing is the most accessible way to explore, seek and hunt for my own treasures. But...no matter where I am I will always find a way to go treasure hunting- ANYWHERE!!


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I now have my very own jars that hold years of collecting.


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They contain items that inspire,


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things that spark ideas


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and creativity.


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There are big jars filled to the brim


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and little bottles packed with tiny treasures.


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There are handfuls of sand from different places.


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There are the unique,


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the peculiar,


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and the beautiful.


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There is a jar for everything.

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And a place for every jar- displayed around the house to keep me inspired, to help me remember that there really is treasure out there and to remind me of my muse- the sea.

30 comments:

Irēna said...

so beautiful collection!

Fiona said...

I've been quietly lurking on your blog for some time. I was inspired to drag out the sewing machine and make upcycled denim mats. Now I feel the need to find all my nice old jars and fill them with my own collecting mania for shells, sea glass an other odd bits from our local beaches. I'm just not sure why I haven't done it before!

Liz Walker said...

beautiful collections!

AVinNYC said...

What a beautiful post- and your grandmother sounds like a really amazing woman!

Poetic Artist said...

beautiful collection.

Angie in AZ said...

Thank you for sharing! You have inspired me. I too, am a huge collector and just have piles of things tucked away. I love the idea of the glass jars so you can see everything. It's so calming to look at those things treasured. I'll be thrifting for some cool jars now so I can pull my things out and have their calming presence to look at all day!

Pat said...

Wow! Gorgeous!

pat sloan said...

I'm so inspired by your blogging the sea....

Kathleen said...

Beautiful!! My daughter is a collector and loves collecting shells. I shall remember this blog post and think about it before being tempted to say she has too much! Perhaps she seeks inspiration this way too!

Tracie Lyn Huskamp said...

Ahhhh.. Kindred nature lovers....XO!

Jill said...

simply beautiful!!

As a midwest girl who has only seen the ocean a few precious handful of times in her life, I always find your treasure hunting pictures magical!

your grandmother sounds like she was amazing! what a legacy she has in you!

Kim Klassen said...

oh alisa..
i'm such a lurker here... for that i apologize....

you are continually inspiring...
and this post makes me long for the sea....

sooo amazing...

happy weekend...xxo, Kim

beka*b said...

I love that 7th photo down - part of a crab shell? - so amazing and detailed...

Your collection is beautiful and must be quite lovely to see all about your home and creative 'space'. I love the sea also, but now I live quite far inland... You have inspired me to get exploring the shores of all the many inland lakes we do have here in a new way. Thank you :)

ariadne said...

Your sea finds collections remind me of mine..........and at last I had a glimpse of some sea glass!Ariadne from Greece!

PrairieJill said...

What a lovely post!

I went to Florida for a few days and thought of you as I was walking along the beach picking up shells! You recently posted a picture of your shell drawings in your sketchbook, and I'm planning to try that, too.
Thank you for the inspiration!

QuiltNCards said...

Love your pictures and collections. I love the reverence with which you speak of your Grandma... cause I'm a granny.
I collect seed pods and plant materials. I love the dried weeds, and like your shells there are so many interesting natural textures and unique forms that plants make to send forth their seeds.
I was inspired by your feature shell to draw a Zentangle that I've never seen before. Thanks for sharing your photos, and yourself! Love your blog!
Terri

Jen said...

I am yet another lurker:) You are a woman after my own heart. My mother and I are the same way-glass bottles, jars, random containers filled with rocks, shells, etc. Sadly, I am now in the midwest, and miss treasure hunts at the ocean greatly. I have now switched from shells,to different rocks from the great lakes- there is always some sort of treasure to find in nature. I love your blog-you are truly inspirational.

Suz said...

Oh, that is so pretty. What a wonderful collection. I love shells so much but there are not many to collect n Minnesota ;-)
Hugs,
Suz

Antoinette said...

This is such a beautiful post. I loved reading it. Thank you for sharing your collections. So inspiring.

Mindy said...

Simply beautiful.

kass said...

Speechless by the beauty. Thankyou for sharing.

Lisa said...

Your collection inspires me too! So absolutely beautiful. We have ziplock baggies of items we've collected from the sea over the years - I need to pull them all out and put them in jars. I also have two acorns from my first (and only) trip to Central Park rolling around the bottom of my purse. Time to find a place for them too. Thanks so much for sharing your collection!

Tirabaralla said...

One of my most cherished memories of childhood is a big jar filled with seashells picked at the seaside together with my family when we were still all together.
I create a vase/jar of shells and pebbles wherever new I live...and I never really noticed until recently :)

whyducks said...

What a wonderful Grandma to have. I am going to have to look for some lovely jars. Thanks for the idea.

Maya @ Completely Coastal said...

What a gorgeous collection you have!!!! And you do go down on your knees, haha! My collections are still pretty small, considering that I write a coastal blog that might be surprising.

susans said...

Me too! I grew up summers on a Maine island collecting shells & such. You have beautiful collection & gorgeous color on the sea urchin piece. Thanks for sharing.

PQQ said...

woww, what a pretty collection you have, you always come up with some thing new, some thing very different. very nice sharing.

Michelle Cummings said...

so beautiful! I'm a stickler for sea glass and abalone. Even the smallest pieces mesmerizes me. :)

astr!d said...

yes, so beautiful!! i live in arkansas and we visit the lakes, rivers, hiking trails, ect all summer long and are always on the lookout for things like this! this post reminded me so much of another blog that i read and i thought you may like to check it out. its aurajoon.blogspot.com.

Sandy said...

I love your jars. They are so pretty. I collect different things too. We don't live very close to water and our closest would be the Gulf of Mexico. I do collect heart shaped rocks. I have a small collection. I find one everywhere I go.

I really love that your Grandmother was an artist, your Mom is an artist and you're an artist. That is great. Maybe Lucy will follow you all and make 4 generations.

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