|My toy cat collection|
As I started looking it became very clear that I am a product of my parents, absolutely! My dad used to collect books and our spare room was filled to the ceiling as was the loft. My mum and I would go out and leave my dad with his books where we would find him several hours later. We also used to have to go into every secondhand bookshop and charity shop to look at books and I remember getting very annoyed with him because I didn't want to! Now though, I love books and can hang around an old secondhand bookshop for hours, taking in the old books and smell. My mum also used to collect things but everything always had its place, there was just a lot of it! Obviously my parents had it in them to collect and you sometimes follow by example. However that isn't the only reason why.
|My Mabel Lucie Attwell collection|
When I was 13 years old I decided that my pocket money wasn't enough for all the things I wanted to buy so I went and got myself a paper round 7 days a week and a job as a chambermaid at the weekends. I think I earnt about £9 a week for the paper round and £2 an hour as a chambermaid, I was rich! It also meant that I could buy what I liked without anyone questioning my decision on what I was buying as it was my money and I earnt it. At university my bedroom was just full of stuff I'd made or collected, definitely not normal student digs as it was all colour co-ordinated and the items chosen very carefully. After university I kind of lost interest, went about finding a job and becoming a responsible adult and my collecting stopped.
When I was 25 years old my life changed forever when my mum became ill with dementia and Parkinson's disease. She became a different person over night and I found it incredibly hard to deal with especially as I have no other blood relations. Luckily I have Mark and he was my rock but ultimately I was going through this on my own as she was my mum and no-one can understand the pain because its so personal to you. Once she went into a nursing home my collecting really kicked in and I'm sure its because I was desperately trying to fill the gap my mum left behind. I didn't have much support from the professionals and being an only child, I didn't have any siblings to take some of the pressure. The things I collected made me feel happy and gave me some joy in an otherwise miserable time. It allowed me to escape to a happier place. It was a way to escape the pain and momentarily forget what was happening. I also felt a constant need to keep on finding things and this must be because I was unable to find a solution to make my mum better. I was continually searching and searching and once I found something, I'd go onto the next thing.
I feel that collecting gave me a consistency I so badly needed when everything else was changing around me. The objects I collected were always there, they never left me.
Something that did make me genuinely happy at that time came when I was clearing out my mum's house. I found a photo album from when she was 21 and in it was a photo labelled "My collection of dolls" (my big love is vintage cloth dolls, I have a large collection) not only that but there was a photo of a doll which was nearly identical to the very first one I ever bought.
|My mum's collection of dolls|
|My mum's doll|
|My mum at fancy dress on the ship|
|Me not looking too drunk|
|Me feeling (and looking!) rough the morning after|
I also found some scrap books that my mum had put together full of old postcards. I don't have any scrapbooks but I do have a collection of postcards.
|My collection of postcards|
Everyone used to say that I looked like my dad and took after him and I think my mum used to get a little bit annoyed about that BUT I think we were far similar than either of us ever realised.
Its clear the impact my mum's illness had on me and my collecting habits but there is also another reason and this is quite hard to admit and I'm certainly not saying it for any sympathy, this is truly how I feel. Sometimes I don't feel very pretty. There I've said it and it feels like a weight is lifted! Sometimes I don't feel very pretty so by surrounding myself with beautiful things it gives me some kind of validation that I do have good taste and my home can at least be pretty even if I don't feel it. Its certainly no coincidence that if I lose weight or feel good about myself then my collecting slows down and I concentrate more on clothes and myself. It is also a form of escapism for me and I can transport myself back to a time that with rose tinted glasses, seems a much easier, attractive life full of the most wonderful, beautiful things.
I also have a slightly obsessive personality and get fixated by things that I just have to have or need to find. I'll also really really love something whether it be food, something to collect or a tv programme and then once I've satisfied my urge I'll move on to something else that I really really love. Thankfully for Mark and my friends I'm not fickle at all when it comes to my relationships, just everything else!
All the things I have written above are just some of the reasons I collect but the most important thing is that I just love it! I love the thrill of the chase, of finding that elusive item and receiving it in the post. I love the story behind the items and how they allow me to use my imagination and take me somewhere else.
|Old french fabric boxes|
The fabric boxes I love because of their prettiness, fadedness and the fact that I can fill them with all sorts, go back to them a few months later and discover things I'd forgotten about so its like Christmas!
|Naughty French prints|
I am lucky that I have a lovely husband and friends but losing my mum and dad left a huge gap in my life and I turned to collecting to help bridge that gap and ease the pain somehow. Collecting is in my blood as can be seen by my mum and dad's habits and it somehow allows me to feel a little closer to them as though they are with me all the time. At a young age I decided that I wanted to buy 'stuff' hence the need to get a job for no other reason than I liked 'things.' The reason I collect is due to a number of factors some of which you may relate to albeit in different ways and some of which you won't as we all have our own story to tell. At the end of the day though I really do love it, simple as that. Its an addiction that gives me so much pleasure and as long as I'm not hurting myself or anyone else, I'll carry on!
I found this quote the other day from Sally at Mrs Plumbridge
People would say they are only materialistic objects but I don't know! if they add something warm to your life and make you smile when you look at them then do they, in some way develop their own soul? for to me one of the meanings of a friend is somebody who gives you comfort and makes you happy so are they if not at the very least a little friend!!!
I think she sums up perfectly how I feel about the objects I collect and that makes me happy!