Are You a Collector?

HeartsI wonder if you are smiling as I am at the title of this post? Of course I’m a collector and I’m guessing that if you are a quilter, sewer, knitter, crafter or maker in any art form, you too have a large collection of supplies to support your passion. In this case, I’m not referring to the obvious collection of fabric, threads, yarns, etc. but other objects that you choose to collect, just because you love them and most importantly, they make you happy. I’m curious to know what constitutes a collection, 3 or more items, how did the collection begin and what inspires us to collect?

When I was a child, I remember my parents giving me a folder for collecting pennies. I was initially intrigued and made several trips to the bank to exchange paper money for rolls of pennies, hoping to be lucky enough to find an older, sought-after coin.  Unfortunately, I had neither the patience nor the luck, and soon lost interest.

During my college days, I was drawn to ladybugs. I loved finding them in unsuspecting places. They always made me happy. I purchased a small painted one and kept it in my pocket. For some reason, it brought me comfort. Apparently, the word got out and I started receiving all sorts of ladybug inspired gifts. Here’s a peek at some of the ladybug items you  would find hiding around my house.

Ladybugs

It was the ladybug that inspired “Ladybugs on Parade”, the first design in the From Me to You pattern line, which I designed with Diana McClun.

"Ladybugs on Parade" pattern designed by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes.
“Ladybugs on Parade” pattern designed by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes.

I recently acquired a portion of my mother’s hummel collection. It got me thinking about how my mother got started collecting these figurines and why they were so precious to her. I remember her telling me that she received her first one as a wedding gift, in 1952.

This wedding gift inspired my mother to start collecting Hummels.
This wedding gift inspired my mother to start collecting Hummels.

I have no idea how long it was before she either purchased or received another one. I only know that through the years, she received many more as birthday and Christmas gifts. My siblings and I would hunt for the perfect one to add to her growing collection. It was always a sure bet that she would love the chosen figure and proudly display it in a curio cabinet devoted specifically to this collection.

A small sampling of my mother's Hummel collection.
A small sampling of my mother’s Hummel collection.

As sweet as these are, they are not something I would be inspired to purchase. However, my newly acquired collection will always be dear to my heart, knowing how much they meant to my mother.

In addition to my favorite ladybug collection, I have small collections of wooden houses, teacups and ceramic teapots and mailboxes.

Wooden houses

Mailboxes & teapots

Pati has a small collection of antique Oriental pan irons. “Pan irons were used for smoothing silks by putting hot coals or sand in them, then moved in a circular motion. Each iron was decorated differently to tell it’s own story. I only have a few of them, because I have never found an interesting way to display them.” Pati explains.

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Pati also has a collection of hearts that hang on a wall. She says she doesn’t exactly have a theme. But each one has a special meaning or memory attached to it.

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Jennifer Rounds, one of our former SHWS writers, says “I love blue and white pottery, and lately, I am a fan of bowls and plates. Blue and white is so clean and pure.”

Blue and white bowls. Collection of Jennifer Rounds.
Blue and white bowls. Collection of Jennifer Rounds.
Blue and white bowls. Collection of Jennifer Rounds.
Blue and white bowls. Collection of Jennifer Rounds.

 

photo taken from pressedglassandgoblets.com
photo taken from pressedglassandgoblets.com

I chatted with my students yesterday about their own collections. It was interesting to hear their stories and learn what inspired them to hunt for their treasured items.  Some of the obvious to me were thimbles, buttons, teapots, typewriters, bells and hearts. The most fascinating, and one I was not familiar with, was a crystal spooner. I quickly did a google search to find the following. “A popular collectible today, the spooner or spoon holder, provided as much symbolic value as function for Victorian society. The prominently displayed spoons were a clear sign of ready hospitality, as well as a status symbol for the increased affluence among the expanding middle class who could now afford silver spoons, or at least a good facsimile.” (patternglass.com) Hmmm, I just might have to keep my eyes out for these. However, would it mean I would also need to start a collection of vintage spoons? Could be fun!

We love hearing your stories, so please feel free to share the most interesting and/or unusual thing you have ever collected, and tell us what inspired you to begin the collection?

 

Happy Creating!

Laura Signature

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Are You a Collector?

  1. I loved seeing your mom’s Hummel collection. My mom, too, had such a collection. She lived in Salzburg, Austria for two years before she was wed, and bought most of hers there.

    My husband and I collect Russian miniature lacquer boxes. He gave me the first one over thirty five years ago, and we have been collecting ever since.

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  2. Hi Laura
    I collect earring, magnets and patches from where I’ve traveled. I started doing this when I taught 4th grade(California history). It inspired my students to collect them too. The only problem is that refrigerators these days being stainless steel do not hold magnets so I had a sheet metal man make me a square to mount my collection. Unfortutanately my collection exceeds that space, but I recently learned that white boards hold magnets. As far as the earrings go. I have over 75 pair, which include hoiliday trolls(from the 70’s) which always get noticed, and stones representing different regions of California. I have train earrings from when my class went to the Santa Cruz mountains to ride the train and stamp earrings commemmorating the Moon Landing in 1969, the founding of the California Missions and Children’s Books such as Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and Little House on the Prarie. I decorated a jeans vest with my patches. I also have a quilted vest that I made after a Quilt History Tour to the east coast with pictures of the places we visited appliqued on the vest. The vest was made from a canvas bag the tour leader sent to participants, but being a teacher I had so many bags I decided to make it into a vest. It had a large pocket on the back with the imprint of the tour and I made pockets on the inside for carrying other things. I usually wear it when I go to quilt shows(like PIQF) or on quilt trips my sister and I have taken through out Northern California.

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    1. I love your story, Rosemary. My husband too was an educator and has quite a collection of patches and magnets. Since we still have an older refrigerator, the magnets embellish the front. These are such great memories. I once had a collection of Laurel Burch earrings but for some reason can only find a handful of them now … 75 in your collection is quite impressive. Thanks so much for sharing.

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