What do you think of when you see the word ‘Collections’. Do you think back to something you collected as child, or things that still take pride of place at home?
What is it in us that makes us want to collect things – is it the thrill of finding something that you haven’t seen before, the pleasure in looking, touching and displaying, or the memories they hold?
Do you marvel at the museum collections of butterflies in their glass cases once collected by the gentlemen who took ‘the Grand Tour’ or ventured overseas? Or maybe you prefer the 1950s powder compacts, remembering the one that your mother always had in her handbag. Do you look into the cabinets and admire the native beadwork, Chinese dragons or things from foreign lands?
Was there a family member who had a stamp collection which was proudly shown to you – stamps from across the world, small images of far-away places, or famous people, landscapes or inventions. Or was it a coin collection……old faded silhouettes of George V and Britannia, the silver tanner and twelve-sided threepenny bit.
Maybe it was a collection of china - Clarice Cliff with her bold and bright flowers or geometric trees; Royal Doulton ladies with swirling skirts; or Royal Albert with full-blown, pink roses adorning each plate and tea cup. Was there a special cabinet with silver dishes, wine glasses with twisted stems or clockwork toys?
Who remembers collecting the cards from PG tips – pictures of everything from animals of the forest, to vintage cars and far-away planets, all carefully glued into the booklets which were provided. Did you have a brother who collected matchboxes or marbles, or dinky cars or Star Wars figures?
Are there rusting garden tools, old seed packets and ancient flowerpots hiding away in the shed at the bottom of the garden? A motley collection of things that someone just can’t bear to part with. Is that, nonetheless, a collection?
Or maybe the collection in your family house was of the vinyl kind – those LPs with the famous covers of the Beatles Abbey Road, David Bowie with the white face of Aladdin Sane; or the prism on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. What memories do they hold of teenage years? What does the generation of today collect…..swatch watches, Links charms, extravagant perfume bottles or the latest fashion trainers?
Who remembers the orange paperback covers of the Penguin Books, which, when lined up on the shelf made a long line of the neat black-and-white birds walking one behind another. Or maybe, even today, it is the leather binding and gold lettering of books from long ago that catches your eye.
Who can resist looking at pieces of vintage lace, thimbles, lace bobbins and old sewing tools? Maybe buying just one more piece to add to your collection.
What is lying beautifully folded in the drawers of your workroom……fabulous pieces of fabric and delicious skeins of threads, beads and buttons. Do you sigh ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ when you see them yet feel they are too exquisite to use. Is this our ever-growing collection (lovingly called ‘stash’) that we cherish and say that one day we will use.
A collection doesn’t have to be formal – it can simply be a group of items that appeal to you. So, whatever the image that you see, or remember, when you hear ‘Collections’, why not put it into stitch?
If you would be interested in taking part in the next Guild members’ project – Collections – please initially just register your interest by sending an email to MembersProject@embroiderersguild.com. Simply put ‘Collections’ in the subject line and within the text tell us your full name and membership number. Further details will follow later but you will need to be a Guild member to take part. We hope to launch the project for exhibiting at Knitting & Stitching Shows in 2022 and other venues to be arranged.