This week I took part in an art exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich, showcasing my Wombles collection.
They have hosted an exhibition of famous artists’ ‘magnificent obsessions’ – artists’ collections of objects, ephemera, etc by the likes of Andy Warhol and Martin Parr. In addition to this, the public were invited to submit photos and descriptions of ‘ordinary people’s collections, and my Wombles collection was chosen as collection of the week in January 2016.
At the end of the exhibition, all the ‘collectors of the week’ were invited to a Collector’s Celebration Day to meet each other, learn about collecting and curating, and share our collections.
These ‘ordinary’ collections were every bit as fascinating as the famous artists’, and the collectors demonstrated huge expertise, knowledge, skill and passion for their subjects… perhaps these quiet obsessions are an unacknowledged source of artistic expression?
We met other collectors, curated a mini-collection of 3 items, and told everyone about our collection and what the items meant to us. I took 3 items of toiletries in gift boxes from the 1970s and there were plenty of people who recognised them from 40 years ago!
Below are some materials relating to the Collector’s Celebration Day, held at the end of the exhibition.
It was really interesting to meet other collectors and think about how some people define themselves as collectors – with certain rituals, clubs, systems, procedures and so on, for acquiring, labelling and exhibiting their collections. I have always thought of myself as a Wombles fan, and my collection is just one expression of that fandom.
But maybe I’m a collector at heart? I readily admit a compulsion to ‘collect the set’ of anything that takes my fancy, and maybe the Wombles collection is just enough to let me channel all these energies into one focussed area?