Saturday, August 30, 2014

Are you a collector? by Marion Ekholm


A dear friend of mine had such enthusiasm for a collection of elephants she’d seen. “I’d love to have a collection like that,” she told me. So when her birthday came, I thought what should I get her? I found elephants – with the trunk curved up because that meant good luck. And her collection began.

Any time I was in a thrift store, an antique shop, a garage sale or a jewelry store, I had a mission – find my friend another elephant for her collection. And it was growing. So much so that she had to invest in a curio cabinet to hold the 60 plus elephants she had collected.
One day, just before Christmas, I brought her a gift. Yes, another elephant – and she cried. “I don’t know how this started, but for years everyone gives me elephants for my birthday and Christmas. Elephant jewelry, elephant stationery, elephants on shirts – on everything!” she said through her tears.

The lower left corner has my first dishes.

“It’s my fault,” I said, giving her my final elephant gift. “Don’t you remember when you said you’d like an elephant collection?” Of course she didn’t, but she was happy to know how it started and that it could end.

Some people are collectors; some hoarders. I keep things I like, and for the most part, they’re valueless to anyone else but me. But I loved perusing for those elephants. Why not collect something for myself? I like miniatures and had my children’s dishes from when my mother pulled them out of the soapsuds she used. Remember those days when a toy came with a product?

This children's set dates back to around 1915, my oldest set.

Although my collection does include several full sets, most of the thirty plus contain just the teapot, creamer and sugar dish. They’re in porcelain, metal, tin and glass and come from Japan, England and Germany as well as the USA. I love when I find a set made from the same mold with different decorations. On several occasions I’ve had the opportunity to display them and women from three to ninety enjoy all the memories they invoke.
My granddaughters play with the tin items in the foreground and the "imitation" silver set. Note they are unbreakable!
So have you a collection you love? Have you tired of it and wish people would stop buying you those frogs, owls or Star Wars figurines that you get every time you open a present? Be aware that any comment might get another addition to your collection!



20 comments:


  1. Marion,
    How cool. I'll need to come visit you and see :)
    I have a jack and jill pitcher and two glasses. There blue glass and embossed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I rarely collect anymore but I still enjoy looking.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love your tea set pictures, Marion! My mom used to collect sets and, a few years ago, gave several of them to me when she and my dad downsized. I've collected since childhood, but some of my collections are packed safely away, maybe with a few favorite items on display. I've collected international dolls, stamps, coins, shells, elephants, turtles, old glass bottles, spectacles, Star Trek items etc... I love things that hold history.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the memories connected to each piece, where I got them and who gave them to me.

      Delete
  4. Great pictures! I collect Christmas Snow Globes...oh, and stuffed animals, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll keep that in mind if I ever need to get you a present. I also like the stuffed animals, including a few bears I bought on my trip to England.

      Delete
  5. Hi, Marion! Love your tea things! I have a teapot collection - not very big but it's on a shelf in my kitchen and I love it. I also collects cats and stars. In my office is a monoprint my husband made for me of - you guessed it - a cat gazing at the stars.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also like tea pots, full sized ones, but I decided to limit myself to the miniatures. They take up less space.

      Delete
  6. Marion, your tea sets are charming. I am a collector, too, of several things, but my biggest collection is stuff that has to do with wire haired fox terriers, since I am such a fan of them and an owner of seven, so far (not all at once!). My collection includes plates, playing cards, glassware, cups, pictures of all sizes, jewelry, tie holder, shoe horn, tape measure, tins, and a door knocker.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have a few things that represent the animals I've had, including a porcelain Siamese cat and a plate with a picture of a Siberian Husky. I think of those animals with fond memories every time I look at them.

    ReplyDelete
  8. My mother-in-law collects teapots and has an eye-crossing number of them. I always worry about collections because they seem to become a responsibility instead of a joy. That being said, I have many, many snowman Christmas tree ornaments...

    ReplyDelete
  9. I collect vintage tablecloths. Once in a while a friend will gift me with one, which is always a lovely surprise. And I also collect busks (corset stays) of whalebone and wood. Long ago busks were considered "love tokens"!

    We won't talk about my cowboy boot collection...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read a book--Lavyrle Spencer, maybe?--that told about the busks and the carving of them. I think that's fascinating!

      Delete
    2. I always amazes me - what people collect. Busks? I never even heard of that.

      Delete
  10. I'm late to the blog, but loved the photos. I think collections grow like Topsy sometimes. I collect Longaberger baskets. I have signs that say "never too many baskets". But I've said no more, so there is a time for too many. My youngest daughter has a ceramic dog collection and my sister collects mice like Charming tales, and mice story books, too. I love seeing what you all collect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I stuck to miniatues because I wanted something that didn't take a lot of space. I had a large rust colored basket I used to fill with cornflowers in the fall. Loved how it really made the season. I felt it took up too much space so I got rid of it. To this day, I still think about it, wish I had kept it and haven't found anything else that comes close to its perfect shape and color.

      Delete
  11. I'm late to the party, too, and I don't collect anything but dust bunnies. :-) Even so I have an awful lot of stuff. ove your post and I've seen more than one collection of friends get waaaay out of hand. Thinking about a friend's duck collection.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It's hard to stop once the collecting bug bites you.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi, Marion! I have a few different collections that people have started for me :) and I love just about every piece because it reminds me of the person who bought it for me.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Marion! Over the course of more than 40 years, for every holiday or occasion, I gave my mother-in-law, Mildred, a pig for her collection. So did everyone else she knew. Mom M. was very organized, and when she died, she had catalogued her 2,000+ pigs...and she'd named me the executor of the collection. More than 300 people came to her funeral, and I took most of the pigs with me, asking everyone there to take a couple of them in her memory. My mom passed away recently, and at her wake, people asked me why I didn't bring her teddy bears so they could take one to remember her by. I have since been distributing her bears to all the people who loved her. Collections are, in a way, an extension of the people who collect them, and it just feels right to share them when those people are gone.

    ReplyDelete