I’ve been thinking about collections. What we keep, what we throw away. What we think is worth keeping and why. I have so many collections of things which I try to keep ordered but mostly they are stashed in shelves or cupboards awaiting their chance to arrive on my studio table for transformation into artworks of one kind or another.
I got talking about collections in a recent live recording on Instagram which unfortunately, like the day, has now disappeared. I didn’t save it, but while it was still up in virtual space, I was surprised that people commented on it, that somehow it touched people and moved them to respond. I was talking about my father’s collections of love letters to my mother and my mother’s collection of recipes and kitchen tips torn from the pages of 1960s womens magazines.
When my parents died with in two years of each other, my brother and I spent weeks just clearing out their house. In those raw years of grief, I tried to make sense of their lives and today I just remembered that I created my first digital story about my father through ACMI’s innovative digital storytelling project in 2005. It was about dad’s collections of letters and my reflection on how this shaped me as a writer called, A Writer’s Legacy
There are so many projects I would like to start using my collections and sometimes it does seem overwhelming. Which one to choose and to make sure I finish. Last year I wanted to start new projects on my return from overseas but needed to get my flood stories finished. These works will now be in my exhibition Deluge to mark the second year anniversary of the 2017 March flood which submerged my art studio. Deluge opens March 15th at the M-Arts precinct Gallery in Murwillumbah and will be up for three weeks.
Then I will be ready to start afresh. Those travel ideas from last year’s #91 days collage postcard project are waiting to be transformed into an online course with my new business venture Creative Paper Collage. There is also another artist book idea in the making using my stamp collections and the paper collections from my residency in Lasalle, France which I keep working with but have yet to resolve.
So for now I continue to be inspired by my stamp collection and am using stamps on my daily envelope collages. I look now at those old stamp albums and realise that my love of travel was probably ignited when I was given an atlas and told to look for the countries where the stamps came from, many of those countries don’t even exist anymore or have changed their names. It’s the whole history of colonisation on those stamp album pages. I know they will be used for something, someday.