The process of collecting is something that endlessly intrigues me, and when I get the chance to peek inside people’s homes and studios, I love hearing the stories behind the art, objects, books, plants and ephemera they choose to surround themselves with.
When I was a kid, I collected elephants, and every time someone in my family travelled overseas, they’d bring one back as a keepsake for me. It was such a lovely way to turn a touristy souvenir into something meaningful that told a tale of adventures afar.
In my twenties, I started collecting on my own travels. For a while there, rugs were a particular interest and took me on some dubious missions, including following a trader through Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar to his warehouse piled high with thousands of kilims. At first, my sister Sophie and I were a little wary of this stranger’s invitation, but we ended up spending four hours sifting through fantastically patterned pieces while sipping apple tea and chatting about the history of rug weaving in Turkey.
Another time, in La Paz, Bolivia, I had to hunt out a post office so I could ship home a traditional frazada rug handwoven from alpaca fleece. The packaging saw it stitched into a canvas bag with needle and twine, so I was relieved when it turned up at home two months later completely unscathed.
Given rug-wrangling can be a little cumbersome, more recently I’ve been trying to go for more carry-on-friendly finds, such as kitchen utensils and ceramics. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, though, so I haven’t entirely ruled out oversized options.
At the moment, my partner Nick and I are enjoying collecting together as we slowly acquire New Zealand artwork for our walls. On a beginner budget, we follow our hearts and use instinct to inform our decisions. After all, collecting is ultimately about surrounding yourself with things that make you happy.
Alice Lines, Editor