A collection is more often than not emotive, with direct connections between you and the objects in it. A collection is a memento of people, places, past times and experiences – made up of memories of characters you’ve encountered, meals globetrotting adventures, explorations and travels, the details of daily life, time spent with friends, gifts and a million other things. Here's my advice for creating and displaying your personal collections:
Think outside the museum or gallery format of categorising and systematically formalising a collection. Your collection can encourage interaction, conversation and involvement. It can have a sense of humour, be a lifelong project or exist only for one day.
The display of a collection should not be static but change to suit the occasion and place – moving from dinner table to a spot outdoors, become an unexpected feature in an entrance area, a home-warming gesture or an element of celebration.
Don’t be shy about creating 3D adaptations of your cabinets as I do with all my interiors. Let things fly, crawl up walls, lean or sit on the floor. This is organised chaos.
Remember, the process of collecting, discovering ‘the find’ and interaction is as important as the final display – the story it encapsulates exists as much as the object.
You don’t have to build a cabinet for each of your collections, or in fact, even display them together. Collections do not have to live together – I tend to spread my collections everywhere.
I cling to the idea that your pieces are dynamic, can be moved, lent, touched and experienced by you, your family and friends. They can be functional as well as decorative pieces. There is nothing better than being able to utilise them in daily life: meals, workspaces, at home, mantels and wherever.
Think of a collection as your own 3D self portrait. Reveal tales and memories with your collections through object choices, placement and the way you display them: there can be communication between those objects.
You are the curator of your collections; edit, be selective, picky or accommodating. These are your collections and objects that make sense to you and make you happy. Make corners to explore, study and enjoy. Line things up on a baseboard on the floor, place a length of ribbon or fringe over a doorway, stones in the bottom of a bathtub, or hang textiles on a suspended pole from the ceiling.
Do not limit yourself with display and, depending on their format and shape, let collections speak for themselves. Make the world more beautiful, take care but let go – although I talk about being slapdash, it’s more a case of casual abandon.
Remember the display of your collection can be changed if you are not totally satisfied – embrace the stylist within and rearrange on a whim.