Jun 29, 2011

Collecting: Sea Glass

I moved to California after having spent almost 22 years (my entire life at that point) having never seen the ocean, or any body of water bigger than Lake Superior. I was amazed the first time I sat down in the sand and faced the great expanse of the Pacific Ocean. It seemed to go on forever, and the waves crashed and it was serene and beautiful. And after awhile I got bored. I started to dig around in the sand and see what I could find. Shells, rocks, and a cigarette butt, nothing too exciting, but I kept on digging. It wasn't long after that I found my very first piece of Sea Glass. It was as tiny as a pebble, smooth all around and kelly green. I'd never seen anything like it. I thought it was a rock and put it right into my pocket. A little while later I found another piece. Then I was hooked. 

I lived in the Bay Area for 6+ years. Not to far from where I stayed is an amazing stretch of water known as "Tepco Beach" or more formally as "Point Isabel." It's in Richmond, near the Central exit, accross from the big costco. You have to jump a little fence, but it's worth it. It is an extreamly polluted shore, mostly occupied with ceramic pieces dumped there by the Tepco china factory. The Tepco factory produced out of El Cerrito from 1930 until 1968. 

The broken, cracked and unwanted pieces dumped at the Point Isabel site have spent many years in water, washed over by tide and bathed in the suns rays. They are soft on the edges, and in their colors. I spent many a (low tide) afternoon here digging and picking. 

Over the years I found many a interesting piece; A small green chunk washed down, which looked to me like the shape of Minnesota. A tea cup missing a handle, A fragement with a chickens head printed on it, The most marvelous pink sliver, A handful of (what seemed to be) clay buddah heads....and so on and so on. I found the best pieces of sea glass on this beach. Every visit I'd leave with 20 or so pieces, a whole poccet full. I'd add them to my collection as soon as I got home. I have green glass, white, clear, brown, amber, yellow, a tiny orange bit, and even a tiny red one too. But mostly it's green and clear. 

Though far from Tepco Beach, and California, I still keep my collection close to me. 

If you have any questions about sea glass, what certain colors signifiy, where good collecting spots are, etc. Or if you want to connect with other Sea Glass collectors check here: North American Sea Glass Association

Jun 26, 2011

I Collect: Melanie

Melanie creates one of the most adorable design blogs: You Are My Fave. I had the pleasure of interviewing Melanie about her special collection. Be sure and check out her blog, she has the best faves!

My Name is: Melanie Blodgett

I collect: cake stands

Its been going on for: two years

I look for additions to my collections at: department stores, thrift shops and Etsy 

When I find one I feel: a twinge of guilt, should I get it or not?! 

The star of my collection is: a perfect white milk glass stand 

The oddest piece in my collection is: I don't have an odd one yet

A way my collection has gotten me into a tight situation: I house them on the top of my desk and now I can't use the desk! 

Some other things I like to collect are: books, party decorations 

My family and friends think my collection is: taking up too much space

Thanks for sharing Melanie!

Jun 25, 2011

The Stranger Exchange (Photos)

A few months ago, we began a project called The Stranger Exchange! We paired up complete strangers, who after becoming pen pals, mailed each other some really stunning packages! See what some of the Stranger Exchangers received:

 Each participant was paired up with a total stranger. We exchanged lists of 5 things we liked to collect. We were given a month deadline and a budget of $10-$15 (before postage). It was such a blast treasure hunting for our pen pals. And to top it all off we tried to package everything with extra thought and love. If you or someone you know wants to excchange with us in the fall (September/October) send an email or leave a comment below.

Thank you to: Lea, Shandra, Alison, Jenna, Laurel, Nancy, Erin, Tess, Maggie, Cheryl, Carissa, Jara, Ariel, Kaitlyn, Amanda, Jess and Liz!

Jun 22, 2011

Tony Cragg

Tony Cragg is a British born artist who rose to fame during the 1980s with his recycled object installations. His use of shape and color is careful yet humorous. From across the room his sculptures appear to be simple shapes, but up close they are small communities of found objects: metal intermingling with plastic, a broken hanger, a cracked plastic plate, a miniature army man. Cragg won the Turner Prize in 1988.

Jun 20, 2011

I Collect: Suzanna

What a gal! Suzanna is an artist, and a mom, a wife, a Kansan (I had to look that up) and a collector! She sells her beautiful assemblage and collages here. And she also has an Etsy where she sells Instant Collections, supplies and collectibles. Suzanna blogs here at Sushipot about her adventures in art, collecting, food, mothering, life etc. 

My Name is: Suzanna Scott

I collect: aluminum coffeepots, clowns, old craft doll faces, antique books, religious kitsch, scissors, old buttons, tin tea sets, vintage children's books and ephemera. I'm sure I've forgotten something.

Its been going on for: a very long time!

I look for additions to my collections at: Everywhere: thrift shops, the roadside, flea markets, antique dives, the interwebs, garage sales, junk yards. You name it!

When I find one I feel: Elated and inspired.

The star of my collection is: My favorite's are the collection of clowns I inherited from my grandma when I was a teenager.

The oddest piece in my collection is: Hard to say…maybe the really big Humpty Dumpty doll face mask. It's a bit on the strange side.

A way my collection has gotten me into a tight situation: I've definitely put my bank account in a tight situation on occasion!

Some other things I like to collect are: little things, my daughters drawings and happy memories.

My family and friends think my collections are: a bit strange and hard to dust!

 Thanks for sharing Suzanna!


Jun 16, 2011

Collecting: Natural History

The Bone Room. A dream come true for any natural history collector. Located North of Berkeley, in Albany, on Solano. If you're in the East Bay and you haven't been, believe me, you're missing out! The small space is fully stocked and neatly organized. You can find bones, fossils, insects, claws, horns, eggs, specimens of all types and many, many more amazing things! 

The Bone Room is where I purchased my first raccoon penis. 

 At The Bone Room I once bought my roommate a crazy long horse's tail for her birthday. And where I would always stock up on glassine envelopes, which I use for all kinds of art and package related things!

Where else can you find supplies for insect preservation, horns for a headdress, beautiful handcrafted jewelery, scientific themed games and toys for kids, pressed butterflies, taxidermy, and even actual Mexican jumping beans? The Bone Room And if you don't live in the Bay Area, you can order with them over the phone, or on their website. But if you can, stop in the shop and check out the llama skeleton, the taxidermy sloth, and the drawers and drawers of natural history!
(they also have a facebook, and a flickr)

Jun 14, 2011

Stranger Exchange

A few months back, we created a network that connected strangers with similar interests in collecting. It paired up these common souls via email. They exchanged information and a short list of things they liked or collected. The end result was a package sent and received. Twenty people exchanged packages! We've decided to make this a quarterly event. Almost everyone who exchanged in the last round has asked to participate again. If you, or anyone you know is interested let us know! In the next few days we will be posting some images of "Stranger Exchanged" packages.

Jun 11, 2011

If you don't get all your ducks in a row...

As a child my most prized possession, the toy my mom had to take away from me to get me to go to bed was not something that could be bought in a store. It was simple, and thoughtful and unique. I don't think my mom ever intended it to be my plaything, let alone my favorite toy. She used to clip coupons from the Sunday paper. Every so often there would be an add for pants you could send away for. Attached to these 5 x 7 advertisements was a small fabric sample. I don't know why, but my mom saved every one of these. She would unstaple them from their information card, and tuck them away in an old wooden tea box. I don't remember exactly when I discovered her collection. I do, however, remember hours and hours and hours of quite time with the samples. I would empty the box onto the carpet, feeling the texture of each tiny fabric square. Then I would line them up, darkest to lightest, softest to stiffest, smoothest to bumpiest and so on and so on. 

This tumblr Things Organized Neatly reminds me of those happy pants sample moments. Each photo of collections lined up gives me that same calm feeling I'd get from organizing my teeny fabric squares. That must be what it feels like when "all your ducks are in a row." 

Things Organized Neatly

Jun 9, 2011

Worlds Largest Record Collection

Paul Mawhinney over time has ammasssed the worlds largest record collection. In traveling for work he began gathering pieces for his collection all over the country. He has over 3 million records. The collection has been valued around 50 million dollars. Despite the price tag, Paul attempted to sell the entire collection on Ebay for a fraction of what it's worth. The bidding rose to 3 million, but the "winner" eventually denied bidding, even stated that his idenity had been stolen. Due to health issues Paul continues to find an interested buyer. He can be reached at Record-Rama .

Here is a short Documentary created by Sean Dunne. "The Archive." 

Jun 8, 2011

I Collect: Laurel

Laurel has a number of interesting things. She is often found thrifting around the Bay Area, not only to beef up her own person collections, but to find gorgeous items for her successful Etsy Shop "SixtytoSeventy.

My Name is: Laurel Wilton

I collect: orchids, pedestal mugs, lamps, foil ornaments and felt ornaments, old magazines, salt and pepper shakers, glass ware, vinyl

Its been going on for: For a long time--- I used to collect Jones Soda bottles when I was a teen (now I only have one left), but I did not realize I was a collector until a few years ago. That's when I started going to the thrift stores on a regular basis and had a better feel for what I was searching for.

I look for additions to my collections at: Good Will, Salvation Army, Antique Stores, Fairs, Estate Sales, Craigslist, Ebay.

When I find one I feel: I feel like my eyes bug out and in my head, I say, "O-M-G! This is amazing." If I don't get that feeling, then I don't buy it. 

The star of my collection is: That's tough... I have a lot of favorite pieces, but I guess the star would be...my JVC space helmet television. 

The oddest piece in my collection is: My Syrocco Monk Corkscrew. My dad gave it to me, and it is a very odd piece. 

A way my collection has gotten me into a tight situation: I suppose I am just running out of room (literally, a tight situation), forcing me to sell.

Some other things I like to collect: tinsel garland, vintage shoes, small tins and boxes, vintage ceramics, news papers, 8 track tapes, old postcards, vintage purses and coats. 

My family and friends think my collection is: huge and fantastic. I love it, and it makes me happy. Being on the hunt and finding that treasure is a great feeling. 

Thanks for sharing Laurel! 

Jun 6, 2011

Worlds Largest Ball of Twine

The "Worlds Largest Ball of Twine," not to be confused with the "Worlds Heaviest Ball of Twine," or the "Worlds Largest Ball of Twine That People Are Still Adding To" is in Minnesota. I saw it once, when I was young, when we were driving  my friends kid brother to a hockey game out in the middle of nowhere. That's where the ball of twine lives, near a water tower, in small-town-nowhere-Minnesota. It was very big, and anti-climactic. The towns folk built it a little house. I love that the guy spent his whole life saving bits of string until the ball became too big for his home, so he rolled it himself, to it's final resting place at the vista point near the water tower. An amazing collection of twine. 

Jun 4, 2011

Candy Jernigan "Collection Artist"

I've always liked to refer to Candy Jernigan as a “Collection Artist.” I just like the way it sounds. I was exposed to her work about 10 years ago, when a friends dad loaned me her book “Evidence.” By that time she'd been dead 10 years. She was a little known artist during her life, popular in the avant garde scene in Manhattan. She obsessively chronicled her life in scrapbooks, collecting any and all bits of her existence-ranging from subway tickets, package wrappers, soda pop tabs, to food smears, road kill, and drug viles. Nothing was off limits. She found beauty everywhere. I've read someone likening her work to a forensic pathologist. After contracting liver cancer she died at the young age of 39. At the time of her death she was married to Phil Glass. Two books of her work are available the aforementioned “Evidence” and “The Dead Bug Box.” 

Jernigan’s amazing ability to turn trash into artistic treasure with accents of beauty and humor became over time her signature way of creating.
 According to fellow artist Chuck Close, in a foreword of "Evidence: the Art of Candy Jernigan," "[Candy] took the old saying ‘Art history is to art what ornithology is to birds’ and stood it on its head. This is what Candy had to say about “Evidence:” “In 1980, as I set out on my first trip to Europe, I decided to make a book that would contain any and all physical proof that I had been there: ticket stubs, postcards, restaurant receipts, airplane and bus and railroad ephemera. On successive trips, these collections grew to include food smears, hotel keys, found litter, local news, pop tops, rocks, weather notations, leaves, bags of dirt--anything that would add information about a moment or a place, so that the viewer could make a new picture from the remnants. Objects emerged for me as ‘icons’ for particular cities and these objects became the material for EVIDENCE.” 

Ken Tisa, a friend and fellow artist, offered this comment in the book, "Everyone who wants to see art in New York looks up. Candy looked down."

She was defiantly an inspiration to me as an artist. Over the years I have felt her presence in my work. I would repeatedly check out "Evidence" from the Berkeley Library. One piece of hers that really struck me was her collection of dope vials that she found during a 16 day period around her neighborhood.

In 2004 I paid homage to Candy by creating a similar piece of weed bags I found around on my walk to the BART in Oakland. It ended up in a show at the Fake Cake Gallery. And like Candy's piece I included details as to when and where I found each bag. 

Candy Jernigan's work is magical.