Seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, and displaying… those special things.


When I got married, I semi-seriously decided that to be a successful American couple, my husband and I needed to start collecting something. We knew couples who collected art involving cows, books about colorful birds, beer cans from all nations, even one who collected whole sets of expensive china. We decided we’d collect refrigerator magnets. That worked well for years—my favorite one said, “A gossip is someone with a great sense of rumor.” But, then, we moved into a kitchen with stainless steel and began to live magnet free.

For a few years after we moved, I didn’t collect anything purposely. (I think buying shoes, for example, isn’t collecting, even if one has, oh let’s say, 60 odd pairs.) However, about five years ago I changed my habits and began seriously collecting small religious/spiritual artifacts from many faiths and from all over the world.  I have statues of Buddha, Mary, Ganesha, Rama, Vishnu, and Jesus, African deities, a charming dreidel, and countless other small pieces. I have art by those who believe in magic and witches as well as a lovely folk art angel. I don’t have anything representational of the Muslim faith yet. I’ve been searching for a tiny Koran—a friend who is a Muslim scholar says that wouldn’t run afoul of the religion’s strict rules against representational symbols. I’d also love to find a tiny Old Testament to represent the connection between the Bible and the Torah.

All of my pieces are arranged in the huge bookshelf that holds my desk—it’s where I spend most of my working time. I love to look at the varied Buddhas lined up above the 1961 Hummel Virgin Mary my husband was given on his confirmation day (which, as fate would have it, was the day of my birth.)  I am not of any one faith—I believe in the Circle of Life and the Force and the Golden Rule—and I like to see all the objects existing with ease next to one another, reminding me of how varied the world’s ways of worshiping are. The things I gather enrich my life and I hope to be adding to my collection for a long time.

What about you? Do you collect something? What got you started? Do you see yourself ever stopping and /or collecting something else?

7 thoughts on “Seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, and displaying… those special things.

  1. Tee

    No, I don’t collect and it’s probably a good thing since my house is not very large. I may have more candles and candle holders than I need, but it’s definitely not a collection. The same with rocks. I’m fascinated with them, but it really can’t be called a collection by any standard.

    I think it’s great when I hear of other people’s treasured items. Some have definitely gone overboard, though. I’ve seen barbie dolls, lunch boxes and things like that on TV that use all the space available in several rooms in one house. Now that seems a bit over the top, but what do I know? I don’t even have a shelf’s worth of similarly collected items, so knowing some people have rooms full of stuff of a kind seems unreal to me. LOL

  2. Jean AAR

    The only things I actively seek out, besides books, are lapel pins. I buy a cheap, interesting one from each place I travel to (layovers do not count), and stick it on my wall map at home.

  3. AAR Sandy

    I began collecting shoe ornaments by happenstance about 20 years ago. I was buying ornaments for my first single Christmas tree and I bought a few shoes that I thought were cute. The next year I bought more. After that it became my thing. I have no idea how many I have now, but they bring a real charm and personality to a Christmas tree. I also have some handbag ornaments, but I haven’t collected them as obsessively. Friends give me shoe ornaments for gifts. You’d be surprised how many shoe ornaments there are until you start looking for them. Anyway, I wish I could enjoy them all year, but they give me great pleasure every December. I have modern shoes, Victorian shoes, shoes from the 50s. A year or so ago I made a real find: Red Converse high tops. They fit right in.

  4. DabneyAAR


    People give me shoe ornaments as well. I think it’s because of my shoe collection!

  5. LeeB.

    I collect postcards, which of course means people need to send them to me, which they do. :) And I send postcards to them when I travel. I’ve been collecting since the late 80s and have over 450. I have the flip kind of photo albums to store the regular size (and a large envelope of oversized cards) so it’s easy to keep and look through them.

  6. LinnieGayl

    Interesting collection, Dabney. I collect perfume bottles, both antique and modern art/glass ones. I don’t have a lot (maybe about 20), but I love them all. I display them on top of a couple armoires, and also in various spots on my bookshelves.

  7. Bee

    I have a collection of Buddhist alms bowls, gathered during my travels in Asia. It’s interesting to see the differences between bowls from China and those from Thailand/Laos/Burma, all beautiful, needless to say, but unique still.

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