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?