by Lisa Congdon

A Collection A Day

For 365 days, January 2010 to December 2010, artist Lisa Congdon documented one of her many personal collections (or drew an imagined collection). She photographed and posted the images to a blog called A Collection a Day. In a way, the site became it’s own collection, a collection of images of collections. That collection has now become a beautiful little book. The book comes in an adorable classic collector’s tin. It’s a very thick little book, each page devoted to one day’s collection, labeled with date and title. Lisa’s collections are mostly a range of small vintage objects like bread tags, dice, playing cards, sticks, mugs, lightbulbs, erasers, drafting stencils, pinecones, old portrait photographs. They almost all could fit into this tin in real life, which makes this tin feel very appropriate and clever.

Flipping through the book made me think a lot about collections: What makes something a collection? How many items do you need? How similar do they need to be? What collections do I have? If there aren’t too many rules then I have amassed hundreds of collections as well, most people have. We just aren’t aware that that’s what they are. Arranged, they wouldn’t be as nice looking as Lisa’s, as there is something to say about curation, but looking around I do have probably 4 kinds of kitchen sponges, twenty kinds of cleaners in bottles, a dozen patterned kitchen mitts, fifty spice containers of all shapes and sizes, forks from all different flatware sets…What I love most about this project is that it it makes you look at common objects a bit differently. By putting them in a collection, you are forced to notice the individuality of each piece by comparing it to the others surrounding it. And then together they are something else, arranged into an organized composition. They belong to a set, and what else is in that set defines the group. Most of Lisa’s collections are organized by kind of thing. She places all of the same kinds of things together: bread tags, stamps, beach rocks. But what if the collection was not organized by kind, but by shape: ten various round things, fifteen long thin pointy objects. Or by subject: ten things you can find in a school classroom, six things that remind me of you. There are endless ways to organize and make collections when you start to think about it. Suddenly, everything can be organized and arranged this way, all of your stuff, all of your thoughts, your whole life- it’s all just collections. Ok I’ll stop. But this is what the book did to my afternoon. Pick up a copy here. Thank you Lisa and well done as always Uppercase!

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