Sunday, June 17, 2012

Collector's Workshop - Week One

Yesterday was a long day for me.  I was out from around 9:30am until 4pm; as I had to work a morning shift at the Logan Art Gallery, and work it alone at that as my partner in crime at the desk was off with the flu (am I the only person who doesn't catch the darned thing?).  
Well, once we had only 11 adults and 6 children come through for the morning, ate lunch and answered a few phone calls, the workshop people showed up and I had to get my gear together to join in.  I packed up my knitting, and lunch bag and put those into the back office and grabbed my blue trolley and green Bookcrossing briefcase, and headed off into the workshop.
We all set up on one table and I put out my books - placing them onto the t-towels they came wrapped in.  I also put out a few pairs of gloves in case people wanted to look at them beforehand (but nobody did) and I had one pair out I wore already undone and ready to wear.
Pip from the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane sat and talked about what this project was about.  She was thrilled that there were 11 of us who had shown up to this first workshop to talk and brainstorm.  We were soon talking with a digital recorder going in the middle of the table, one by one chatting about what we collect, why we collect and how we come across our items.
As collectors, we collect for more or less the same reasons, however how we started and why are for different reasons totally.  For some of us, it was something that kept us connected to places, for others it was because it was because we didn't have money and it was a way to possess something permanent.  However, for one lady - who collected small containers - she told us that nobody in her family had anything in common; so she felt as though each family member's life was in a box of its own, yet they were close.  But her husband has never understood how she sees the family like this; and so doesn't understand her collection.  
When it came around to me, I felt I needed to stand up as I was the second to last person and had been sitting for over an hour.  Besides, I wanted to hold up my books to show everyone my books properly.  As I put on my gloves, I heard somebody quip:  "And for my next magical trick..." and I answered:  "...and with nothing up my sleeve..." everyone burst out laughing!  It was a good ice-breaker to start my talk.  I didn't start out the same way as everyone else, though, at the age of when I began collecting.  I started on my first book and where I found it and how old I was when I bought it; and how I accidentally found my first out-of-print book... and how exciting it was to have something so precious in my possession.  I went on from my first book ('The Letter of JRR Tolkien' in hardcover format) to the first edition of Alfred Einstein's book about Mozart I found at Mullimbimby's The Book Barn.  As I spoke, I found talking about my passion for the written works of any author - no matter who it was so long it was a first edition or signed book - was just as valuable in any language now as it will be in the future.  After I put down a little-known author who had signed her book very strangely, I then talked about how I found my passion for the written word; and how it was an escape for me when I was little as I was a sickly child with childhood Epilepsy and escaping into a book was the best way I knew to deal with it. However, as I grew out of it (as it sometimes does happen with the condition) and I was re-diagnosed with it aged 19, I didn't try escaping from it anymore, I just dealt with it and kept on reading as I found it moved from escapism to a passion... preserving the written word was something that kind of came with the territory of enjoying it.  And becoming an author was another aspect of it too.
They all asked me so many questions about books, first editions, the Life Line Bookfest and publishing and writing that I found it fun!  I could answer all their queries and they were amazed I knew so much about my collection and how young I was when I began collecting these kinds of books - 23 years old - and what will happen to my books if nobody in my family wants them in the end.
Well, this first Collector's Workshop was a blast!  Next Saturday, we are meeting up at the Logan Art Gallery again to take off into the city via a bus to look at art spaces and how they are used around the place.  I'll be taking plenty of photos and uploading them onto links for you look at here.  Until my next post, keep creating!

Photo to look for:  Collector's Workshop - Week One 16/6/2012

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