The Art of Collections


Jan van Kessel the Elder, Festoon, Masks, and Rosettes Made of Shells, 1656

An earlier post about photographer Rosamond Purcell led to a number of comments about how followers love collections, as I do, of every kind. These random examples show how artists extract  from the natural and man-made world, a practice that goes back centuries.


Swedish artist Camilla Engman creates “organized collections” like the one above.

Suitcase wall from the studio of New Mexico artist Gail Rieke

The display below is by mixed media artist Lyndal Osborne, from her ‘Organisms’ collection, in a post from Canadian Art Junkie, here.


Mixed media installation: aerial roots, artificial teeth, banana stalks, Broome stalks, Canola seeds, chicken bones, chopped rubber, copper wire, crab/lobster bands, Cuttle fish, Day Lilly flowers and stalks, discarded plastic, DNA model, Dogwood, dried grass, earth, elastic bands, felt, Eucalypt nuts, Eucalypt seeds, Evening Scented Stocks, felt stoppers, glue, Horsetail, Hosta flower stalks, indoor plant leaves, kelp, kelp floats, Kurrajong seedpods, Larch, leather, lobster antennae, Lotus, Monsterio, moss, mussels, paint, paper mache, pencil crayons, pipettes, plastic stir sticks, pom -poms, Protea leaves, Queen of the Night, Rhubarb seeds, rope, Russian Lilac, sea fan, seaweed, seed pods, Port Jackson shark eggs, shuttle cocks, speaker wire, sponge wands, Spruce, steel pins, steel, telegraph wire, thumb tacks, Tree Fern, Tuckamore twigs, twine, twist ties, Wild Clematis, and Willow. Dimensions: 48 x 80 x 52 inches

Categories: collections

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12 replies »

  1. Wow!

    So beautiful and I am impressed with the colors and variation. Cheers to a FABULOUS post about collections. I am curious whether the suitcase wall (which indeed somehow looks very New Mexican) was built to suit the suitcases, or if suitcases were sought out to fit each spot like other people mentioned here.

    I am also curious to know what people collect. Don’t we all collect something (possibly unknowingly) in one way or another?


    • That really is a great question about the suitcases, but either way, I admire the ability to do it. I wouldn’t have a clue, since I am spatially disabled. BTW, this post was at least 50% for you after the online conversations that started all this earlier in the week. And yes, we all collect, I’m sure. Mine is . . . frogs (candlesticks, and sometimes small sculptures)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love it! Glad to hear it opened up more conversations. You made me think of collections in my own space as well. I collect folk art from around the world, and pottery mugs from different places. I so appreciate your blog…always so well curated!


  2. Bravo! That first image has a date of 1656 – it looks remarkably preserved! I love the suitcases. I wonder if she built the shelf for them specifically or filled the shelf with things that fit the spaces. It appears to be the former.


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