Sunday, January 12, 2014
The Soul of a True Collector
When you've been in the collecting game as long as I have, it becomes easy to spot a true collector. Not a dealer, piling several of the same item in a cart to sell later, speculating in the latest secondary market trend. Not a causal shopper, buying on impulse, perhaps to decorate a space. It's the person quietly selecting objects at a rock show, or an antique show, or a flea market. They don't stand out by spouting how much they know about something. They aren't haggling loudly. They may be quiet, unobtrusive, but with a determined look on their faces. Certainly, they aren't wacky or eccentric, the way many collectors are portrayed in today's media. Denise van Patten covered that topic often in her blog for about. No, this is a cat of a different stripe, as a colleague of mine was fond of saying. I saw one today. It was at Eagle Days, and the usual purveyors of fossils, rocks, jewelry, and handicrafts were doing their thing in our local expo center. There was a young girl, between 25-30, carrying a plastic basket. She was at one of the vendor's stands selling crystals, fossils, rocks, and jewelry. I watched her, slim, dressed in black, light coat, brown hair pulled back in a pony tail. She wore two pewter medallions on a black cord, and very little make up. But, her face was rapt as she carefully hefted this or that crystal till she found the right one. She was lost in her quest as sure as any knight after the Grail. She had some small rocks, some items for making jewelry, a few little fossils in her basket. She was not clumsy or pushy, but she took notice of little else but the rocks and fossils on the table. You had to admire that concentration, that ability to get quietly lost in the moment, enjoying something so much. quiet passion, to be sure. I've often felt it myself. I spent all day Saturday installing a display of metal dolls for our local museum to promote my book. I forgot everything else. That often happens when I work with the museum collection, or when I'm planning our brick and mortar location. I don't think of any problems, and forget all the stressors in my life. I think it's possible that collecting can add years to a person's life. Those who die young just don't spend enough time collecting.