Yesterday, I talked about paring down and today I’m talking about collecting! Believe it or not, but the two can very much go hand in hand. I believe editing is an important part of building a killer collection.
As I was working on the process of purging, deciding what to keep and what to box up to sell, I realized that there has been some method behind building the ironstone collection I have today and I thought I would share it.
Collection building tip no. 1 | Collect what you love
This might be obvious, but if you’re someone who likes a lot of things, it’ll be hard to pin yourself down to focus on one main collection. (Not that you have to, but having too many collections can get a little overwhelming!) So, what gets you most excited? What do you always gravitate towards? What have you loved consistently enough over time to start building a collection?
I have loved ironstone for 15 years and I am a hound for it. I can spot it across an antique store and it gets me giddy just about every time.
Collection building tip no. 2 | a collection should be dynamic
I think a collection should have “anchors” or statement pieces that always remain, but other pieces could revolve in and out. The benefit of that is it gives you the opportunity to trade up and make sure the collection holds pieces you really love and not just pieces you collected because you collect them.
If you’re a collector, you probably know what I mean. When you first start a collection, you just want that collection to get big, so you buy indiscriminately. Eventually, your tastes become more refined and you learn that good collections aren’t about quantity, but about quality. Challenge yourself to let go of pieces you don’t love or they don’t contribute anything to the overall collection.
collection building tip no. 3 | A collection should have a “crown jewel”
It took me a few years before I splurged on the highlight of my ironstone collection – a cake pedestal. I am so, so glad I did, though. It’s better than having the 8-10 pieces I could’ve bought instead of this one. I think every collection needs that one special piece. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive or most valuable, but it should be the piece you love the most. While the cake pedestal (below) is the most valuable, my favorite might be the large soup tureen I found in my Oma’s attic. (It’s the largest tureen on the right in the picture of above.)
collection building tip no. 4 | A collection should have variety
I try to be intentional about each piece I keep to make sure it’s unique in some way and it has characteristics that endear it to me. Sometimes it’s a small detail on the handle, a beautiful hallmark, or even the way it’s stained and imperfect. There is something that speaks to you and makes it special.
collection building tip no. 5 | A collection should evoke a feeling
It should make you smile when you see it and you should enjoy interacting with it, whether it’s to rearrange, clean, maintain, etc. If a collection literally sits and collects dust without much notice or is hidden in a cabinet, I would question if the owner really loves it. Enjoy your things and, if applicable, use them. Arrange them in a way so you and others can enjoy and appreciate them.
So, what do you like to collect?
To learn more about ironstone, you can read a few posts about it here…