Collectors . . .

What makes people become collectors?  Is it something that chimes in the soul?  Here in Australia, we have a marvellous TV show called Collectors.  It isn’t Antiques Roadshow styled, although antiques feature.  Essentially it is about the collections that people make, why they collect them, even where they collect their ephemera.  I collect blue and white Cornish Ware because I love the colour and the stripes and it reminds me of everything that Rosamund Pilcher has ever written about.  As a child I dabbled in stamps and then model farms made by Britains (which I still have and which Dad built farm fences for.  And stables and a tack room and fed shed.).  I collected dolls from different countries too and when I travelled to different parts of the world, I bought a gold charm in every city.  I also collect old books that appeal: childrens’ books mostly.

More recently though, I’ve become a collector of Lilliputian books . . . miniatures.  The interest began when I was at the University of Tasmania Paper Mill and the lecturer, Penny Carey Wells, showed we students her own collection.  I purchased an extravagant book called Miniature Books: 4000 years of Tiny Treasures by Anne C Bromer and Julian I Edison, (in which I hasten to add, my friend Rebecca Bingham is featured, p175) which further whetted my appetite.

I’d already been given a tiny Bible chained to a wooden lectern and made two or three miniature books myself.  I then went to the Net to search for a miniature book for my friend Jane for a special birthday.  Given her predilection for travel in exotic places and her love and expertise for silk embroidery, I discovered The Silk Road, a map book by a miniature press, Bo Press, and Pat Sweet and I struck up a friendship.

Slowly I am building a collection.  I now have 16 miniatures, six of which are from Bo Press, some I have bought on E-bay and some I have had left to me by elderly family.

The latest arrived yesterday from Bo Press.  I LOVE going to the letter box and finding a tiny box there, because I know immediately its from Pat.  I take it to the kitchen, make a cup of tea, take the tea and the box to the family room, find my embroidery glasses, turn on my embroidery light and have such an indulgent moment splitting the package tape, undoing the lid, unrolling the crackling tissue and revealing a gem inside.  Yesterday’s was really special and commemorates Pat’s, Rebecca’s and my collaboration in The Masked Ball blog event..  In my hand (on my palm) lay three different editions of the same story.  One limited edition, the other two a little plainer.

But ‘plain’ seems too hard and crass a word to use to describe these little books that look as if they are bound in silks and laces from a fine French lingerie shop.  My photos don’t do them justice, but they are the softest Regency stripe with fine point black lace.

Can’t wait to add these to my collection, but I’m still looking for inspiration on how to store and display them to best effect.  Any ideas?