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“Always room for one more in the collection”

Hand-inked collagraph print

The things we collect can seem nonsensical to others, but to the collector they hold great value. It’s not just about money; it’s about beauty in design and form, history, the passion and skill of a particular manufacturer or artisan, the events of a turbulent or joyful era, the story of someone special.


The reasons for collecting are varied: passion, hoarding, memories, historical evidence, research, or categorising. Some collections are proudly displayed in cabinets, whereas others are carefully stored away to keep them safe.


I think collections represent two things: sharing and hope. All of the items in a collection will have a common thread, which is keeping the objects together. The space on the shelf is not a fault, an error or a problem; it symbolises hope for the future and looking ahead. There is great positivity in that empty space because it shows there is room for more, and the collector can keep on looking.


Empty spaces in art are called “negative space” – these are the areas that allow the viewer to make up their own mind and use their own imagination to complete the image. Traditional Chinese landscape paintings are divided into three vertical planes (as opposed to horizontal planes used in Western art) and must incorporate negative space in the middle ground; the emptiness symbolises clouds, mist or water. This is the area of a painting that calms our mind and allows us to see the relationship amongst things.

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