When I was younger, I had an obsession collecting little ‘treasures’ from wherever I went into a small cyan colored plastic box made for pencils. I went home a few weeks ago and I discovered this semi-time-capsule while we were in the process of packing up my parent’s garage.
Nostalgia seeped in as I opened the light weight box, knowing full well what to expect inside. I had collected unique buttons, a tiny coyote amulet, cartoon band-aids, a pen top from a Picasso inspired open art work from a field trip in Japan, turtle-shaped eraser, my favorite piece of blue crayon, two smooth and flat oval rocks, a few 5 yen pieces tied together. As a child, I used to marvel and appreciate each piece, unique from one another but still equally important in a complementary mix.
Why collect and cherish these things? At the age of 6 or 7, I began picking up discarded tokens from my daily excursions, marking some mental note in my mind about what I liked about it and kept it. None of the pieces thrown into the box have any relation to the other but I can definitively mark where each came from. I tend to ask myself, “What was my aim in collecting these things?”, “Is it for sentimental value or some artistic precipice I didn’t embark on?”
Misty’s Brief Overview of the most memorable items:
- Tiny Amulet with inscribed coyote paw print – Smaller than a mini-SD microchip, this seemingly ragged charm held some draw to Native American culture. I am drawn to spirituality and I felt
- Picasso inspired pen top from broken souvenir – Decorative & a small model of a sculpture for a pen top, bought for me as a souvenir by my Mom. Although I broke it off the pen, I kept it for sentiment sake and because it reminds me of my visit.
- Anyways, on a side note, the Hakone Open Air Museum is a remarkable place to visit, so if you ever decide to take a trip to Japan, this is a MUST-SEE destination. Some pictures borrowed from the internet:
- Hakone Open Air Museum – Net Castle
- “Symphonic Sculpture” – Gabriel Loire — Credit
- Unique & Out-of-place buttons – Before I found this box, I had just thrown away a small baggie of random buttons. When I opened this box, I was bewildered to find more buttons. Yet these buttons have a story of their own. Since I threw these out without thinking, I remember that one of the buttons was taken off a vintage dress from a thrift store (loved the button not the dress) and I was inspired to keep it because it made me think of history.
The criteria I set for myself in collecting these meaningless but valuable objects was simple:
- Free – I didn’t spend anything on it.
- Found – It didn’t belong anywhere but it was pretty or interesting.
- Figurative – It had to hold some tie to deeper meaning.
- Had to complement it’s box-mates
Lost but found – is what I felt. Each thing had its place and if it didn’t where would it go? They become discarded, dismissed, and disappear. Am I holding on to insignificant meaningless objects?
So what do I mean by figurative?
“characterized by the naturalistic representation of the external world.” –
My amulet tied me to the fading spirituality of animism and being close to the elements from Native American culture in my classes. Taking me back to the greenness and openness of Hakone sublimates awe-inspiring artwork bigger than my body or ambition, I merely recall the memory while holding Picasso’s mini-model. For aesthetics and former glory, I retained the buttons for my own appreciation of an unknown artist who created the design and detail of the button.
Somewhere, somehow I can imagine what it would be like to chase my dreams on the wind of untouched valleys of green foliage and rustic ways of survival. Being in tune with the seasons and animals. I can imagine creating and delivering masterpieces of artwork inspired by perception and reality. Individually unique, together complete.
I find these artifacts house the zeitgeists of invention, art, and admiration.
Have you ever kept little knick knacks or pieces that you kept or still keep and what are the reasons you have for keeping them?