Wednesday, August 6, 2008

collections

A few weeks ago I came across an amazing post on the blog of Sculptress that got me thinking about my own tendency to be a collector of things. I started photographing my collections and then set them aside until I was inspired by Kathy's collection of beach finds to share my own. Here are some of my collections, each with a story and a place:

These are pebbles I gathered on a beach at the Baltic Sea near Łeba (pronounced weba) in May 2008 while visiting Poland with Jerzy. This was our happiest memory of the trip...walking along the windswept shore near the shifting dunes, picking up stones.

These are ptarmigan feathers that I gathered in Tasiujaq while doing a contract in Nunavik (Eastern Arctic in Northern Quebec) in May 2007. The hotel where I was staying was just on the outskirts of the small town of 277 people. The manager called my attention to the ptarmigan on the tundra outside, and as we were admiring them, a hunter drove up in his truck, pulled out a rifle, shot the lot, and loaded them up into his truck. The Inuit people live from the land and hunting is a way of life there. Afterwards, I wandered out to see if there was any evidence of the ptarmigan and I gathered these soft feathers.

Three vertebrae from an unknown animal found grouped together while on a canoe trip on the North Channel of Lake Huron. The Georgian Bay area is one of the most beautiful places in the world (I'm biased because I grew up in that area) and inspired many of the landscape paintings of the Group of Seven. If you click on this link, the painting you will see is The Bay of Islands by Franklin Carmichael and that's close to where I found these vertebrae.

These are wild cucumber pods collected in my backyard. I have a whole basket of them. I removed their prickly outer skins because I had a plan for the inner skeletons but never realized that plan. Some day...

These are pieces of shale that I collected in the Eastern Townships of Quebec while waiting on the side of the road for CAA (Canadian Auto Association) to come and tow away my beloved Toyota Tercel which had broken down. Sadly, that was its last journey.

My Jerzy is a gardener. He grows and nurtures things. If he finds a seed, he plants it. These are the thorns of tangerine trees planted by Jerzy at his old office. He planted a few trees in pots while he worked there as an electrical engineer and now he only does contracts for them and goes in once a week (I think primarily to tend to the plants!). He feels that the tangerine trees are his responsibility so he removes the thorns for public safety :) and brings them to me.

These are beech seed pods collected on a lovely walk in the Sudeten Mountains area in the Czech Republic, close to Jerzy's sister's place in Poland. She lives right on the border in a town called Paczkow. It's a beautiful region and we did many lovely walks through hills, forests and fields.

Snail shells collected on the shores of Lake Kagawong at our family cottage. This is on Manitoulin Island where I grew up and where my parents still live. A most beautiful place.

After I returned from Nunavik, in a kind of romantic, nostalgic gesture, I dug out the stones that were stuck in the bottom of my hiking boots and saved them as a record of where I had walked and journeyed. And now I do it still, as a kind of ritual. I have no idea where these particular stones came from but they are a marker of my feet's travels...

12 comments:

Gwen Buchanan said...

You are amazing, Kate... I am entranced by your collections and the stories they tell... and you tell us...
special meanings, memories, connections, plans, delicacies from death, seeds for new life, travel, beauty...
entranced, I tell ya... simply entranced!!!!! gwen

Megan Coyle said...

I really liked looking at your collections and your pictures of them are fabulous. I especially like the wild cucumber pods--they have such a fascinating structure.

Jo Horswill said...

Yes, you are amazing, and it reflects in your soulful collections. I can't take my eyes off them Kate.
Your collections look so sacred and I love how you have added your special memories to these beautiful images, to help us understand how they came about.
Thank you for this 'food for the soul' & 'feast for the eyes' post Kate. Stunning!!!
Jo

lynne h said...

kate, oh my god. these are all of *my* favorite things. looking at these photos is like looking at my dream collection... it's really quite surreal. looking at someone else's collection, and everything is just what you love...

kate said...

Thanks all for your comments. It warms my heart to hear that others love my collection as much as I love them. They are sacred to me. And the fact that you all love them confirms that you are all kindred spirits.

Robyn said...

Ooooh, love to look at someone elses collections and to hear the stories behind them. Like you,I can never resist picking up pebbles or any natural treasures for that matter. This post works in with the totem I'm creating right now, called "the beachcomber". I will be incorporating some of my collections.
Love this post!

seth said...

Stunning collections. I have always felt that nothing trumps the beauty of nature...and your images prove that over and over!

Uschi said...

I especially like the idea of the last collection, the boot-stones, for the idea behind them.
Nevertheless I also get crazy with stones...and give me a beach and I'm off for hours....sea-glass...any kind of flotsam....
I LOVE your post!

Ronna said...

Kate: so artful and nostalgic. What a combination...

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

What an awesome set of souvenirs! I collect a few of the same things as you, like the rocks, feathers, and bones.......I like to take a rock from each place I go......feathers I find here and there, I can't resist picking them up.....and bones, the neatest things I've found was a coyote jaw out in the desert while I was in Vegas!

Thank you for sharing :o)

kate said...

robyn...thanks for your enthusiasm. I can't wait to see your beachcomber totem and all your various treasures!

seth...well said! And thanks so much for visiting. Hope to see you again soon!

uschi...another kindred spirit!

ronna...thanks!

ww...ooohhh, a coyote jaw. Now that's a treasure! I found the partial jaw of an unknown animal in Nunavik which I also treasure.

Jo Stocker said...

Kate, I adore these!
Take good care!