Sunday, July 31, 2011

"Hot July


brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers."
- Sara Coleridge, Pretty Lessons in Verse

A little footnote to this week's quote~Sara Coleridge (1802-1852) was an English author and translator. She was the fourth child and only daughter of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his wife Sarah Fricker. In 1834, she published her Pretty Lessons in Verse for Good Children which were originally written for her own children but became very popular. We definitely need the cooling showers in August...apricots...why not?
And gillyflowers...which look a lot like carnations to me!

Anyway, July has been hot, and maybe August will give us a break, but who knows? I have been rearranging in the shop, and, as I moved things around today, I was thinking about a former student's current Psych paper on hoarders. This week she asked for volunteers to complete a survey (needless to say, I was proud...I had her in my Comp 102 class where I teach research), but I volunteered to answer her questionnaire.

One question gave me pause as I was resetting displays...
"When do you think a person stops becoming a collector and becomes a hoarder?" I have never watched the TV show Hoarders so I went to the web site to check it out where I found previews of their new season which included:
A doll enthusiast whose hobby has gotten out of control – she has tens of thousands of dolls that fill nearly every room in her house.

A man who has a collection of hundreds of mannequins modeled after him, as well as buckets of his actual hair.

A memorabilia collector whose massive stash of games, action figures, books and novelties has made it impossible to move through his home.An automobile lover who is facing $20 million in fines for littering his property with hundreds of junked cars.

So, here I am in my shop with a stash of glass frogs (flower holders) - the shelf is full of them!
How about chicken dishes? I cannot resist them! But, how cute are they for serving chicken or egg salad?Or shelves of McCoy...I am a dealer...am I a hoarder enabler? I buy McCoy pottery whenever I see it...but it is for the shop...am I a "closet" hoarder?

Sometimes I get a theme in my mind, and I buy things in that theme...like dogs...I am a cat person, but these "dog" days of summer are getting to me!When I first started in the business, I was annoyed by the term antique "dealer" which implied wheeling-dealing. I did not want to do that. I wanted to put a fair price on something and move on. Anyone who thinks that they get a "deal", think again...people indeed mark up to mark down. Now, though, with this hoarder craze, we are dealers...we deal in things which, to some people, are no different than drugs. Maybe cheaper...although not always...

I did come to some discoveries. Many of the new buyers into the antique/vintage market want things they can use, not simply value. I am not talking aout high end...these are not the folks calling in at Sotheby's bidding on Monets, but the days of 400 Hummels in a china cabinet are rare. Maybe a few on a mantle...

So, if you sell or if you buy, are you a collector or a hoarder? Is it all in the usefulness of the items? Or, is it in the design? If I arrange 50 flower frogs in a unique way, am I creative, not hoarding? Something to think about as you enjoy a cool shower, an apricot, and a gillyweed!

“Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories.” ~ Walter Benjamin

3 comments:

The Cinnamon Stick said...

Well my friend...a "hoarder" keeps everything and cannot let it go - WE are NOT hoaders as we "want" to SELL SELL SELL!! I don't consider myself a "dealer" either - I am a "seeker" who finds great items for those that don't have the time to sit at auctions or trample thru dusty fields at flea markets! That is us...Seekers of Good Things! AND we are darn good at it!!!

Barb said...

Hmmmm - I've wondered about this myself. I think the comment by The Cinnamon Stick is true - as shop owners, we are continually buying, but buying to sell. We have no problem letting it go, in fact we WANT to let it go.

But in a home setting, it becomes a little more blurred. That's when I start to question "collecting" vs. "hoarding". I've seen a few episodes of the show, and on those ones, the hoarding was a filthy mess, or so piled up the residents couldn't even get thru without climbing over stuff.

So, my defination is that a collector collects, but can stop before the house becomes too full. A hoarder can't stop, and keeps buying, even when the house becomes a danger zone.

Anonymous said...

I think a good qualifier for hoarder is the percentage of stuff someone "just can't let go" (for market price or in general).

If it would feel good to get rid of any/all non-functional stuff either through a sale or just dumping it, then you're not a hoarder.