Evolution of the Curios

I’ve always been a collector, and a big believer in fantastical things. When I was little I had hoards of stones and fruit stickers and matryoshka dolls and hats and fake jewelry and fans and candy wrappers and actual candy and really anything you can think of. Unfortunately I was rather attached to my strange collections, and after awhile drawers and places under my bed filled up with dusty boxes of artifacts I couldn’t let go of because they were important to my eight-year-old-self. Before all the giving and receiving that happens during the holiday season, I decided to clean up my room, which meant rediscovering all these hidden treasures.

It was much like curating a museum- I sorted through the boxes of things, discovering artifacts of value, identifying their origin, and finding a place for them in the collection. I’ve only recently realized that this museum, which just happens to reside in my bedroom, is very interesting and exclusive, and I am glad to be the curator of it. In fact, the museum really seems to be within myself. After exploring my room you’ll see that different parts of myself are all represented…

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The first thing you will notice when you step into the room is our choice of lighting for the exhibits- a very soft, natural daylight that comes in from the north and east windows. And then you will take in our first collection: the furniture. Over a century old, it set has been passed down through my family until it entered my museum about four and a half years ago. It is entirely hand painted- yellow flowers and all.

If you turn left you will find the closet exhibit, with oddities ranging from miniature model food, to a full size, three-tiered, fondant covered dummy cake (complete with double rows of bunting). Upon opening some of the drawers you maybe be surprised to discover my large tea set. We have select mismatched saucers and teacups and eight teapots of various sizes. As you continue to experience the closet you will find the Underwood typewriter, the drawer of camp stuff (hammocks, bunting, superhero masks, etc.), and a cluttered basket of origami.

The next stop is the drawers of hiking socks and clothes sorted in rainbow order, which you will pass on your way to the old sewing table. The sewing table is one of the oldest collections (second only to the furniture), as the contents have been together for decades, but only in an organized manner in the past few years. The top drawer is full of spools of glowing silk thread, buttons, polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride (aka Bakelite) pill boxes, rosettes, thimbles, pins and more.  Do not fail to notice the quill readily available for anyone who happens to come out of the past who is unfamiliar with today’s writing tools.

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I love cleaning, because it feels like I’m magically transforming chaos into order. This probably sounds crazy, but like work, its almost a zen experience for me. Cleaning is actually such a simple and satisfying task. When I find something I have to decide what to do with it, but there are only a few outcomes: trash, recycle, give away, or put away. If I haven’t used it recently and it doesn’t have a place I won’t keep it. I feel bad having things that I don’t use when I know others could be using them. Cleaning out spaces with things like these in my room makes it seem lighter, and it’s really relaxing. (It’s also a great way to procrastinate studying for finals, but let’s not get into that)..

In photographing my room, I tried to approach it like exploring a flea market or antique shop, instead of my bedroom. It helped me realize once again how powerful the lens of my camera truly is, because it gives me the ability to view ordinary things or things in my everyday life in a different way.

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2 thoughts on “Evolution of the Curios

  1. I love your room. When you moved in and chose the chandelier, it was about fairies and tiny things with a special bedroom set, now yours that had seen so many other little girls.

    I am enjoying your organization and viewing of your room in likening it to a museum, as it is a history of you! I find it so hard to part with things and admire you for winnowing away what you do not use. Pairing down as you are growing up, leaving your little girl collections behind. Save one or two. You may want to revisit when you are much older.

    Lots of love

  2. I remember endless battles w/ my mom who could only dream of a child who liked to clean… Then my room looked like battle zone. I love the idea of “room as a museum” except it’s a new kind of museum, not a place to passively observe tranche de vie (look up pls), but a place to experience and engage in the facets of a life full of adventure. Curios alive, not just for display.

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