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How to display a collection

Are you are collector? I think most of us have at least one or two things that we collect.

I have a girlfriend who by default started collecting frogs years ago (someone for some strange reason gave her a ceramic frog and it just seemed to stick), another who collects interesting teapots, another fashion books and vintage perfume bottles.

I collect crosses. I just love the design of a cross and, through my many travels around the world, I have collected antique crosses (18th century France), vintage crosses, contemporary crosses and crosses made by incredibly talented artisans and artists.

At home, I’ve chosen to display my crosses in an art niche in the dining room. When I travel to a local estate sale, flea market or halfway around the world and I stumble across a beautiful cross, it always fills my heart with happiness at such a unique and beautiful find.

The designer trick to displaying collections is to keep them together. For example, all my crosses are in the dining room, above and beside the buffet. Always group like items together. If you, like my friends, collect teapots, then display them on a stack of open shelves in the kitchen or the dining room. Incorporate beautiful hard cover books that relate to tea sets into the collection, under and amongst the pots; you might also want to mix in a few tea canisters to fill out the collection. Adding in relatable elements and pieces amongst your collections creates more visual interest.

How you display your collection depends on the size. Bookshelves offer display opportunities for large collections, horizontal surfaces such as buffet tops or tabletops offer opportunities for smaller collections as do walls. You may want to buy a number of coordinating shadow boxes and fill them with your collection of spoons, china or preserved butterflies and hang a grouping as you would a photo wall.

Remember you do not have to display every single piece of your collection; rotate pieces as your collection evolves or only display your most fabulous and favourite pieces when space is a concern.

If you are not concerned about damaging any of the pieces, then you can really get creative with your displays. For example, if you have a button or pin collection then, using hot glue, completely cover a tall floor vase with them; or how about covering a Judy (mannequin), a table top (then put glass over top) or an oversized canvas with all the buttons or pins and display proudly.

Not only will you have a one-of-a-kind piece of art but also you’ll be able to show off your collections. I’d love to see a reclaimed dining tabletop covered with vintage stamps, music sheets or postcards and then topped with a new sheet of glass for use in a library or den.

Be creative, be inspired, be a collector and live fabulously!

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