Extreme Hoarding: Accumulating, Decorating & Collecting, Part 15

James Dawso wrote in the February issue of The Journal of Antiques and Collectibles (JAC) on the subject discussed over the past two months on the Wildenhain Blog.

Dawson’s essay situates the subject of collecting versus hoarding within the context of old and rare books.

Usefully, he explains hoarding “as compulsive or even pathological collecting.” Hoarding is “collecting run amuck.”

Collecting, he writes, has a desired end: the collector gathers items of perhaps unique and individualized or idiosyncratic interest; collecting is an activity that may produce a knowledgeable collector, one who may belong to organizations, and meets and trades (objects or information) with other collectors.

Collectors are sociable. One of the defining qualities of our humanness, I add.

Collectors are purpose-driven. An end goal is imagined and, at least occasionally, attained. Hoarders, Dawson writes, have no method to their madness, “only more stuff. There is only madness to the method.”

Interestingly, Dawson reminds readers of the Collyer brothers, two eccentrics who lived in self-selected isolation in a Fifth Avenue New York City mansion. It’s a sad tale, hyperbolic and very much the extreme.

As reported in the JAC column, 140 tons of “stuff” was eventually removed from the brothers’ home. Along with two dead brothers.

But “collecting is usually social, hoarding antisocial,” Dawson concludes.

Hence the merit of such events as the annual conference on Arts & Crafts and the upcoming American Art Pottery Association’s convention (http://www.aapa.info/Convention/Convention2013/tabid/70/Default.aspx).

Sure, there’s stuff to be bought and sold.

The best part? The people. At this year’s Asheville Arts & Crafts confab, I was privileged to meet several collectors I would not otherwise know.

How many new friends have you made as a result of your collecting interest? And maybe a collection of friends is the best collection…Ever.

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