So many objects that we experience in our daily lives have been mass produced by machines or people on assembly lines in far away countries. These methods of production allow for items to be widely available for low prices- and who doesn’t like a good deal?! However, what we gain in our pocket books we sacrifice in our souls. This sounds extreme, but consider it! By filling up our surroundings with things we don’t value, things that are made by machines, we are missing that sacred experience that fills us with wonder and appreciation and a sense of connection. We are missing the connection to the individual whose time was spent making something for practical use or for decoration. These hand-crafted objects are not perfect, or glossy, or inexpensive. These objects are rich in spirit- they show the soul and the story of the person who made it. We are missing this simple connection to the human hand.
At henhouse, we have always valued objects both useful and decorative that show us their soul. We love the wear, peeling paint, nicks and scratches. We also have a deep appreciation for things made by local artisans who use pure ingredients and simple methods. There is so much beauty in these simple, thoughtful, soul-filled items.
Sharing Personal Collections
These things speak to me and I am not alone. I am thankful to know so many others who share these passions of mine. Others who also collect, and decorate their homes with objects that are unique, handmade, and show the personality of the individual who lives there. Others who fill their homes with soulful collections.
I have asked four such people to kindly share with us their passionate collections, how they display them in their homes, and their favourite places to treasure hunt!
“When we moved in to our new house it had these huge walls that begged for colour. We started looking for artwork, specifically paintings. We started going to local estate auctions and discovered that we loved buying the art as much as looking at it! We try to go into an auction with a strategy, such as top price we are willing to pay, and we preview the work before hand but we can both get caught up in the excitement of a bidding war!”
“Now, hanging the art is another thing all together. We have had some help in that department as it can sit on our floors for a long time before we can commit to the perfect spot. As for the actual pieces of art themselves we are both uneducated in theory and we pick pieces we like. Dan really enjoys pieces for their detail and skill and I can pick a piece simply on how it makes me feel. A true marriage I guess!”
“I love hunting for things that make me feel good, please my eyes, make me smile or have history. Some of my favourites are hooked rugs, primitive furniture, folk art, vintage pottery, wooden toys and travel treasures. I like the way they can work together and make a story.”
“It seems most everything I have came with a story. I feel some of the joy has gone out of the hunt as things are harder to find now. Some of my favourite places are no longer. So many flea markets and antique shows closed. I use to go to Brimfield, Mass. and Madison Brockville in NY but not for several years. Aberfoyle, Christie Shows were not to be missed in the past. Now I just enjoy the collections I have.”
“Hika lives with her parents in Weymouth, NS and sells her paintings and decorated driftwood at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday in Belliveau’s Cove and at the Tourist Bureau in Weymouth. I believe she has also shown at the Folk Art Festival in Lunenburg. I love her childlike paintings (in acrylics) as she interprets the world in a way that is unique. Her fish birds, cats, oxen, and cows are painted in Beautiful colours with big eyelashes and very expressive faces. Bold, primary colours are her usual choice. Every painting of Hika’s brings a smile to my face! My grandchildren all love their “Hika’s” too and I like to display these in their rooms.”
“The pictures of the cross stitch samplers are ones I have collected….some are old, others were found in consignment shops. I feel as if I am saving someone’s labour of love! “
“We tend to fall in love with a particular form of artistry and, as we begin to collect it, our knowledge and eye develops. We become more sophisticated in appreciating the art and understanding the particular quality and aesthetic. I used to collect vintage mercury glass (loved the coloured varieties) and Occupied Japan wooden cigarette dispensers. But currently we are gravitating to the more primitive – folk and indigenous art, such as Aboriginal and African bead work; and, most recently Mollas, and Embera baskets. There is real spirit that shows through in primitive handmade art.”
“Typically we display like objects in a group – a famous designer said to me once “always display like with like”. But a new variation on this (given that we travel and we love to collect), is we are now framing some trip objects in ‘like’ frames – essentially creating a gallery of travel artifacts. Our objects hold sweet memories and we know they are a good investment!”
I have collected vintage barkcloth fabric since I was in my early 20s. I went to many antique shows and sales with my mother who shared her passion for collecting with me. We would scour these shows or sales in Ontario and hunt for our respective treasures, she for vintage pottery and me for vintage fabric. I loved the colour combinations they used in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s. Some are bright and daring and others, soft and muted. The patterns are always packed with personality.