Cleaning out my studio means coming to terms with dormant objects—objects that are there but not used. In this category is my sand collection. I started it over 20 years ago when I lived in southern Tuscany and spent much time on beaches. Not happy with just sand, I also began collecting “souvenirs” of special occasions (ex. birthday candles) and happy moments (ex. carnival streamers). The collected were given homes in fruit juice bottles (my kids’) and sealed with wine bottle corks (mine). All of these carefully labeled and dated bottles were displayed on a granite topped chest of drawers. Then, when we left Tuscany, these little bottles were abandoned in a cabinet. But now that my studio is going through it’s Born Again phase, the collection has re-surfaced. Marie Kondo would probably tell me to dumped them. But I won’t. It would be like throwing away a diary.
Italian journalist, short story writer and essayist, Italo Calvino, also had a sand collection. Except his was on paper. In 1984, Calvino published a collection of essays written while living in Paris entitled “Collezione di sabbia” (sand collection). Calvino said that the brain begins in the eye so he used his eyes to develop his brain by “collecting” the visual world. This “Collection of Sand” is divided into four parts: 1. Exhibitions-Explorations 2.The Eye’s Ray 3. Accounts of the Fantastic 4. The Shape of Time.
With curiosity, Calvino observes museums, maps, the written language, gardens, monuments, etc. These visual observations led to written contemplations. Strangely enough, only now as I write this do I see the relationship between Calvino’s “Collezione di sabbia” and my Bebina Bunny book.
My little bottles are objects that remind me of an experience as opposed to objects meant to give me an experience. So they will stay.
related link: Italo Calvino’s essays, Collection of Sand, is a brainy delight