A Collection A Day

written by:
March 28, 2011

From delightfully mismatched buttons to colorful spools of thread to vintage typewriter ribbon, a variety of small, unexpected collections can be found in charming little tins. Thanks to artist/illustrator Lisa Congdon’s A Collection A Day blog project, we can now find her brand spankin’ new book of the same title oh-so-appropriately packaged in a tactile and highly covetable collector’s tin too. Designed and published in collaboration with UPPERCASE’s Janine Vangool, the book is chock full of “voracious collector” Congdon’s nostalgic finds—organized into 365 artful collections. As Congdon’s personal creative challenge for 2010, she curated her inspired finds (vintage luggage tags, pink erasers from yesteryear, old matchbooks, and even dolls’ hands) into related compositions and posted them on her blog everyday for a year. In celebration of the book launch, Congdon’s collections and original artwork are on view now through April 17th at the Curiosity Shoppe in San Francisco. But for a peak inside the book and into the highly imaginative mind of its creator, check out the slideshow.

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  With the entire project available virtually on Congdon’s blog, Designer and Publisher Vangool wanted to turn the book into an ultra-tactile physical object. She explains, “I can recall my grandmother's collection of loose buttons and how marvelous they sounded rattling around in a tin.” At 448 pages, the small, brick-like book fits perfectly into its own tin, which both Vangool and Congdon hope readers will use to house their own treasured finds.Image courtesy Lisa Congdon / UPPERCASE
    With the entire project available virtually on Congdon’s blog, Designer and Publisher Vangool wanted to turn the book into an ultra-tactile physical object. She explains, “I can recall my grandmother's collection of loose buttons and how marvelous they sounded rattling around in a tin.” At 448 pages, the small, brick-like book fits perfectly into its own tin, which both Vangool and Congdon hope readers will use to house their own treasured finds.Image courtesy Lisa Congdon / UPPERCASE
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  “I didn’t actually set out to make a book” Congdon explains, “It just started off like—‘what am I really passionate about and what can I show images of everyday that would feel inspiring to me and maybe to other people?’” After brainstorming a ton of ideas, the idea of arranging her huge collection of fun little things into like objects excited Congdon the most.Image courtesy Lisa Congdon / UPPERCASE
    “I didn’t actually set out to make a book” Congdon explains, “It just started off like—‘what am I really passionate about and what can I show images of everyday that would feel inspiring to me and maybe to other people?’” After brainstorming a ton of ideas, the idea of arranging her huge collection of fun little things into like objects excited Congdon the most.Image courtesy Lisa Congdon / UPPERCASE
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  Vintage inspired? Definitely. Not in pristine condition? All the better. Congdon shares, “I love things that are worn or weathered in some way. Or torn. I just love old typography and old packaging. So that’s the inspiration for a lot of the stuff.”Image courtesy Lisa Congdon / UPPERCASE
    Vintage inspired? Definitely. Not in pristine condition? All the better. Congdon shares, “I love things that are worn or weathered in some way. Or torn. I just love old typography and old packaging. So that’s the inspiration for a lot of the stuff.”Image courtesy Lisa Congdon / UPPERCASE
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  Congdon’s first job out of college was teaching at a very old elementary school. In the back of the classroom sat a huge pile of completely out-of-date school supplies from the 1930s-1970s. When the principal told her to just, “put them in the dumpster,” Congdon the collector kept a few of those awesome timeworn finds for herself. She adds, “It’s definitely one of my favorite collections. It’s sentimental because it was one of my first, but also because I find that stuff really cool.”Image courtesy Lisa Congdon / UPPERCASE
    Congdon’s first job out of college was teaching at a very old elementary school. In the back of the classroom sat a huge pile of completely out-of-date school supplies from the 1930s-1970s. When the principal told her to just, “put them in the dumpster,” Congdon the collector kept a few of those awesome timeworn finds for herself. She adds, “It’s definitely one of my favorite collections. It’s sentimental because it was one of my first, but also because I find that stuff really cool.”Image courtesy Lisa Congdon / UPPERCASE
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  When things started to get a bit tedious (especially six months into the “every single day” project), Congdon stayed motivated knowing that folks were really paying attention to her blog and hungry to see more. “I’m not a fool—there are so many projects on the internet and only a few of them really catch on like this. I knew that mine might be one of them…but I knew it very well might not. I sometimes wonder if so many people hadn’t been interested in it, would I have continued? Would I have finished?”Image courtesy Lisa Congdon / UPPERCASE
    When things started to get a bit tedious (especially six months into the “every single day” project), Congdon stayed motivated knowing that folks were really paying attention to her blog and hungry to see more. “I’m not a fool—there are so many projects on the internet and only a few of them really catch on like this. I knew that mine might be one of them…but I knew it very well might not. I sometimes wonder if so many people hadn’t been interested in it, would I have continued? Would I have finished?”Image courtesy Lisa Congdon / UPPERCASE
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  “The owls are actually my mothers collection that were handed down to me,” Congdon explains. “My mom is also a collector—I definitely got the bug from her. A lot of my collections are things people gave me. So a lot of it has sentimental value.”Image courtesy Lisa Congdon / UPPERCASE
    “The owls are actually my mothers collection that were handed down to me,” Congdon explains. “My mom is also a collector—I definitely got the bug from her. A lot of my collections are things people gave me. So a lot of it has sentimental value.”Image courtesy Lisa Congdon / UPPERCASE
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  In fact, Congdon owns more than three quarters of the objects in the book. But she admits, “Some of it I ended up buying in the last couple months because I wanted to keep the imagery really interesting. I don’t feel like I was cheating though”, she laughs.Image courtesy Lisa Congdon / UPPERCASE
    In fact, Congdon owns more than three quarters of the objects in the book. But she admits, “Some of it I ended up buying in the last couple months because I wanted to keep the imagery really interesting. I don’t feel like I was cheating though”, she laughs.Image courtesy Lisa Congdon / UPPERCASE
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  Although the majority of the book Congdon beautifully photographed herself, she’s an illustrator by profession. Thus, she decided to create 50 “imagined collections.” She adds, “I thought ‘why not put a few of my illustrations in and then I can have fun thinking about things I would love to collect if I could.’”Image courtesy Lisa Congdon / UPPERCASEDon't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!
    Although the majority of the book Congdon beautifully photographed herself, she’s an illustrator by profession. Thus, she decided to create 50 “imagined collections.” She adds, “I thought ‘why not put a few of my illustrations in and then I can have fun thinking about things I would love to collect if I could.’”Image courtesy Lisa Congdon / UPPERCASE

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