Try as I may to slow the collecting down, I can't help going out into the dumping area for at least a little while every day I'm in my studio. A lot of personal histories make their way to the dump for one reason or another. I find it incredibly interesting and disheartening when sorting through family photographs, scrapbooks, and other personal records that get thrown out with a whole household of items. This week I came across a WWII trunk complete with photographs of a very young Chinese Private and his battalion, uniform, tobacco rationing card, v-mail, and other personal items. Though I didn't really have plans for the material for a particular art piece, I found myself caught up in a portion of this persons life history for a couple of hours.
Getting an intimate glimpse of someones history through their personal belongings is fascinating even when it is terribly incomplete. One day while sorting through the rubble I came across a box truck emptying the contents of someones house ( a very common occurrence). I was stunned to discover boxes and boxes and laundry baskets filled with Harlequin Romance novels. There were hundreds of them. I immediately imagined a woman's life (though one should never assume) filled with nothing but romantic fantasy. Those books must have been all this person read. The things we harbor in our homes throughout life certainly do tell a story.