I have collected found objects for over 20 years now. This process began in childhood with collecting stones, fossils and artifacts found in ploughed fields along the Welsh Marches. Litter also had great impact on me as a child. In a rural environment a discarded crisp packet becomes something so obvious that it demands to be picked up. Occasionally this litter may be a handwritten note or train ticket which betrays the history of its previous owner and elevates it to become part of a collection.
Environmental sustainability and recycling forms a part of the origin of my collecting though is a secondary driving force. I view my compulsion to pick up litter as a more rewarding and selfish activity of hunting for objects as treasure or to be used as materials. Occasionally the two overlap
These objects inevitably form collections which can broadly be categorised into four types: Unique items, multiple items, talismanic treasures, or diaries.
Unique objects such as handwritten notes, shopping lists or items which have been twisted or torn through nervous anxiety often hold a biographical echo of their past owner or place it was found.
Multiple items such as soles of shoes, arms of spectacles, beer bottle caps, nitrous oxide cannister or destroyed credit cards etc. take on a further utility/importance when gathered in great numbers. Items such as these can become units from which patterns or larger objects can be made. Quantity itself can aslo be a powerful reflection of humanity.
Talismanic objects or treasures could be archaeological artifacts, natural items found in places of importance or items which glisten and shine. They may titilate my inner Magpie and be interesting for their patina or sheer beauty/ugliness. This category is broad and can take any form or scale incorporating man made or natural items and wide-ranging materials.
I also periodically collect items over a certain timespan or distance. A week or one day could be designated and everything collected within that time will then take the form of a diary. A walk through a certain area can be recorded the same way.
The resulting assemblages act as personal diary, social anthropological record, objects of curiosity and historic document of place.
In the past I have returned specifically to a street corner having regretted not picking up an object which I passed earlier in the day. I find it strange that something which can have had such an impact on me can also be passed by unoticed by hundreds of other people. I have constructed the simple rule that if something interested me enough to pick it up, I will take it back to the studio and let it sit alongside the rest of the collection. If it remains interesting, then it becomes part of a work.