This is part two of a post about how to keep memories of your trips, without collecting tacky crap or overwhelming your home with ‘cool things I got in Spain that were made in China’. You can find Part One, Memories with Photographs, here.
First of all, do NOT be this woman (warning: Watching the entire video may kill brain cells)
On my trips, I sometimes picked up small art prints. I’ve found lovely cards, small reproduction prints, and a $30 watercolors from a street artist. None of these are fine art, but when framed can make nice displays in a nook or hallway. Note: If I buy a reproduction of a painting, I never buy something recognizable.
Anyone who has been to my home knows that I don’t own the Mona Lisa. But a reproduction of an illuminated manuscript from the British Library has more of a unique, personal feel, and reminds me of the hours I spent ogling the rare books and hand-penned rhymes by John Lennon or Lewis Carroll at the British Library.
Lately, I’m been keeping my maps, brochures, and ticket stubs in interesting places. The maps may be useful again someday, and the tickets and brochures recall places and plays I’ve seen. Recently I got to see Bryan Cranston in “All The Way” on Broadway, which won several Tony Awards shortly after I saw it with my friend Chris. I also treasure my admission ticket to the Hagia Sophia, which is a place I had been interested in since a child, and never thought I would ever visit.
I just acquired this glass brick, equipped with an opening, which I’ll use to drop in these small items.
I’ve also been collecting matchbooks since I was a teen. I didn’t intentionally start the collection, but somewhere along the way noticed I had a dozen or so. Since smoking isn’t allowed in so many places now, they are a rare find. I use the matches for lighting the grill, but keep the covers. I looked the the jar for the first time in several years, and was reminded about places I went decades ago, and recalled friends and trips.
I do buy locally made items, on occasion. My ex-husband’s family were Norwegian immigrants, and had a lot of folk art and other items inherited from the grandparents who had first arrived in the U.S. in the mid-19 century. My first trip outside of North America was to Stavanger, Norway. I happened to find an artist who still engaged in the nearly-last art of rosemaling, a decorative painting technique that is found on wooden items such as tables, dressers, chairs, trunks, and smaller items. Most of the rosemale items sold in the large cities are mass-produced for tourists, and are painted using stencils. I visited the woman’s studio, and bought the largest piece I reasonably afford, while sighing wistfully over the large trunks and rocking chairs. I can’t recall her name, but she signs her pieces with the initials “H.H.”
She apologized for the small inventory for sale, explaning that she had just made a large shipment to the small store in the Norway pavillion at Epcot Center in Orlando. (A year or two later, I was actually in that store, and saw a few of her large pieces…considerably marked up). This piece is called a “tine” (roughly, TIN-eh), that is a sort of lunch pail or cake/cookie container. It is also the logo for the large national dairy corporation in the country.