From Penguin Classics to pottery, jazz albums to fossils – even, erm, yeasts… everyone collects something. And, thanks in no small part to eBay (although other auction-based websites are also available), it’s never been easier to puff your pipe and announce yourself as a collector. But it’s the passion behind those collections that really interests us. Which is how, in the course of our usual editorial discussion about the people who fascinate and intrigue us, we hit upon our theme: The Collections Issue.
We don’t mean the same collections you’ll see in every seasonal fashion supplement of course: that’s not really our style. Instead, we’re talking about people like Dale Rogers: a man in the same vein as the great Victorian collectors Sir John Soames and Michael Mayer, who travels the world acquiring fossilized crocodiles, dinosaur skeletons and petrified trees.
But of course, we don’t have to be Indiana Jones to amass an interesting collection. Inside this issue, you’ll find a mixture of the enviable and the invaluable, the eclectic and the eccentric. All of which is of equal importance because we reveal ourselves in – to coin a phrase – the stuff that surrounds us. (Personally, my collections include the books of Graham Greene and BS Johnson, really bad bootleg Star Wars toys, tin soldiers and wonky vintage glassware. Make of that what you will.)
But above all, this issue is – as always – defined by the people we’ve met in the course of compiling it. And this time round, that’s come off the back of festival season; at Port Eliot, we were joined by Linda Brothwell, a jewellery maker who also forges her own tools. And at Festival No6 in Portmeirion, the wood turner Robin Wood helping us to erect the H&C stage one minute, and the next was down the front raving to Andrew Weatherall.
Elsewhere in this issue you’ll find a special focus on the people putting British manufacturing back on the map; plus an exclusive handwritten project featuring the thoughts of contributors including Tracey Emin, calligrapher Ewan Clayton and knitwear artist Donna Wilson.