Collections Series
In this project, I explored the idea of collections and why humans collect. I researched collecting in the past, focusing on cabinets of curiosities and the reasons for these collections. I found that a primary reason for starting these collections seemed to be for propaganda and status, whereas the main reason for collecting in the present seems to be very different, in that people collect things that have personal significance to them, and often collect to preserve memories or experiences.
I focused on collecting hair, a Victorian tradition in which people would keep locks of hair of a deceased loved one, and often would have the hair incorporated into mourning jewelry or portraits. Collecting hair is an interesting tradition in that the item being collected is a part of a human, even containing their DNA, making it extremely personal. To me, collecting hair is a prime example of the modern trend of collecting to preserve the memory of a person or personal experience. It is also a tradition within my family for several generations. Because of this, I created four resin sculptures inspired by Victorian hair jewelry containing locks of hair from me and my family members, representing the attempt at preserving memories through collection. They resemble small objects that might be found in a typical cabinet of curiosities, since the sculptures simultaneously reflect on both an antiquated tradition and the primary modern motive for collecting, showing that although many traditions in collecting have changed, some basic motives and trends have remained the same.

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Elizabeth Brannan-Williams