'A Collection a Day': Lisa Congdon's Obsessive and Unusual Art Project

On January 1, 2010, artist and illustrator Lisa Congdon embarked on an unusual project -- for 365 days, she was to photograph, draw, or, in the case of imaginary objects, paint one collection a day. She documented her process online and recently joined our own collection of blogs so great they became books.

A Collection a Day catalogs all 365 of Congdon's quirky, obsessive, endlessly curious collections of tchotchkes -- erasers, pencils, vintage stamps, mushrooms, receipts, medals, maps, sea urchins, and just about everything in between -- in a beautiful volume that's somehow calming and centering in its neatness, a rare oasis of order amidst the chaos of the everyday stuff that surrounds us.

Since I was a young girl, I have been obsessed both with collecting and with arranging, organizing, and displaying my collections. This is my attempt to document my collections, both the real and the imagined. --Lisa Congdon

For a peek inside Congdon's creative process and what makes these collections so alluring watch her wonderful recent talk from the San Francisco chapter of Creative Mornings -- bonus points for the Ursus Wehrli, Andy Goldsworthy, and Edward Tufte references.

I think that ordinary objects become something different when they're arranged with other like things.... Seeing things with other like things helps us to see them in new ways. --Lisa Congdon

Beautifully photographed and illustrated, A Collection a Day is a charming meditation on objects and stuff, part Obsessive Consumption, part Things, part its very own peculiar project with its own peculiar character.

Images: Lisa Congdon/UPPERCASE.

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This post also appears on Brain Pickings.

Presented by

Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings. She writes for Wired UK and GOOD, and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow.

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