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

By Maria Popova

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/10/a-collection-a-day-lisa-congdons-obsessive-and-unusual-art-project/247057/