Archives for category: Collections

Postcards I have added to my collection over the past six months.


A miniature print of Messiah (1919) by Ernst Neuschul, an Austrian born painter associated with the New Objectivity movement. I purchased this from the New Walk Museum in Leicester, which holds many German Expressionist works – and those of a similar ilk – which I will write about in the near future. You cannot help but be pulled into this image, which is so unflinching and unapologetic. The figure reminds me of the singer Richard Hell.



This is from a box of postcards of Penguin Classic covers, which I was able to purchase singly from Oxfam Books and Music. The novel is The Drowned World by JG Ballard. Ballard’s novels are mainly dystopian in style, his most famous works being Crash and Empire of the Sun. I haven’t read The Drowned World (yet), although I have read others of his, but the submerged image of the Chrysler building, combined with the strong colours, really spoke to me.



I received this in the mail around a month ago. How exciting it was to receive. My friend was on holiday in Scotland and sent me this postcard of John Byrne’s Jock and the Tiger Cat (1968). It is from the Perth Museum and Art Gallery, where the painting is currently held. Byrne is a Scottish playwright and artist, probably most known for the television series Tutti Frutti starring Robbie Coltrane and Emma Thompson.


The funfair is something I’ve spoken about a few times on this blog, so adding this image to my collection isn’t a great surprise. I like that the shot is slightly out of focus, connoting movement, that the top of the image almost looks tarnished, and the soft natural haze mingling with the neon lights. It reminds me of Coney Island.


Whilst on a recent trip to Dublin, I stopped at the National Gallery of Ireland for a look at their current exhibition, Lines of Vision, curated to celebrate 150 years of the gallery. I purchased this postcard of a painting I was drawn to in the collection entitled Moonlight (1926) by Paul Henry. Henry was born in Belfast and was particularly fond of the West coast of Ireland, where he spent a great deal of time painting landscapes. I liked the simplicity of the work, and on a personal note it reminded me of sailing to Norway last year.


Yesterday I did some Christmas shopping for a new guest in my house. I’ve never invited them before so I hope they’re not too upset. I bought several items, and uncovered a few from my storage cupboard to gift them with.

Say hello to my new artificial friend, my hyperreal evergreen if you (good) will.


I decided to begin my newest collection with ornaments that have at least some meaning. I’ll start with the most recent additions.

The first two are fairly large discs with the initials of my first name (L) and my boyfriend’s (G) in a traditional font from M&S.


The next one, also from M&S, is of an ice skate. Glitter has been used on the blade to give the illusion of ice. I used to figure skate as a child and G is very fond of ice hockey.


I bought a set of three globes from TK Maxx as we love to travel – they are in sepia, pale blue and navy.


Also travel-inspired is this white wooden house from John Lewis, which reminded me of my most recent visit to Norway. I call these Moomin houses, even though Moomin is Finnish.


The paper star was a gift in a Christmas card, with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.


The older ones

This metal one is from Spain; it was a gift filled with sweets. We also have one in white.


A plush Zero from The Nightmare Before Christmas, one of my favourite childhood movies. I got this many moons ago from the Disney Store, and they continue to make Nightmare ornaments.


I hope my little tree enjoys its first Christmas, and I look forward to adding to my collection of ornaments over the coming years.

This is my third collection in paper form (the other two being postcards and art cards). I have many ticket stubs, from concerts and cinema trips to transport from unforgettable holidays. Here I share a few of my memories caught inside little pieces of paper, reminiscences trapped in ink.


Coraline Onboard the Screen Machine (Spean Bridge, Scotland, July 2009)

A few years ago during summer, we decided to drive around the north of Scotland. We visited Mull, Skye, Oban and Fort William, where we stayed in a chalet-type room in a village called Spean Bridge. I was intrigued by a lorry parked up close to our lodgings, with the Royal Bank of Scotland logo stamped on the side, next to the words ‘Screen Machine’. I had stumbled across a service I had never heard of before: a ‘bus’ that travels to the remote areas of Scotland, bringing the cinema directly to people in remote communities. What a great idea I thought, noting that there was a screening of Coraline scheduled for a few hours time. Inside, the Machine was just like an ordinary cinema – except better maintained – but with a single aisle and plush red velvet chairs. I thoroughly enjoyed the film and the whole experience, and it was a great memory from a very enjoyable vacation.


Deutsche Kinemathek Museum Fur Film Und Fernsehen (Berlin, April 2010)

As a huge fan of German cinema, from Expressionist classics to the Turkish-German films of Fatih Akin, the German Film and Television Museum was at the top of my Berlin schedule. To see original film posters for Fritz Lang landmarks like Metropolis and set models of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari – as well as stepping into Marlene Dietrich’s wardrobe – was incredible.

This museum isn’t for everyone but was perfect for me. One of my favourite museums in one of my favourite cities.


Boston Bruins vs New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center (NJ, April 2013)

This was my first NHL game, and my first time watching a hockey game featuring world class players. I grew up in ice rinks as I was a figure skater and was always a fan of hockey. I don’t follow a particular US or Canadian team but my boyfriend is a huge Bruins fan. When we visited New York last year we looked for games at both Madison Square Garden (home to the New York Rangers) and the Nassau Coliseum (home to the Islanders) but could find no Boston games. When we realised that the Devils play in Newark our luck was in. With less than 5000 attendees for games in the UK, being surrounded by 17,000 hockey fans in New Jersey was a bit of an eye opener, and a fantastic experience all round.


Zoltar Speaks (Brooklyn, NY, April 2013)

During the same trip to New York we visited Coney Island in Brooklyn. We took a ride on the Wonder Wheel, ate Nathan’s hot dogs and drank fresh lemonade on the promenade. After a walk on the beach, we played video games in the arcade, where we had our fortunes printed from the Zoltar machine, just like Tom Hanks in Big. (We also saw the famous floor piano in toy store FAO Schwarz).

The history of Coney Island fascinates me, especially as a fan of vintage fairgrounds, and its use in modern cinema as diverse as The Warriors and Requiem for a Dream further fuelled my desire to go. Coney Island was a very memorable part of my visit to New York, which was my first trip to the Big Apple.

A few months ago I shared part of my postcard collection. Over the past six months I have added a few more to my paper hoard. They were found at a couple of museum gift shops and a stationers, and encompass many themes, including cats, the fairground, vintage advertising and sci-fi.

Let me know which one is your favourite and if you know of any creative ideas for their display.

'Black Cat' Japanese matchbox label, collection of Jane McDevitt

‘Black Cat’ Japanese matchbox label, collection of Jane McDevitt

Brasso ad from 1950

Brasso ad from 1950

Scrabble-inspired letter L, purchased from Paperchase

Scrabble-inspired letter L, purchased from Paperchase

Space Dust packaging from the 1980s

Space Dust packaging from the 1980s

Robot design, from Paperchase

Robot design, from Paperchase

Rowlands Rodeo Ark (date unknown)

Rowlands Rodeo Ark (date unknown)

I purchased this last postcard from Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre, which I wrote about here.

As well as my fascination with brooches, as a teenager I began collecting pin badges – or 10p badges as they are also called, due to their size. Most of them were music-inspired, as music was at that point my biggest love, and I wore them proudly on my hideous baize-coloured school blazer, complete with fetching gold trim.

I picked them up at concerts, record stores, charity shops and other random places. Whilst I don’t wear them anymore – unlike the brooches – I like to take a look at them from time, and remind myself how I’ve changed.

This photograph includes pins from The Ramones, Sex Pistols, The Clash, GBH, UK SUBS (the sweary one), and a generic punk badge.

I have a battered Adidas magic badge I found in the street.

I also have a Moomin one, a Miffy one, and some lip prints (I’m quite fond of red lipstick).


For some inexplicable reason I store the badges in an ET tin I got free at Burger King, which was probably my staple diet in the 90s.

The following collection is a series of art cards depicting dreams, be it personal longings, aspirations from another era, or images with an otherworldly or ethereal quality.

{Design by Maurice Beck. Purchased from Alba, Oban}

A very deco card, showing a poster for the Flying Scotsman’s Cocktail Bar through the 20s and 30s. This is such a great image – dark and mysterious, and I love the design and typography. I reckon this ad would have worked on me.

{Photographer unknown. Purchased at M&S}

Driving Route 66 – and the Pacific Coast Highway – is on my bucket list. I am very drawn to the American road trip ideal (perhaps not the Hunter S. Thompson version): stopping at diners, random roadside attractions and seeing the ‘real’ America.

{Angi Sullins and Silas Toball. Purchased from Nirvana, South Ayrshire}

I find this image rather mystical, spiritual even. I am enamoured with the moon and could stare at it for hours.

I wonder what the cat is wishing for…

The accompanying envelope; it’s lovely when the envelope is just as beautiful as the card.

{Design by Flora McLachlan. Purchased at The Art Shop}

A ghostly fox in a shadowy forest, this brooding and atmospheric drawing is entitled ‘Moon Wood’.

{Photographer – Arthur George. Purchased from Waterstones}

One of my favourites – a photograph of Dreamland Cinema in Margate, built in 1935 by architects Iles Leathart & Grange.

Dreamland opened in 1921 and was an homage to American amusement parks such as Coney Island in Brooklyn. It spanned 16 acres and featured a zoo, miniature railway, and a 2000-capacity ballroom.

In more recent years Dreamland has not fared well, and a campaign called Save Dreamland was set up in 2003. The Dreamland Trust hopes to restore the interior of the cinema in the near future.

{Photograph by Paula Saving}

I can’t see how anyone could fail to be moved by a New York fairy tale winter scene, especially one in black and white (and green glitter on the trees). This card was part of a pack of Christmas cards I gave out a couple of years ago but I kept one as I liked them so much. It was a wish of mine for a long time to visit New York City, and it finally came true in April of this year. I had an amazing time and would go back in a second.

If you haven’t heard of them, Shire books are slim paperbacks (about 60 pages) dedicated to social history and nostalgia.

The titles tend to be quite specific, even niche; some of the more recent titles, for example, include ‘Patchwork and Quilting in Britain’ and ‘Fashion in the 1920s.’ Even though the books are short in length, the copy is succinct and they provide plenty of photographs, drawings and ads, depending on the topic. They’re also a good way to dip your toes in to a subject or to try out something new.

Topics range from archaeology and Egyptology to industrial history and beyond. Some of the more obscure titles include, ‘Walking Sticks’, ‘Old Lawnmowers’, ‘Ceramic Water Closets’ and ‘Animal Graves and Memorials.’

I currently have 12 Shire books in my collection, however, a visit to their website today has me hankering for ‘American Movie Palaces’ and ‘Art Deco Tiles.’

A selection of my collection (if you’ll excuse the unintentional rhyme), includes the ‘Victorian Cemetery’, ‘Gargoyles and Grotesques’, ‘The 1930s Home’, and ‘Japanese Gardens in Britain’, for which I will provide photographs below.






You can purchase Shire books directly from the website or via Amazon.

My next collection was started over twenty years ago and includes brooches, pins and badges in a myriad of styles, shapes and sizes. Like hats, I feel that brooches are a very underrated and underused accessory.

This is a real domino with a pin attached (you can buy brooch pins from craft shops or art stores). I enjoyed playing dominoes as a child, and still indulge in a game once in a while. I was surprised when an Asian man once asked me what it was as I assumed that dominoes was a worldwide game. Quite what entices me to the domino as an image I am unsure of, perhaps the balance – or imbalance – of the numbers (the numbers on the brooch have no significance). This brooch, along with the old Domino Sugar factory in Manhattan, influenced the name of this blog.

The skating teddy is a brooch I’ve had since childhood and is a firm favourite. I love the jewel colours, especially the sapphire blue. I also love winter sports, especially ice sports, and attending the Winter Olympics is an ambition of mine.

This is actually a collar chain, which came as part of a set of collar accessories from H&M. I usually wear this on my hand-me-down denim jacket (circa 1980). The collar pin from the set has the words ‘The City’ attached, and the use of the bowler hat and the cityscape on the yellow badge hark back to a time when people were more put together and conservatively dressed. It reminds me of one of my favourite films, A Clockwork Orange, due to the bowler hat that Alex wears, and also the high-risers.

{Pumpkin pin and Zero badge from The Nightmare Before Christmas}

Although we don’t really celebrate it in the UK in the way our cousins in the US do, Halloween is probably my favourite holiday. When I was at primary school I couldn’t wait to dress up, and wore all kinds of costumes, from Minnie Mouse to Cleopatra. My most-loved childhood movie was The Nightmare Before Christmas, and watching this was not confined to Halloween and Christmas!

Many of my brooches are charity fundraising pins. This particular one was issued for the British Heart Foundation and shows three paintbrushes and three hearts. Once again, I am drawn to the image of the red heart, but this also represents my growing fondness for art.

My second collection of items is less controversial, but interesting none the less. I started collecting postcards and art cards around six years ago.

These are not postcards that have been sent to me by others. They do not have a particular story beyond the images on the front, yet each of them means something to me in one way or another. Some of the images are stills from motion pictures, some are illustrated prints and many are inspired by nature.

I have around 30 postcards. Here I will show you a selection.

The first two postcards are of a still and accompanying film poster for the 1920 German Expressionist movie, Cabinet of Dr Caligari. As you can see the drawing is a replica of the film still. I got these from the shop at the Deutsche Kinemathek Museum fur Film und Fernsehen (German Cinema Museum for Film and Television), in Berlin, where I also purchased a Metropolis (1927) one.

This particular film is one of my favourites, and I will explain why in another post.

This postcard came with the DVD of Fellini’s La Strada from 1954. The image shows Giulietta Masina (Fellini’s wife), as Gelsomina, a poor Italian girl, sold by her mother to a travelling circus. Shot in black and white to emphasise the bleak period after World War Two, Gelsomina remains animated and tries to make the best of her situation. The fact that the DVD came with a postcard says a lot about the film – the imagery and cinematography is integral to the story. It is a film that inspires me to keep going, and the character of Gelsomina is testament to that.

Another film still, from the Harold Lloyd classic Safety Last!(1923). This iconic moment is possibly the most famous in silent cinema. Perhaps this is my version of the ‘Hang in there, baby’ poster.

I love this postcard for two reasons, the first being that I love cats. The second being that, I love the angle of the photograph, as if the cat is saying, ‘Here I am’, to the viewer.

This postcard shows the best traits of the cat – curious, inquisitive and playful. (From Paperchase, photograph by Sandra Laird, 1996).

I’m not sure why I’m drawn to red love hearts (I’m not especially romantic), I just enjoy the imagery of them, and own four postcards that feature a red heart(s). I particularly like the stark white background in this, and the fact the heart appears to be bleeding bubbles. To me this photograph evokes many words: clinical, medical, faintly sexual. This is the simplest image of the lot, but in some ways, says the most. (From Paperchase, photograph by Howard Shooter, 2008).

When I was a child I loved the message in a bottle notion and would often try to re-enact this whilst at the beach. I loved the idea that someone from a far off country would read my message and ponder the meaning. As a carrier of life (and death), people, and objects, the ocean became an important influence in my life, and I always feel at peace when I am on a quiet beach. (From Paperchase, photograph by Jeanet van der Meer).

As a child I was also fascinated by lighthouses and the person (or people) who lived in them. This image shows the extreme isolation faced by the lighthouse keeper, and the volatile and threatening extremes of the ocean. Although most lighthouses are now unmanned, the pensive and solitary existence of the lighthouse keeper remains an oft-thought daydream. (Part of a set purchased at Ikea, photograph by Jean Guichard, 2007).

The last postcard is visually appealing to me, but also inspires me due to the representation of nature. What I like about this postcard is the use of colour, the floral design, and the seahorses caught within the reeds. Seahorses inspire me due to their grace, their delicacy and how unique they are as creatures. (From Paperchase, design by Hanna Werning, 2005).

Isn’t this tin sweet? I have owned this innocuous little thing since early childhood, although I’m not sure who gifted it to me. I have also owned its contents since early childhood; I started filling this tin at age six, and continued to collect its insides for the next ten years.

I have 20 of these tiny items, probably more than most people, who perhaps have just one, or even none at all…although everyone has owned them at some point.

These small, jaggy, milky things were literally part of me, and I have a strange fondness for them.


A few years ago I thought about donating my teeth to an art project but decided I couldn’t part with them. I haven’t decided what to do with them yet, whether I’ll string them or let them rattle in this metal box forever more. Whilst this collection is innately important to me, I certainly have no intentions of adding to it.

Collections are sentimental and personal. In this case a collection cannot be described as anything else.

Notes: Tooth Fairy Palace