GB: As we all cherry pick our way through life, many are searching for perfection, beauty, status, landmarks or the ‘best’.
I too am guilty of similar aspirations, yet the friends I have collected are all works in progress as am I.
My friends are ‘one offs’, unique, damaged, scarred, honest, unusual, eccentrics, surprising and yet so inspiring.
A chip in porcelain, distressed leather on a chair, cracked plastic, blistered enamel signs and rust on tin toys, often ensures that these items are overlooked and discarded.
I am becoming increasingly aware of the way myself and other collectors are using discernment, prejudice, and exclusion, where, common, utilitarian, broken, and less attractive items are deemed unimportant, yet they are all survivors.
PWB: ‘Survivors’ is so very poignant + I feel like this about the lamps, and will generally buy whatever I can in (almost) any condition.
GB: When I collect pebbles on a beach, sifting through millions of tiny objects, looking for something ‘special’, I know I am actually displaying behaviours akin to eugenics, blindness and discrimination.
So I tend to search for those stones which embody a narrative, a trauma, or display a form which exhibits historical evolution or that defence and self preservation against the erosion of waves by allowing water to pass through it’s middle.
PWB: Whenever we’ve spoken I get the impression that you’re often collecting a few different things at any given time. Do you have a rough ‘manifesto’ that backs up each collection?
GB: Whilst I do have passionate areas of interest and targeted focus, I prefer my collecting to remain fluid, constantly evolving as I learn more about history and human achievement through the objects which remain.
As a life long artist and teacher, I was very fortunate to study at Birmingham polytechnic where some of the best post war artists taught. We were also surrounded by Victorian plaster casts of classical figures which have returned to my attention more recently.