One of the new skills of the internet age is described as “curating”. Once the province of art gallery and museum staff, now everyone can be a curator with sites like Pinterest and Etsy which allow us to gather and display material from other sites and sources. Curating suits me, because I enjoy looking at pictures and putting them together so that the whole is more than the sum of the parts. If I am at all creative, my skill is in seeing, gathering and displaying, rather that starting an artwork from scratch.
I have been looking a lot of shops on Etsy in the past weeks, and flagging many favourites. These favourites can be chosen for a variety of reasons, such as being Australian, using keywords that I use, or themes that I am interested in, or, in rare cases, being examples of things that I might actually have the need to buy. Looking at other shops is a good way of connecting with other sellers, and learning about the kinds of products that are available, and how they are presented. Since I don’t have a lot of money for shopping, flagging items which appeal to me is one way that I can encourage and support other people, by acknowledging their work.
Today I felt inspired to put all this research to good use, and create a Treasury. This is a collection of 16 images taken from shops in Etsy, that adhere to a theme of your choice. A treasury is like a visual sonnet or haiku. The structure is 16 thumbnail images displayed in a 4 x 4 gallery format. Ideally the images are drawn from 16 different shops (excluding your own) and represent your theme. Oh yes, and preferably, it should be beautiful.
The theme of my first treasury is called Yorkshire Dreaming. Having enjoyed looking at objects related to Devon and Cornwall, where I have been, I decided to see what was available in a place I didn’t get to but dream of visiting one day. I searched “Yorkshire” and came up with some fantastic photography and artwork of North Yorkshire and the Yorkshire Dales and a lot of very, very cute Yorkshire Terriers. There were also a few objects related to Wuthering Heights, set in Yorkshire.
I started to build a Treasury around the landscape and the animals that to me typified Yorkshire. Most of my impressions come from TV and movies, especially the TV series Heartbeat and All Creatures Great and Small. I don’t know whether Yorkshire is really swamped with cute little dogs. If you search Yorkshire Terrier in Etsy you might think so. Since it is my Dreaming, I included one but I did discipline myself to keep the cuteness factor under control, as I also wanted to convey the moodiness of the moors, and the sparseness of the dales.
If you would like to see how it turned out, take a look here at Yorkshire Dreaming.