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The Collectible Violet
By Melody Tyler

            Filling our lives with beautiful things that make us feel content and happy should not be a rare indulgence we allow ourselves, but something we should strive to do all of the time, everywhere - in our homes, our workspaces, and the most personal and private spaces we inhabit. For violet, violas and pansies fanciers, the moments we can savor a small vase of our favorite flowers in our living rooms or feed our souls by gazing on a bed of blooming violets, glistening with dew in our gardens, are too few and too fleeting. But there are ways we can fill our lives and spaces with the beauty of violets and, in the process, discover another fascinating pastime - collecting fine art and collectibles.
Violets & Roses Note Card

            Generations of artists have created a treasure trove of violets for us to discover in botanical drawings, gracing teacups and teapots, hand-painted on dishes and vases, pictured on antique penny postcards, embroidered on linens - the list is endless. Expanding our love of violets to the world of antiques and collectibles can provide us with many additional joys and can fill our living and work spaces with an array of ever-fresh, ever-colorful violets. But before we explore the world of collectibles in detail, let me share a few general guidelines for you to keep in mind as you begin thinking about collecting.

            First, decide what, specifically, you would like to collect. If you have more wall space than shelf space, for instance, you might consider botanical illustrations, paintings, photos, or even plates or dishes you could hang in an attractive grouping. Perhaps you love antique linens and would enjoy collecting bed linens or table linens embroidered with violets. If you are a tea drinker, begin collecting teacups and plates and your search for the teapot.

            Remember that the hunt is half the fun when you begin collecting. Your new interest will take you into fresh and interesting territory - flea markets, antique shops, rummage sales, bookshops, art shops and now, cyber auctions. Enjoy your quest, and remember Point Two when you find something.

             My second guideline deals with (here it comes!) your money! There is only one piece of advice for you-but follow it, and you will have a wonderful collection. Buy only what you really love. Be discerning - it's going to have a place in your life. It most probably will be looked at and seen every day, so make sure you will love looking at it. Memories attach themselves to your collectibles. You will remember where you found it, who may have been with you when you bought it, or from whom you bought it. It's the charm of the piece, and it's certainly part of the reason people feel so enthusiastic about collecting.

Violet Postcard

             And my third and final guideline also deals with money. Don't spend more than you can afford unless the piece is genuine, pedigreed, practically priceless, and you know it has to be yours. As you begin collecting and exploring the various venues I mentioned earlier (shops, markets, and so on), you will discover that you can find great pieces and good prices. Don't be shy about "haggling" over the price with dealers. They expect it, and, so long as everyone remains pleasant, it's part of the gentle art of collecting.

             Now, you're prepared to venture forth and begin your collection. Enjoy your new interest. If you are a collector, we'd love to hear from you about your collection and any interesting information you would like to share.

      © Melody Tyler 2000
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