By Leah Mellors
Last week, I was out and about with local videographer and editor Ollie Sandles, filming the collectors who will be displaying their collections in the next round of our exhibition, Uttlesford: A Community of Collectors. The footage will be turned into a short film that will be shown in the museum during the exhibition.
Ollie and I visited most of the collectors in their own homes, to film the collections and talk to the collectors about their passion for collecting. The week began with a visit to Ann’s house, where she showed us her collection of pestles and mortars, which she keeps in her kitchen. Ann was a natural in front of the camera and took great pleasure in demonstrating the many different things that can be ground up in a pestle and mortar.
Wednesday morning was spent with June, who talked to us about her vast collection of 600 pomanders, which are perfumed containers used to fragrance and decorate rooms. We were particularly interested to hear about one of the ingredients traditionally used in pomanders – ambergris, or sperm whale vomit!
In the afternoon, Vic came into the museum with his collection of pigs, including Pinky and Perky, his stuffed animal pigs! Vic has been interested in pigs since his childhood and he used to keep his own Tamworth pigs. His collection is made from a wide variety of materials, including wood, stone, porcelain, glass, amber and even an origami pig.
On Thursday morning, we visited Angela and Christopher, a married couple who share a love of collecting. Angela collects dolls and teddy bears. She will be displaying her collection of regional costume dolls in the exhibition, which come from all over Europe. Christopher has a collection of walking sticks and canes and we were fascinated by the personal stories he told us about the individual sticks.
The filming was rounded off with Jackie, who brought her collection of embroidery and textiles into the museum. Her collection has a close, personal connection, as many of the pieces were made by her family, including her grandfather who stitched some of the pieces whilst in hospital during the Second World War.
Ollie will bring all of the interviews and footage together into a short film for the exhibition, which will open to the public on Saturday 28 November. You can see the first round of collections, including animal skulls, army badges and model aeroplanes, on display in the museum now.
You can see more of Ollie’s videos on his YouTube channel