Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Museum of very small things

Sita, a friend of a friend, came visiting yesterday. She was fascinated with the center table filled with baubles in the living room. Infact it is the single piece of furniture in my house that never fails to catch people’s attention and I always tell them the story behind it, so here goes.

I think it started with my mother. She loves collecting small things. Her collection includes miniature bottles, books, knives in fact anything that is unusually small and the smaller the better. Over a period of time all her friends would be sending her small stuff that they came across and the collection began to grow. My grand father gave her a bottle the size of a small pea with a hundred ivory elephants in it! When we moved to a larger house she was looking for ways to showcase her collection. She wanted a display rack that could be observed at close quarters and yet would not be easily disturbed as it would not be difficult to loose some of these very tiny things had she kept it in the open.

She designed a centerpiece, a low table with a glass top to be kept in the living room and arranged her collection in this table which was like a large flat box on legs with a glass top. Everyone who came home loved staring into the table for a long time.

When I was studying at design school I rescued some letter press type boxes from the school junkyard. These are containers of metal type that were used for letter press printing before DTP was born. They are flat wooden trays with number of small compartments. When I set up home I put two of them together and gave it metal legs and a glass top. I painted it and filled it with all the little things I collected on my travels. I had a great time arranging the objects and sometimes I feel if I were to cut out a cross section of my thoughts this is how it would look.

It is practical as I don’t have to dust the objects and serves the dual purpose of a coffee table and a display unit. That it engages people and often becomes the starting point of several interesting conversations is definitely a bonus.

* Title idea from Keri Smith’s 100 ideas.


Lopamudra said...

And you know whom to get in touch with if you ever plan to auction it, girl! It's awesome...:-)

Dhanya said...

awesome. guess since we never technically visited you, we didnt get to set eyes upon it.

gautam chintamani said...

This is truly one fascinating piece. No matter how many times I see it, it never fails to amaze me.

stephanie said...

I loved this table and all your other little bits and bobs reflecting your days ... cant wait to come and stare into it a little more ...its quite enchanting!