I tend to be a bit of a curator… it’s about both the hunt and the trophy. I don’t collect things primarily for quantity, but for uniqueness or charm. This week’s object of my affection is salt and pepper shakers. They hit all my sweet spots: they’re kitchen-y, useful, kitschy; they don’t take up a lot of room, they’re relatively common and pretty affordable, as long as you are patient. They are compact to store which means I can easily rotate my collection when whimsy strikes. And I *do* love to make a window display…
My favorites are vintage (surprise!) but I’m not attached to a particular era. Right now I’ve got art deco and forties and mod and seventies on display. I like a variety of materials, too…Bakelite, Pyrex, plastic, aluminum, iron, ceramic. And I am not particular about the subject, it just has to be cute. (Tiny furniture and fake fruits and vegetables happen to be cuter than average, it seems.)
I don’t mind if the shakers are gently (or not so gently) used…it adds to their appeal. I like imagining the homemakers (male or female) who originally owned them. I picture these people’s kitchen colors and fixtures and imagine the meals the shakers were honored guests at.
I’m a fan of evolving design, and there are a few spots in my house that I redecorate pretty frequently: the mantel, the dining room cabinet, a couple of shelves in my office and bedroom. I might combine natural materials and and beloved knickknacks, for example. A pair of salt & pepper shakers is often just the right icing on the display cake, as in the Japanese boy and girl shakers in the picture below. I don’t have many knickknacks from beloved, now departed relatives, but I like the idea that I am a good custodian for somebody’s grandma’s salt & pepper sets.