BIAD Obsessionistas  - an exhibition of personal collections

5-16 December 2011

Obsessionistas curated an exhibition of personal collections from across the staff and student community at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design.

On show were a broad range of items representing twenty five different collectors and their collections, including Japanese guitars, vintage hairdryers, Spirograph sets, English delftware, Mickey Mouse ties and deely boppers!

The eclectic and often curious objects on display offered an insight into how, in our world of homogeneous ‘me too’ lifestyles, products and global brands, individuality can at least in part be expressed through our particular obsessions and what we single out as important enough to collect.

The exhibition took place at the School of Jewellery, an award winning and visually inspirational building located within the heart of Birmingham's historic jewellery quarter. For further information contact


BIAD Obsessionistas

5-16 December 2011

School of Jewellery, 82 - 86 Vittoria Street, Birmingham. B1 3PA (UK).

Click on image to pause slideshow

Exhibitor list

(Click on the links to read more about the collectors and their collections).

Professor Jivan Astfalck - Porcelain flower brooches

Chris Beckett - American Marvel & DC comics

Amy Blackwell - Letterboxes (documentary collection)

Bhavnesh Chamdal - Clothes tags

Mark Cowell - Japanese guitars

Professor Jack Cunningham - Chickens & geese

Ervin Fiellateau - Vans

Judith Genster - Wheelie bins (documentary collection)

John Hall - Holmegaard Carnaby glass

Lee Hewett - Bouncy balls

Terry Hunt - Pop up books

Dr Tom Jones - Ceramics

Marlene Little - Plastic grass

Chiu Kwong Man - Spirographs

Bob Manning - Mickey Mouse Ties & Vintage Christmas decorations

Jason Nicholson - Robert Welch designs

Caroline Norman - Cruets

Laura Pollard - Finnish ceramics & glass

Jo Pond - Brushes

Graham Powell - Wind-up toys & a documentary collection of ice creams

Helen Powell - Vintage hairdryers

Estelle Rigoudy - Barbies

Zoe Robertson - Brooches

Mark Smith - French die cast cycling figures

Richard Snell - Contemporary chairs

Andrew Thornton - Toy soldiers


The Private View

A private view party for BIAD Obsessionistas was held on Thursday 8 December. Around a hundred people attended despite the crazy weather conditions outside on what turned out to be one of the stormiest nights of the year! Introductory speeches were given by Professor Chris O’Neil, the Dean of Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, and by Graham Powell, co-founder of Obsessionistas.

We'd like to say a huge thank you to all the exhibitors, everyone at the School of Jewellery, the MA Product Design students for serving the drinks, Adam Fradgley of Exposure Photography for capturing such great images of the evening and of course all who came along for what turned out to be both an insightful and fun evening.


About Obsessionistas

Established by Graham and Helen Powell, Obsessionistas is a unique and continuously evolving website focusing on collectors and their collections. It features a wide range of intriguing personal collections, varying from the curious and fun to the uniquely significant and even those which have ultimately become museum collections. The objects themselves are accompanied by the often fascinating personal stories behind each collection.

Launched in April 2011 Obsessionistas has already attracted submissions from all over the world and recently featured exclusive insights into the personal collections of fashion designer Sir Paul Smith and Magnum photographer Martin Parr.