The collector: Jo Pond. Studio Jeweller and lecturer, based in rural Staffordshire, UK.
The collection: Brushes.
The story behind the collection...
I collect many things, from cats-eyes that have worked free from their securing in the centre of the road and found themselves in the gutter, to squashed objects released from the soil with the aid of a metal detector. I come from a family of ‘Ponds’ who appear to have a genetic necessity for hoarding; digging stuff up out of the ground was the foundation of a passion for objects which others might not quite appreciate.
During my former employment as a Jewellery Technician I resourcefully trimmed the worn ends off the workshop brushes on the band saw. This provided us with somewhat blunt and much shorter ‘new’ brushes, leaving only the bristles which still had some life in them. The bits that I cut off formed the basis for my collection – they were quite beautiful, I couldn’t banish them to the bin!
I collect these simply because I find them beautiful, bristles or no bristles. In most cases it is because they have been worn through use and this aged quality appeals and tells their story, but I can also fall for new and quite ordinary brushes and have a couple of extra-ordinary designer brushes from a Brush Factory in Berlin. I have been known to utilise them as display tools whilst standing a craft fair and have a pair of hearth brushes reappropriated as curtain finials!
The collection was started in about 1995. I think I may have 50 or 60. My passion for this collection is probably most revealing where my brushes are incorporated within my work to construct a narrative. Most recently I created a set of five brooches which reference Freudian symbolism, alluding to something revered and protected, whilst considering the focuses and concerns of sufferers of Sexually Transmitted Infections. I am intrigued by the potential for jewellery to communicate and educate and these wearable items are therefore potential vehicles for generating awareness of the symptoms and treatments of STI’s.
Until I discovered Obsessionistas I‘ve never really bought my brushes together. Where I have sets or pairs, they’re generally found together in boxes or drawers, but when they all came together for this photo-shoot I realised they must stay together and so subject to gaining my husband’s approval, they will find themselves a wall display area soon!
I particularly love the bone toothbrush handle and my ‘slices of broom’ but think my collection is missing a good tradesman’s paintbrush and maybe a few with branding details. I’m sure they’ll turn up!
Images © Helen Powell with the kind permission of Jo Pond.