The collector: Sarah Peel, from Hincaster, Cumbria, (UK) has spent her career within the areas of clothing and accessories buying and design. Having left the retailing industry in March 2011, Sarah recently founded CoolCrafting, teaching inspirational crafting and sewing workshops.
The collection: Antique sugar shakers or muffineers - glass containers with a perforated metal top used to dispense sugar onto food.
The story behind the collection...
It was always going to happen….. I grew up in a house that was decked out like a gyspy caravan with all my Mum’s latest flea market finds. We were surrounded by treasure.
However, I never set out to collect something - it wasn't an aim. I do think that objects have more emphasis, either as a singular statement or en masse. The sugar shaker collection just evolved one piece at a time, until I became consciously aware that I wanted more of the same item. It is still evolving, but with caution. To quote a children's book, Mouse and Mole by Joyce Dunbar "You can either have space or stuff."
I find them beautiful - I love the variety of shapes and designs. I have an affinity to glass generally. In the world of fashion you are always looking forward and never enjoying the moment, so today's favourite colour will be tomorrow's memory. I don't think there is any coincidence that my favourite colour is white and my favourite material is clear glass.
My collection started when I was 27. I now have 19. I think that works out at a smidgen over one a year, so it's not a particularly fast growing collection. I like to think my sugar shakers find me, rather than me searching them out.
My collection reveals a desire for more genteel times and a love of vintage, as well as my problems having a long standing relationship with colour.
There are active and inactive parts of my collection. Most are kept in a glass cabinet, some are always in the kitchen, half filled with caster sugar and cinammon for the next batch of pancakes. But whenever we have parties they all tend to come out and be part of the table dressing. I don't have a favourite - that would be like choosing between my children!
One thing that's still missing from my collection that I'm very drawn to is the classic American sugar shaker by Henry Keck - retro rather than vintage. It won't sit with my more ornate sugar shakers and it won't lightly dust the pancakes and cappuccinos like the others, but there is something functionally beautiful about its chubbiness.
I also collect Penguin Classics. That started because I loved the clear graphics and orange and ivory spines, and now I just like the fact that it makes me look incredibly well read!
I like to think that my sugar shakers are part of my life and that they will always be there, wherever we live and whatever we do. I'm not obsessed, but I am in love.
To find out more about Sarah and CoolCrafting visit www.coolcrafting.co.uk.
To find out more about the history of sugar and salt shakers and collections of them visit the Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shakers Club's wesbite.
Images © Sarah Peel