Monday, September 7, 2009

Confessions of a Completist

I'm a completist. Not so much in the sense that I always finish what I start. In fact I wish that were more often the case. But more along the lines that when I start something, I want to do every single aspect of it thoroughly.

Let's take the example of a great book from 1912 with 300 steam engine parts. Instead of picking the 30 or 40 best engravings, which really should be all that I need, I will sit and scan all 300 ... just in case. In case of what exactly, I'm not quite sure.

So last week when I went to my favorite archive in the world--the one where I travel 1700 miles each way and only visit twice a year--I was prepared. I stopped by earlier in the week for several hours to narrow down my focus to about 100 colored plates that I knew I wanted. I told myself I would be steadfast in my determination and stick to just the 100 best to scan.

And of course you know what happened when I went back with my scanner. I spent the first several hours wandering around in complete bliss, pulling out all kinds of ephemera until I had amassed literally 3000 different colored plates, engravings, chromolithographs, and other fun bits. Then I proceeded to spend the next two hours whittling it down, and then the final few hours madly scanning as much as I could as quickly as I could.

In the end I was exhausted from hauling everything around, covered in a thick layer of red dust from all the crumbling books, and completely content.

Because while I'm not quite sure what I will ever do with this:
I also found these:
And these:

It was a lovely haul, including 31 really grubby botanical engravings from 1846; another 12 German floral sets from the early 1900s; almost 15 bird eggs, another 15 bird nests; and nearly 100 French Fashion plates. Many of the scans I may never do anything with. But so much of the joy is in the discovery. And at least I will have them ... just in case.


lynette said...

What lovely images! The possibilities are endless. I saw a dresser in Portobello Road last June that had botanical images collaged all over it. It was fabulous! Let us know what uses you find for your images.


Ivonnardona said...

You always come up with the most awesome images and you have, once again, outdone yourself. I love the elephant in B&W. Are you going to do some safari piddix sheets? Would be very cool.

piddix said...

Thanks so much lynette & Ivonnardona. I really don't know yet what to do with them. Just starting to clean them up in Photoshop now. I love the Safari idea. That could be very fun.

Leah said...

the one sheet looks like paper dolls to me

sounds like a good time! what fun!

majamom said...

Dear Corrina
After reading this post I mayjust have to beg you weekly to allow me to follow you in your adventure one time-although you would most likely have to drag me out kicking and screaming before they locked us in
I am so grateful for your completistism, as I adore the exploration and discovery;but, the rest of the detail work would utterly make me nuts-thus the reason I do not photo shop-too many details,numbers, sizes measurements-ugh!
I adore the Safari Theme idea!

piddix said...

majamom, it's absolute heaven. I get giddy when I'm exploring in archives. Few places in the world I'd rather be, believe it or not.

Lara said...

Wow. How wonderful! We must be cut from the same cloth, Corinna. I'll take the smell of old books over a fresh mountain breeze any day.

Where we differ: I'd spend all day in there and have nothing to show for it....