Collecting Collections: Interview with artist Trish Grantham

Contributor post by Lisa Congdon

I am so happy today on Collecting Collections to share an interview I did with one of my favorite people, artists and collectors in the world: Trish Grantham. Trish not only collects really unique and interesting objects and art, she also displays them with incredible beauty and grace in her Portland home. I hope very much you enjoy this interview!

Lisa: Hi Trish! We are close friends and I've been to your house a million times, so I know all about your amazing collections. But I was wondering if you could tell our readers about the kinds of things you collect. What are some of your favorite or most interesting collections?

Trish: Yes, as you know, I have loads of collections, and I add to them all the time. I collect squirrels, owls, ships in a bottle, 1950's landscape paintings, small vintage bowls, 30's 40's and 50's bird books, and vintage photos of the sea. My two largest collections are deer and my wall of small art.

Lisa: Wow! You have so many unique and specific collections. When did you start collecting things? How did you start out as a collector? 

Trish: I liked putting same things together when I was young, but I didn't start collecting things until I was in my mid-twenties, starting with typewriters. I had 20 or so! I pared that collection down, so now I have 3. That was a heavy collection!

Lisa: What is it that you enjoy about collecting?

Trish: I love vintage things so much. I love the history and energy they hold from hanging out on the earth longer than I have and living in the periods of time I would like to visit.  And It is hard to have just one of something! They seem lonely when there is only one.

Lisa: Yes! That is so true. And I love what you said about the energy of old things. I feel it too. So, I've always wondered: Are most of your collections on display in your house? Or do you have any collections that are tucked away somewhere for safe keeping?

Trish: All of my collections are out on display except for my photos by the sea. They are in my medicine cabinet.

Lisa: Where do you find most of the things you collect?

Trish: Lots of them were gifts. About 90% of my deer collection have been gifts from two of my friends. One of my friends started it for me about 11 years ago. But most of my collections have found me. I have been collecting everything at in my house a pretty slow pace. Most of my collections have taken 10-15 years to accumulate. I am in no hurry.  And it's nice to add one every few years.

Lisa: I agree! It's fun to take your time and look for just the right pieces. Do you have any tips for beginning collectors?
Trish: I didn't seek out being a collector.  It just evolved. If you truly love old things there are a million to collect! Lisa, you have shown that! ! I haven't gone about it this way but I know Etsy and Ebay have it all if you are looking to start somewhere.  I'm more the estate sale type.

Lisa: I am with you. I like to see and touch things and I love the challenge of riffling through stuff to find the little gems. So, if money were no object, what would you start collecting tomorrow?

Trish: Art! Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Jean-Michael Basquiat, and Mark Rothko.(50-'s-60's)  I would have a billion dollar art collection. Then I would buy paintings from all decades. But those would be the first.  Wow how fun would that be!

Lisa: Thank you Trish for sharing your collections with us!

Lisa Congdon
Artist, illustrator
Author, A Collection a Day
A Collection a Day:

Jan Halvarson


kara rane said...

Thank you for sharing. I believe people are becoming much more concerned with 'things that last',,the recent excess of over buying & throwing out has passed. I enjoy the silhouettes. Portraiture too is a time-less tradition, people understand the value of honoring one another in this way. Being an artist, and painter of portraits, I have always loved that an oil painting portrait is an object that people will cherish for many generations.

The Tote Trove said...

What you both say about single items being lonely is absolutely true. This was such a charming read, sure to delight collectors everywhere.

Cait said...

I love the collections here. It is such a broad variety and yet from the photos they seem to create such a nice balance in the home. Thank for sharing!

Coco Cake Land said...

i loved this, and yes the energy of old things - everything has a past and a story, someone else loved or didn't love the item before you... i guess i have a small collection of weird vintage poodle stuff. be fun to fill a kid's room with it one day maybe, ha. i love how she has displayed her collections too, much too great!

Unknown said...

Love the color of this wall....any idea what the name of the paint color is?