in search of unique collections

Antique brass letter stencils
Antique brass letter stencils found in flea market in Florence

Being an artist or artisan usually involves creating an art piece or object with your hands, using specific techniques and materials. My inspiration blooms more from old materials rather than new, shiny ones. I seek ways to re-use them, appropriating objects in order to find another use. Collecting small objects, little parts, and random bits of things, they might one day become pieces of jewelry, artworks, or just remain as found objects which hold on to unknown narratives evident from layers of patina. A big part of this search for unique things requires frequent trips to antique markets, junk shops, and even just looking on the ground as I walk. You never know what you might find.

My “bank” of objects for potential use keeps growing. Recently, I found a partial set of brass letter stencils in both upper and lower cases. They are beautiful on their own, as little delicate hand-held objects, with faint colorings and bends yet the cut-outs remain crisp. In the jewelry studio, some will soon become initial pendants, mounted with rivets onto sterling silver tags. Others might become arranged and framed similarly to the image above.

Here are more photos of unique collections I have found, a couple now in my possession. All photos I have taken at various flea markets around Florence, Italy. For a list of local markets and thrift shops, see Flea markets in and around Florence, Italy.

Photo credit: Naomi Muirhead

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