Avid Collectors


by Claire Moynihan

Two themes have emerged for me whilst visiting Pitzhanger Manor House and exploring Sir John Soane’s life.   His attention to the smallest details around the house, in particular the floral motives in the ceiling moldings, banister ironworks and windows knobs and also his almost obsessive drive to collect.

Sir John Soane said “one’s home is a sort of portrait of oneself”,  on an aesthetic level my home reflects where I am at this stage in my life, it doesn’t describe my ambitions or my ideals.  I also portray an impression of myself to the world through the way I prioritize aspects of my home, how much I spend on furnishings and belongings, how clean or tidy I decide to keep it, how I choose to disguise my disorder by hiding clutter away.  Our homes are an impression and can only be taken on face value, which is what a portrait is.

I currently create collections of insects using hand embroidery techniques,  on developing a bumble bee for a recent insect collection I stumbled upon a new technique of ‘carving’ wool.  Studying bees made me think that bees are the ultimate collectors of pollen and nectar and are almost obsessive and certainly avid collectors.  It is my intention to use bees as a metaphor for collectors in combination with Sir John Soane’s floral motives.  My work will hopefully bring attention to our threatened bee population and celebrate the work of Sir John Soane’s.


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