December 10, 2010

I am by nature a collector. Over the years I have collected tons of paper, rocks, tools, glass, buttons etc… In the van there is no room for collecting. I need the space clear just to be able to move around, and yet I have found a way to collect. As a kid, I spent many hours collecting stamps. I did not really know the value of each stamp I just loved the pictures. I really liked putting each little printed piece of paper on a folded hinge with adhesive on it, licking it, and then sticking it in the book. I didn’t realize it then, but I was making an artist book. When around other stamp collectors I had nothing to discuss. I didn’t know the important questions, how many made, the value, the inks… I just knew the little pictures were beautiful. I was a total mark for any real stamp collector. I would trade something of monetary value for something beautiful. What am I collecting on my trip? Road signs! They are pretty amazing. One little image has to convey the proper meaning to all people, while passing in a fast car. The idea of this was actually planted in my brain two years ago in grad school. I took an Archeology of Ancient Mesoamerica class with Peg Turner. One of our test papers was to try to come up with an answer to the question of why there were so many wall paintings in the city of Teotihuacán that were animated, while at the same time period other cities had very sophisticated murals. I thought the reason was that Teotihuacán was thought to be very urban with many cultures living together. The murals needed to be signs that anyone could read. (Just my theory). Being here in New Mexico I am seeing more signs then anywhere else on my trip. This is a very mixed culture, with many languages being spoken. I deduce that is why all the signs, although, maybe it is just a more artistic, visual, place. Any way I want to share my sign collection with you. Like any collection it is constantly being added to. Just today I got three real beauties. There is an art to sign collecting. You do not realize what they are till you pass them. A good collector has to be able to quickly pull over, with the camera always at hand, and get the shot. Then the pictures must be downloaded on the computer and cropped until they are just the right size, like a little stamp. If anyone out there has a good image I am willing to trade. I have a person walking sign that someone put a hula-hoop on- very valuable- but for the right image I might be willing to trade….


About turningaroundamerica

Collaborative Team of Jenn Moller and Beth Ireland
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