is for odditorium
By definition odditorium is a place for displaying oddities, and in my mind has a strong connection to Wuderkammern and Cabinets of Curiosity.
Just rolling those words off my tongue fills me with a bit of excitement, prickles my curiosity sensors, and invites me to put on my wondering cap.
Dear Odditorium –
Some people embrace a minimalist esthetic and while I can derive great joy from seeing beauty highlighted by the absence of visual “noise” around it, the truth is I’m a collector. I like gathering things that enchant me, arranging them and delighting in them. Which of course is why my home is filled with little altars everywhere; little groupings of random wonderfulnesses; pockets of delights likely only I think are beautiful.
I’m not sure when I discovered you as a word, but I remember very clearly the first time I saw a Cornell box and thought how perfectly wonderful it was in its oddness. And I remember how curious I was to both glimpse the world through the eyes that saw things that way, AND then the immediate accompanying thought that perhaps my eyes saw things in arrangements that no one else did as well. And how exciting that was!
I love the idea of cabinets of curiosities in their best sense – places of wonder. Places to launch journeys fueled by curiosity. Places to behold the magic of shiny wonders. Collections worthy of treasured cigar boxes. Worthy of being nested in strings of fairy lights. Worthy of gasps of awe and giggles of amazement or just simple smiles.
Yes odditorium, I love you and all you represent, and I’m so glad we get to hang out together. And I even like considering myself an odditorium. You always did inspire me to laugh!
Here’s a peek at the top of one of my actual cabinets, so I can feel free to literally call it a cabinet of curiosity in all good conscious. Here I have gathered a clay bird by artist Carol Ross that I love, and paired it with a wonderful stone that looks like a bird to me and which carries the fossilized impressions of evergreen needles which look like feathers. Between them is a magical holey stone which I discovered among my mother’s things. I had no idea she had a holey stone, and since they’re so important to me, the gift of this find felt especially precious. The large glass bowl is filled with dried roses from an important and sacred occasion, and atop it sits a song bird singing to another in the wire tree which is strung with sparkly crystal beads. All of life needs a dose of sparkly crystal beads, don’t you think? And then there is the moon, carved by a West African artist, shining over it all, tucked among some red stars that have some guiding star mantras on them. And then there is the little flowered/sparkly “crown” which delights me for all sorts of reasons but mostly as a reminder that sovereign and joy go hand-in-hand.
Now let me invite you to visit a couple more odditoriums:
First, not really an odditorium, but in fact the inspiring spark for me: Joseph Cornell
And here’s a fun site that is a modern day Wunderkammern that begs exploration – Alex Boxer’s Idols of the Cave
What about you? Do you consider yourself a living odditorium? Collect strange and wonderful things? What are you curious about? Have a special cabinet with an agglomeration of wonders (as opposed to a drawer full of junk)? Do tell – you know I love to hear.