Collections and Collectors: Travel Artifacts
Skidmore students all have their own unique traits, from different hobbies, to different majors, and even different collections. When she’s not on the quidditch field, in the dance studio, or in the geology lab, Elle Ping ’21 works on her collection of pins and decks of cards.
While these items might be overlooked by others, Ping holds them close to her heart. The pin collection started before she can remember, starting as artifacts from when she and her family would travel different places.
“We would go to the gift shop and get a pin to show where we’d been,” Elle explains.
When Ping first started the pin collection, her and her siblings would create banners out of felt and stick their collection to it.
Her card collection started in a different way, however. She recalls having found three decks of cards in her room and thought “woah that’s cool”. A few days later, Ping found a deck that she gravitated to and the collection grew from there.
To keep both her collections growing, Ping tries to find unique styles of decks and pins that catch her eye — now amassing a collection of over 100 pins and around 20 to 30 decks of cards.
Her card collection creates a feeling of relaxation as she looks at her favorite deck. With scalloped edges and a simplistic and dark style, Ping became attracted to the hidden words on each card, which made it prestigious enough to be brought to campus.
Since being away at college, it has been hard for her to keep both collections going. She tries whenever she can to find new decks of cards that seem relaxing to her and evoke a sense of calmness. As for the pins, she notes how she doesn’t travel as much in college, so it is harder to buy some from different places. Despite this, Ping comments on how “it reminds me of where I’ve been and it’s a simple thing,” so she likes to keep it going.
Even though she does not have her entire collections at college, as she has grown, her collections have as well.
“When I was younger, the cards had a lot more pictures, and now they’re more really cool patterns and drawings, and more adult.” Her card collection has grown so much that she now knows card tricks and magic.
“Before we moved from California to New York, my brother had a briefcase full of different magic tricks and books about magic.” Her brother’s fascination soon spread to her. Seeing as he got busier and could not do as much magic anymore, he passed on what he knew to her, and from there, a new hobby grew into her collection.
As for her pins, Ping now has multiples from the same places — she finds differently designed pins from the same ski resort she constantly returns to. This helps her grow her assortment, even though she travels much less often.
Though both of these collections mean a great deal to her, Ping thinks her pin collection is more significant because she has been devoted to it longer.
“It has more meaning to me because it has more memories associated with it,” she explains.
Throughout her life, these collections have meant a lot to Ping, and create an interesting contrast with her academic interests and hobbies. This helps define the most devoted collectors: those who find joy and purpose in items others may ignore.