How to Curate Anything
Curating, interestingly enough, isn’t just reserved to the human sort or even to just our close relatives. Bowerbirds are curators and create elaborate displays of objects to attract mates. Satin bowerbirds are probably the most memorable, curating hundreds of blue objects to catch the eye of a female. They are a picky sort, selecting only the best for the discerning eye of the female.
Creating collections is a pastime that’s been around for ages. As a child, things you found interesting and beautiful ended up in your pockets and placed on a shelf or dresser. I’m sure that cavemen collected beautiful and interesting rocks too. But to curate a collection, like the satin bowerbird, and make something that gives us pride and draws attention, we have to take some key tips from satin bowerbirds and do more than just grab what we fancy at first glance.
Just because other people love it, doesn’t mean you have to. There are trends and they change often. Polka dots, chevron, chambray. I hate polka dots and chevron. Can’t stand them. They’re just simply not appealing to me. So if I were a bird, looking for my mate, I wouldn’t want to find one just because I laid my nest with chevron patterned carpet. Then I’d be stuck with a bad mate. And if you start collecting pieces you don’t love, you’ll be stuck with a lot of stuff you just don’t want.
Dedicate time and effort to searching for what you love. We collect because we like the things we collect, not because we need to find a mate. Taking the time to really get into it and immerse ourselves in our chosen world allows us to fully appreciate what we’re seeking out. Bowerbirds don’t just go fly to the nearest Walmart and grab whatever is blue on the first aisle, oh no. So why should you?
Consider various different kinds of what you’re searching for. Think outside of what is “normal.” Miss Satin Bowerbird will be knocked off her branch when she sees the most perfectly arranged blue glass display. For the first time. Then, after that, she’s kind of done with the whole blue glass movement. It’s very passé, she says, as she flies by. So bachelor bird has to branch out and go for different kinds of things, like blue straws or bottle caps, to really attract her attention. And when he looks over his work, he stands proud. Anyone can collect something easy. But almost no one would be proud of it. Search out what you find enjoyable, interesting, and new.
Refine what you’re looking for. Do you research. Time spent curating is important. But time well spent is even more important. Take the time to learn about what you’re looking for and really learn to tell the difference between good pieces and better ones.
Be a picky little bitch (or Goldilocks, if you prefer). You like this one. And that one. Oh, that’s nice too. But you can only have so many things. Well, unless you want to be a hoarder. But that’s not curating, now, is it? You need to set standards for your collection. Not just anything can make it. Take pride in that you only take the best. Sure, it may take longer. But in the end, it’s more than worth it.