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From Objects of Desire to Magnificent Obsession
According to Claudia Chan Shaw, TV presenter, artist and self-confessed collectomaniac, the world is made up of collectors and non-collectors. Some collect for investment, others for fun. Some love the social interaction and others love to preserve the past. Thrilled by the pursuit, the hunt and the final possession and sense of accomplishment, Chan Shaw likens collecting to an addiction.
In her book Collectomania: From Objects of Desire to Magnificent Obsession Claudia takes readers on a journey through various collections — Bakelite radios, bubble gum swap cards, vinyl records, vintage jewellery, Wedgwood, first edition books, classic cars and more. With humour and affection she explains the motives behind the collections, shares tips on how to collect and imparts valuable advice such as ‘ if you’re thinking of surprising someone by repairing a treasure, only attempt restoration of beloved objects in consultation with the owner and an expert.’
Says Claudia, ‘Many people swear that they do not collect anything and that they don’t see the point in accumulating objects, but most people do have photo albums or at least a collection of digital images. Their collection might even be on Facebook. We all have collections of memories.’
Claudia Chan Shaw developed a penchant for collecting at a young age – from tin robots to Humphrey Bogart posters and fashion. As she grew older she realised it had become an obsession and that there were others who felt the same. As host of the ABC TV series, COLLECTORS, Claudia would encounter many people of the same ilk, people for whom one snow dome was too little and even 100 of them was not enough. A fashion designer and company director for internationally acclaimed Australian fashion label, Vivan Chan Shaw, Claudia has worked in the fashion industry for most of her life and collected for even longer.