“Always try to keep a patch of sky above your life.” Marcel Proust
The Museum of Thin Objects could be read as part of the patch of sky that hovers above my life. More specifically it contains a weave of stories: some personal, some historical, some real, some imaginary. Often the stories co-exist – just as they do in life – as a collage of personal perceptions of the world around us.
To me a Thin Object is a term used to describe a focusing point, a point of connection where I’m likely to experience a transition from the mundane and known to a state of mind where I feel and think significantly differently and where there’s a strong sense of the past being still present.
A Thin Object takes me beyond myself and closer to wonderment.
Or to what might be described as the sacred. Not sacred in a necessarily religious or New Age sense, more in terms of accessing the fundamental experience one can have with objects.
Although talking about poetry, Don Domanski in his essay Poetry and the Sacred reproduced in Reliquiae Vol. 2 by Corbel Stone Press, explains the feeling as being, ‘….how each thing holds a mystery, simply because it exists, because existence itself is sacred. The fact that something exists at all has continued to amaze me, and the forms, as well, amaze me. I don’t mean this in a sentimental way; true amazement asks for more from us than the recognition of beauty and form…’ A Thin Object can take me beyond an outward form, and prompt that sense of amazement in the perfect is-ness of a thing.
A Thin Object need not be a valuable, nor overtly beautiful, it may not be universally acknowledge as outwardly significant at all – an old postcard, an old boat or corrugated iron sheds are all part of my personal pantheon of Thin Objects, with each able to transport me to a qualitatively different place. My Thin Objects speak to me, they relax me, they unmask me, and through them there’s a chance to feel more comfortable in my own skin.
Originally called Eileen Inlanding, this website initially shared the story of my family’s renovation of a 1903 Birmingham Canal Navigation iron day boat called Eileen. However, that ongoing renovation opened many doors and, over time, the website evolved. Renamed Slowboat and then the Museum of Thin Objects, it has expanded to accommodate all kinds of interests that include, in no particular order:
geneology; deltiology; documentary; folklore & art; landscape; language; vernacular architecture; old maps; journal writing; list making; digital sunshine; photography; natural history; poetry; industrial heritage and psychogeography…
It’s a rattle bag, an eclectic mix, a virtual Cabinet of Curiosity.