Are You An Artist And Reference Hoarder?

I just listed these vintage vocabulary picture work sheets in my Etsy shop of old stuff, Mistress of Merlin.

I am both fascinated and repulsed by the current trend of “reality shows” that depict the lives of hoarders.  Every cable channel seems to have their own take on it, from back-to-back Intervention of addicts to Hoarders on A&E, the sad people who are losing their homes to trash and debris, to the Animal Planet’s horrifying footage of animals that suffer in cages because hoarders think they are animal rescuers.

My mother, I think, was a hoarder.  She was raised on a homestead in eastern Montana, in a family that did not have enough to eat, enough clothes, had to walk to a spring to carry water in a bucket, and never had indoor plumbing until she moved away to go to high school in the “city” of Billings.

Being without what she needed in her childhood and then going through the Great Depression and WWII in her adulthood, my mother learned to save everything.  She saved jars. She saved things in jars. She had jars of old double edged safety razor blades and buttons cut from every piece of clothes that finally wore out.  She darned socks that had holes and mended anything that could be kept from becoming a rag.  She saved LIFE magazines, TIME magazines, because they may be valuable “some day”.  She never became out of control with trash, the way you see on the hoarding shows, but I do know there was an emotional connection of survival that she attached to what could be “useful”.

As an artist, I began collecting art supplies and things that were inspiring to me when I was in my 20’s.  Before computers, it was common that artists and designers would save  references on paper in a “morgue file”, as we call it.   There is even a web site of photo reference images online called

Last year I finally threw out stacks of old magazines that I had clung to as part of my morgue file.  I do love old illustrated books and such things as these vocabulary sheets.  They would look great in frames, grouped on a wall in a studio, but there is no room in my studio for that.  When I realized today that I should just scan them in case I ever needed the inspiration, I decided to sell them on Etsy for someone to frame them and hang them in their studio or home.

Now, if I could only bring myself to actually throw out the brushes that are too worn to use any more.

About aliceflynn

Artist - find me on wordpress and at
This entry was posted in Art, Business, Etsy, Family, Freelancing, Graphic Design, Illustration, Life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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