You know that feeling when you stumble across an Instagram account and you find yourself transfixed. Just. Can't. Stop. Scrolling.
That's how I felt when I discovered @4theloveoftoys. Sara Harvey's photos of her toy collection have the effect of making me feel happy, nosey, creative and a little bit jealous, all at once.
Helena and I have been enjoying Sara's rainbow-esque account for a couple of years now and we particularly love Momiji spotting! We caught up with Sara for a chat.
So this captivating collection...was your an intention right from the start or did it creep up gradually?
Not my intention at all. I've collected toys for as long as I can remember and it was hard for me to get rid of them growing up. It just kept growing over my life. What I collected would change as well. I love a lot of things. I have action figures, vintage toys, my childhood toys (I was an 80's child), designer toys, handmade and original figures. I'm an artist and would follow a lot of artist I whose work I admired so when they started creating toys, I had to have them.
What do you do for a living?
I'm currently a freelance artist and designer, stylist, blogger, trends specialist and social media brands promoter. Before this I was an artist for over 8 years at Hallmark Cards.
Does your passion for colour extend into all areas of your life?
It definitely does. I love all color, super bright, pastel, desaturated, dark and moody tones, neutrals. They all can work together to create beautiful palettes. Part of my role at Hallmark was being able to accurately see color, I see more shades than most eyes can see. I think because of that, I see the world a little differently sometimes. Colors effects me emotionally as well.
Which piece was the hardest to track down?
Hmm, That's tough because I think there are quite a few I had to hunt for a long time to find. Once I get something in my head I have to track it down. Most of the time it's that I just can't afford the price it would be to get what I was looking for.
Tell us about your relationship with the packaging - do you keep everything?
Not everything...but most I keep. I don't know if I will keep as many in the future but I just recently moved and it was nice to box most of them in their original package. I like to keep the ones that are designed really well and are pieces of art in themselves.
Do you order and catalogue each piece or do you just welcome them into the fold?
Usually just welcome them. I've tried to catalogue them but never stick with it.
Do you have a favourite?
I'm not sure I have a favorite of anything. I'm never able to answer that question for any aspect. I love so many things that I have lots of favorites. It's like picking a favorite child, I can't. The ones that are my favorite are ones usually made by friends.
In your eyes what makes a good toy?
For me, it's being well made, well designed, creative and original.
Which is your rarest piece?
I'm going to be completely honest in that I have no idea. I've just always collected what I like and don't often pay attention. The most rare pieces I have though are one of kind pieces from artists.
Does collecting extend to any other areas of your life?
It does actually. I've always collected things. It's just my personality. I'm sure my family has been worried I'd become a hoarder. I love clothing so that is a pretty large collection I have as well. I also collect vintage items other than toys. I probably have hundreds of mini collections.
How did you first discover Momiji?
Honestly I don't really remember. It was years ago and it's possible one of my friends who makes toys introduced me to them but it's also possible I just stumbled on a photo someplace and searched for them. I'm always doing research on line for products.
Do you have a favourite Momiji?
Oh man, I couldn't choose. There are way too many I love.
What's the best thing about being a collector?
I get to surround myself with what I love.
Have you met any interesting people or made friends through your collection?
It's hard to find people around you that enjoy the same things you do somethings but from collecting and sharing on message boards, Instagram, Flickr etc. where other collectors are, I've met so many wonderful people that are now extended family members. I even met my boyfriend.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start collecting?
Start slowly. You can't get everything all at once and you will probably regret some of those purchases later down the road. Collect what you like and don't do it because it's rare or you think it will be worth a lot someday.
Aside from toys, what are the things that spark passion and make your heart happy?
I love all aspects of art and design and photography. I'm constantly in aw of so many things and they are constant source of inspiration. I also love nature and animals. Exploring new places is one of my favorite things to do.