In this installment of "Living with Collections," we're given a sneak peek into designer Sara Harvey's colorful toy collection — as seen on Instagram @4theloveoftoys and Pinterest @sharvey — her most prized possessions (hint: she has more than one favorite), and how they're displayed in her home.
1. Please, introduce yourself.
2. How many toys are in your collection? And do you have a favorite? Do you remember the first toy in your collection?
I honestly have no idea how many toys are in my collection. I've always tried to document what I have, but lost count of the number many years ago. Doug also had quite a large collection so it expanded in size once we moved in together a couple years ago. I do know the number of them is in the thousands. As for a favorite, I don't usually have favorites. It's way too difficult for me to choose because I love so many things. The ones I would consider favorites, are the ones made by artist who are also close friends. I don't actually remember the first toy in my collection because I've been collecting them my entire life.
3. Why toys? And how did you first start collecting them?
As a child, I pretty much hoarded my toys because I couldn't let go of them. Cartoons, comics, and video games were a huge part of my life as a child and as an adult. Toys are the artwork I love and grew up with, turned into 3-D objects I can use to create my own world. Toys to me are little works of art. Some are definitely more well made than others but they all hold some kind of memory or history for me. When I was in college and living on my own, I really started collecting. Designer toys didn't really start picking up until I was out of college so most of what I collected at that time were action figures and toys from my childhood.
I've always followed my favorite artists over the years and as they started creating designer toys, I started collecting them, and that's when my collection really started to expand to where it is now. I was out of college and able to spend more on art and toys. Although I'm calling them "toys," I don't really consider most of them a toy. Quite a lot are handmade or original pieces. I use to sell my own art on Etsy years ago and have always been a huge supporter of handmade products.
4. What do you look for in new a toy to add to your collection?
I look for unique art and character design. Well-made and well-designed toys are pretty big on my list. I do have certain styles of art that I'm more drawn towards than others, but I really just buy what I like and try not to worry about how it will fit in with the others things I collect. Most of the toys I collect now, come directly from artists or a few shops I've purchased from for years. Since I've always been a part of this toy community I keep up with blogs and artists to see what new products are being made and where to purchase them.
5. How do you display your collection at home?
I've always displayed most of my collections out in my home. Because I also really hate clutter and know I have hoarder tendencies, I try to organize everything so that it's all aesthetically pleasing for us to live with. I learned a long time ago that my collections were never going to fit in just one room and I didn't want them to. I incorporate them in with my other collections as much as possible.
Because of the large quantity I have, I knew I would have to figure out how to display a lot of them together, so at my previous home, I covered one entire wall with toys that because my rainbow toy wall. When I moved, I wanted to keep them that way (if possible) so luckily, we were able to find a spot for them. I do still have some stuff in storage until I have the proper space to display them.
6. You're not just a collector, but a designer! How does your designing inform your collecting and vice-versa?
Color is a big part of my design process and also a big part of how I organize my collections. I tend to collect things that I love and that inspire me in some way. Being surrounded by so many unique and interesting things in my home has allowed me stay creative and motivates me to continue making things. Honestly, from my design to my collections, the common thread is really just a narrative of some kind. Just like every piece of art in my home has a story attached with it, I try to create some sort of narrative in all that I do.
7. If you collected something other than toys, what would it be?
Well I actually do collect quite a lot of other things. I have lots of smaller collections like skate decks, vintage items, movies, etc. Toys were just the collection that took over the most.