It is quite intriguing to delve into reasons why we get obsessed with buying a souvenir from a city, county, or country. Holidays, day trips or personal quests from visits to our planets wonders often result in a ‘gift’ or ‘keepsake’, as a token reminder of what we have seen, achieved or experienced.
Thimbles are sentimental aide-memoires, a small mementos that help reminisce the past, whether it be bathing on a golden sandy beach, experiencing dangerous rapids, climbing architectural wonders, or simply looking at jaw dropping vantage points of the world. Why we need an object or something more than the just the memories that we have captured with our eyes?
Sometimes mass-produced goods, figurines, spoons, mugs, or fridge magnets seduce us into purchasing ‘dust collectors’ to adore our shelves. (Perfect items for a hoarder) The thimbles proudly display tiny maps, illustrations, flags, and town names – a striking reminder of where we have been – almost a physical 3D Photo on constant display.
These thimbles fascinate me, fragile, delicate, small, and fairly inexpensive, a touch tacky but also intriguing at the same time. Interestingly, there is quite a history to the humble thimble, they can be many things, not just a memento of an outing, but a powerful sentimental object, an item of secret communication, a practical aid for stitching and historically a token of love and even lust.
I have collected these thimbles and combined them with my personal reminiscences from travels and experiences over the years, messages of the real merged with someone else’s visits and memoirs.
Clair Robins 2022