The idea of the Minimalist-Collector seems discordant. However, in this article I propose that, with some careful consideration a synergy can be realised.

The practice of minimalism is very personal and the uninitiated may presume that the idea is to “own” as little as possible. For me, it’s about taking away the distractions so I can truly appreciate the things I love. Over the past couple of years I rediscovered Minimalism through the work of Japanese author Fumio Sasaki:

“Why do we own so many things when we don’t need them? What is their purpose? I think the answer is quite clear: We’re desperate to convey our own worth, our own value to others. We use objects to tell people just how valuable we are.”

Fumio Sasaki, Goodbye, Things.

This was an epiphany for me. I realised that for a number of reasons, I had been doing exactly that. I started to question what I owned, what was its purpose and did it bring me happiness?

In the months that followed I streamlined my collections of ‘things’ to the stuff that, to quote Marie Kondo, “sparks joy“; a move from unconscious collector to conscious curator. I also started to ask important questions when making purchases such as, “do I really need this?“. It’s a process which needs constant practice and refining. I often find myself with clutter to clear but the process is extremely therapeutic, the clarity of clearing clutter acts as a catalyst for cleansing the conscious.

I still own things, I make purchases, I collect records, cassettes, guitar pedals and microphones. I make my selections thoughtfully and when I do, I overwhelming find that I treasure these possessions more than previous purchases I’ve made with little conscious effort.

As label owner I am keen to bring this practice into my business. We inhabit a space where one could consume all things digitally and thus those ‘things’ would have no physical presence in our world. Digital streaming has replaced tangible formats such as the Musicassette, Vinyl, Video Tape and more recently, the DVD. Currently, all you need is a smart device or computer to create, mix and distribute music. If you have been reading my previous posts you’ll know why I don’t think that is necessarily a good idea for creativity.

Therefore, some thought is required into the way we create, store and distribute music. The Musicassette, although a niche market is appealing, because it’s possible to hold minimal stock and create orders in-house and on-demand. However, with vinyl releases, careful consideration the number of copies produced is required, as they will need to be stored in preparation for fulfilling orders.

We now live in a culture that is, once again, starting to appreciate experiences over things. There is still a place for the collector but, personally I find I enjoy my own collections more when I have mindfully curated them to a core of items which bring me the most joy. I often find myself suggesting to undergrads and postgrads that they “narrow down” their research and that is quite literally at the heart of my practice as a Minimalist-Collector.

Stu Welsh

Owner & Curator here at Fiercely Indie. Stu’s background is in Sound Engineering and Education. He leads undergrad and postgrad courses at dBs Music, acts as Producer for Live in Session and, is a huge fan of vintage recording gear.

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