At the Happy Face Museum in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Happy Face Museum

2022 Update: This museum is now closed.

Just down the street from my mother-in-law’s place in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, is the Happy Face Museum. It’s owned by Debbie Power and she lets people come upstairs to a room in her home filled with happy face items. We had visited it a few years ago, but forgot our camera so came back for a second view. We took this video to give you a taste of the place:

How Collections are Similar to Trashmagination

Collectors are usually passionate, and I love to visit people who are following their passions. I tend to prefer visiting people who have taken trash and made them into useful things. A part of me was upset about all that consumption.

I searched the museum for anything handmade, and there was a table that she had decorated with happy face bottle caps and grout, so there was some “making” in this place.

Happy Face Museum desk covered with happy face bottle caps
Happy Face Museum desk covered with happy face bottle caps

How Collections are Different from Trashmagination

This museum reminded me that it’s a fine line between collecting objects and Trashmagination. Sometimes I collect items in order to get enough of one type, such as plastic caps. Or sometimes I collect items so I can teach crafts at events with large numbers of people, such as my men’s ties made into crazy quilts. But everything I collect has the end goal of being made into something.

Mass Manufactured versus Handmade

The other main difference is that this museum celebrates mass manufacturing, and Trashmagination celebrates handmade items. That is the main reason I felt uncomfortable there. I wanted to make her something by hand for her museum, but I knew it would be swallowed up by the weight of all those plastic and porcelain yellow faces. These two worlds are what they are, and the Happy Face museum was a good reminder of why I do Trashmagination.