Michelle Workman & The Art of Collecting
Michelle Workman recently opened    Michelle Workman Home   , a curated selection of new and vintage home furnishings.

Michelle Workman recently opened Michelle Workman Home, a curated selection of new and vintage home furnishings.

While interior designer Michelle Workman has acclimated well to Southern mountain life, her LA heritage shines through in her penchant for glamourous Hollywood Regency and art deco styling. A maximalist at heart, what inspires Michelle most are “layers and layers of deliciousness”, evident in her trove of colorful collections. Below we learn more about her collecting preferences.

Lacquered woodwork lines the entrance of a California home .  Photo: Gregory Zabilski

Lacquered woodwork lines the entrance of a California home. Photo: Gregory Zabilski

Q: How did collecting first manifest?

A: I would say I got the bug from my grandmother who collected dolls and various other things. By the time I was 16, I had started to collect vintage jewelry and clothes.  

A spacious cabinet gives ample display space to vintage china and other collectibles .  Photo: Gregory Zabliski.

A spacious cabinet gives ample display space to vintage china and other collectibles. Photo: Gregory Zabliski.

Q: How did you learn about the world of antiques?

A: I took some courses at the local city college in furniture history in my 20’s - but most of what I have learned has been from dealers and reading books on collecting, marks, and antiques in general.

Michelle has grown her grandmother’s modest Russian box collection to include examples from India and Japan.   Photo: Gregory Zabilski

Michelle has grown her grandmother’s modest Russian box collection to include examples from India and Japan. Photo: Gregory Zabilski

Q: What are you collecting these days?

A: In the last few years, have started collecting art works from distant ancestors - I have two great great uncles on different sides of the family that were artists of note in the 1800’s and I have been slowly working on a small collection of their respective works.  I love the familial connection I have to their work and so it makes for a more meaningful collection. Murano glass is something I have dabbled in, and I also have a fetish for interesting lamps and boxes.

Q: Do you build collections for clients?

A: I do. If a client has only two or three items of a particular nature and those objects are meaningful,  I encourage them to expand on it. I also discovering a full collection not being properly showcased, and then figuring out a way to show it off that makes it a statement instead of a side note.

A collection, like this one of various natural curiosities, is not only fascinating and colorful, but also a cool learning tool for Michelle’s children.

A collection, like this one of various natural curiosities, is not only fascinating and colorful, but also a cool learning tool for Michelle’s children.

Q: Favorite places to hunt?

A: I love using travel as a source - I was able to wangle a private tour into the closed Barbini factory in Murano Italy, and there I found a treasure trove of deadstock lamp bases, bowls, and L’Objet from the 50’s and 60’s.

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Come and hear more about Michelle’s collecting ways at The Art of Collecting.

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Michelle Workman is one of the Panelist is a collector and one of the panelists for The Art of Collecting.