Annamaria Mays treasures all her things.

“When I was a little girl, a Dutch lady helped to look after my eight brothers and sisters and myself,” she recalls.

“When she went home to Holland she gave me this teapot for helping her with my siblings. I am the eldest.

“I treasured all my things ever since I was a little girl.”

Annamaria’s teapot collection is so vast she had to hang them from the ceiling so they would all fit in her kitchen.

It’s been 50 years since she received her first teapot. She now has more than 150.

“When I look at my teapots, they are sculptural pieces actually, pieces of art,” Annamaria says.

“Each one is individual. Each one has a story. All of these have been in someone’s home.

“Can you imagine the stories they could tell, the secrets that were shared or the problems that were aired?”

When Annamaria looks at a teapot, she doesn’t just see a vessel used to pour out tea.

“I always look behind the article. Even the old scrap of lace that is stained and dirty in the op shop, I just love that because those marks on that are telling a story. It’s lived,” she says.

The teapots get a wash once a year.

“I’ve just washed them, they’re all clean. It took me three days on a three-tier ladder up and down washing them and taping their lids up.

Teapots are not the only thing Annamaria collects.

“I’ve got lots of collections,” she says.

“I have a Humphrey bear collection, a handbag and hat collection. I’m just drawn to something different, something unusual.”

Annamaria’s collections have taken on a life of their own. She notices things around the house she hasn’t seen before.

“I don’t know how it happens. I find new things on the shelf. They just sneak in. I don’t know how they get in here.”

Annamaria Mays is an artist in every sense of the word.

“I live in my cooking and collecting. I grow my own flowers, fruit and vegetables.

“I am inspired by the domestic landscape. There is no greater worth then keeping a home and family.”

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