Well, what to say? I can say that 1735 McGee is a small, neat house in neighborhood of small, neat houses in the northern flats. And that there are a lot of pigs. Rusty pigs and ceramic pigs. A little farm scene behind a fence with a miniature windmill. You don’t see them all at first. Keep looking. Pigs everywhere. This is a collection shared with the world. I wonder what the inside of the house looks like. I have a pretty good idea, I think. Pigs.
This is the first of several major quirky sites that I will share based on small figures. For pure joy this can’t be beat. It enjoys, you can see, a high quirkometer rating for kids. Let’s see the pigs….
And lastly a sad reminder of the fate that befalls many real-life pigs:
I had been by McGee several times, and had taken a large group with Berkeley Path Wanderers there, all without knowing who or how or why. Time to find out!
I knocked on the door. I met Diane Hamm. I talked with her for an hour. A lovely hour at that.
Diane Hamm is Berkeley born and raised. In the photo above she surveys McGee street, wearing a bright orange WHATEVER shirt. She has been collecting pigs and pig-related ephemera for 60 years, starting with a Steiff stuffed pig that her grandmother gave her.
She is a member of the Happy Pig Collectors Club. She estimates that she has 5,000 pigs figure and ephemera. She married a man named Hamm – how perfect is that! She calls her outdoors display her “Hammsty.” As in pigsty – right?
Here are a few photos of her collection:
She has close to 100 antique lard tins hanging from ceiling hooks in her kitchen. These are her favorites, Farmer Peet. Note the changing logos.
She has 75 pig T-shirts with which she will make a quilt. That’s a quilt I’d like to see.
On the delicate issue of consumption – she likes a good pork sausage or pork chop, but avoids ham and on the whole would rather eat a piece of beef.
Hamm speaks of the children in the neighborhood and how they have a sense of ownership in the outdoor pieces. People bring her pig figures. Her pigs make her happy. And it makes me happy that she shares a small part of her passion with the street, giving us a glimpse of a wonderful collection.
Who knew that so many pigs existed???