In The Spotlight: Meet Michelle!

Introducing Michelle, a true Erstwildian! A lover of animals with a particular fondness for our feathered bird friends, Michelle has collected an incredible assortment of wearable art that is full of native fauna along with anything else that brings a smile to her dial.

Learn more about her joyful brooch journey below.

How and when did you first discover Erstwilder?
A fortuitous accident! I was heading off on an Orange Bellied Parrot survey and doing some last-minute research. It was around the time the Endangered Animals collection was released in 2019 and I came across a photo of the Radiant Rambler Parrot brooch. It was already sold out on the official website and being new to Erstwilder, I didn't know everything was limited, so I reached out to customer service and they advised I should check out stockists to see if I could find one. And I did!

What was the first Erstwilder piece you collected?
Following on from above, my first piece was the Radiant Rambler along with Kakapo on Show and Benevolent Behemoths Blue Whale which I managed to secure from a fabulous stockist.

How many pieces do you have in your collection currently?
Once I got to several hundred, I stopped counting!

Which is your absolute favourite design and why?
This is so hard, it's like asking which is your favourite child. I'll be honest, it changes daily, but I'm going to say Paradisaea Rouge Fleurs because birds are my passion and the shape and simplicity of this design just makes me smile out loud every time I open the box.

Do you like to collect any particular designs?
Animals are my top pick, especially birds and native animals, but anything that makes me smile is on my list!

Which design/s have you collected all colourways of?
There’s a few, but last year I finally finished sets of Hyacinth Hummingbird, Anouk’s Lost Letter and Sabine Swan.

How does collecting spark joy for you?
There are so many reasons, firstly the brooches themselves, they are little pieces of art and the colours, shapes and designs just make me happy. The community plays a huge part, I had to have several operations a few years ago resulting in me being at home for extended periods of time while recuperating. Chatting to other broochies, discussing collections and the excitement of releases was truly a lifeline for me during a very traumatic period. The friends I made during that time are some of my closest and they all started with Erstwilder. Lastly I won't lie, the adrenaline rush of the releases themselves is so addictive!

Is there a design you wish you had in your collection?
I've been very lucky and managed to find most of my DISOs (desperately in search of) but I'd love to find the Paradisaea Rouge earrings that match the Paradisaea Rouge Fleurs brooch.

If you could choose any design to include in a future Fan Favourite release, what would it be? And what colours?!
This would have to be my favourite Paradisaea Rouge Fleurs, I would love to see it in a dark blue.

Any tips for someone starting their Erstwilder collection?
Join the Erstwilder community on socials, along with the official Erstwilder Facebook community group and buy sell swap groups. They are full of fabulous, knowledgeable, helpful broochies who can answer any questions you might have. More importantly they will understand and support your 'new hobby'.

Anything else you’d like to mention?
Can we just talk about the themed boxes! They are always so beautiful and it's as exciting to see what they will be as it is to see the new designs! It also makes finding brooches so much easier along with the addition of stickers on the base in recent years.

Top 10 EW designs of all time?
Paradisaea Rouge Fleurs
Kevin Koala
Radiant Rambler
Kakapo on Show
Dancing Duck
Walter Wombat
Fred Finch
The Schnauzer and Klaus
Run Scottie, Run
The Perceptive Pelican

Want to be the next Erstwildian featured?

Are you a long-time Erstwilder enthusiast? Do you have an interesting story or collection to share?
If you’d like to be ‘in the spotlight’ in the Erstwilder Museum click the link below and complete the form.
We can’t wait to meet you!