Behold the Swine Shrine

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  • Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Jill Johnson, a lifelong Stateline Area resident who lives between Sharon and Clinton, collects pig-related items. She has everything from salt and pepper shakers to slippers, stuffed animals and beyond.

  • 1

    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Jill Johnson has thousands of pig-related items in her collection. This humorous ceramic piece reads, "Hushabye baby, don't you cry, you'll be a sausage bye and bye."

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    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News The stairwell of Jill Johnson's home is covered in pig-related pictures and keepsakes.

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    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News If something is made to resemble a pig, chances are avid collector Jill Johnson has at least one of them. This sequin pig purse is just one of her many accessories in the collection.

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    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Jill Johnson stands next to one of her prized pigs, a chainsaw art piece she purchased at the county fair.

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    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Although Jill Johnson has thousands of pigs in her collection, she does her best to keep them neat and organized. She often categorizes the pig by the type of item; cookie jars, banks, clothing; ceramic or glass pieces, and so on.

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    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News This piggie chef greets visitors in the kitchen of Jill Johnson's home.

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    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Jill Johnson's pig collection doesn't stop at the front door of her house. Pig-related items, like this mailbox, can be spotted all around her farm. She also has a pet pig named Oink.

  • Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Jill Johnson, a lifelong Stateline Area resident who lives between Sharon and Clinton, collects pig-related items. She has everything from salt and pepper shakers to slippers, stuffed animals and beyond.

  • 1

    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Jill Johnson has thousands of pig-related items in her collection. This humorous ceramic piece reads, "Hushabye baby, don't you cry, you'll be a sausage bye and bye."

  • 2

    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News The stairwell of Jill Johnson's home is covered in pig-related pictures and keepsakes.

  • 3

    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News If something is made to resemble a pig, chances are avid collector Jill Johnson has at least one of them. This sequin pig purse is just one of her many accessories in the collection.

  • 4

    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Jill Johnson stands next to one of her prized pigs, a chainsaw art piece she purchased at the county fair.

  • 5

    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Although Jill Johnson has thousands of pigs in her collection, she does her best to keep them neat and organized. She often categorizes the pig by the type of item; cookie jars, banks, clothing; ceramic or glass pieces, and so on.

  • 6

    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News This piggie chef greets visitors in the kitchen of Jill Johnson's home.

  • 7

    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Jill Johnson's pig collection doesn't stop at the front door of her house. Pig-related items, like this mailbox, can be spotted all around her farm. She also has a pet pig named Oink.

SHARON - Jill Johnson will probably stop adding to her collection when pigs fly.

A lifelong Stateline Area resident, Johnson has built a swine shrine at her home located between Clinton and Sharon.

The unique collection, showcasing thousands of pig items ranging from toilet-lid covers to toothpick holders, is a show-stopper.

"It used to be that I thought I could own every pig item ever made, but I'm aware there are many I've never even seen," Johnson said.

She may not have every pig item that exists, but Johnson has certainly discovered quite a few at places like antique stores and estate sales.

Every room in her two-story farmhouse has some type of pig displayed, and a few areas are completely devoted to showcasing the collection.

"I'm not even sure where the collection began, other than that my first pig was a stuffed animal that my dad bought me as a present," she said.

Not all of the pig collectibles are all that exciting or even cute, Johnson said during a recent tour.

But that's of no consequence to Johnson - she loves all the little piggies just the same.

"Even with the ugly ones, it's like they would speak to me (when shopping) and say 'why not me?,' so I brought them home," Johnson said.

The gargantuan pig collection expands beyond the house, along the driveway and into the barns on her property - including one that is home to an actual pig named Oink.

"Oink is very smart and acts kind of like a dog," Johnson said.

"It's also probably wrong, but bacon is actually my favorite food," she added with a laugh.

There isn't a particular type of pig item that Johnson most covets, but she does enjoy antique pigs and quirky items, like handbags.

"It used to be that I would go out and just buy more and more pigs whenever I'd find them, but now I'm much more selective," Johnson said.

Pig collectors are actually more common than one might think, Johnson said.

The hobby is so popular, in fact, that Johnson is part of a group called The Happy Pig Collectors Club.

Active on Facebook and offering a newsletter and card exchange, the club brings together pig collectors.

In July, about 40 of the group's members from around the United States took a trip to Johnson's home to check out her collection. They spent the day exploring, swapping pig items and having a hearty picnic featuring pork, of course.

"We love to get together once a year and just talk, laugh and have a great show and tell," Johnson said. "This year we even had a visitor from the Philippines come."

A hobby like collecting pigs might not be for everyone, but Johnson said that it has been an exciting part of her life.

"I like them, and that's really all that matters," she said. "I just like being able to do something that's different."

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