Friday, July 23, 2010

Decorating with Found Art

After my mother's death I discovered a box in the attic that contained nothing but the four legs of a stool. I was so disgusted, I threw them all in the woodpile. Then, I retrieved this piece to hang on the wall of the breezeway between the garage and the house, as a reminder of what can happen to one when one begins to collect things.

There is a lot of Found Art to be found around the home I've inherited from my parents.

At least I hope you can call it Found Art. Since I'm finding it, that is what I'm calling it. Some might call what I'm finding "architectural antiques." Some might want to be more frank and call it "pieces of old chairs," which I've discovered stored in numerous corners of this abode. Anyway, I'm decorating with it so I can call it Art if I want to.

I don't know what terrible thing happened to my mother when she was young. But someone must have deprived her of a chair or something. Because she developed a sort of an obsession with them, which I know I've mentioned before.

Two of the "chairs" that didn't sell at our garage sale were actually just the backs of two chairs--no front legs or seats. After the sale, I took a hammer to them, (who is the crazy person in this story?) and used them to decorate some blank spaces that had been troubling me on the beams and above the windows in the kitchen.

A carved chair back on the kitchen cross beam in the foreground and a supporting carved chair piece above the window in the background.

My sister thinks these chair pieces look like birds: I think they look like angels, though as such they remind me of no one in my own family.

A closer look at the carved chair back I put up on the cross beam in the kitchen.

Quite a bit of stuff I've found as I've cleaned out this house has been sold, tossed, or donated. But a few weeks ago I retrieved these things from a pile I'd made in the garage. For now I've placed them on the hearth.

The orchid and the Herend and Portmerion cache pots are mine: the other things are Found Art, including; the curved iron pot hangers which I'm thinking of putting up in the beams of the beamed ceiling in the living room; the copper fondue pot that holds the orchid; and the three hand-carved chair rails that once graced a gone-to-seed Mexican chair stored in our backyard shed.

You can tell me if you think this is a good idea or not. I'd love to hear from others who have used Found Art in decorating. For now I can say these positive things about decorating with this junk: if you had parents like mine, you can find it all around you, so you have no shortage of decorating inspirations; your investment in it is zero, so your risk is equally minimal; when that big earthquake comes, as it inevitably will in California, you don't have to worry that this stuff will be damaged when it falls down--it is already damaged beyond repair anyway.

And finally, the best part about it is that when you change your mind and decide it isn't really Art after all, it has a immediate second life: you can always use it for firewood come the winter.

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Robin Chapman said...

Dear Mr. Anonymous: The good news is, I'm not your wife! LOL

Anonymous said...

My dad is a master at repurposing old junk, and I'm certain he'd be as giddy as a kid in a candy store if he saw your scap pile. I showed him the photo you posted, and said a couple of those pieces would make dandy walking sticks. "What else is she tossing", he jokingly inquired?

Robin Chapman said...

To the question your father asked I'm afraid I must say: Not nearly enough!!