During travels in Canada and abroad I have come across some fun and whimsical art sculptures, chairs & installations which I tried to capture in photos. I often wonder how people come up with some of these ideas, but I do hope they are enjoyed by people who visit. These are some of the pieces that inspired me to come up with the Decorate a Chair project for the Navan Fine Arts show, and especially to involve members of the community. For details on the chair project, visit www.navanarts.com
If you have any photos you'd like to share, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Short on ideas to do a makeover on your chair? Sometimes getting started is the hardest. The first step is to find an idea or theme. Perhaps one of the following will provide you with inspiration.
- Leftover paint in old paint cans, in several colours if possible
- Leftover wallpaper can add interesting textures or patterns
- Use old maps, papers, books that are falling apart to make a collage
- Old photos or recipes can be re-assembled into new pictures
- Toys or games could be incorporated into a games theme
- Clothing no longer worn or old fabrics & linens, potholders, tea towels can dress up a chair
- Could an old suitcase be repurposed into a chair
- Objects, or collection of objects, make interesting patterns, textures or shapes, such as grommets, washer, sewing supplies
- Bottle caps, food labels, food boxes can make an interesting collage
- Any junk you may be throwing away or recycling could make a patchwork quilt
And of course there are lots of websites to check out too, including Google and Pinterest.
With an idea in hand, the next step is to gather the materials and tools needed and to set up a space to work on your chair.
Some like to play music while creating, if you are one of those then turn up the volume and let the music inspire you. Others prefer quiet, with the distraction, giving a strong focus on the task at hand. Do whatever works for you.
Remember to step back once is a while to see how the chair looks from a distance. Look at it from various angles. Or even come back the next day to get a fresh perspective on how it looks. And most importantly, have fun.
“Why chairs?”, a few people have asked. The simple answer is that many of us have old chairs in our basements that could be cleaned up and re-decorated, all at very little cost. And even if you don’t have an old chair to re-do, they are easy to find at garage sales, thrift shops, or possibly from a neighbour happy to do some decluttering. And I'm definitely agreeable with repurposing old, mundane chairs, giving them an updated and much more interesting look, and maybe displaying them in my garden for the summer months.
We tend to take chairs for granted, so why not show one the appreciation it deserves and give it a makeover. An old chair is like a canvas on which to apply paint or fabric or photos, maps, ephemera, writing, buttons or whatever materials you may have on hand. And every chair has a past. Was it a favourite chair in your childhood? Did it belong to a grandparent or other relative? What room was it originally intended for, and where does it now reside? I've just finished updating a hand-me-down wooden kitchen chair that has been a fixture in my studio for several years. Since it already had lots of paint spots on it, well, it seemed fitting to expand on those spots and add a variety of paint colours. I then gave the chair a voice by adding several motivational sayings.
I'm excited by the variety of ideas being expressed by people for their chair makeovers. And if you don't yet have the inspiration for your chair, fear not, as I am putting together a list of suggestions for next week's blog which will hopefully lead to a theme you would like to adopt.
For more information on the Chair project visit www.navanarts.com
We'vee been talking up this Decorate a Chair project with businesses and groups in the community and I'm excited that so many people are interested in participating.
Ideas for decorating are already starting to flow and I can't wait to see the finished projects. Seems we have close to 15 chairs committed already from individuals, a few businesses, and at least 2 groups in Navan. A huge shout out to Sheila for helping to promote this project. I would love to see 30 or 40 chairs on the lawn by the curling club during our art show weekend.
Below are Doreen and I in her studio starting work on our chairs.
The details will be out within a week and the official announcement - stay tuned for that.
Wow it’s been quite a while since I’ve blogged, but I’m getting back on track again as I have a a new project in the works and wanted to start sharing info on it.
The project began as we in the Navan Fine Arts Group were looking for new ideas for our annual fine arts exhibition & sale in Navan planned for April 2016 - and came up with the idea to get people in the community to decorate chairs - individuals, families, businesses, clubs, etc., - any kind of chair – kitchen, lawn, doll, office etc. using any materials such as paint, collage, fabric - and bring it to our show in April. What a visual feast this could be to see 10, 20, 30 or even 40 chairs on the lawn outside the curling club venue. And fascinating to see all the ideas people come up with. We're looking at having some people's choice awards with categories for kids and adults, but more on this to follow another time.
Then what we would really like to see after the show is some of the chairs displayed by the businesses along our main street – places to sit, ponder, chat with a friend, some just for display– and more chairs at the residences around our village. We also hope to collect some supplies such as crayons, pencil crayons, or recycled-type things like wrapping paper, birthday or Christmas cards, etc. for the local school's Primary Program.
There are still many details to be worked out, and we are needing volunteers to help with planning and throughout the weekend of the event.
I’m already encouraged about potential participation as I watch people and groups get excited about ideas to decorate their own chair. Why chairs? Because they are easy to find at garage sales, thrift stores, and basements. How many of us have old chairs cluttering up our basements that could be put to good use.
This could give new meaning to “When is a Chair not just a Chair”, as we look beyond the chair surfaces and find each chair's true meaning and colours. I can’t wait to see what our community members come up with.
It's been several months since I've blogged. Seems like a lot has happened since the last posting plus I have several projects on the go. Here are two in particular that I wanted to mention and share with you.
Have you ever been in a flea market or second hand store and come across old photographs with no names, date or location on the back? Do you wonder who these people are, or how these photos ended up as orphans? A great grandparent perhaps, a school teacher, the local post master? Is it possible these photos will ever get reunited with their descendents and find their way back into the family album?
Having come across some recently, I decide to buy a few of these old anonymous photos and have now made a book of them. The book will be available at the Navan Fine Arts Show June 6 & 7 http://www.navanarts.com
I am hoping that you will add your input to the book about what the lives of these people may have been like. Please come by, pick a photo or more, put pen to paper and help them to discover a life for themselves, for example:
- what might their hobbies or favourite activities have been
- what do you think they did for a living
- where did they live
- where were they originally from
- did they have children
- what did the future hold in store for them
I am very much looking forward to reading all the comments and ideas - and seeing what the lives of these people may have been like.
Following its completion back in March, the Alphabet Book has travelled to a few different venues and is next scheduled to be shown at the Navan Fine Arts Show & Sale June 6-7 at the Navan Curling Club. Other upcoming venues are listed on the events page.
An addition is planned for the book - although only parts will be ready for the Navan show. I hope to have some of the new pieces available for viewing even if they are not yet inserted into its pages.
And what are those pieces?
The numbers 0 thru 9. By adding numbers, I will have more flexibility to make additional items such as birthday cards. Each letter - and eventually each number - has been scanned so that cards and other pieces can be made.
Numbers 1 & 5 are done (see pictures below - click on the image for a larger picture).
- 1 is various types of stitches used to sew on buttons
- 5 is handwriting
And while this list is not final, here are some thoughts on the other techniques and/or materials that may be used for make these new additions (and in no particular order and with one extra in the list). I'll be trying to post the completed ones on Sundays.
- water soluble paper
- altered book pages
- needle felting
- smocking (non-traditional)
- cord making
- embroidery on book cloth
Hope to see you at the Navan show!
Photos have rich personal meaning. And photos are unique: if they are lost, the information they provide can never be replaced.
How long will your photos last on a CD, a jump drive, on your computer? Does your new tablet read the CDs you stored photos on oh so many years ago. Do you make backup copies? Have you checked if the digital photos you took 10, even 5, years ago are still intact? Can you still access them?
How will you feel if you lost them?
Check out this information from the Library of Congress on what steps you should be taking to ensure your digital photos are archived properly and to prevent loss.
Identify where you have digital photos
Decide which photos are most important
Organize the selected photos
Make copies and store them in different places
For more information:
Some of these will be shown at the upcoming Fibre Fling Show April 4-5 of the Out of the Box Artists.
Others won't (they are hanging in my house).
All of these have been created - and stitched on - as a result of the course I've been taking at the Ottawa School of Art. Only 3 weeks left.
Hover over the picture for more info.
We have been working in our class with Tibetan papers (fibrous but somewhat translucent papers) and rice papers. After creating a collage using handmade papers, fabric, photos and other interesting pieces, we had the choice of using a gel medium or encaustics (beeswax) to attach all the pieces together. Most of us put an extra piece of Tibetan paper on top, forming a sandwich.
I guess I didn't add enough gel medium, and the great papers and fabrics I had in the sandwich didn't show well once the medium had dried. The colours are definitely there, but only some of the detail can be seen and only in some spots.
Decision time. Do I start over and try another piece, or do I see if I can make something out of this piece.
Not wanting to start over, I decided to persevere. After all, sometimes our artistic accidents turn out to be a good thing. And it's only through continuing with the piece that we know if we'll end up with something that will turn out even better than the original plan.
Although this piece is about only half finished (again I took on way too much and have oodles of homework), I'm getting a textured look by adding a design common in the 18th century (the meandering thread line in green) plus the dragonfly as a focal point. The focus is now on the embroidery instead of on the papers and fabric sandwiched in the middle, and which are now a colourful background. The picture here is just a small portion of the piece - about 1/6 of the whole thing.
The Ottawa School of Art is giving us gallery space from March25 to April 8 at the Shenkman Arts Centre - I'm thinking this piece, if finished, will be on display. If not this one, then I better get cracking to start something else!
Wow, this has been a fun undertaking. About half way through I was already mourning finishing this project, and wondering what I would do next. The last 2 letters are at the end of this post. But first, I wanted to mention some observations about this project that I've made over the past two months:
Now, on to the last two letters. And be sure to come by the Fibre Fling show April 4-5 and see the completed ABC Alphabet Book, as well as other projects I've been working on. The show looks like it will be amazing.
Our task this week and last was to learn 6-7 new stitches and create a drawing out of them.
I chose to make a colour wheel. I had been wanting to make one anyway to use as a teaching tool, but didn't really want the traditional painted wheel or to buy one at an art store. So I decided to make one using coloured backgrounds and various stitch types. The thread colours I chose to use on each colour in the wheel has a specific purpose; e.g. to show complementary colours or secondary colours or analogous and so on.
Rather than 6-7 stitches, I used 12 different stitches (it will actually end up being 14 as I also plan to add neutrals of black and white, which means I have a bit of homework to do to complete the whole project).
The coloured bits shown here are not stitched onto the background. I added felt to the back of each piece, then covered a lightweight board with flannel. The felt stays on the flannel and I can move them around and use only a few or however many I need at a time to teach the colour wheel.
Class was cancelled this week as the instructor was ill.
I did manage to get my homework done however - with varying embroidery stitches & thicknesses, and some white beads added around the neckline on the dress.
This piece was a bit hard to scan as I used a lot of white thread, on a whitish background, but I think the outline shows up adequately here and also some of the shadow lines.
Will I use handmade Tibetan paper again? You bet. It looks delicate but is in fact quite strong, and I found I enjoyed working with it.
Awakening the heart
Artist - Anne Warburton
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It's taken years to discover the medium I enjoy the most. And how what I have learned before somehow fits into what I am doing now. Even when I travel my needles and threads are with me so I can continue to create while away.