Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I've been very distracted lately with design projects. I'm not sure why this happens to me. Maybe it's a genetic disorder. Or some kind of syndrome. And although normally it complicates my ability to focus on important things, sometimes it comes in handy for illustrating a point.

And the point, naturally, has to do with originality since this is the final week (sniff sniff) of our series on Being an Original. During this final week I want to focus on one of my favorite themes: creatively adapting our existing resources to fit a need.

A need for new art, as in my case.

Take the above canvas, for instance. It was formerly a lovely Tuscan scene, painted by someone with more skill than myself. Lovely indeed, but entirely inappropriate for the design of my home. Like my inevitable future feelings for my skinny jeans, I wondered "what was I thinking?" when I glanced at the painting recently. And so I decided to adapt the canvas.

Some paint, some faux bois contact paper, and Voila! A pretty stag head on gray-blue. And even though my husband says it's creepy, I love it.

With my "stag success" (try using that phrase in a sentence today...), I moved onto another lackluster canvas. This pretty frame was once a floral scene perfect for adorning the walls of a hotel room. In other words, it was ridiculously generic.

So last spring I decided to give it an upgrade by painting over the floral motif and creating a fabric collage on the surface with remnants and spray adhesive.

Bad idea.

And then I saw this photo, courtesy of the Pioneer Woman, and suddenly I knew what Really should have been in the frame all along.

Which is steers butting heads. My husband and I are both pretty stubborn, so I figured it was a fitting image for our home. I'm the one on the right--can't you tell?

By this point I was really on a roll, so I decided to decoupage a lovely photo from a magazine onto this piece of wood.

It looked like first grade art.

Plan B, therefore, was to take off the image using some water and a knife and repaint. But lo and behold, under the pretty picture was an imprint of the opposite page, stamped right onto the wood. And I love it.

Even accidents can be more original than expected!

The point is that often what we need to create original spaces and clothing and gifts already exists in our home. We just need to practice our skills of adaptation. It all starts with the question: what do you have?

But more on that tomorrow! Cheers!

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