acquiring art

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So I have been following this online conversation in a social media group I belong to. Someone posted that they were looking to start getting art on their walls. They said:

Hi everyone…..have been thinking about trying to find some real affordable artwork to hang in our house. Does anyone have any suggestions on any show rooms or places to go in the area to purchase?

A lot of the answers came back suggesting local artists. But then there were a bunch which came back were along the lines of go to a craft store buy canvases and paint and let your kids play Picasso.

Ok look, nice idea for a playroom or a kid’s bedroom but that is a made for HGTV idea that makes me crazy. People trying to find affordable art aren’t necessarily wanting to do the art themselves or have a house full of finger paintings on canvas. I am not anti-child art , I just think inexpensive doesn’t need to always mean loving hands at home.

We live in an area that is rich in artistic talent. All you have to do is go to fairs, festivals, local art shows. Sometimes at the shows the artist prices are higher so take their business card and contact them after the show. Events like Clover Market have tons of local and beautiful vintage art.

For years I was the publicist and photographer for a small arts-based nonprofit called First Friday Main Line (The photo at the bottom of this post is actually one that was taken during the First Friday Main Line of my framed photography on exhibit in a shop in Ardmore called past *present* future and some of my work is still for sale there). Anyway, one of the things about Friday Friday was “art in unexpected places.” Because there were not art galleries in Ardmore, the local artists would exhibit out of stores and restaurants. And it gave people the opportunity every month to buy reasonably priced art at one of these events.

So art is truly all around us. And you can also find terrific art at barn sales, at garage sales, in consignment shops , grift shops, and even the local yard sale groups on Facebook.

The thing about art is it should speak to you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive or well-known or even highly collectible. It is simply that you have to like it because it’s going to be hanging on your walls. Not all of us are born with the bank account and can afford an art consultant or trips to upscale galleries. So seriously? Look for your art in unexpected places.

I love the Yellow Springs Art Show. This year it starts April 25th. this is a show that gives you a really good look at a lot of amazing local artists, and a lot of what I would term the modern Chester County School. It is not a show I buy from a great deal to be honest because the prices can be very high. But if you really like a piece of the show it never hurts to ask the artist if that is their best price.

I also really love my friend Sherry’s store in Ardmore called Past*Present*Future. Sherry is an artist by training so her store is a fabulous mix of all types of art including wearable art and beautiful handmade jewelry.

Now some of my other go to places for seeking out art include Smithfield Barn, estate sales, holiday church sales, fall festivals and some local Chester County favorites. Resellers Consignment in Frazer and Frazer Antiques and Consign-It Furniture in Kennett Square. Chester county is also loaded with artisans who repurpose old and vintage items into new pieces of art. So you have a lot of choices out there. And eBay and Etsy are other places to discover inexpensive art.

Another way to acquire art is when you travel. Going through New England? Or through New York State? Or down south? Out west? There are artist colonies everywhere you go and often you can pick up something lovely that you might have to frame when you get home for pennies on the dollar.

Don’t be intimidated by buying art. Go out and see what you like and experiment. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to get things you like on your walls.

Thanks for stopping by today!

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the mini-tree of it all!

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I make no secret of my love of Christmas and vintage ornaments. Today I completed my six mini-trees and have them scattered about the house. I thought I would share two of the trees with you.

Why have a plebeian elf on a shelf when you can decorate mini-trees?

Please note the largest mini-tree is like 2 feet tall. They all feature ornaments I had either previously collected, found at the Smithfield Barn and other places this year, and a few from my father.

Surprisingly it took hours to get these little trees decked out appropriately…but I had so much fun!

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redefining “shabby chic”

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Today my friend Abbi came down from North Jersey and we went antiquing and junking through Chester County. We’ve known each other since we were either 14 or 15, so we always have a good time. Today we had a fun kind of Junk Gypsies kind of day.

We started out at the Smithfield Barn in Downingtown (of course !) where I scored a totally amazing (and old) clear glass hobnail cake plate – I needed a taller one and pretty ones are hard to find. I use the cake plates for many foods not just cakes. Cheeses and cookies look fab on old cake plates too, and when I’m setting a holiday table I like having them in different heights. And I’m doing a buffet for family on Christmas day, so this new cake plate will round out my others perfectly.

Of course I also couldn’t resist just a few more vintage Christmas ornaments. My friend Abbi got some amazing depression glass candlesticks and a couple of other cool things.

Then after other stops and a beautiful drive on back roads, we went to the open farm day at Yellow Springs Farm on Yellow Springs Road in Chester Springs. It was fun catching up with Catherine and Al Renzi and buying some fabulous goat cheeses. Check their website, because they have open farm days in December as well. They are producing their own goat milk yogurt now, and I suggest especially try the cinnamon flavored.

After that we made one last stop at Resellers Consignment on Route 30 in Frazer. I have been looking for a small Persian or Oriental rug to put in the kitchen to accompany a larger old Turkish rug I have. This rug is not fancy, it is warm and welcoming. Is definitely shabby chic, and almost threadbare in places. But I love it just the same.

You see that is just a shabby chic thing I love: old and almost threadbare Turkish, Oriental, and Persian rugs in places like kitchens and bathrooms, or scattered about instead of other kinds of interior door mats.

I’m not talking priceless carpets here, I am talking about shabby chic ones with character left that aren’t so filthy you can’t clean them up. I think they make a kitchen especially feel more warm and homey.

So while I looked from one end of Reseller’s to the other I was amused by some of today’s crowd. There were a few Ralph Lauren and Tory Burch younger power couples.

One Tory Burch ballet flat wearing, Herm├Ęs Birkin bag toting gal was the most amusing. She had a look of total disgust on her face wandering through. It was totally amusing because you could tell she had a very limited idea of any of what she was looking at , but if an interior designer or antiques dealer bought half of what she was looking at askance and cleaned it up a little she would have been happy to pay the cost mark-up and tell all her friends about how she found whatever at a “darling little store.”

However I am completely fine with that. She can shop at her “darling little stores” and I’ll go digging for treasure where I find it!

And today I finally found my little Persian rug! It has been on the sales floor at Resellers for over a year which meant it was half off. So for $25 I have a very cool rug. And all it was a little vacuuming!

To clarify, when I talk about redefining shabby chic, I don’t mean all pink cabbage roses and floral patterns on wrinkled cottony canvas. I am talking about cool vintage things that might have a comfortable lived in look.

Now some people love the look of things that only scream new. I do not. I think older and vintage items truly have a comfort to them. Don’t know if I’m articulating the charm properly, but maybe that’s a better word for it: charm.

I like mixing old with new. I like a lot of more vintage pieces when it comes to furniture because as much as anything else, the dimensions and quality are often better. The problem I have with a lot of the sofas and chairs manufactured today is they are just so big they are oversized for a lot of rooms. And as I learned with a family room sofa we bought at The Dump, if you can find good dimensions it doesn’t mean the quality is there.

I saw all sorts of cool pieces at Resellers today, including amazing Edwardian sofa that was still in its original horse hair and not too sprung on the bottom.

Even if I’m not buying, I like looking. It’s fun to always have a few new ideas in the back of your head for “someday”.

There are so many possibilities out there to achieve looks literally like you see in magazines. And you can do these things on a budget. And that’s whether you were looking for a country living look or something a little more mid-century modern or even classic meets funky.

And I’m not trying to put interior designers or antique dealers out of business, but face it , this is still a tough economy out there and if you can get a great deal you appreciate your home even more in my opinion.

Besides, there is the whole thing about decorating your own home and achieving your own look. Sure you can pay someone to do it, but if you really want to make your home your own you have to do at least parts of it yourself.

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