Our house has started to look like a home. The chaos is contained and each room is more functional than not. What’s left to do is largely finding where to put things (70%) and buying decorative furniture pieces and affordable art (30%). This is the part of the process I really don’t want to rush. There’s a strong urge to just buy something and fill the corner/wall/nook to check off another item on the to-do list. Oh the putrid siren song of the to-do list. It’s powerful stuff. But I know that within a week or two I’d add a new box under the one that said “buy new art that doesn’t suck” and “stop wasting $$$ on stuff you don’t love”. Indecision is expensive. I want to take my time with these decisions and not jump in the water and swim towards some harpy that’s for sure going to delight in my demise. Nice try, to-do list.
So, welcome to the first edition in our Affordable Art series. It’s very exciting, I know. Each month I’ll profile a different art medium and its budget options for wall decor. For our purposes “affordable” is going to be anything under $150 which is a lot to be sure but we’re talking about making a long term decision here, not just some impulsive one night art stand. This is art marriage. I’ll be profiling the pieces I already have, ones that I’ve purchased, and others that I’m content to just lust over online. That third category is basically pornography. I figure I’ve already spent countless hours doing the “research” to find pieces I love- so why not pay it forward and share those that got left behind? So with no further adieu (ihatemyselfsomuchrightnow) I present:
Affordable Art: Fiber Art Roundup
I’m going to be breaking up our fiber art roundup into a few different categories, including textile art, embroidery, and wall hangings/weaving. I’m not going to go into rugs again cause well, did that. Fiber arts have a long history of being relegated to the world of handicrafts and “women’s work”. Don’t be fooled by that hogwash, it’s just the patriarchy trying to keep you/me/us down. Fiber arts provide texture, warmth, and bang for your buck. Got a huge wall you need to cover? Consider using fiber arts to cover more space and provide visual interest without getting too busy and detailed. Plus no frame = saving money. Sounds pretty affordable to me.
I purchased this vintage indigo mudcloth for our living room from Brooklyn Reclamation. It was $90, which is more than I’m generally comfortable spending on one piece of art but I felt that it was worth it given how versatile the it is. Here it’s folded in half and it’s still an impressive piece at this size. The pattern provides stimulation but also allows the eye to “rest” and “doesn’t say too much” (this is my fancy art language). Also, having the piece draped gives it sculptural quality that shifts with the light. Not that I’m home during daylight hours to see it. #9to5probs Despite its simplicity it’s far from boring. The key is to have your textiles be handmade, it can be batik’ed, shibori’ed, or just plain tie-dye’ed. Find a print you love and put it on the wall. If you get tired of it, it’s easy to repurpose as a throw, coverlet, or turn into pillows or whatever. You can’t do that with your grandfathers oil paintings. Or you could, but he’d be pissed. He worked hard on those.
1. Morrisey Fabric 2. Tribal Collection 3. ChezviesSupplies 4. Exceptional Fabrics 5. My Haven Home 6. Textile Supply 7. San Junipero 8. Rasta Tings 9. Urbanstax 10. AnkayShop 11. Urbanstax 12. Parrie Collection
Needlepoint gets a bad rap. Yes, it was the paint by numbers before paint by numbers. Apparently women just needed to keep their hands busy to cope with the blinding awareness that they had no say in their own lives. Embroidery likely saved countless males lives as it gave women something to do with their hands other commit acts of strangulation. As an art form embroidery generally has a sense of humor and awareness of it’s humble origins. You want a poster with a witty message? No, you don’t. I’m hear to tell you that the earth has reached it’s quota of Keep Calm and Carry On posters. If you’re still yearning to turn your personal mantra into a piece of art embroidery is a great medium to use. Find something that speaks (ha!) to you and keep it tiny. Or you know, buy a lovingly embroidered portrait of the cookie monster with dilated pupils wielding a rolling pin. Maybe that says everything you need to. What suits your fancy.
Wallhanging / Weavings
The big mamajama of fiber arts. My grandmother was all up in this fiber arts goodness. The above hanging is one that she made on her loom that she shipped from Sweden because she. wasn’t. playing. That woman took her hobby seriously. Wallhangings inevitability seem to have a boho seventies vibe which is hilarious because other than being alive in the 70s there wasn’t anything boho about my grandmother. That woman was a workhorse and had no time for flower crowns and Coachella. Nevertheless she created these ginormous abstract wallhangings. Wallhangings have had a huge uptick in popularity the last few years- proving that everything that goes around comes around. My advice, pick a neural color palette and use them to “soften” any hard edges/materials in a room. Also, go big or go home. The same advice applies to tattoos.
22. Moandmum 23. Moandmum 24. Silver Iris 25. Woven By Lena 26. BlancLaine 27. Weaving My Story 28. SofiMiniyo 29. Foxy Revival 30. Bohemian Reveries 31. Woven Home by Tara 32. White Loops 33. Vintage Textiles Decor
So that’s our first roundup. Hopefully it provided a little inspiration to add some fiber arts into your art collection at an affordable price. Still too steep for your blood? Maybe try some of your own. Remember it’s “women’s work”, so any idiot can do it! If you’re in the New York region their are classes at Brooklyn Brainery, Textile Arts Center, and Weaving Hand. Go ahead and make your grandmother proud.