Tag Archives: decoration

Tin: Victorian Decoration Gone Insane

This photograph of a blue door with a tin wall was a first for me. The faded blue door itself was little more than two pieces of painted plywood being held into place by a set of old rusty hinges. There is no telling how long this building has sat in disrepair. Even the latch where the lock once held the doors had and been long forgotten.

The door was being held shut by a thin beam of wood, showing a lot of weathering from the dry alpine desert conditions and the bushes were overgrown all around the place. Overall the door provided an interesting view into the history of this old dilapidated building

However, the most striking feature by far was the brightly colored tin wall panels attached to the decaying adobe exterior. It is the first time I ever saw decorative tin used on the outside of a building to such an extent. Normally,  tin a decoration used inside of a building.   Of course, this does not mean it’s never used outside, but I’ve never heard of it being used on the outside from ground to roof. Surely the use of it as a full outdoor wall covering is a very rare event.Blue Door 2

In the 1800’s during the Victorian era, the use of decorative tin for ceiling tiles and other cosmetic features was very popular .  Even today, it is often used as a decorative and easy to clean back-splash for a kitchen or wet bar area. So the using tin is not that unusual in the decorations found in some very old buildings.

I’ve seen decorative tin tiles lining roofs and even used as wall hangings on the outside of a building. They usually appear as stars or decorative shapes that give the building a distinct character.

Indeed, there are hundreds of designs and patina available for walls, separate wall framing and ceiling covers. They are still a favorite decoration used while  restoring 19th and early 20th century homes and farmhouses. On the outside of a building though, you might see only a few decorative pieces displayed as a garden fixture or hanging on a barn door or wall but never in the measure as this photograph suggests.

So, even though it’s a mystery you walk away from this piece with two known facts. The owners really wanted to stand out in their community.   I mean, look at that use of tin and of course the color!   The second is that this door with it’s faded blue and white really give contrast to the bright red of the tile, making this a unique piece of art worthy of any wall.

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Art In The Japanese Tea Ceremony

The Japanese Tea Ceremony is a cultural icon that easily boggles the western mind.  A tea ceremony is not a host and a bunch of her friends sitting on the porch eating biscuits and gossiping. Everything is precisely planned with precision. This is a social event, and as such it promotes the cultural ideals of the Japanese and provides a glance into a very complex culture.

It is also about imagery and how image is very important to the Japanese. A special room or house is often built, such as the one in Reflections of a Tea House. Cleanliness is constantly maintained.  They beat the tatami mats (reed mats placed on the floor for sitting); sweep the wooden floors and replace any damaged Shoji (paper wall) screens.  Gardeners trim the garden bushes, weed the plant beds, and finally, remove dead leafs.  Interestingly, some of the leafs are left so that it maintains the image of the garden being a living thing.   Even the art displayed during the ceremony is important to the image and must follow specific rules.


The tea ceremony is not the place to find the gaudy or outrageous “in your face” style of art.  It is a traditional form that has developed rigid rules on how things proceed. Those rules differ slightly depending on the style or school where the host learned and practiced. However, socially prescribed rules will still exist for just about everything.   Including a particular way to light the charcoal, stacked in a particular way to heat the water.  Every aspect of the ceremony has a purpose and an artistic yet meditative and deliberate movement.


The host chooses utensils for the ritual with the utmost care.  The style of utensils depends on the theme for that particular ceremony.  Some of the utensils are intricate and ornate, obviously of great cost or value, while others are of a simple plain artistic taste, but never “cheap”.  Balance with the theme and style of the ceremony remains vital to the idea of the ceremony itself.


Indeed, every aspect of the tea ceremony remains planned to not upset the natural balance in the surroundings according to the chosen theme.   For instance, the carefully arranged and picked flowers in a vase only serve to enhance the natural beauty of the room.


However, the floral pattern displayed on the vase does not mirror the flowers themselves.  The pattern provides an artistic and pleasing flow with the flowers, but neither the flowers nor the vase detract from one another.


Further, the use of a wall hanging is often seen in tea rooms.  This wall hanging follows the same principles as the flowers or vase.  You want nothing that would detract from the other items in the room.  So, if a wall hanging displayed shows chrysanthemums then you would neither find the same pattern on the vase or in it.


The tea served is Japanese matcha tea.  It is an astringent, somewhat bitter, green tea pounded to a powdered form.  Placed into a cup, hot water is then poured and finally whipped using a wooden or bamboo whisk.

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5 Questions To Influence Your Art Collection

The art you choose to place on your walls tells your family, friends and business associates what you are all about.  If you’ve ever been to a day spa you will see specific types of art.  Ever notice that there are no loud obnoxious “in your face” paintings or décor in a spa?  Instead, you see relaxing photographs and images that calm the mind and communicate a relaxing experience.  Owners and interior decorators choose the art displayed in these locations for that reason.  They inspire the experience that best represents the calming and soothing feeling people expect when the enter a spa.


How do you choose your art?  The answer to this question is actually easier than it sounds.  First, you must ask yourself some basic questions.


  1. What type of art do I like?
  2. What kind of art do I enjoy?
  3. How much do I want to spend?
  4. Am I looking at a particular artist?
  5. Do I want to be a collector? Or am I just looking to enhance my lifestyle?

The answers to these questions are unique for each person. If you know some of the answers it makes the art shopping experience a lot of fun.  Try it out.

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Fine Art : Gourmet Food for the Senses


People continue to work, eat and play surrounded by drab industrialized cookie cutter styled walls. It’s amazing how so many people allow their walls to stay boring.  The sad truth is plain walls are boring and depressing.


Bored and fighting depression is not what you want at home or in the work place. It will affect the way your thoughts, moods and even your health.  It’s depressing working in a place where the only flash of style or inspiration is the dead remains of a malnourished houseplant.  When people work and live in dull and non-inspiring conditions they produce dull and non-inspiring work.  People are constantly searching for new ways to increase their productivity.  How?  Fine art is your answer.


If art is food for the senses then fine art is gourmet food.  Whether it is sculpture, painting, or photographic in nature, art provides mental stimulation in places like meeting rooms or even classrooms.  Fine art  in your living room can show the type of tastes and styles that you love to be surrounded with and will inspire and emotionally recharge  you.  In fact, the art you display in your home or office communicates volumes to those who visit you. Fine art is the same for a room as wearing that power tie to a meeting or that black dress to the social event.    What does your art say? Are you gourmet?

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Pictures are powerful reminders and art the creates an emotional response with the viewer.  As a photographic artist I enjoy putting the two together.  My camera is my easel and paint brushes where I can create memories and emotions tied to past events.   If you look at art closely it often begins to ask you questions.  Sometimes it asks questions about your past.


Memories work in a strange way.  Most of the time you only remember small amounts of your past, but what I find interesting is the triggers.  I mean, why would a picture in some old dusty tome from the 1980’s come out of viewing a work of art that I had created almost 30 years later?


This portrait of a delicate leaf catching the glowing mid-morning sun did just that.   When I saw it’s final form, I thought back to the different world of the 1980’s.  Sitting there in a high school classroom desk wishing the world was different.  I experienced boredom at the highest possible level.  Of course it was high school and I was always mind numbingly bored.


So, in trying to arouse my interest in something, anything, other that what the teacher was droning on about, I picked up my biology book and just started thumbing through it.  Anything to get me to the dismissal bell and out of there with my sanity intact.


That’s when I discovered a beautiful picture of a leaf.   Specifically, the picture was the underside of a leaf drenched in sunlight with the word Photosynthesis written in bold letters across the top.  My curiosity increased, so I started reading the blend of information most textbooks of that time period offered.


That memory is still amazing, given the time that has passed.  But my attempt to beautify the underside of a leaf developed into more that I had bargained for.  For no sooner had the wisps of the leaf picture memory past, it quickly replaced with the memory of that same teacher being bitten by the class pet python.


Seems, the teacher had wanted to change the mouse cage before the snake cage  and placed the little furry rodent on her shoulders at the same spot she soon placed the snake.  But that is another story for another time.


Ah, the memories.   Anyone else remember their least favorite or most favorite classes from high school?    What’s your story?

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