Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A smile-worthy something.

Somewhere on the internet, there is surely a list of "build a better blog" dos and don'ts that begins, "Don't lead with a picture of your toilet." Right? I know. I'm sorry. 

This is the story of a short art installation that took me eight months to get around to. It always amazes me how many steps it takes to make something happen-- no matter how small-- inside a house. When you like working with repurposed things, and antique things, and refurbished things, nothing is ever as small as it seems.

Patrick bought these two beautiful plates for me for Christmas last year. Or maybe it was my birthday, which is two days before Christmas. Either way, they're beautiful, aren't they? Husbands who shop at Etsy are good husbands indeed.

 I knew they'd go perfectly in our downstairs bathroom, once the vanity was painted yellow and the floor was tiled. So I set the plates on the counter while they waited for the bathroom to be finished. Then, the bathroom was finished, but still they waited.

I needed something to go in between them. A little framed something. I bought a perfect frame on a giddy day of antiquing, and then I bought a print to go in the frame. But the print was the wrong thing, so again the project was on hold.

I wanted something black and white, something that wouldn't compete with the plates and would reinforce the graphic, high-contrast vibe I've got going on in this room.

What I finally landed on was a giant cheat-- I cut a print out a magazine, taped it to a piece of textured paper, and made a fake mat out of a piece of cardstock spray painted oil-rubbed bronze. I think the frame was two dollars. I love making cheap art. 

I'm having a hard time squaring myself with this cheat, because the print is by Frank Eckmair. Frank's work is incredibly moving-- it's rural and romantic and nostalgic and haunting. Please go to the website and look at some of his work. He was a Gilbertsville native; he and his wife would come down to the Empire House every single night, and I would bring Frank his B&B. He was a sweetheart; since he passed away in February I miss him terribly. I want-- I owe it to him-- to hang a real piece of his art in my bathroom, not a cheat, and if I could run down to the general store right now and buy one I would. 

But, I remind myself, Frank loved the art of the cheat himself. He sometimes carved his prints out of wooden spoons; he took up printmaking because it didn't require fancy materials. Maybe he'd be okay with the fledgling freelance writer, cobbling together a smile-worthy something with a little of this and that and a print cut from a magazine. I hope so. 

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Becky said...

I love it! And yes, I believe your friend would be proud of your efforts.

Shelley said...

I was just re-reading this post..don't you already have an original plate done by Frank? It may not look right in the bathroom, but I don't think you're cheating his memory at all by hanging up the print for now.

Kristina Strain said...

Shelley, you're absolutely right-- I have a plate on the wall in my dining room. I also have a tiny original print-- he was selling them last summer for $6 at the general store!-- in the frame wall in the hallway. Thanks for reminding me. :)

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