Lately Cathy has been really into quilting. I have learned more about jelly rolls and fat quarters than I ever thought I would and have enjoyed every moment of my spotty education. While I have no interest in quilting, I do have an appreciation for the art form and have grown to know a bit about the techniques and challenges involved in the creation of a quilt. As an artist, specifically a painter, one of the things that has really captured my attention is the use of color in the quilting world and this was my inspiration for my last piece of art furniture.
Quilt Museum picture from goldenfingers.info
Picture from greenfairyquilts.blogspot.com
It seems that quilters are a bit more daring in their use of color than I am in my paintings so it was time to experiment. I started with this.
We picked this piece up at an auction and it needed saving. The legs had come unglued from the base and the top was a bit warped so I got to do my “fix it man” thing and correct those problems. I glued, clamped and sanded until the table was stable and straight. I love that part of this process….making good from something many other people would have tossed in the dumpster.
Next came the decision making process. I had originally intended to paint the table a simple distressed white but Cathy kept showing me quilt blocks. The colors worked on me and I thought that it would be really cool to put some of those bright colors and riotous designs into the table.
One of the things that worked in my favor is that I am basically a cheapskate and don’t ever throw anything away. I had lots of small amounts of various paint colors that I had used on different pieces. I also mixed a few new colors and came up with a yellow, green, blue, red, black and white color palette…oh, there was some brown in there too. Not many colors left! This is the piece that I came up with. I love it! It isn’t something that I normally would have gravitated to but I am changing….Cathy and her quilts can be blamed for that.
Here are lots of pictures of our new table. What do you think?
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It is such a challenge to start with a piece of furniture that is structurally sound, functional and has a pleasing shape but is aesthetically unpleasing and create a piece of art furniture that is timeless and lovely. That was my goal as I upcycled this vanity table for our own use. It does “change the game” a bit if we don’t intend to sell a particular piece but to keep it for our own use as we can choose colors and styles that perhaps wouldn’t be as successful on a commercial market but that we love.
This piece of furniture has been in our master bathroom for years.
We have owned it for so long that I honestly don’t remember where we got it from or what we paid for it but I am sure that it wasn’t expensive. A previous owner did a poor job of refinishing the piece and the wood was not in wonderful shape. It was rather weak grained and had splotchy color. Additionally there were lots of watermarks, scratches and dents so the decision to paint this was a “no-brainer”.
Cathy and I had a great time talking about the piece and how we would use it. We decided that vanity table would remain in our master bath and that we would base the piece in a Medium White color with a washed border of toned green.
Here it is mid-transformation:
We also decided that I would paint the lovely florals that we both love but that we would go for a very soft, French look. If I am painting a piece of art furniture to sell I will usually use much stronger, contrasting color as that look is generally more popular to the buying public. However, we enjoy softer color with less contrast. This soft look is achieved by painting the flowers on a wet background allowing all of the color to soften as it contacts the wet paint. I also increased the French feel of the piece by adding simple scrolls and cross hatching. The only other design decision that we made was to have the floral design follow the scalloped contour of the piece allowing the curve of the floral painting to follow the curve of the vanity table. This produces a pleasing and artistic flow to the piece.
Here is the finished product. There are a lot of photos and the vanity is in place, in the bathroom, under a painting I recently finished and framed. I hope you enjoy it.
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Until next time,
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