For one reason or another, I have got quite a lot of empty wall space to fill.
It’s mostly because neither I nor my husband think to buy “art”, or posters or anything to stick on the wall. It just never occurs to us. We’ve bought one or two things, nearly been sick at the cost and still sort of put our heads on one side when we pass it in the hallway or kitchen and go “is that okay? Or terrible?”
I’m sure we do have enough money to buy more “art” – it’s just not a priority. But if you don’t have things on the wall it’s just too awful and depressing.
Anyway recently what with Sam at nursery and Kitty at school I’ve got a tiny bit more time on my hands to think about such things. And then a really good picture framer opened at the top of my road and I had a brainwave.
You can basically frame pretty much anything and stick it on the wall. In the last 20 years, framing a lot of family black and white photos and hanging them together has been a thing (you don’t need a framer for that though – get thee to Ikea.)
But I had an idea about framing some old children’s books – The Story of Lazy Bush Tail and The Bunney-Fluff’s Moving Day – my favourites when I was little. The framer up the road does a line in hand-finished frames in Farrow and Ball colours. I know everyone makes fun of Farrow and Ball but the colours are very nice so I had them framed open at pages that I particularly dwelled on as a child.
Okay, not really cheap – getting these two framed, plus another print, was just shy of £300. But that’s one wall covered. And I love them a damn sight more than some old shit from The Affordable Art Fair.
The other things I have found to stick on my wall have been colour plates from Animalium, razored out and put in £6 jobbies from Ikea. Alright alright so my house isn’t going to win any design prizes, but I’m quite pleased with the idea.
Sue Collins says
This idea works well for kitchen walls – favourite recipe books often have stunning photos of the dish I can never replicate but look good framed and useful when making shopping list!
Or you can buy direct from artists….
Especially in London, you’re spoilt for choice for open studios – have you ever visited the Gasworks in Fulham? iTs basically packed like a bee hive with artists and designers, they have several open days.
Or visit my website obviously!
Thanks Catherine! I’ve never heard of the Gasworks!!! I must get myself down there. Lovely to see you here, as always. xxx
Those are amazing. I absolutely love them. I have my old “Waggy” books and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” of course. One thing I did was to dig out my old tapestries and embroideries, I started these as a teeny child, 8 or 9 maybe younger. (I have no idea where it came from – I also made full costumes for school plays etc…) I did them right up to my 20’s then got a life!! I have a long kitten embroidery/tapestry around 4 foot that I had framed.
I also got a long freeze print of the Canterbury Tales, a few quid from the Cathedral and framed that. It has all the pilgrims on horses/foot in procession and my grandfather had one just like it.
Basically the skies the limit – if you have a tiny bit of imagination. I’ve never thought of books though, that’s a fantastic idea!
These are really nice ideas, Esther. I think stuff on your wall should be personal and meaningful to you, and should accrete gradually, rather than quickly filling space with prints of old masters or IKEA posters something, though I’ve nothing against that either. We’ll very occasionally buy art from artists who are friends or who we’ve met. I also have deep frames like yours displaying matchboxes from restaurants we’ve had memorable meals in, many of them closed now, and of course none give matches away any more. I’m not sure people’s houses should win design prizes. *Unsolicited advice alert* You write “razored out” – we designers usually use Swann-Morton surgical scalpels with No 10A blades for precision and control, available from art shops. Perhaps you already do. They’re pretty deadly, though, especially when changing a blade, and maybe not such a good idea with small children around. I impale mine into an old wine cork when I’m not using it.
Thanks Ian. all our scalpels are stolen from various newspapers we’ve worked out (for cutting out pieces from the papers for ideas). Deadly is the word – I keep the lid firmly on mine and out of reach. Even then it makes me nervous.
Sharon Atkinson says
Love the books idea, I may steal it, my friend has a framing shop so can get it done cheap. I have stacks of Enid Blyton’s and all the Mr Men and Little Misses.
Charlotte MixEz (@_MixEz) says
That is a brilliant idea with the books. They look lovely and the posters. I have some old film posters which need proper framing. One thing we did (I know this will sound crazy) but we did a painting with paw prints using finger paints with the cats. The cats were fine about it. You could do a family portrait with hand prints (Christmas gifts/cards).
Love the Animalium idea, they look fab. I have prints from Babar up by my daugther’s cot, Ikea frames and the prints were cheap from a market in Paris (if you ever happen to be in Paris looking for kid’s decor…).