what is art?

June 9, 2011

What do you consider to be art? I struggle with this question all the time. I consider my furniture creations art but to someone else, it might just be used furniture. Can functional things be art? In college, when I took ceramic classes, they were listed under “crafts” in the course listings. Was that because we were making functional pieces, or because of the medium?

When it comes to art for my home, I try to think outside of the box. I love fine art but most of it is not really in my budget, so I try to get creative.

One of my favorite tricks is plates. I snagged these cutie mini’s on clearance at
Anthropologie. It is super easy to fasten hangers on the back with some gorilla glue.

The total for this new “art” was about $12.

Another favorite place to try and find unique things for my house is the salvage yard. There are so many cool treasures there!

I found this old piece of iron work at S.B. Cox Salvage yard, here in Richmond. When I brought it up to the front to ask the price I think they thought I was crazy but it looks great in my dining room, and cost less than $5!

So, if you ever have read my blog before you will know that I am kind of obsessed with fabric! So why not use some beautiful fabric as art in your home? The best part about this idea is it’s really easy to swap out when you get bored.

I found this cute piece of vintage kids fabric stretched over a frame at the thrift store for $5. I had it in my studio space for years but was starting to get tired of it. So I moved it up to the living room, bought a yard of cool font fabric I have been yearning for and stapled it over the frame. I left the animal fabric under it just in case I ever want to use it again.

When I showed it to my husband he said “cool. let’s change it up every couple months.” Great idea (and another excuse to buy cool fabric, yes!)

If you can’t find a used canvas frame you can always buy a new one at a craft store – but they are pretty expensive. Another trick: go to the thrift store and find a cheap wood frame. I got this one for $4.

Just remove the art work, recycle the glass and staple the fabric around the frame. I bought a yard of solar system fabric for my little man and stapled it around this frame – new art for his room for less than $15!

So those are some of my favorite non-traditional “art” ideas for you. Do you have any for me? Leave me a comment and tell me all about it!


  1. Canvases are silly expensive but Dick Blick online has the standard style for pretty darn cheap. I got a 30″ x 30″ one + shipping for about $24, which is a huge deal. I like to copy expensive modern art on the cheap for my house.
    You can also get small canvases on sale and group them together.

    I love the fabric over canvas idea. I did that with a repeat of Marimekko a year ago. Scraps of plywood work well too. That’s what I used.

    My mom did kiddie plates above my closets when I was little.

    I want to get a big plastic fish mount replica and spray paint it white and put it in my kitchen. If you see any big ones anywhere, let me know! 🙂

    • that’s a really great price! thanks for the tip. and i love the fish idea. i will be on the lookout for you!

  2. I LOVE what you did with the fabric over your mantle! It looks so fab. So, so, fab. I also love the plates. Great ideas!

  3. I love the new fabric on the canvas over your mantle! I need to see it in person 🙂 I like hanging plates too, but had never thought of using gorilla glue to adhere hooks. I’ve always just used plate hangers, but I like how your way is invisible from the front.

  4. If you can get yourself a canvas and some paint, you find making art isn’t difficult.. just have a look at some of my art tutorials https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRYCTXxaODpzjo4AW-Fr8uw

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