If I’ve learned anything from TV decorating shows, it’s that art is in the eye of the beholder. All a big-name decorator has to do is stick a clump of coral on a coffee table or drag a branch in from a client’s yard, and voila, we have an award-winning room design.
Watching television personalities create art in this way has empowered me. Something doesn’t have to be purchased at an art gallery to be worthy of decorating my home. If I like it, I’ll use it.
This attitude came in handy when I was designing my jungle-cat-themed study a couple of years ago. Needing prints for the walls, I rummaged through a grocery-store’s clearance basket one day and found a cheetah jigsaw puzzle for ninety-nine cents. I remembered a jar of jigsaw-puzzle glue in my craft drawer, so I assembled the puzzle, poured glue over the top, and worked it to the edge with a brush. When it was dry, I put the puzzle in an inexpensive WalMart frame. It blends perfectly with the leopard-print switch-plate cover just below it that I created to hide a gap in the drywall.
The puzzle print may not be an investment piece for my heirs, but it gives me constant pleasure, and since it’s not fine art, I don’t have to worry about it being stolen. That’s the best of both worlds.
Recently, I found another use for puzzle glue. Over forty years ago, a friend gave me a framed print of Robert Zünd’s The Journey to Emmaus. Decades of grime had darkened the print, so I decided to clean it up a bit. As I gently wiped the surface, I discovered that the print’s protective coating had been worn away in places. Remembering the soft sheen the puzzle glue had given the cheetah, I tried the same product on The Journey to Emmaus. It worked great. The print now has the look and feel of a real oil painting again. Or at least it does if you don’t peer too closely.
Although I can’t sell the picture for much money, it works well with my décor and it’s a pleasant reminder of the friend who gave it to me.
I’ll take that any day over a decorator’s clump of coral.
Written by Fiercely Frugal Savage Sister Diana
© 2009, The Savage Sisters