Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Art Within Reach

Like getting a new haircut or new pair of shoes, I like the instant gratification of rearranging the art on my walls, purging some or adding new pieces.

I've been a steady customer at local frame shops over the years, but sometimes I just wanna get some stuff up on a wall, and not spend a lot to do it. I picked up three neat old prints in Italy this summer (at that cool flea market we stumbled upon in Cortona.)

I spent $12 apiece, which I felt was a great deal. They are numbered French lithograph plates, apparently cut out of an old book. They detail "Costumes civils et militaire de Toscane" circa 1825. I chose a Tuscan male villager, a female from the countryside, and a hospital nurse...holding a tray of food and with large keys hanging from her apron strings.

In my quest to rein in the outlay this quarter...I decided against framing locally. With archival mats, glass and nice frames, I'd be looking at spending $100 each or more, easily. These prints are nice, but not exactly fine art!

I took a spin through Home Goods, dubbed "The Mother Ship" by my friend Joan D, because it's the feeder store for the odd lot leftovers that land in the housewares departments at Marshall's and TJ Maxx.  I've been known to do some scrounging at the latter two. There, you have to dig around and you're likely to find one frame, probably dented or scratched. At Home Goods, I snapped up three decent looking 8" x 10" matching black wooden frames for $6.99 each. Score!

Scrape off the price tag with a straight edge razor blade, use glass cleaner to get the residue off and clean both sides of the glass. Quick, quick--no measuring. Position the print on a work surface, place the glass on top, and use the razor blade to trace around the glass, cutting through the print.

I am hanging the prints, rather than standing them up on a table or shelf, so I gently snapped that thingie off the back. These are for me, not gifts, and no one's looking at the back...so I am fine with the two little holes that it left.

The lithos look great in a hallway that has some other Tuscan prints, and they're a nice reminder of my trip. Another little project, off the to-do list!

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