We live by the belief that there's no better place for experimentation + creativity than your home. It's our little lab + playground for all things creative - design, art, music, etc., etc.! -Black House Blue Sky
Looking for a fun, imaginative way to personalize and inject soul into your home? How about writing or drawing on your walls? Did I hear a gasp? Just to clarify, not all of your walls (unless that’s your jam), but designating one wall or a small area in your home.
Many of you may cringe when I mention writing or drawing on your walls. I know, I know, there’s definitely a risk associated with this. What if you make a mistake? What if you don’t like it? I’ve always been one of those people who operates with the attitude if it doesn’t work, I’ll just paint over it! Nothing is truly permanent, right? After all, I’ve repainted rooms multiple times when I couldn’t get the color exactly the shade or depth I envisioned in my mind. It’s all part of the creativity and experimentation of design.
In our modern houses, I’ve really grown to love white walls and the blank canvas they provide for creativity and artwork. In my previous life, every room in our house was different, either painted a color or wall papered in various patterns (This Old House of Mine). A different form of creativity for sure. I still love seeing those homes out there, but personally evolved into loving mostly white walls, or at least for now! The white wall is the perfect place to put your paint and/or markers and imagination to work.
When we were planning and designing the spaces for our new house, I knew I wanted to designate a wall where we could write and draw. Our side entry mudroom ended up being the perfect spot. It’s a small area we frequent as we come and go in and out our side door, the place where we drop our belongings in cabinets and place our shoes in bins. It’s been a fun family project, each of us adding to the wall. Whether it’s an inspirational quote or phrase, a doodle or sketch, we’ve all contributed a little something. It is still a work in progress that will continue to evolve over time, as the wall art grows, and we fill in the gaps. And, when I walk in our side door, seeing the wall just makes me happy!
Honestly, there’s nothing quite like handing your kids some permanent markers and letting them have at it, with your blessing! This actually makes me laugh as we spent so many years trying to keep our sons from writing and drawing on our interior walls. I may even recall having to repaint a wall after one of our little guys went to town with a box of his beloved Crayolas. And now, here we are many years later embracing this form of wall art.
So if you’re looking for a creative alternative for your walls, writing or drawing could be a fun way to infuse a different type of art to a room or space. Whether you love writing, drawing or graffiti, you can adapt to suit your interior style and make it personal to you and your family. The below inspiration includes some great examples of how this can be done successfully.
What do you think? Yay or nay on this one?
If you have young children who do not understand the concept of writing or drawing here, but not here, this may NOT be a good idea. Your littles could end up writing and drawing on all of the walls in your home!
From our Bechtler visit: Top left – Picasso, top right – Calder, bottom right – Steinberg, bottom left – Miro, center – Picasso.
Late last year, pre-COVID, we visited one of our favorite art museums in Charlotte, The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. The featured exhibition was entitled Nomadic Murals: Tapestries of the Modern Era. It was the first time the museum’s full collection of tapestries had been shown. Some of our faves were by Picsasso, Calder, Le Corbusier and Miro. Just wow… these are what our visual and tactile dreams are made of! And can I just say, it’s almost impossible to keep your hands from reaching to explore the myriad of interesting textures, even after the docent kindly reminds us these are NOT for touching!
Then, my oldest son drove cross country in the spring (yes in a pandemic) and returned with a sweet gift – a small wall hanging he found in Winslow, Arizona (Take It Easy…). He got major style points for selecting a piece with the most perfect graphic design and color combination. Is it nature or is it nurture? We know he’d just roll his eyes at us right about now! We’re so excited to see where his thoughtful purchase gets placed in our new home.
All of this inspiration has tapestries and wall hangings on our design mind. We’ve honestly kind of become obsessed with what we’d previously overlooked, online shopping and searching for these intricate textiles and researching this cool art form. Admittedly, we’ve also watched one too many YouTube how-to videos on creating your very own DIY version. We all know how this inevitably goes!
While the majority of us may be unable to purchase large, woven hangings for our homes created by the modern art greats, seeing these aspirational examples made me wonder why we’re not adorning more of our residential walls and interior spaces with some version of these threaded goods. I see some nice ones here and there, but nothing detailed and large scale. Duplicating museum representations is unrealistic for sure, but there are many, beautiful, accessible wall tapestries, and what can be made into wall hangings, available out there. In my many years of doing design, I’ve yet to use this form of art in my interior projects, but I’m clearly rethinking tapestry art.
Let’s go forth and hang some textiles!!! And perhaps it’s just a spectacular, vintage rug (not a heavy one) displayed on the wall. Or maybe you’re far more crafty than we are and can create your own (If so, good for you, and we envy you for sure!). Either way, my art/design horizons have officially been expanded. I soooo love being inspired!
Our Favorite Tapestries
(NOT in an art museum!)
As time steadily marches onward into 2020, I’ve been in my typical beginning-of-the-year purge and organize mode. In the process of decluttering and tackling the mountain of papers, I ran across these photos of our previous house that were published in a local magazine, Charlotte Home + Garden, in April of 2012. I unexpectedly found myself being swept up in a wave of sentimental emotion.
As I stepped back in time, turning the glossy magazine pages, I was bombarded by flashbacks of our family living in the house. An entire spectrum of feelings swelled inside of me, as I grappled with the overwhelming nostalgia. After eight years and a total renovation, we sold and quickly moved onto the next project, our current house. If only I could go back in time and write a letter of appreciation to this old house of ours, thanking her for embracing and sheltering our family, providing a safe, beautiful place to haven, love and create! This house was a reflection of who we were at the time. Our homes often tell a story of our lives… how they are, and then before we know it, how they once were, memories like DNA stored in the walls and floors. I always tell my kids that home is wherever we are, together. I do believe this, but in this moment I find myself grieving this home, five years after we’ve moved… reflecting on what once was.
So much has changed since these images were taken – the passage of time, our family, where we live, my design aesthetic. It’s wild to look back at images of our house from nearly a decade ago…. the saturated color, the pattern layers and mix, the painted pink and orange striped bathroom, the bold graphic wallpaper, the dark lacquered walls, the textiles, etc. I still love so much about that old house, the lively interiors, the fond memories, the little red heart my husband painted on the wall in the corner of my middle son’s room. Two of our boys were born at a hospital a couple of blocks away and brought home to this 1920s two-story house. At the time of the photo shoot, my youngest son was still a baby, and oh how much I loved his little sunshine yellow nursery. In a corner of that room, we spent some of the sweetest hours rocking back and forth together in a wooden glider. The interior design was perfect for the house and for that time in the life of our family. The memories and the interiors are so closely intertwined… all denoting a point in the past.
The passage of time is such an odd thing. Looking back, it seems like yesterday that we were there in the house, and then at other times, like it was twenty-something years ago. The familiar and reliable rhythm of good ole time, marked by the relentless clock ticking and tocking forward… always rotating directionally clockwise. The steady sound of it is deafening. I cover my ears to avoid the painful reminder of time passing. Time is an enigma. And perhaps, it’s the enigma of life. Much of the present seems to creep by in slow motion. There have been too many times to count mothering toddlers that I silently moaned and cursed time, indignantly claiming that hours had been added to my already long day. And then, glancing back in the rear view mirror, it’s all happened at a frenzied, warped speed. The lines are all blurred and time has been manipulated with exposure photography. You attempt to capture all of the moments by taking all of the pictures and writing down all the things, somehow forgetting so many of the details. What kind of cruel joke is that? I feel like the past thirty years of my life have been sandwiched into a ninety minute movie, a B movie at best, only some of the highlights made the final cut. The remaining memories are carelessly strewn across the editing room floor. As the movie is projected onto the big, white screen, I watch in disbelief as the rapid change occurs in each character. I’m here, right now, in the present, frantically crawling around on that cutting room floor, attempting to gather each moment in hopes of splicing them back together so I can see the missing parts of the story. It’s a fruitless attempt at best as the reel cannot hold it all. There’s no way to change the flow of time. So much is seemingly lost.
And ironically, even with these sentimental musings, the fist-fight with time prevails. I seem to be impatiently pressing time forward, forging change, restless with the same old same old. On some level, there’s a discontentment and boredom, always lingering just beneath the surface, churning and bubbling. It sometimes feels like a throbbing tooth ache that cannot be ignored. Like my wandering soul will not be settled and is trapped beneath the weight of wounds from many different lives lived. I glance out into the world, and I see people swirling and swimming around at a frenetic pace, searching for their ground wires. I’m right there with them. We have all unconsciously stepped onto the big bus with the broken brakes. It’s the fancy new Tesla bus that’s programmed to drive in circles around a NASCAR track. In a world that seems to value the going, the doing and the achieving, there is less value attached to the being. Simply stopping to BE in the present moment.
When I finally pause, looking up from the magazine pages and awake from the trance, I can hear a soft, comforting voice whispering, “Be still my child. Be still. I know you. I am with you. I love you. I am here now. I am here tomorrow. I am here always.” It is by this Divine love and grace I have moments of clarity and a deep primal knowing. There is a realized longing for a connection to my timeless self and an Eternal Light, that which transcends time and space. And, it is in those moments, I’m calm and settled, continuously reminded that what I’m searching for is always right here with me. I am okay. You are okay. We are all okay. For that, I am forever grateful. AND, I’m also grateful for this old house of ours.
Magazine Article Written By: Blake Miller
Photography By: Chris Edwards
Getting To The Masterpieces Can Be Messy…
My kids are and continue to be my wisest and greatest teachers. I’ve always believed God pairs us with the children we have, for a reason! They guide and lead us to the areas of ourselves where we need to learn, stretch and grow as people and as parents. Sometimes, my kids are shining bright lights on my undeveloped parts or beating on the most obnoxious percussion instruments trying to get my attention, both literally and figuratively. Even with these bold, and most often annoying signs, I don’t always see or hear the message. But over time, the signs accumulate and manifest as patterns, persisting… thank you God! As the meaning becomes clear, it is difficult to ignore and in need of my focus and attention. And yes, it usually requires some work.
Case in point… this sweet, little guy is bursting with artistic passion and expression, leaving behind a trail of the magic of his mind. It usually looks like a #$@% storm hit the interior of our house! Many times, the magic leads to a tangible outcome, like this colorful, cherished painting. Other times, there’s a pile of seemingly unrelated toys, craft supplies and disassembled electronic components, scattered about. If you look closely though, there’s beauty in both – the painting and the pile. It’s all part of learning and the creative process. My need for visual organization and order can be an obstacle to giving him the freedom to explore. Anyone else out there like this? Of course, I might add, this doesn’t mean that we don’t teach cleaning up after yourself and organization as those have their place too – pun intended! However; I am learning that perhaps I can stretch and develop a greater threshold for the chaos and disordered. Yes, this means embracing the mess, and not just the clutter of cumulative, material possessions that come with three kids. I am still learning to embrace the beautiful chaos of little and big creative hands AND of life! It may be a lifelong challenge for me, but I’m okay with that and will aim for steady progress.
It’s in these small, every day, mundane moments, living life with my kids that my heart is filled with overwhelming love and gratitude, I know that just like with art, the process of getting to the masterpieces of our lives is an imperfect, messy journey. Thank you for the lesson Silas! I love you my sweet, curious, creative boy. You are beautiful, exactly the way you are!