Darcy Lewis Design

Adventures in "Good Enough" Design

Archive for the month “March, 2014”

My Latest Furniture Project…

I felt myself quite fortunate to stumble across this “find”.  It’s an old RCA Victor cabinet that has had a very difficult life – as you can see, it has been stripped of all its components and gizmos, it is backless, the whole bottom frame the cabinet was ‘born’ with had been removed, the front knobs were missing and the front had been decorated by a small child who had joyfully found a felt marker, and the whole piece is just generally pretty sad and battered.

But I look at it and see the beautiful lines it has and I see a magnificent bar cabinet all gorgeous and gloriously refinished.  I can hardly wait!  Right now, my plans are to clean up and repair the top, then I’m going to cover the top with a leather pad.  The body will be generally cleaned up and restored.  The inside will be stripped out and redone, the front side panels will be covered with a black and copper Art Deco imprinted paper, the knobs will be replaced with something beautiful – possibly with a mortise lock.  The inside back will have mirrored glass.

cabinet front beforeDSCF9750

The Joys of Meetup – Building Your Own Community

One of the hardest parts for me of being a self-employed creative is that you basically work in isolation.  It’s also very hard to build friendships among artists, all of whom are focused on their art and families, and who may be jealous or competitive.  So I was thrilled to find several artistic groups on Meetup that were near me and offered the kind of community I have so sorely missed.  It’s great to be able to talk to others in the same ‘language’ about art, compare projects, brainstorm, problem-solve, collaborate, etc.

How have you found your artistic community and what are you still looking for?

Creative Life Problems…

If you are a creative crafty person, you understand that there are certain problems that go along with that otherwise wonderful blessing…

  • You will horde art supplies.  (Remember, he who dies with the most art supplies, WINS!)
  • You will never have enough space for your projects.
  • Your family will always be in the way of spreading out your next project, and they will make totally unreasonable complaints about no space for them, where are they going to walk or eat, etc etc.  Blah blah.
  • Your car, and wallet, automatically know how to get to all the craft/art stores in a 20 mile radius.
  • Your house will always have that ‘comfortably lived-in’ look – being strewn with the detritus of UFOs (Unfinished Projects) and various supplies.

It’s a problem when I want to entertain, or really wish the house was constantly in drop-by readiness, but on the other hand, I really like being surrounded by my supplies and detritus.  I not only have my own studio space, I have an entire basement to my self.  Is that enough?  Of course not!!  I want to be where my family is in the evenings, and I can’t sit in the living room with them and be idle, so my work has to come up with me there.  Ane then it spills over…

Plus, I keep trying new techniques, and getting involved in new projects, so now I have part of the garage and the covered porch filled with furniture waiting for a makeover, while the living and dining rooms are filled with fabric piles…

What is your creative mess challenge and how do you deal with it?

Buy Nothing

As I mentioned in my last post, I am on a house-clearing rampage spurred by the realization that we will (gulp!) have to move in less than 2 months (now that I say that, I need to go scream…. Ok, sorry, I’m back now).  This means I’ve gotten more active in my local FreeCycle and Buy Nothing groups.  Not familiar with the concept?  Members of the group post whatever items they want to get rid of, and other people get to claim them.  Pretty simple, right?  The only rule is that the item must be free.  You cannot ask for anything in trade, barter, payment, services, etc.

What has surprised me over the months is what stuff some people are willing to give away – rather than deal with the hassle of reselling, and more, what people will take!  Half-empty bottles of toiletries and opened packets of food from strangers.  Dirty clothes.  Broken furniture.  Plastic bags.  Anything you’ve got, SOMEONE will take!  It’s really quite admirable what people are managing to find new lives and new uses for.  I’m very impressed by their efforts to wring every last drop of use from something before it goes to that Great Junkyard in the sky.

It has encouraged me to go through my stuff and be more aggressive in cleaning and paring down of STUFF.  But I will say this…It is a pain to photograph, post, monitor, and schedule pickups for everything!  This is definitely something you do because you believe, not because it’s faster or easier than a drive-by drop at the local thrift store.  It can be very rewarding though.  Yesterday I got a little end table from one lady, saw at once that it wasn’t what I was expecting and was much more damaged than I’d thought.  Didn’t know what to do with it now, but my next stop – picking up some plants and art supplies, I noticed she had quite a little potting area set up.  I offered her the table, and she thought it was great…so did her adorable little daughter, who promptly appropriated it for herself.  But it was a win-win, and I was thrilled to play matchmaker.  A bunch of plastic bags I’d saved up for a while now has a new home at a food bank.  A ton of clothes and shoes that I’ve barely worn and just weren’t my style, along with some sanitary supplies, little shampoos and such, etc. will be going to a shelter for battered women.

What do you do with your old stuff?  Do you have one of these groups in your area?

Fused-Plastic Bag Art

I’m going through the house, trying to “rehome” as much as possible (shelters, neighborhood groups, recycling, etc.) and get rid of things, and I came upon several boxes of plastic bags that I had made the bewildered movers pack and move.  Why, they wondered, would I bother with something that is ‘trash’.  There were 2 reasons.  1) I use plastic grocery bags as trash bags.  I was now moving to someplace that, I had been warned, had banned plastic bags so I would no longer have regular trash bags and figured it might be handy to have some of my own (I know I could buy, but that seemed really pointless – plus I like the size and handles of grocery bags).  But the main reason I wanted them was that Once Upon A Time… I used to teach fused-plastic art and grocery/shopping/garment bags were PERFECT for that!

Curious?  Here is a photo of a wall-hanging “garment” I made entirely from fused plastic bags….The back has a few pieces of fabric decorating it (the hot air balloons, cows, frogs, clouds) – which are attached with a layer of clear plastic over the top of them – fused into the rest of the piece.   Some machine stitching is used solely for decorative purposes.  The front is all plastic bags – the red stars are from Macy’s logo, my name is on the inside back – using a decorative D from Dillard’s, and the rest – arcy – is macys cut up and rearranged ;>  The grasses are half-fused so they flutter in the air.  Click on it for a larger image.

What do you think?

plastic bag jacket

Armenian Carnival/Mardi Gras

My husband is Armenian (as in, Fresh-Off-The-Boat ;>  ), so I’ve become active in the local Armenian community as well – which has been very welcoming to us both.  While I knew vaguely about Armenia in my youth, since we started dating, I started learning a whole lot more about the culture, history, and language of this ancient people.  However, I did NOT know until recently that they celebrate a masquerade festival too, called Bun Barekendan (Pun Paregentan – depending on which version of Armenian you speak – there are 2 – Eastern and Western).  The local Seattle community hosts their’s on March 8th (you can find more info HERE .  I encourage you to come join us for an evening of fun!)



Oscars 2014

I watched the red carpet fashions with increasing horrified fascination.  There were a few exceptions – Sandra Bullock looked pretty good in a waterfall Alexander McQueen dress, Kate Hudson’s vintage gown (below) was quite striking, Jennifer Lawrence was amazing in fire-engine red, among others, but the majority were unflattering, dated, frumpy, ill-fitting, unstylish, and just so bad!  I really hope this is not a warning of fashion trends to come!!

kate hudson

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