Ideas for Art – Stories, Part 1

Art tells stories.  Stories help keep the memories of a family current and communicate a family identity to children.

Knowing about this “glamorous granny” grandmother, her life and travels with her husband, the way she parented and created her family helps make sense of our own family.

Even stories of the sadnesses that befall every family and how people dealt with them and who they became are important. The happy as well as the disappointing experiences are part of what brought our family to where it is today and contribute to our collective family memory bank.

And, of course, the stories all children love to hear about themselves when they were fat little babies.

Instead of hiding memories and stories in a photo album, you can use them to create a family wall of stories.  To keep this wall from looking jumbled, all of the photos in this display are black and white and displayed in exactly the same frame.  (A jumbled display can look great too!)  I used the least expensive frames I could find since I needed so many of them and I cut my own mats to keep costs down.  I have used these framed photos in different ways in at least three of our homes.  Over the years, the frames have been bumped and the glass has been broken.  They are certainly not perfect, but neither is our family.

Art can take the shape of objects you love.  Instead of hiding a whimsical doo-dad in a cupboard, bring it out to enjoy everyday.

I remember this tile from my childhood.  My mother kept as a trivet in her kitchen and had always planned to have it installed in the backsplash behind the stove.  I am so glad that, being a child of the Depression, she was not the kind of person who got around to spending money on things like that, otherwise I would not have it in my kitchen today.  

This combination works because both items are ceramic, hand-made and complimentary in color.  Their shapes are different but their sizes are similar.  One is finer and the other is more rough-hewn.  Don’t be afraid to put things together.  Allow the differences to highlight what is interesting about each piece.

Items from a collection, such as buttons or pins, can make very interesting Art.  The pattern on the frame for these buttons works because it is a larger scale than the intricate details on the buttons.

This pin was brought to my mother by her father after a trip to Peru.  I would not have much occasion to wear it, but I love looking at it and knowing its history.  My kids love that it is a mama llama and baby llama!

Showing these special items together works well because they are both metal, small, and finely detailed.  Their frames are complimentary in that they are both wood in a similar tone and with strong lines, but one is patterned and the other is more plain.  The lighter wood candlestick and owl figure create even more interest.  Strategically creating contrast is a good way to pull items together into a display.

What stories does your Art tell about you and your family?


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  1. Annie, I’m loving this series! It’s so true how pictures can bring you back and always give a story to talk about. I’m glad your mom didn’t tile the fish either. I have a fish tile picture in my kitchen – behind the stove and completely covered in grease and dust – but it always make me smile!

    1. annie kip says:

      Thanks! I love how the Art on my walls is sort of a legacy for my kids. They will remember these items in our home, hopefully keep them and use them in some way, and maybe tell the same stories to their children.

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