Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Haitian Art

A few years ago I read about a couple that saved up their nickels and dimes to buy artwork. They invested in things they really wanted to look at, things that told a story, that inspired them, that they loved. In a world of changing fads it's a very personal choice. It means you're comfortable with your own taste, that you don't need others to like what you like, and that is freeing. Randy and I collect art and things we like to look at. Our walls are an eclectic mix of graphic design, old signs, metal bits and wooden things. And color. Lots of color. When I was younger my grandmother had a green room. It was her favorite color (it's mine too). I thought it was so cool that she chose it as the color of an entire room, not caring if anyone else liked it or not. I decided that when I had a house of my own that I would choose fun colors that I liked too, and I have.

Some of our friends think I'm crazy because our walls are sooo green, others think it's fun and whimsical, some say it's "funky". The most important thing is that my family loves it. It makes a great backdrop for all of the miscellaneous things hanging about the room. 

This is one of the newest additions to our funky walls. My mother-in-law and several wonderful folks from her church have made regular trips to Haiti to help a school there. They have done incredible things for children. Before her last trip my husband asked her to please bring home Haitian artwork, and she did! While visiting family this summer she invited us over to choose a piece of artwork to take home with us, and I fell in love with this bright metal tap tap bus! Tap Taps are brightly painted buses used as taxis in Haiti. They don't move forward until filled. I love that it has character, it's metal, I love the texture, and the colors are gorgeous. 

Each piece of art on our walls has a story. My mother-in-law would say that some of them are conversation pieces, and this metal tap tap bus truly is. Metal Haitian art is made by repurposing the steel from transported oil drums. The top and bottom are removed, the drum is set on fire to burn off any residue and paint, and when cooled they are cut open and flattened into a sheet. Then the art begins! My husband knew how much I loved this piece and chose it from the his mothers collection even though he really really loved a painting a bit more. When I realized he'd done this I arranged for the painting to be his Father's Day gift. He was thrilled!

Wood is hard to come by in Haiti so when you buy paintings from an artist they remove the canvas or painted material and keep the wooden frame it was painted on. You roll up your new painting and take it with you, they attach another piece of material to the wooden frame you left behind and do another painting to sell. The sizing isn't always a traditional frame size. In order to hang this painting Randy had to stretch it and staple it to a new frame (in this case, an old board). 

He added an outer frame that he made out of old barn boards, and it's PERFECT. 

The bold graphic colors really stand out against each other. It also pops against the bright green wall of the living room. Being able to look at inspiring things that we enjoy has made this tiny house a cozy home. 

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