Welcome to our (maniacal) home!

I was manning my stall at the Kirstenbosch Craft and Food Market, when a lady walked in and gasped, "I'd love to see your home. It must be so beautiful!". Well, flattered as I was by her lovely compliment of my work, I had a little silent giggle. You see, at that time, it had been about three weeks since I last saw our kitchen countertop. Apart from an array of dirty dishes, the table surface had been turned into a mad workstation. Every inch was piled with various animal bits. That sounds like something straight out of a low budget horror movie... Let me rephrase that: Every inch was piled with totally inanimate blocks used to create our Wooden Animal Masks.

The market season was in full swing, and Alex and I were struggling to keep up with the intricate, time-intensive production of these stunning masks. Space is always a challenge when working from a small home, and our designated working areas never seem to remain designated - various projects often spread out across multiple working surfaces in our little cottage.

working from home professional artist

The second reason why I had a little giggle in my market stall that day, was because I know very well that my own art doesn't feature much in our home (apart from the piles on the kitchen counter... and that stash on the dining room table... and the back-up stock hidden behind the couch...). Truth is, although I ADORE creating what I do, as far as the type of art I like to display in our home, my own art just isn't my taste! Ironic, I know. Art is such a personal thing. That's why it's important to develop a thick skin as an artist. Some people simply won't give your work a second glance. And that's okay!

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to share what art we do have in our home. You'll notice an obvious trend - I love to collage! Partly because our space is limited, and collaging means one can squeeze more lovely things in! And partly because I just like the eclectic combination of different things from different places.

The main reason why I display something in our home, is sentiment. I also love second-hand shops, and that the bric-a-brac that we've collected there (most often plates and saucers) have a history. A story! And of course, sometimes, an artwork simply jumps right out at you, delves into your heart and you literally cannot do without it!

That magical ability that art has to speak to us, is just one of the many reasons why I love what I do. And it speaks to each one of us in such unique voices, evoking such different emotions. My opinion -- to each his own! My taste may not be the same as yours, and vice versa. But none of us are wrong!

So -- on to the tour!

how to display art in eclectic collages diy home decor
The centrepiece in our study/spare room: Top left is an original pen and watercolour illustration that I created as a gift for my fellow Ukrainian language students and amazing teacher. Below that a collection of small plates and saucers - the smallest from Wonki Ware, the largest hand-crafted by the talented Janette Anderson and the third a thrift store find. I fell in love with the large print in the centre in the Bahamas, while the cruise ship I was working on was in dry dock. It is entitled "Field of Life", by Leo Brown. Above another collection of thrifted saucers on the far right, you might recognise one of our hand-made wooden giraffe masks. This is the first mask we ever created, and we just couldn't part with it! Right at the bottom is a really special keepsake, turned shelf. It's an antique level that once belonged to my great-grandfather!
how to display art in eclectic collages diy home decor
how to display art in eclectic collages diy home decor
This little shelf was a really thoughtful hand-made gift from a loved-one. It now houses a few keepsakes that Alex and I collected from around the world. The little car at the bottom was a gift from my great aunt - I've had it since childhood! The terracotta plant saucers on the left show off some of our favourite pics. I made these a few years ago in an ambitious attempt to regularly create and share fun, artsy DIY tutorials (find it here!).
how to display art in eclectic collages diy home decor
study nook
This intriguing original pen illustration caught my eye in the charming village of Riebeeck Kasteel. I wish I could remember the artist's name! It hangs above my desk in the study, and I often while away the time by staring at its intricate detail...
detailed pen doodle
framed postcards eclectic home decor
I discovered these naughty, vintage postcards in Mexico (also while working on cruise ships). The artwork is spectacular, and I found them kind of amusing!
irish linen tea towel
My grandmother adored cats! She bought this linen tea towel on her travels in Ireland and England.
how to display art in eclectic collages diy home decor
This collage is at the heart of our living room... The collection of Argosy covers in the centre are a sentimental keepsake from my grandmother. I love the vintage artwork! The clay plate and the delicate etching to the left are from the Ukraine, as well as the collection of whimsical wooden block prints at the bottom right. Alex made a couple of small pallet wood shelves so that we could display a few more keepsakes - a fish from an aunt, another of my grandmother's cats, and a Russian doll from my childhood. What's great about the addition of these shelves, is that the collage can evolve and change, without needing any rehanging!
how to display art in eclectic collages diy home decor
hand-painted succulents on pallet wood the happy struggling artist
Aha! Some of my own art... A set of my hand-painted succulents on pallet wood.
how to display art in eclectic collages diy home decor
In the kitchen: These two linen tea towels also belonged to my grandma, purchased in Ireland or England. I love their quirky, vintage artwork, and of course they remind me of her! The stunning plates to the right are from Muddylane Ceramics in Napier.
how to display art in eclectic collages diy home decor
how to display art in eclectic collages diy home decor
We wake up to this lovely collage every morning! I purchased "Hurricane Love" by Don Dahlke (top left) in the US Virgin Islands. I find it utterly magical! Below it is a collection of thrifted saucers. In the centre is a piece by Garden Route artist, Jurgens Walt, entitled "All who wander aren't lost". I love the simplicity of his work, and the deeper meaning behind it even more so. Finally, on the right are two more plates from Wonki Ware and a little framed greeting card (with a flying elephant!!!) that my mom gave me.
how to display art in eclectic collages diy home decor
how to display art in eclectic collages diy home decor
how to display art in eclectic collages diy home decor
Two more pieces by Bahamian artist, Leo Brown. "Man in Love" and "Woman in Love".
quirky hand-painted ceramics sheelagh bates
Last but not least, the latest addition to our collection (and yet to find its permanent home, as its brand new!) -- This fabulously quirky and intricate plate by Gauteng artist, Sheelagh Bates. Kitty-approved! ;)
sheelagh bates ceramic artist south africa
What's your favourite artwork in your home? Let me know below!

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