Sunday, July 18, 2010

Acquired Objects: The Whimsical Human Form

Have you ever walked into someone’s home and wondered about their objets d’art? Objet d’art is defined as something decorative, an object of some artistic value. Henry David Thoreau once said “ There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.” I wonder if he was envisioning my home, looking at my objets d’art when he said this?

As I was sitting in my studio stitching away I briefly looked up and had to smile at a beloved treasure. I think we’ve all done that, purchased an item simply because they make us smile. Louis is such an object, he’s a 17th century French wig last for making wigs. The top of the woodenhead is covered in layer upon layer of vellum paper for sizing a person’s head. Big head more paper, you get the idea. Balanced upon coverless French book inserts Louis hangs about holding a beautiful antique French crown in regal splendor

Perhaps it’s because of the type of job I have, antique textile dealer that I’m around and see more antiques than my fair share. Mainly because my dealers deal in more than just textiles and are always showing me items that don’t relate to my business in hopes of a sale. Being female this appeals to me greatly. Plus having an artistic side let alone not being able to help myself I end up with what I think are rather amazing things decorating my home.

Meet Henri, he stands about like a sentry on duty presiding over my pillows. He’s an 18th century child’s clothing mannequin straight from France. His body is stuffed with horsehair and wrapped in burlap, I love the stitching up the front of him in French waxed string. Sometimes I dress him up in something old, do we ever grow tired of playing dress up?

Objects add so much life to our rooms and antiques bring history, an artful intrigue. Imagine a room devoid of our decorative objects, a room with just furniture, it doesn’t look finished. Our objects are what keep our eyes moving, what makes it interesting. As I sit here in my studio I notice I have several human form objects, what is it about the human form we try to bring into our rooms? My guess is the human form finishes off a room the same way living people do.

Kay O’Toole has several mannequins, above and below, in the form of a Mexican Santos and garden statue enlivening her hall bringing it to life. Ms. O’Toole’s shop is called “Antiques and Eccentricities for all the weird things she’s drawn to” but are they weird or comforting? Photo courtsey March, 2010 Veranda magazine.

Katie Stassi Here used a mannequin near a French daybed, her philosophy is her interiors are “ defined not designed”. So do our objects define a space as well as decorate?


 Alain and Brigitte Garnier incorporated a French mannequin artfully into their lives in their Belgium home. Photo courtesy of Cote de Texas Here 

Antiques, accessories, objects all tell a story whether about the room they inhabit or the people who purchase them, they bring a room to life. So whether you’re using mannequins, Santos or statues for accessorizing your home incorporating a human form adds a touch of life and intrigue into a room. Or if you’re like me you spend way too much time alone and have made inanimate objects your friends….lol.


Mona Thompson said...

I didn't realize that you were an antique textiles dealer. I absolutely love the character of antique textiles. Nothing quite like it.

A Perfect Gray said...

how in the world did I miss this post? I can't believe our similarities. you've probably seen my three toddler dress forms. I have a wooden hat form that I also love, very much like your wig last. Some time ago, I did a post about the human form as art and featured nude sketches.

isn't this one of the great things about blogging - finding soul mates?!

love, donna

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