Today we have an awesome idea for displaying a long, narrow textile like the kind you often collect from overseas travel. Full disclosure: this wasn't my idea. It was the brilliant brainstorm of local designer Lisa J. Wood. She always has the most interesting challenges for us, and this was one of my favorites.
It started when one of her clients collected a lovely African textile made of grass. This was a surprisingly soft piece made from fine grass fibers. It's a rare and special kind of fabric that's much harder to find than mudcloth; I wish I could remember what it's called.
This is just a detail; it was actually 20 inches wide and about 12 feet long. And that was the problem: it was too long to hang on any of the walls in the home. That's where Lisa's brilliance came in... she had us hang it on the stairwell ceiling!
It would take some serious acrobatics to hang this on your own, but that's why we have an art installation services for stairwells. We're available to hang items up to 14 feet in the air. Happily this one was only eight feet up or so. Piece of cake!
The homeowner had collected several other impressive textiles, including this unusual piece of mudcloth with figurative squares:
It's hard to believe this was all done with natural dyes and processes. The colors are so bold.
The homeowner had us hang this one sideways, so the lizards were climbing up and down the walls.
He also had a very appealing collection of ceremonial masks. I'll show you these as a slideshow. I didn't get closeup of the trio of dark masks, but they were super interesting, with "moustaches" made of rope. I had the pleasure of taking an African art history class in college, and these were a wonderful reminder of it.
Many people don't realize just how much contemporary Western art owes to the African diaspora, not to mention the masks taken directly from Africa which inspired Pablo Picasso and his contemporaries. Compare the outer figures in Les Demoiselles d'Avignon to these masks. The simplified forms and distortions were directly inspired from African carvings; although I would say that Picasso's interpretations are far less sensitive.
He was responding to the (to him) "primitive" nature of the art. But if you look carefully at African art, you begin to see that it is not so much primitive as it is stylized, with its own constraints and aesthetic traditions.
We also installed this heavy mirror which beautifully set off a Navajo jar:
Our client had picked up a lot of lovely pieces during his global travels, but I think my favorite was this flight of butterflies in the entryway:
It would lift your heart to come home to this. (Side note: a lot of modern butterfly art is collected from naturally deceased butterflies in sanctuaries, so it's not too sad to see it.)
If you have a wild idea for installing your art collection, or if you just want a hand hanging all the wonderful pieces you've collected in your travels, give us a call. We're happy to help.
9:00 am to 5:00 pm, M-F
Owner: Arthur Teel
113 Rector Branch Road
Marshall, NC 28753