Friday, May 29, 2009

The African Queen

This fabulous African Queen with female warrior guards has been tucked away in a private collection for many years. My best guess at her age or circa is the 1930s to 1950s. I have seen other versions of this lamp made of pottery, some with spun fiberglass shades. The signed metal lamps are much harder to find. I've never seen another set that included her warrior women guards.

This unique pot metal set would be great in many interiors including Exotic Hollywood Regency, Retro Modern and Ethnic Eclectic. Every room needs a touch of drama and an Up Light!

I have searched for information about this artist to no avail. There is a clear copyright symbol on each piece. The first name is Geo. The Last name could be Trivino, Trevino or Travina. It is a stylized signature which I think is Italian, which is just a guess.

This set is made of pot metal with brass and brushed metal parts. She was in the same condition when the original owner found her many years ago. I think her imperfections represent the natural evolution of a woman's life. She wears her age with pride.

Of course, if you want to make her all shiny and new, a bit of black paint and gold leaf would be an easy fix. There is another example of what can be done with a few vintage lamp parts, crystals and some paint currently listed on eBay. If you search eBay for: "Crystal African Queen" you will find two that have had very sparkling makeovers.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Decorating tips from PearlShops4U

As many of you know, I love all things hand made. One of my personal favorites is a carved wood African comb which is said to drive the evil spirits out of your head. This treasure is 6"W x 15"L with a string to hang it. For many years, it just hung on a nail by the front door. When we moved, I planted a nail in the wall and hung it up, but it just looked so small and insignificant. I needed something that looked more impressive so I decided to frame it.

I scoured the local home stores for a suitable shadow box frame. While searching the clearance section, I found a large black frame on a very ugly print for 70% off! The print was so ugly, the checkout girl wrinkled her nose and asked "Where are you going to put THAT? I just smiled, of course she didn't know I wasn't buying the print, I just wanted the frame. A large shadow box would nave been 4 or 5 times more. A custom frame would have been hundreds of dollars. For less than $15, I had a substantial 36" x 30" Frame and I already owned the art, my beautiful African Comb.

I won't bore you with pictures of that ugly print! I threw it out and took the glass out of the frame. I pulled out my handy dandy glue gun and trimmed the frame with 1/2" molding. I had some left over from another project, but, it is available at the home stores for just a few dollars for a 8' piece. I used the glass as a template to cut out a sturdy piece of cardboard which I covered with a scrap of grasscloth wall paper. I glued the covered cardboard to a piece of 1/4 thick plywood, turned it over and put a small nail on the front to hang my fabulous Comb. Here is the end result. Now my treasured African Comb is a commanding piece of art that fills an empty wall with style.

My goal is to help all my shoppers live their decorating dreams so, on a recent shopping trip I found a Unique set of carved Tiki or Tribal type masks just for you. The center mask is 17.5"H x 2.75"W the other two are about 10.5"L x 2.75"W. These treasures would be equally fabulous in a Mid Century, Tiki Bar, or Ethnic Eclectic interior. They really are FABULOUS! I'm very tempted to keep them!

I look at them and see an opportunity to make art from art. I could make it easy by simply hanging them directly on the wall. To add that retro flair, they could be hung in 3 matching frames or 1 fabulous large frame. Get creative, use grass cloth, cork, even a piece of decorative metal grill as the backing. Check out the Framed Prints Clearance Section in your neighborhood. If you have carpenter skills, unfinished molding can be a real bargain. A frame can be trimmed with molding, bamboo, small glass tiles, or not trimmed at all. Feeling ambitious? Lightly sand them and apply a bit of finish or wax to bring out the natural colors of the wood or enjoy the rustic charm as they are. With the right hardware, they could be attached to mask stands and not framed at all. A decorating project with endless possibilities.

Want to start with a smaller project? Here's a small clay treasure with the same potential.

Even if you think you have zero artistic skills this type of decorating project will build your confidence. Anyone can make art with art. The key is to find the right treasure to enhance and make it your own! Of course it helps when PearlShops4U.