Transforming Junk Into Funk & Turning Trash Into Cash

Various Completed Projects

$8 flea market table and trash picked chair- given to step daughter as a wedding gift- mixed media
$8 flea market table and trash picked chair- given to stepdaughter as a wedding gift- mixed media
alternate view of the wedding gift set- mixed media
alternate view of the wedding gift set- mixed media
trash picked mirror- mixed media
trash picked mirror- mixed media
mixed media
mixed media
trash picked chair (one of two)  mixed media
trash picked chair (one of two) mixed media
trash picked chair- hand painted
trash picked chair- hand painted
first table project- mixed media
first table project- mixed media
trash picked shelf- mixed media
trash picked shelf- mixed media
trash picked table- mixed media
trash picked table- mixed media
this is the frame i later over laid with the antique keys- hand painted
this is the frame i later over laid with the antique keys- hand painted
antique keys overlaid on hand painted frame
antique keys overlaid on hand painted frame
hand painted- very time consuming
hand painted- very time consuming
collage- very fast
collage- very fast
the wall of frames
the wall of frames
$60 vanity- hand painted
$60 vanity- hand painted
ahhhhh....those dang spindles!
ahhhhh....those dang spindles!
the hateful spindle chair! 1st project
the hateful spindle chair! 1st project
flea market find- planned design, all collage
flea market find- planned design, all collage
gift for a friend- hand painted- took forever
gift for a friend- hand painted- took forever

Turning Junk Into Funk and Trash into Cash

Although I'm a writer and a musician, I've never considered myself an artist per se, but three years ago, when I was going through a particularly difficult and painful divorce, I began painting and collaging furniture to take my mind off of my troubles. I'd been doing a lot of walking at the time, and I began to notice all of the cast off furniture left abandoned on my neighbor's curbs- nothing but trash to them now and yet, in many cases, still perfectly useable to someone else.

I guess my initial interest had actually been need-based as I was actively looking for several items to replace those I had lost in the separation. But after awhile, I began rescuing anything I could get my hands on for my next "project."

My first piece was a heavily spindled and highly intricate, Early American round-back chair. It took me MONTHS to paint it, because my OCD kicked in and I became obsessed with getting the design on the spindles perfect. I wound up with perfectly painted spindles alright, but I came to hate that chair with a vengeance. It was too busy. Too fussy. Too MUCH! I'd learned a valuable lesson about choosing the style of the pieces I work with and I can tell you, they don't include spindles!


My next project was a table. (I admit, there were spindles on that one too, but they were more user friendly and it was the only thing I had to work on at the time.) For this piece, I used Modge Podge to complete the drawer front design, which was unplanned and created on the spot as I worked. I often work this way- without a preconceived notion, just letting inspiration and creativity take over. Sometimes it means pulling the whole project apart and starting over from scratch again but hey, that's the price you pay for the joy of discovery and the beauty of invention.


After I had several projects under my belt, I began to noticed that my best results actually came from a mixture of paint and collage techniques- mixed media they call it. Every day is not a good painting day for me, but on the days when I have really good brush control, I don't stop until I'm bleary eyed, lest I lose my muse in the next session. The free hand painting is VERY time consuming, since I tend towards geometrics and exact shapes and clean lines are a must with me.

The collaging, on the other hand, is much faster, but the whole process gets pretty messy. The floor of my bedroom/studio looks like Kansas after a twister when I'm in collage mode, but the project gets done in half the time, which is a plus if the piece is to be a gift and I'm under a time constraint.

My overall design style seems to be evolving into a combination of Southwest and Art Deco, two themes that compliment each other quite nicely, in my opinion. I always start with a high gloss black base coat, then apply the Modge Podge or the acrylics over it. I buy the best paints I can afford and have found that the more muted, saturated colors give the best results. I do not usually mix my own colors because it's so hard to recreate the shade between work sessions.

Recently, I moved on to painting old wooden picture frames of varying, sizes, shapes, styles and periods. I pick them up at flea markets, consignment shops, curbsides or use whatever I find lying around in my attic or basement. I decorate them, then hang them up empty, the idea being that The Frame IS the Art. Most picture frames are chosen to compliment the art to be hung within them, whereas any art someone tries to hang inside one of my frames would be completely overwhelmed by it.

I now have an entire wall of empty picture frames or various designs and techniques. Two of them feature patterns I made by arranging and gluing old antique keys to the finished frames. (I bought a wholesale lot of keys from an E-bay auction) I may try old watch parts next.

Where am I going with all of this? Up until this point, I have either gifted or kept my creations. But in the three years it took for my divorce to be finalized, I've amassed enough finished pieces that I might try possibly selling some of them. My biggest problem is figuring out how to market or even how to describe what I am selling, and how to price them. If you google: collaged picture frames, hand painted picture frames, empty, hand painted picture frames, etc. I guarantee you will not find anything that even slightly resembles my stuff. So what do I call it?

My house is getting full, my walls are covered... I need help! Any ideas out there, people? I welcome any comments or suggestions you might have and in closing, I sincerely hope that someone out there who's hurting will read this and give art a shot.

Art: A place where you can lose yourself, not your mind!

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Comments 2 comments

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States

I love your creations as they are so colorful and I think they would make a room a more cheerful place. Some do look very time consuming but well worthwhile. You are very talented. Rated up.


coffeegginmyrice profile image

coffeegginmyrice 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

Two thumbs up! Love them all!

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