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Found Art For Your Home And Yard

Updated on September 10, 2014
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My Goodness, What Did You Drag That Thing Home For?

If you have ever heard that said about something you found and brought home, you may already know about "found art." Everybody can afford found art because it's free. Found art is any object, natural or man-made, that attracts your attention and can be used to decorate your home, yard or patio. It can be a rock, a stick, a bone, dry flowers, an old hat, a vintage piece of hardware. Art, like beauty, is in the eye and mind of the beholder. If you find something and like it and think it would look really cool on your patio, you've found art!

All images in this article are mine.

What Makes it Art?

Found Art On My Patio
Found Art On My Patio | Source

We tend to think of art as something created by an artist but anything can become art if it has a natural beauty or an interesting look and is appropriately displayed. As I sit and write this I have an old weathered cow skull hanging on my wall, I found it on the ranch where I grew up. I also have a coyote hide hanging on my wall, I found it on a coyote. I have a weathered cowboy hat with sweat and dirt stains on it. It was worn by my father and I found it at the ranch house after my father passed away. I also have a leather bull whip and a rusty animal trap hanging from my wall. For me, its art, for another, it could be junk. Much of my found art connects me to a special place, person or time in my life.

Art can be something beautiful, something interesting or something memorable. It can have any or all three of these attributes but ultimately it's in the eye and mind of the beholder. We could debate as to whether found art is true art or a decoration but the distinction seems meaningless since we can decorate with a painting or a cow skull and I've seen cow skulls with beautiful designs painted on them. The status of being art or a decoration is an attributed status so we are free to go either way.

If you collect found art, tell us about your prized find.

Do You Collect Found Art?

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Some "Found Art" Ideas

Found Art On My Patio
Found Art On My Patio | Source

How about weeds? You don't normally think of weeds as art but in the fall and winter as many plants die and dry out, some make beautiful dry bouquets. My wife was an expert at collecting dried weeds and arranging them into bouquets. You can spray paint dry flowers (aka weeds) with silver or gold for a special effect and you can spray them with hairspray to keep them from falling apart for a longer lasting display.

Don't forget pine cones, they are easy to find in the woods and can be arranged with other found art for year-round display or throw in some green branches, holly leaves and colorful ornaments for a special Christmas display.

A piece of old weathered wood might look great hanging from you wall with a few found horse shoes, dry flowers and whatever else blows your hair back mounted on it. You could frame it with a weathered rope and throw in some pheasant or peacock feathers. Art can be what you make of what you find.

My found art includes old bottles, glass insulators, old lanterns, rusty horse shoes, a saddle, a wagon wheel, a milk can, moss covered sticks, rocks, an old wooden cigar box, an old bathtub (you heard me right), an Indian-made stone mortar and pestle, an old Mobile gas pump (you heard me right again) a leather saddlebag, and old oil can, a bobcat skull, a ceramic doorknob and an old coffee pot, for starters. For the record, I'm not under consideration for the Hoarders TV show, or the My Strange Addiction show, but I do seem to accumulate found art and it finds a place on the wall here and a shelf there and especially my patio. My wife's art and my photography also find their place on our walls so we use found art as accent art rather than a theme for decorating our house.

A Found Art Patio Decoration

Found Art On My Patio
Found Art On My Patio | Source

Here's another example of found art on our patio. The rare Indian grinding bowl and pestle are too specail not to put on display and it looks great on our patio.

Found Art Has Other possibilities

Playing With My Found Art
Playing With My Found Art | Source

If you are into photography or art you can do other things with your found art. Here I included a gas pump, an old tractor seat and a milk can in an image I am creating. I found the moon and threw it in too - just because I could. Other than the moon these are objects of found art. I don't know what, if anything, I'll do with this image but I enjoy playing and creating.

Below I extracted the Mobilegas insignia from the gas pump and put it on a brick background as a folded card on my Zazzle website. I thought that perhaps someone would have fond memories of the Mobilegas insignia and buy the card. In fact, someone did.

My Fine Art Photography Website

I have a fine art photography website where you can view my diverse photographic interests. I have a gallery dedicated to vintage vehicles and buildings, galleries for landscapes, waterfalls, birds, wildlife, painterly photography and a variety of other specialized subjects. Mount Shasta and various northern California scenes are prominent in many of my galleries. Most of the galleries have background music if you play them as a slideshow. This allows you to kick back and listen to the music as the images flow by. Whether you are looking for some interesting images or looking to purchase some photographic art, I think you will enjoy your visit to Chuck Nelson Photography.

I have applied many of my photographs and digital art to a wide variety of products such as mugs, mouse pads, T-shirts, cards, etc. If you are looking for a one-stop location for unique gifts, be sure to visit my Zazzle website.

I'd Love to Hear From You

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    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 2 years ago

      Being an artist, I see art in everything...I love making recycle or repurpose art from found things...I can't throw anything away, I call myself an organized hoarder, everything in its place, like with like. BUT my daughters say if I croack they will throw it away...so time to clear the house LOL

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 4 years ago from California

      @anonymous: Yes....I think we often walk by art every day without noticing. However, we can train ourselves to "see" and enjoy more of it....even if we can't lug it home.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      To some its junk but with an artistic eye it become beauty....I guess that's what the eye of the beholder is about....pulling the beauty out that others may see too and making that connection to a special place, person or time in life in a display. Magical!

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @ItayaLightbourne: Thank you

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Very lovely found art! I love finding unique and earthy things to add to my collection. Wonderful article. :)

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @Brandi Bush: Thank you mamabush...I'm working on it.

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      Awesome found art! And you're right in your comment on my lens today...bird nests are GREAT found art. Hope you figure you what to do with yours! :)

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @tricomanagement: Thank you...I like to interact with people who take the time to comment.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @kerbev: Then I commend you on your excellent taste.

    • tricomanagement profile image

      tricomanagement 5 years ago

      I like the fact tat you answer each comment - too many do not bother

    • tricomanagement profile image

      tricomanagement 5 years ago

      really awesome - thanks so much for sharing your patio in pictures - gave me lots of ideas, now my poor husband is holding his head - AGAN!

      I

    • kerbev profile image

      kab 5 years ago from Upstate, NY

      I've seen American Pickers....I'd have brought home that MobileGas pump, too!

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @JoshK47: Thank you

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @Scriber1 LM: Thank you....sometimes we have to take a second look to see the extraordinary in the ordinary

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @anonymous: Uh oh.......I think I'm in trouble

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Definitely a great way to make your home feel eclectic - great work!

    • Scriber1 LM profile image

      Scriber1 LM 5 years ago

      I think these are great ideas and I absolutely love your patio. It's obvious that you took time and care in putting together a wonderful space using your found art. I love the idea of seeking art in the ordinary. Beautiful lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hmmm my ex-husband 'found' a load of things to fill his shed. Much of it was art e.g. old petrol pumps etc

    • SophiaStar LM profile image

      SophiaStar LM 5 years ago

      Very neat ideas! I love going for a walk in nature, along the beach and see what if anything pops out as something to use or display:)

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @SusanDeppner: Thank you Susan. Much of my found art is either attached to or triggers a memory or good emotion. It's aesthetic on a different level.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @artbyrodriguez: Thank you!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Love your ideas! I need to be on the lookout since we're decorating our new house, inside and out, totally from scratch. It's great how you see art in everything. I'm learning!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      We live on Lake Superior, so we're always picking up driftwood, beach glass, whatever washes up! Great lens. I really enjoyed it.

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 5 years ago from Albany New York

      Great photos and interesting subject. I like found art.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @Einar A: Thank you....it was a great find by my father.

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 5 years ago

      Good ideas! I especially like the grinding bowl and pestle that you've got on your patio--what a find!

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @SmBizGuru LM: Thank you

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @belinda342: Thank you

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @cajkovska lm: Thank you

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @PuttinUpWithSuzy: Thank you....the wheel is all that was left of a buckboard that was on the ranch when we first moved onto it in the Jurassic period

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @Terrie_Schultz: Thank you

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @Auntie-M LM: Thank you....our artistic taste is reflected in the art we "find"

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @gatornic15: Thank you

    • SmBizGuru LM profile image

      SmBizGuru LM 5 years ago

      Beautiful yard & patio. I love the found objects that create the ambiance.

    • belinda342 profile image

      belinda342 5 years ago

      Great decorating taste! Good job.

    • cajkovska lm profile image

      cajkovska lm 5 years ago

      Great lens and beautiful photos...thanks for sharing.

    • PuttinUpWithSuzy profile image

      PuttinUpWithSuzy 5 years ago

      Love the pictures! Especially the one with the wheel and the "weeds".

    • profile image

      Terrie_Schultz 5 years ago

      I love this kind of stuff! Nice one.

    • profile image

      Auntie-M LM 5 years ago

      Great ideas. I tend to be a beach-y found art person, but you present so many more ideas.

    • gatornic15 profile image

      gatornic15 5 years ago

      Really great ideas...and your pictures are incredible!

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @anonymous: Thank you so much and, He does.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens. God bless!

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @Sylvestermouse: Thank you....I tend to walk looking down at the ground...I run into trees a lot but find cool stuff.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

      So many fabulous suggestions for using found art in your home and yard! You and your wife are extremely creative. Your photos are gorgeous and I couldn't help but be a little jealous of some of your finds.