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If Walls Could Talk

When moving into a new home you are more or less handed a blank slate – A lot of empty space that is just yearning for color, texture, shapes, personality.  This new place gives you the opportunity to convey who you are through design.  You may not see it this way, but I feel that decorating your personal space is an outward expression of your inner self through lines, colors, furniture, and art work.  Think of it this way, home decor is like your wardrobe but much larger in scale, more expensive and for most, if you don’t like what your home is “wearing,”  tough, you can’t simply change the outfit in a snap.  

A few weeks ago, I moved into a new apartment, my first and I’m all on my own.  I have free range to decorate how I want.  So now, I’ve got this blank slate in front of me and I really do not want to screw it up – I want my place to scream who I am!  I have all the furniture but the walls…well, they are still bare as a bone with no art displayed upon them. 

The problem is, I do not want to, nor can I, spend a hefty chunk of change on artwork.  I have concert posters (Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, Flatstock) that I plan to frame and hang but that’s not exactly doing it for me.  I keep coming back to what I preach every day of the week – SHARPIE.  I’m sure you’ve all seen the pictures of the “Sharpie basement” and all sorts of Sharpie wall artYES! I do love these but also YES, my landlord would have fit if I attempted them.  So what else can I do to bring in that unique, urban, DIY, Sharpie-esq element?

I think I’ve found it…

Several stores I’ve bought furniture from have a similar theme going on that I can only describe as a ”paper-recession motif.”  In other words, using paper, card stock, cardboard, etc… to build make inexpensive, yet tasteful art.  While none of these stores necessarily have incorporated Sharpie, I do see an appropriate place for the markers & pens. Using Sharpie to add details and personalize the following examples would be a fun, easy and inexpensive way to make it your own.  If these don’t necessarily fit your style, try taking the ideas and interpret them to fit your personality.

 Here, pictures from magazines and books and pieces of card stock were cut out and hung with clothes pins on a long piece of twine to add some color to a pretty neutral corner .  Another idea would be to hang actual post cards and greeting cards that you’ve either collected or bought for this purpose.  On new cards use a Sharpie to write inspirational quotes, music lyrics, anything you’d like.  Or keep a Sharpie and Polaroid camera nearby, next to bowl of clothes pins for when you have company.  Take pictures with friends and family, write a little note and hang the pictures up.

Using corrugated strips of cardboard, this store built HUGE murals shaped into daisies.  These pictures do not even do justice, this honestly was amazing and I stood in awe for a good five minutes.  Imagine building these to fit your wall(s) and adding little touches with Sharpie markers - rain drops, lady bugs, veins on leaves, details on petals… Oh the possibilities.

Use patterned paper or gift wrap to cover old books and bring new light to a book shelf.  Use the same paper in similar patterns and colors to make flowers (or in any shape for that matter) and hang in place of a framed picture.

Tear out pictures from magazines, books, newspapers, or trace new drawings with a Sharpie onto paper to make your own wallpaper collage.  Don’t be afraid to overlap, we’re going for a sloppy, yet put-together feel here.  Hanging plates as shown here, is a great way to pull everything together.

This wall was really interesting…  Sheets upon sheets upon sheets of white paper were stacked to cover the entire wall.  To add a pop of color, flowers were made using wired twine and rolled up colored pieces of paper.  Add any details you want with Sharpie to achieve your unique vision.

 

 It just goes to show how creative you can get using inexpensive materials, a creative eye and your own individual style to make unique pieces that will easily brighten up any room.  I’ll send an update once my apartment is all set up to show you what I’ve done with the place. 

 What unique ways have you decorated your home, bedroom, locker, or office?

Try some of these things out and let me know how it goes!

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Yes We Canvas!

Deciding on a new piece of art can be intimidating, yes, but what if I told you that you had the option to pick out EXACTLY what you wanted.  You could tailor your art to fit exactly your needs.  We’re talking size, shape, color, patterns… Forget about spending countless hours, days, months hunting for one specific piece, not to mention you wouldn’t have to break the bank to get this art.  Sounds like a dream come true if you ask me!

Well with the new year comes new opportunity, so why not start off 2010 by hanging a one-of-a-kind “(YOUR NAME HERE)” art work on your wall that actually looks pretty spectacular!  All you will need are plain white canvases (it’s up to you how many), Sharpie markers and a bit of creativity and imagination to create art that will update any space!

An option to make this DIY project a bit easier for those who may be intimidated – just do what I did - hunt around online and search for patterns that you like and can recreate.  I found my pattern online and used an assortment of Sharpie permanent markers in Red, Navy Blue, Green and Yellow to draw on plain white, hard wood canvases (see pics below) to make my Sharpie wall art.  The great part about this is that your options are endless – you can choose to make one giant piece, several small canvases, or collect an assortment of sizes.  With so many different Sharpie colors to choose from, when it comes to color and design the choice is completely yours!

Sharpie markers used

Sharpie markers used

Reverse side of canvases

Reverse side of canvases

…What do you think?

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*Another great thing about canvas art is how free your are to arrange the pieces until you figure out what works best for you.  Have fun with it!

Do you have any Sharpie art work that you’ve made?  Share it with us on our Facebook Page or post it to SharpieUncapped!

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The ‘SHARP’ in ‘SHARPWOOD’

Looking to add a little color into your home?

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…Take a tip from Karen Edwards, a wife, mother, and full-time college administrator who has taken her hobby to a whole new level! Making old things new again, Edwards is the chief operator of SHARPWOOD, a line of re-worked home décor, musical instruments, utensils and more, all of which are designed by hand!  Her very first designs can be found on basement pipes, switch plate covers, old dresser drawers, however since then Edwards has graduated to front doors, table settings, even guitars! Check out how Karen Edwards uses Sharpie Permanent Markers to turn drab into fab!

“SHARPWOOD products have been salvaged from their misguided fate because of their inherent beauty and potential for re-design!”

Where does the name SHARPWOOD come from? SHARP refers to the Sharpie markers that I draw with, and WOOD refers to the medium I usually work on.  In our household, “SHARPWOOD” has become a verb!  The other day, I was wearing a dress with a lot of detailed designs in the fabric and my 6 year old asked me, “Mama – did you SHARPWOOD your dress?”

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Where do you salvage these items from? Do you stick to your hometown? Stumble upon them?  Travel to find pieces?  Most pieces were found at second-hand shops or garage sales. I have a hard time driving by either without making a quick stop. My extended family is also in the habit of noticing treasures when they second hand shop. Sometimes when walking into a 2nd hand shop I feel like a kid in a candy store, how do you decide among pieces that you want to re-design? I’m picky about the pieces I buy. I look for unique shapes and features. If the piece doesn’t inspire me, it just sits in the basement and gets passed by as I pick the next thing to work on.

How long have you been “re-designing” items? I’ve only been doing this for a couple years. I picked it up when I was between jobs. I’ve done at least 60 pieces… I started with a pair of candle sticks – I just looked at them and thought “I could make those look better!” The next thing I knew, I wanted to draw on everything in the house!

SAharpwood CUpYou mentioned that SHARPWOOD is your hobby, what other things are you interested in? I’m a wife and the mother of two active boys. I’m also a full time administrator at a selective liberal arts college, working to support our international student population. I love culture and travel and my art is inspired by my interest in ethnic arts, designs and colors.

What is your favorite piece that you have worked on? A number of favorites are in my home – chairs, light switch covers, even my front door. My favorite piece on my site is the Masai Chalis – my father-in-law found this very unique piece at a sale in Minnesota. In the end, though, my absolute favorite project was a guitar that I decorated for a friend.

I LOVE the SHARPWOOD Treasure cup! What kind of treasure would you fill this vessel up with?! I like that one too. I imagine it holding unique stones or coins from someone’s travels…

 Your designs are beautiful, so detailed! Where do you draw inspiration from – A certain culture or era, perhaps? I notice designs and patterns in things – fabric, wrapping paper, stationery… I love ethnic food, clothing, art, and culture – especially with South Asian or African origins, so some patterns come from that. I can’t really trace a specific source.

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What is the design process like? Give us the play-by-play! I don’t usually plan a piece, I just start working it and the design develops. Sometimes I find myself working with the wood grain, to trace a line in the wood or in the workmanship, but usually it is very random. I like to leave negative space so the color of the wood comes through, but that doesn’t always happen either. One design or color determines the next. I like to cover the surface, and then add texture and layers with dots and metallics.

Where do Sharpie Markers come into play? What kinds do you use? Favorite Sharpie? I’ve used a variety of permanent ink pens, but Sharpies are the most vibrant, last longer, maintain the tips, and offer great color variety. I tend to use deep colors, metallics, and a lot of black. I mainly use fine point markers, though the ‘big boy’ version works well on larger pieces (like my front door). I also like to use brush tip pens – but they are very hard to find.

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At a dinner party, let’s say, do you ever find yourself having to hold your hand back from snatching up the salad bowl? YES! I’ve actually snagged a few pieces that way! One day I was in a meeting with a colleague and actually asked him if I could SHARPWOOD his lamp. It was an old ugly thing, heavy wood, and I was just sitting there distracted thinking “That is an ugly lamp that COULD be made really funky!” He didn’t let me take it, and I was bummed and slightly embarrassed. I also find myself wanting to do more inside my home, which was built in 1904. I would LOVE to SHARPWOOD our old oak banister!

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 Is there any item that you haven’t been able to find or would love to work on? The guitar turned out really well – I’d love to do another.  It would need to come as a custom request, though, so I suppose that isn’t too likely. I also love to tuck words into the designs, so I enjoy custom pieces that can have meaning for people. 

Are you working on anything new at the moment? I usually have several pieces going at once. My front door is a work in progress, and I’m also working on a drum shell, a pair of book ends, and a headboard right now. Yesterday, I ran across a figurine of a mother pig with 2 baby pigs – I might start working on that one tonight (it will be very fun)!

You can Find & Purchase SHARPWOOD at etsy.com The full internet address is http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6051638

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These pieces will not only liven up your own space but this is a great gift idea too! 

 Head on over to your local second-hand shop to see what you can find.  Better yet, take a look around your house – go back into your crawl space, climb up to the attic and pull out a piece that can be given a new life! 

For more DIY check out www.sharpieuncapped.com