A few years ago, I went to an outdoor art festival in my town where I purchased a hand-blown heavy glass globe that sat on a lighted stand (it looked like a fortune teller’s crystal ball). I had been especially drawn to the colorful swirls of red and green and blue glass that were embedded within the orb and thought that this piece would fit my groovy, artsy home perfectly. So, I took it home and looked for a spot for display. I ended up putting it on a desk that was in the corner of the least-used room in our house. What a waste!
Meanwhile, I was having trouble finding a good nightlight. I needed one desperately for our upstairs hallway (I trundle off to the bathroom at least twice a night) but because this is an old house with funky wiring—the outlet was near the baseboard and sideways as well. This meant it was tough to fit a nightlight into the socket at all. I tried a small table lamp on a little hall table, but even the lowest wattage proved to be too much light and I could see it too brightly from my bed.
Finally, the light bulb went off in my head. Why not use the glass globe I had relegated to a spot of non-use and non-enjoyment? I put the globe on the table and it is absolutely perfect—like it was made to be there. Not too much illumination, not too little. Now I get to enjoy this piece every night when I turn it on. It is a daily part of my life and always brings me a moment of happiness.
This may seem like a trivial example but isn’t it true that sometimes the simplest thing, well-placed or well-used, can make such a difference in our lives? This is what the art of living is all about: appreciating that which brings us beauty and joy each and every day.
1. With a pad of paper, walk around your house and take an inventory of beautiful things that you really love, but that you don’t get to appreciate enough because they aren’t being properly displayed. Let’s stick with visual decorative items for now. Examples of what you might find:
a. A picture/print hanging in the wrong place
b. A lovely plate, pitcher, bowl that is hidden away in a cupboard
c. A picture/print that you meant to frame, but never did
d. A collection of items that is scattered throughout your home
e. Something that seems utilitarian, but has great design lines (like a teapot).
2. Now, think about how you might put this to better use by
a. Moving its location
b. Changing a frame or mat
c. Creating a dramatic “backdrop”—like a wall painted in a complimentary color
d. Creating a tablescape where you eat
e. Taking it out of the cupboard and putting it on display and ready to be used (example=what are you saving the “good glasses” for?)
f. Grouping a collection in one space for greater impact
3. Remind yourself to appreciate your newly discovered object d’art!
This is a truly simple way to improve your life experience daily (never discount the power of eye candy) and it will get you started on the path to artful living.