Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Functional Art

Type in "functional art" on etsy and you'll find everything from night lights, to wall switch plates, to clocks to teapots, and guitar straps. That's a huge gamut of items. You really have to wonder what functional art means. To me, functional art means the opposite of ornamental. It's something that can be used and yet still looks fabulous. It's a sculpture that tells you the time, or a handprinted set of post it notes, or that amazing set of dinnerware that was hand thrown. It could be something you wear to keep your hair up or it could be a tool or piece of furniture. I even look at my sofa pillows as functional art. They serve a purpose that's other than just looking pretty. But it's the looking pretty or interesting part that makes it art. Instead of just considering function, the person who created this piece thought about it's appearance as well.
By Jersey Maids
- Clock by MB Art Studios on Etsy 

I love functional art because I've found in my home that there's only so much space that I feel I can give to the ornamental. I don't have a large home and to have a ton of stuff that's only for display just doesn't fit our lifestyle. So I started to look at the other things I have on my counter, or my refrigerator, or my floor and shelving. What other things take up my space? What I found is that there are things I feel I need to keep out because they're necessary to living. My fruit bowl for instance. I keep fruit in it. It's something I feel I need to have on my counter. SO I pulled a piece of pottery off one of my shelves and put it to use. It seems really simplistic, I know, but think about how many other things you can do this with. Your coat rack, your floor coverings, your switchplates, your lighting, your jewelry displays, your mail organizer, your calendar area, your collection of photographs. There are things that you use that could be prettier, or more sculptural. Even if it's just a soap dish or a soap dispenser. Or a place to store your ribbons :).

By Terraworks

Here's where it gets fun though. Instead of heading off to the store to find a nicer ______ look on etsy or head to your thrift store instead. Is there something you could create that would make your space more inviting? Is there a handmade item you could find that would just be killer in that spot? How about an item you could repurpose or upcycle to fit your needs?

3 comments:

Anna said...

I agree, making something or buying something that has been handmade or repurposed will give your home so much more interest and character.

Jen said...

I am such a clutterbug. I am always trying to sift through my clutter looking for simplicity. Functional art is a great concept to help with that. I am also trying to be better about looking within my own stuff to make what I need and repurpose what I'm not using. So I must say I love this post =)

mb art studios...a creative space. said...

So true! I have to absolutely love something that makes me feel good when I look at it for it to have a space in my home. Thank you, Jen, for including my clock in your lovely post.