Awakening the furniture, carving a stencil

This week I painted a little table that belonged to my grandmother. It had been serving as a neglected yet useful platform for the dog food container in the basement, until it dawned on me that I should paint it. I would guess it’s a 1940’s era piece – drop leaved, long legged and compact. One small drawer put together with a dovetail joint. I painted it an earthy barn red, not wanting to strip and re-varnish it.
This attention to furniture led me to dust the rest of the surfaces in the house – a task that I have always enjoyed. I’m still inching through the book, The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard, I found this poetic (yet very dated) passage:

“Objects that are cherished in this way really are born of an intimate light, and they attain to a higher degree of reality than indifferent objects, or those that are defined by geometric reality … The housewife awakens furniture that was asleep.” And, “A house that shines from the care it receives appears to have been rebuilt from the inside; it is as though it were new inside. In the intimate harmony of walls and furniture, it may be said that we become conscious of a house that is built by women, since men only know how to build a house from the outside, and they know little or nothing of the “wax” of civilization.”

I spent the afternoon completing a stencil that I’ll be using in a wall piece (a variation on a previous piece) about my sister’s house, which interprets a view from the woods above the house. I’ve designed this stencil a repeat on the horizontal dimension.

tree stencil (cut from shibugami ) horizontal repeat, © Kit Eastman
tree stencil © Kit Eastman
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Author: Kit

I use the materials and techniques of the Japanese art of katazome (paste resist stencil dyeing) to capture my experience of nature. My work celebrates daily meetings with the wild birds, plants, and lake breezes of my local urban surroundings.

4 thoughts on “Awakening the furniture, carving a stencil”

  1. thanks Pam, and then you can either confirm that the table belonged to her or that I’m imagining it! 🙂

  2. Oh, I like the new stencil! I don’t remember the table of Nanny’s – but I’m sure it will look familiar when it appears with your runners on it.

  3. Can I first of all say how amazing your work is, such beautiful designs. I am wondering where you get your shibugami paper from.I have used John Marshall’s rice paste with natural indigo and love the results, but applying it with a good old icing bag and hand drawn images. The stencils give such lovely detail and crisp fine lines.
    Look forward to hearing you.
    Tracy

  4. Thank you Tracy! I get my shibugami from John Marshall. You can find a link in my Resources links section on the blog.

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