Monday, January 25, 2010

Getting on the Bandwagon: Silhouette Portraits and Wallpaper Crafts

I'm only marginally interested in fashion and interior design, but personal style is one of my life's passions. I want the way I dress and how I decorate my home to be an expression of my own deeply rooted aesthetic rather than the manifestation of trends defined by other designers, magazine editors, and influential bloggers. However, as Meryl Streep's character in The Devil Wears Prada cuttingly makes clear, the colors, shapes, materials, and products we see widely in the world have all been decided by those selfsame taste-makers. I can't claim to be immune to their influence.

In my latest home dec craft project, I've jumped onto not one bandwagon but three (at least): silhouetted portraiture, Victoriana, and wallpaper.

The portraits of Mars and me hang in our bedroom. I got the lantern lamp on etsy,
the candle from my mom, and the Maine Cottage dresser from a coworker
who moved to Colorado. The sock monkeys, Gypsy and Harpo, have been
in our family for over a decade. I think we adopted them from the flea market.

Xavier's portrait is in the top left corner. In the top right is a piece of shadowbox art
by Jen Renninger. She gave it to me as a gift after we collaborated on a collector's box
Vignette. In the lower right is a pair of 1930s silhouetted scenes painted on glass
that I found at a local antique shop. In the lower left is a photographic print
by Kari Herer that I bought on etsy.

I started by having my husband Mars take profile photos of himself, me, and our son Xavier. I printed the photos out and traced the outlines, tweaking the hair and the base of the neck for a smooth and pleasing shape. For our "couples" portraits I lay the tracings on top of wallpaper and used an X-ACTO to cut out the shapes. I then used contrasting wallpaper for the backgrounds. I bought the Victorian frames on eBay; they are made of beautiful, beveled wood, painted black, with silver detailing on the interior edge. Almost everything you see has gold accents rather than silver, so this was a score.

For Xavier's portrait I liked the more traditional black paper but still used wallpaper for the background. The wallpaper for all three projects is from a 1950s decorator's sample book I bought on eBay, but the look of it hearkens back to the nineteenth century.

Trendy? Probably, but I think they'll be keepers.

Alethea Morrison, Creative Director
Photos by Mars Vilaubi

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