No, this post is not about looting foreign museums. It’s about walls. Specifically, walls in government housing, which are ALWAYS covered in flat, white paint.
Decorators will tell you that there are dozens (if not hundreds) of shades of white. Even Home Depot sells two shades of stock white for builders: Swiss Coffee and Linen White. I know this because I bought something like 20 gallons of Swiss Coffee to paint my ugly duckling rental a couple of years ago. And you can buy different finishes in these stock colors: flat, eggshell, semi-gloss, high gloss, etc. I always use eggshell finish because you can wipe fingerprints off walls that way. Duh.
But, the US Government uses only the flattest and whitest of flat, white paints. It’s so glaringly white that I could not even take a photo of it for this blog. The camera freaked out and refused to focus. Every post we have been at, the walls are exactly the same. I don’t know how GSOs manage to find the same paint in 200 different posts worldwide, but they do.
So, my apartment is basically a white box. Since I have utterly failed in my duty to buy sufficient artwork to cover it all, even after 20+ years as an FS spouse, I have been looking for ways to cover up the white. Because, you see, I hate it. Really, really hate it.
I do actually have some “ethnoplunder,” as I call it. I have a small addiction to textiles and fabric. We’ve been in a couple of good fabric-buying countries. And, my husband enables me by buying fabric whenever he is on TDY in fabric-friendly places like Indonesia. Yes, he is a very good husband in this way. So, I have ikats, batiks, tie dyes, etc., and am currently working on a collection of hand-embroidered linens from Central Europe, picked up in thrift shops.
I had this really nice piece of hand-embroidered Guatemalan fabric in my collection. My husband bought it in Santiago Atitlán about 20 years ago. It was originally a traditional blouse called a huipil. Unfortunately, it was ruined by a bad framing job many years ago. The edges were shredded and some kind of glue dumped on it. So, it’s been sitting in my project box ever since.
I saw this cool idea on Pinterest, and thought, hmmm…
I ordered some old embroidery hoops on eBay–it is easy to find bundled lots of stuff like this from estate sales, reformed crafters, etc. Then I laid out the fabric and found places the hoops would show off my favorite birds.
Then, I removed the cat.
Once I got the hoops where I wanted them, I clamped the fabric into them, took a deep breath, and started cutting.
I really like the way it turned out. The clamp at the top even makes a nice hanger. Later, I will probably add picture wire to the backs and hang them a little more nicely.
They are a little crooked now, but they really help jazz up our white box of a bedroom. In my next house, they will probably go in my office/studio in a more creative arrangement, maybe mixed up with some other fabrics in different size hoops. I am envisioning lots of different fabric “bubbles” all over one wall. COOL.
I managed to cut around this pair of quetzals, the national bird of Guatemala. I will either get a small hoop for them, or frame them.
And there you have it: an inexpensive way to display those textile odds and ends we collect along the way. Even the ones that have been damaged.