Art Focus: What’s hanging above your Mantel? Understanding Mixed Media

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Once you have the perfect mantel, you need art that compliments your furnishings. Some of our customers love to pick out art for their homes. Others aren’t quite so comfortable, and have a few questions about what to look for. So this week, we’ll continue our educational series of understanding different types of art with a look at mixed media.

What is mixed media?

It’s pretty much what it sounds like, a mixture of different types of art media. This can get pretty creative – mixing paint with textiles, or pastels with ink. Mixed media can include 3D sculptural forms, with artists using everything from postcards to beads, buttons and twigs to found and recycled objects.

History of mixed media

japanese calligraphy

While the term “mixed media” was coined in the twentieth century, the idea goes back much farther. Byzantine Empire artists in the third century mixed gold leaf into their paintings and mosaics. In 12th century Japan, calligraphers wrote poetry on handmade paper that incorporated fabric. Many 20th century artists experimented with mixed media, including Paul Klee, Marcel Duchamp, Edgar Degas and Pablo Picasso.

Photo credit:  [12th century Japanese calligraphy]

Choosing the right mixed media art for your home


Photo Credit

Art is in the eye of the beholder. The most important thing when choosing art is deciding whether a piece is something you and the people you live with want to look at every day. It’s very important to some people that the art matches their furnishings. Others don’t mind a contrast. Be honest with yourself about whether this is a concern before investing in art. Also consider the style of your décor. Is your home understated and conservative? Consider a subtle mixed media style, such as watercolor and ink. Only the boldest households are ready for the conversation-starting mixed media pieces combining glitter and doll parts. Of course, a world of mixed media styles lies in between.

Make your own

Mixed media artwork is fun to create. If you’re not confident about your drawing skills, you could start with collages. Save old magazines, gift wrap, small foreign bills, postcards, stamps, vintage ephemera and other attractive scraps. Buy some glue and invite your friends over to play. We suggest setting up a crafting table for the evening in front of a cozy fireplace. You and your friends may or not produce anything mantel-worthy, but it’s bound to be a fun and creative evening. All too often, adults lose touch with their creative sides.

We’re here to help

But what if you’re in the opposite predicament? What if you have the perfect mixed media piece, but lack your dream mantel? Give your friends at Old World Stoneworks a call. We are experts in the art of the mantel.

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