Wednesday 15 January 2014

Inspired by Eileen Gray

In the spring of 1980 I went to New York for the first time as part of the school trip while in second year of Central Technical School's 3-Year Special Post Secondary Art Course. Visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art was a fantastic experience and there was a major exhibition of the work of Eileen Gray. The exhibition showed examples of all types of work: paintings, drawings, architecture, photography and furniture design. I remember being amazed by her painted furniture and screens especially. I had an old DIY set of drawers that had been passed down to me by one of my sisters and that summer decided it needed some freshening up. Althought somewhat battered by my frequent moves (especially in the 80s) I still have the set of drawers with irises painted on them. Here is a detail. The irises are based on the variety which grew at the side of the porch at the house in Toronto where I grew up.

Before my daughter was born, my husband found an old cabinet in a skip that he thought we might make use of. I cleaned and painted the tulip and rose rain cabinet (middle) in the 2001, adding a new wooden knob. We bought a changing mat and it became the changing table for our new baby in 2002, with storage for diapers, cream, wet ones, etc. It is now the end table by her bed with lamp on top and lego and DS games and paraphernalia inside. The pink and buttercup drawers (right) were a very tired dressing table, given to me from a neighbour. I again added new wooden knobs and removed the mirror before painting. The purple daisy locker (left) was part of a bedroom suite that my older brother gave me in 2002 when he was updating his own furniture. He had seen my painted furniture and knew I would turn it into something when I had a chance. I must have painted it while my daughter was napping, it is dated 2003!

A few years later I had a chance to paint the clover cabinet/dressing table for my daughter. Again this originally was a very dull piece of furniture, part of the suite given to me by my brother (thanks Bro!).

The ash berry wardrobe was the last piece from the suite, painted for my daughter in 2008.

My husband lowered the hanging bar and added another shelf before I painted the inside.

With no more furniture to paint, I happily took part in The Big Egg Hunt Dublin a year ago, and had another irregular 3-dimensional surface to paint on! The event was a fund-raiser for children's charity The Jack and Jill Foundation, and my egg was part of the auction. It now resides in IBM Legal Services in Dublin!

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