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When I travel, I enjoy bringing home small keepsakes to remind me of my adventures. An easy way to memorialize the trip is to create art from postcards from each country. On this trip, with Edinburgh as my home base, I looked for postcards that represented the fascinating city. As my sister and I browsed in different shops, I checked out the postcards for sale. However, nothing really captured my interest.
I was looking for the Scotland connection, a link between Edinburgh and my interests. As we waited to enter the Museum Context, I spied a small artistic shop next door, called The Red Door Gallery. How grateful I am that I stepped inside!
The Red Door Gallery
This delightful shop, established in 2003 and located at 42 Victoria Street in Edinburgh, showcases artwork from Edinburgh and UK based artists. The Red Door Gallery offers a large assortment of artists prints, homewares, jewelry and CARDS.
Suddenly I went from not having the right options to having too many! I’d been so busy looking at postcards that I almost missed an opportunity to purchase greeting cards featuring the artwork of local artists. I quickly located a dozen cards that appealed to me, that offered the Scotland connection I desired.
As a bonus, the cards easily tucked into my carry on. I can’t bring home a bunch of souvenirs, when I travel, which is perfect. The small space helps me to decide what’s most important.
Back home, I studied my art cards, eager to create. (Check out my previous postcard art.) I chose the watercolor and ink art cards by David Fleck as my first project.
Previously I purchased frames from Michael’s Craft Store to hold postcards from Italy, Scotland and England. This time, I wanted to be more creative. Daily I looked at my cards as I sought inspiration. And each day ended without a solid idea. Finally, as I clicked off the light one night, an amazing flash of creativity arrived. I turned the light back on.
Interestingly, during this same time, ideas simmered on the back burner of my mind for another creative project. That night, the two projects merged into one.
My Grandfather’s Chair
In 2014 my sister, the same one who accompanied me to Scotland, passed on to me a couple of vintage chairs made in the 1950s, by my paternal grandfather. The chairs underwent numerous repairs over the years. When I received them, one of the chairs needed extensive work to make it usable. (You can read about the restoration here.)
However five years later, this old chair is literally falling apart, due to exposure to weather. I considered throwing the chair away, but it’s one of the few keepsakes that I have from this grandfather, who passed away when I was just five years old. What could I make from it?
Last week inspiration provided an answer. Repurpose the chair into a frame…for the David Fleck art cards.
With Greg’s help, I disassembled the chair, piece by piece. The worn and weathered wood provided the material for a unique frame, a work of art in itself.
Something New from Something Old
As I studied the pieces and tried out different frame styles, the finished work came together almost on its own. Suddenly the arms of the chair naturally became the sides of the frame. The 120 year old lath slats, which aren’t original to the chair but came from a remodel in my own house, created the back. And two dowel rods that formed the back of the chair perfectly divided the art cards, creating a window pane effect.
I’m grateful for Greg’s help in repurposing the chair into the frame. He used a variety of tools to assemble the frame and I attached the cards. I used double sided tape to close the cards and rubber cement to attach them to the frame backing.
I love the imperfections in the old wood, the nail holes and fine cracks. They add to the charm of the frame and remind me of the wood’s original purpose.
The Scotland Connection
I’m so pleased with this frame that holds four of my art cards from Edinburgh. The cards depict scenes throughout the old city, from the castle high upon its rock to the closes (alleyways) that offer shortcuts through town to the Hot Air Balloon event from 1785. One card, called Seek, is for those with wanderlust. It captures the Highlands north of Edinburgh. I love these cards.
I appreciate this framed work of art for another reason. My grandfather who made the chair, Dennis Fleet Lauderdale, is the Scotland connection in my family, to the country that I so love. It’s through his line that I trace my way to the Maitland Clan. This chair that he crafted once held him and my father and most recently, me. It now holds these mementoes from the country that birthed our family.
I hung the framed cards in my bedroom, above a table with a quirky telephone lamp that Greg’s dad made, a photo of my Lauderdale grandparents on their wedding day, and a small lion statue. The Clan Maitland crest has a lion at its center and the Latin words, consilio et animis, “by wisdom and courage”.
As I worked, I asked my grandfather if he minded that I took apart his chair and created something new. I hoped not. Grandpa was, after all, a carpenter and enjoyed tinkering in his workshop. And I intend to create more frames from this chair and the second one that still rests in my garden.
He appeared in my mind as I last saw him, a kind man with a bit of stubble on his chin and merry eyes. He smiled. I don’t think he minds.
Scottish Watercolor Print from Amazon
Get inspired with this watercolor of Scotland’s national flower, the thistle. Better yet, travel to this gorgeous country, find your own mementoes and create the Scotland connection!
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