We watched the movie "The Monuments Men" last night. It is inspiring to know that there were a group of men who would give their lives to preserve and protect some of the greatest works of art we know. For those of you who travel through the nations and stop to see all the famous art displayed around the world, know that you have these men to thank.
Great works in architecture, paintings and sculpture inspire us and cause us to stand in amazement, breathless at the creations. They give us the opportunity to gaze at beauty, imagination and dedication in a world that holds none of these things as profitable or worthy. Yet without these monuments to our age and culture we are nothing.
We do not realize how landmark buildings that have stood for centuries create the community we live in. We tend to forget that the Rembrandts, Michelangelo's, Picasso's and Monet's are etched in our minds, on our postcards and heralded as the greatest of our time. We take for granted the importance of creativity and art until we find ourselves in a sterile place devoid of inspiration, color, shading and light. In those places we find that our hearts and our very souls languish.
It amazes me that out of those very sterile places art emerges. Out of prisons, out of migrant camps, out of hospitals come creations that cause us to pause, breathless. Those artists paint with passion that comes from a soul held captive. They paint from a soul starving for color, light, shading and freedom. Their imaginations recreate for them a life they no longer have, a passion they can no longer realize and a peace they cannot grasp.
These artists remind us of the beauty, the suffering, the inspiring and the spiritual aspects of humanity. Without them we have cement, asphalt, steel and wires. A world we cannot survive in without the death of our soul.
Please consider adorning your home with original art. Support those whose passion is to create. We need them.
The work feature with this post is from JMatheny Originals. JMatheny honed his skill and learned to release his creativity inside of prison walls and behind razor wire.
The day always comes when you finally complete a project. Sometimes you wonder if it will ever be finished and if you will ever be satisfied...but it happens. This lovely restoration project (Bassett Furniture Coffee Table) took me a couple of months as I worked on it between other projects. I also had a few things to learn about removing finishes and stain from round objects with deep crevices and applying poly-acrylic layers and making it look smooth and even. Next time will be much easier.
I live in a hot and fairly dry climate so the challenge with the finish was drying time.
If you are trying to apply a smooth thin layer of poly acrylic in the heat of summer you had better get it right the first time because it starts setting behind the brush. So I put on the finish in the cool of the morning. I also learned a few tricks with poly acrylic that may help others. Make sure the can has been sitting for at least 24 hours and has not been shaken or bounced as when you bring it home from the store. Next use a very fine bristled brush. DO NOT dip the brush in as you would into paint but only the very tip of the bristles. Move smoothly, gently (barely touch the surface) and slowly. Add more poly acrylic frequently rather than dragging out the product too thin. For the top of a project, pour the polyacrylic on the top and brush out, slowly, evenly (don't lift your brush often), and keep the handle of the brush close to the surface. It takes practice but you will soon learn how to work with this product and even come to like it. Next time I think I will try a rub on polyurethane and see how I like that. The products I use most often (Tung oil, lacquer and paste wax) are great for conditioning and preserving wood but not very good for protecting wood finishes from the damage that occurs from daily use.
When you are trying to remove a finish and stain from turned legs and feet for tables, apply the stripper liberally ( I use an orange stripper that is very effective but does not have all the harsh chemicals), wait thirty minutes and then WIPE with an old rag or cloth. I use my husbands old socks for these projects as they are all cotton, coarse and absorbent. You will find that the finish and the stain will wipe off with a little rubbing and cleaning. The film that remains can easily be sanded and you just saved yourself a lot of time trying to scrape, chisel or sand the tight spots!
Remember that the key to any beautiful project is really good prep work. Get all the old finish and stain off and sand the piece well so that you are back to original wood. Find the right stain color for the wood and your taste and follow the directions. If you let stain stand in one spot it will darken that area compared to the rest of the piece.
The best part? This piece of well made Bassett Furniture has a new life, a couple of uses (coffee table or entertainment table) and it isn't thrown in the back of the garage to decay. Now to sell it and on to the next project!