More Magnolia Ornament Experiments

Last week I had a go at dipping some more of my grandmas old ornaments in magnolia paint. I’m using this process as a way of of removing the remnants of a time gone by.  I still prefer the original magnolia figure but it was a nice experiment with which I may use these figures for future works. I also want to mention that I got a an amazing book out last week including a fantastic interview with artist Ruth Claxton. In discussion regarding her ornamental pieces I particularly liked these two comments- “They are seductive objects yet equally they are disturbing; they are not returning your gaze because they are in some way blinded.” and this simple but brilliant comment- “a mini utopia on your mantelpiece.”


Magnolia Figure

After using the wallpaper plinth with the ornaments as they were, I wanted to see how the wallpaper changed the perception of the magnolia covered figure. There was something just not quite right about the way they looked together, the white and magnolia clashed too much and the clean cut look didn’t match what I was trying to say about replacing that time gone by. I’m considering maybe scrapping the wallpaper partly away and then painting over this section with magnolia? Leaving it like a half unfinished effect. I really enjoy the magnolia covered figure and possibly seeing this piece as a piece on it’s own, but how would I show it? I feel I’m almost there with this piece but not quite.

In/Out of Context

Really pleased with the way these two look with the wallpaper plinth! My favourite being the lady in the blue dress- the piece looks very elegant. The figures now appear something completely different than when they were in my grandma’s house! Very grand and they’ve turned into an art piece. The wallpaper however does bring that home context back to the works which in my opinion is a success!

Embossed Wallpaper

When I was first considering putting these ornaments on plinths I questioned; what would it be like if I wallpapered plinths bringing back some of the context of the home? In my head I had the idea of using embossed wallpaper on the plinth playing with the in/out of context within the gallery space. Have to say I am getting better at wallpapering and really enjoy the finished outcome!

Grandma’s Ornaments

Now along with those fitted wardrobes I spoke of earlier, my grandma also left behind a hell of a lot of ornaments at her old house. My grandma is well known for her huge collection of ornaments, she has them everywhere- around the TV, in the bathroom, kitchen- everywhere. She was determined she wasn’t going to take them all with her to the new house, so I asked her to put aside all the ones she was going to throw away for me. I was unsure of what I wanted to do with them, artists like Lisa Selby and Ruth Claxton have been big influences here. See previous blog posts: and

I’m really interested in these ornaments. These objects have been of such high importance to my grandma and now she chooses to cast them aside. So strange! I had somewhat of a brainwave on the train coming back to Nottingham about this next stage of work. Firstly bleaching these figures- see how that goes. Leave just the eyes? Silent witnesses! And also I have a few ideas concerning plinths. Taking these ornaments out of their context- the home, felt really strange, what would it be like when I put them in a gallery setting? What would it be like if I wallpapered plinths bringing back some of the context? Could I continue this plinth idea with other home objects?