A friend recently brought up an interesting point, during a conversation we were having about home decorating. She was asking why it is that we own things that we had once loved and desired so much that we purchased it, brought it home, and displayed it prominently, only to – years later – discover that we not only dislike it, but now wonder, “What was I THINKING??!!”

Here’s our conclusion: The thing doesn’t change, we do.

We are in a constant state of transformation. I know, that’s pretty deep even for an artist. This, however, is not a blog about existential thinking. It’s about art! (Guess what?! With me, it’s always about art! lol)

Art is used to transform things (and people?) all the time.

  • Painting a mural transforms a plain room into an art-filled space.
  • Adding paint to an old found item can transform it from junk to a functional, beautiful piece of furniture.
  • Even ordinary found items can be transformed into something useful without adding a thing, just by using them in a unique way and giving them a different purpose.

Here is a link to one of my Pinterest boards, which has many images of re-purposed items.

Examples include:

  • using a hose reel as a wine rack
  • using a ladder for a bookshelf
  • using vintage doorknobs as candlesticks

When I go to a barn sale, or flea market, I spend a lot of time looking at things and thinking, “how can I use that in a different way?”

Here’s a photo of some things I purchased last weekend at a sale. Who knows what I will make, but I felt so drawn to them! Love the colors and textures:

Items found at a rummage sale and barn sale.
I found a couple of rulers, a box of keys, a jar of gears, a pink flower mirror, an interesting glass jar with a top, a set of small green trays, some knobs, and some "pieces" of old stuff.

Here is a look back at some examples of “transformation” projects I’ve done:

Vintage window transformed into wall art
A client had two (white) vintage windows that she hired me to transform into art for her home. I worked with her to create a design, and I painted it directly onto the glass. I also painted the crackle finish on the window frame.
Vintage wnidows transformed into wall art
Then I hung the windows side-by-side in her kitchen using decorative hardware.
Hallway bench leg hand made using hardware scraps.
A client hired me to create a decorative leg to be used under a hallway corner bench. I went to the hardware store and purchased pieces from the plumbing department, and also some decorative wood pieces typically used on fence posts or stair rails. I pieced them together to make the table leg.


Handmade bench leg using hardware scraps.
Stacking all the pieces; it is starting to look like a table leg! I also used a piece I had collected from an old lamp base. I had it in my studio for years; I was so happy to finally use it! (I turned it upside-down!) The silver thing in the middle is the twist-top to a plastic paint container.
Table leg, done.
Here is the finished product.
Table leg in room.
I added some jewel embellishments also.
Mad Hatter's Tea hat
This is a hat I made to wear to the Mad Hatter's Tea, an artist event sponsored by Talulah's Fancy & Friends gift shop in honor of my friend, artist Nancy Wiley. The hat itself is constructed using only newspaper, a cereal box, and duct tape.
Mad Hatter's Tea hat
I thought it fitting to add some paper flowers, a knitting needle, some thread spools, a bird, vintage jewelry, a string of faux pearls, and some ribbon. I guess I transformed the mess on my sewing table into a mess on my hat!
Mad Hatter's Tea hat
And... here is me wearing the hat.
Art caddy repurposed from a tool box
This is perhaps an old tool box or gardening box (?) with a nice tall handle. The ends were the perfect shape for painting to look like colored pencils! I then filled it with art supplies and donated it to a silent auction as a "Child's Art Caddy".

I’ve just been hired to transform a plain, black chandelier by giving it a completely different look. I’ll be adding paint (of course!), wire, embellishments, and crystals. If you have not “liked” my Facebook page yet, please do! I will post before and after photos of this chandelier project!

I would really love to hear from you! Write an example (below in the comment section) of how you’ve been inspired by seeing something transformed. It can be a person, place, or thing!