Small and Meaningful by Eirene // Tiny Art Week

If you know me personally, then you’ll know that I am not, by far, the most creative or creatively industrious of the Mitchell girls. I have 4 lovely sisters, each of which are fairly bursting with lovely virtues and talents of their own. My sister Eirene is one of those people who just blows you away with all her pure creative juice, and her home is her canvas. It has always been an absolute picture, and not because it’s ever been big or grande, but because Eirene possesses the talent of making her surroundings beautiful.  She’s a real nesting Whiz. There is always something new to admire, and I always go eager to inspect every lovely little detail–which sort of  amazing considering I’ve been there a million times.  I keep on telling her she needs to be on Design Sponge or something, because a proper photo shoot of her home would be a gift to us all.  Anyway, Rene is the real reason why I first discovered the power and potent of tiny art–nobody can make a postage stamp sing like Eirene.

I love all things little. Always have. I was obsessed with Polly Pockets as a kid. Not these buxom, 21st century mini-barbies with rubber clothes, but the tiny, ibuprofin-sized Polly Pockets that came in a little house that opened and closed like a compact. I also loved Nativity scenes, perfume samples, babies, tea sets, Russian nesting dolls, little TVs, and the toiletries you get on long international flights. I ate that stuff up.

In my adulthood, it seems there are even more tiny things to love: Ipod Nanos, novellas, Tiny Houses, and ankle socks.

In addition to loving things that are small, I love things that are meaningful. And often the two intersect. When this happens, you often end up with homeless junk that accumulates in unseen places. You never look at it or enjoy it, but it’s too darn heartwarming to trash. Enter tiny art. Pop that crap in a frame or shadowbox and presto! you’ve got tiny meaningful art. Small pieces ground down and diversify the big stuff.  It invites guests to come closer, look harder, ask questions, hear stories. Your house becomes a personal history museum.
Here is an example of sentimental crap turned tiny art:, After playing the part of Annie onstage at 10, I received a birthday card from my aunt stamped with a Lil’ Orphan Annie stamp. Six years later, I played the role again as a high school junior, opposite a Daddy Warbucks who was most unwittingly my future husband. Triple whammy sentiment. The stamp is next to a little vintage I Like Ike pin we found in a antique mall. I wore the pin on my hospital gown the day I gave birth to my son Ike. (Note the original matchbox frames!)
Not all tiny art is meaningful (nor, I suppose, is all meaningful stuff tiny–i.e. the big HENDERSON license plate from S. Africa). Sometimes tiny stuff is just pretty or the right color, or the cheapest sized print for sale. It still fills in the gaps, and packs a big punch for its size. Like these itty bitty Ashley Mae Christensen (a Provo artist I am a huge fan of). You can take bigger risks with tiny art. If you like a more neutral, tranquil space, tiny art is a venue for pops of ostentation and bright color.
The little dino-Utah painting is actually a business card from a Utah artist (and daughter of my husbands co-worker) Stephanie Deer. The subject of this painting can actually be found standing large as life, in Vernal, Utah. A good place to go if you are a fan of over-sized, friendly seeming dinosaur replicas. Vernal is also the rival town of Roosevelt, where I went to high school. I spent a lot of time fantasizing about defiling this very dinosaur with Black and Gold spray paint and toilet paper, but am glad I didn’t, because the pink of the dino happens to match my living room very well.
Tiny stuff just has a special magic. It can be fun, funny, meaningful, ridiculous, sentimental, but it is always little reflection of you.
Thanks Dear Renie! Loved it all–that tiny little wall pocket will be the next  idea I steal from you! Tomorrow we’ll wrap up Tiny Art Week with some ideas on how tiny art can add culture to your UPS man and other brilliant schemes.  

4 Comments

heather e

Good Old Eirene. I love you guys for making sure that only meaningful and sentimental things adorn your walls. And the tinier the better.

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the mither

I think that artistic genes must be recessive, so they passed right through me (so I was stuck with the dominant clod gene) and straight to you girls (and by that I mean to ALL my girls) and you snagged one from your Dad’s side and whammo! Happy Days! I think people can see why I handed over decorating the Christmas tree to you and the decorating of our walls to my next gen by the time Em was 12, and there was never a look back. btw, in ‘cello there really ARE deer wandering around by the temple. p.s. Is it socially acceptable to just be Dee-lighted at this shared post? If not, just delete my delight, pronto.

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