For many years now I have waxed lyrical about loving functional art where you make an art piece from every day items such as old windows. I originally had the idea for this post as a means of showcasing my window mirrors.
As I began to do some research about mirrors however I realized they can have a significant figurative, metaphorical and psychological impact on us. I found myself delving into deep but very interesting territory. Historically pools of water were our first mirrors followed by polished obsidian then brass. The 19th century brought us the silvered mirrors we know today in which they used tin, mercury or silver. Mirrors are now backed with aluminum. History lesson complete.
Moving onto the psychological stuff. I asked myself the question:
Do I like looking at a mirror or in a mirror?
On reflection I know I love looking at mirrors and the way they can add a dimension of beauty to a room as well as making rooms look bigger. I also like the way you can check whether you have overdosed with your make-up before going out or have parsley in your teeth. I do however detest those 4-way mirrors in fitting rooms where your bottom looks even more enormous than usual and your cellulite is illuminated in fluorescent glory.
I am happy to share that I have learned to smile into the mirror every morning. This certainly is not the case for many people. This snippet of poetry is one of many similar offerings I found about mirrors:
The mirror laughed; it gleaned my thoughts
And saw me cry my want:
Synthetic views – pathetic clues
To how I tick – and now you taunt,
You bleeding mirror, jibe another!
Just because I dream…
Mark R Slaughter
I certainly felt his pain. Did you?
I think Louise Hay the author of ‘You can heal your life’ was a catalyst in helping me smile and eyeball myself in the mirror every day. She says that mirrors reflect back our feelings about ourselves and show us the areas we need to change to live a happy life. Louise Hay is the affirmation queen and I have sung her praises before in the post ‘Defying demons with word power’.
Try one of her exercises. Every time you walk past a mirror, look in the mirror and say an affirmation eg I love you. Notice how you feel and what old beliefs you may be holding on to. Ask yourself what steps you need to take to be able to ‘own’ that statement rather than resisting it. Powerful stuff and although seemingly innocuous is not for the faint-hearted. Are you in? What did you learn about yourself? What is a baby step forward you can take today (if you need to)?
Back to my mirrors. Before I knew about the wonderful book ‘Steal like an artist’ I inadvertently stole like an artist. It happened about 15 years ago when I saw an old window frame made into a mirror coat rack. I started making different any window I could find into wall mirrors and coat racks. At the time I sold them at a wonderful shop in Brisbane called ‘Handmade Things’.
I still love mirror windows and several years ago, made some for an office I bought which had no internal windows.
More recently I finally finished some old windows which I have had in storage forever.
The thing is, it is one thing to think you can steal like an artist and another to take the trouble to do it.
“Oh anyone could do that!” I hear people say…and I have said it.
My mirrors were certainly a work of love. There is a great deal of sourcing to do in terms of finding the frames and then gathering the products to complete them.
I have found window frames in second-hand or salvage places. At other times I have been given them (a big thank you to Aimee’s parents). If you feel inclined to make some of your own here are my steps to make your own mirror window:
- Source your window frame
- Break and remove any glass you do not wish to keep – Use safety glasses and cover the glass with something when you hit it so shards do not fly everywhere
- Roughly sand the frame to leave some of the old paint if you wish to keep the aged, distressed look
- Measure the gaps from where the glass was removed and either get a glazier to make and insert your mirrors or insert them yourself with silicone for glass
- Make a frame around the window to make it a ‘piece’ – I get a builder mate to do this for me
- Decide on your colour scheme and paint a dark base colour and let it dry
- Coat another layer of a lighter shade – cream and white work well – let this coat dry
- Have fun sanding back the layers leaving different areas showing the base wood, your first colour and your outer colour
- I often use treasure gold to decorate inside the window frames
- Varnish your finished work
- Attach a backing to hang your mirror (it is quite heavy) – I got my builder mate to make a pine wood bevelled piece which was screwed to the back; another bevelled piece of wood is attached to the wall and the 2 pieces of backing are then married together. I have also used a metal fitting from the hardware shop but these can be a bit harder to source
- Clean your mirrors
- Add embellishments such as tassels or tied objects (I found the tassels at Eumundi markets in Queensland)
- Add inspirational sayings, photos or other memorabilia to your finished piece
- Smile at yourself in the mirror!
If you do not wish to steal this idea and make your own mirror window, you can buy one of mine. It will take far less time and you can have instant enjoyment looking ‘at’ or ‘in’ your mirror.
I will leave you with something to ponder:
“The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion; and so let all young persons take their choice.” William Makepeace Thackeray
If you are new to the Dream, Dare & Do journey you can subscribe to my regular updates. You may also like to download your free inspirational screensaver of the art of being images or browse the galleries featuring my art works.
I would love your comments about any aspect of this post and hope you share it with your like-minded friends.
Be the best version of yourself!