Art Deco Jewelry Armoire

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.” 
― Vincent Van Gogh

Inspiration comes in all forms, shapes, sizes, and ways. When I saw this jewelry armoire, I immediately thought art deco. I don’t know why or what prompted me to think of an era epitomizing glitz, glam, decadence, luxury, and modern innovation. It was like a bolt of lightning struck me and I was electrified with an art deco stream of consciousness. Sometimes it takes time for me to figure out what to do with a piece. I stare at it for hours hoping to draw inspiration from its history, shape, or wait for the glimpse of a mirage that will tell me what I hope to see. Not with this piece. There was no doubt which direction I would take and my first step was drawing a storyboard to guide me in design. Art deco is a vast ocean with artistic influence drawn from many cultures like China, Japan, India, ancient Egypt, and Maya. It does not fear color. It is the mother of maximalism and eclectic design.

Art Deco Storyboard

The panels on the doors of the jewelry armoire prompted me to search for a design that is long and narrow so when I came across a picture of Gaston Gerard’s stained glass art called “Roses,” I knew that I had to recreate it to be the central element of my piece. I wanted to add a faux marbling background because art deco incorporates luxurious materials in architecture. I decided a pink faux marble would be perfect as a foil for my peacocks and a gingko leaves artwork. I had to incorporate some asian influence on my piece. The art deco fan stencil was an obvious choice to make my piece a true ode to art deco style.

I began with the doors and sketched the peacock design before hand painting with chalk paints and other diy paints.

Peacock door panels

The sides and legs of the jewelry armoire I decided to paint a teal with green tones. I mixed Jolie paint in Deep Lagoon and French Quarter Green to create my own custom color. I used redesign with prima’s decor wax in eternal for the stenciling on the sides. I love the decor wax because it has a rich sheen that is difficult to create using metallic paints. There is a richness that only the wax can impart.

On the flip top of the jewelry armoire I painted the faux marbling with a sponging technique and added a gingko leaves design with a metallic paint pen. I filled in the leaves with the gold decor wax.

Lastly, I sealed the doors and top with epoxy resin. I wanted the surfaces to have a high glossy sheen to really enhance the faux marbling and give the “stained glass” door panels a polished look. The resin is messy to work with but not difficult. The most important step is making sure you measure it in equal parts accurately and mix thoroughly. I had to stir for 15 minutes in order to make sure my resin would harden correctly. I taped off the edges of the surfaces so that when the resin makes droplets on the bottom I can just peel off the tape later for a clean surface.

The inside I restored with some Howard’s Restor-A- Finish in mahogany. I then added redesign with prima’s gilded gold transfers on the drawer fronts for extra elegance. I can’t describe the feeling I have when I see a piece completed. All the individual parts of the design coming together like a jigsaw puzzle finally revealing the whole image. It’s a kind of euphoria that happens every time and leaves me a bit breathless. All the anticipation and planning have come together to reveal a creation I don’t feel the impact of until it’s complete. I do feel like an explorer coming upon an unexpected thing of beauty. If I could capture this essence and bottle it, I would. I would keep it with me always and forever, instead I just hope to relive it each and every time I create something new. To have something that began as a nascent whisper become an actual entity that I can touch and feel, is an ephemeral joy I can’t get enough of.

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