Thursday, August 2, 2012

a curated life: editing

as i alluded to in my monday post, i've been doing some thinking about life, work, and this blog lately. i won't drop all of my realizations on you at once, but one thing i've discovered about myself in the last year or so is that i definitely enjoy the styling aspect of the work i've been doing, far more than the retail  side. after sitting with that realization for a while now, i've decided to move towards doing styling work. i'm starting small- reading a book about the career of photo styling, studying photos to focus in on what i like and don't like, and honing my own styling identity by rearranging things and plotting changes i want to make to our home (which is totally crazy-town given that we're moving in a few weeks i realize!).

so today, with all that said, rather than sharing a collection with you, i thought i'd talk about an important part of curating in your own home- editing. 

editing can be an easy thing to overlook. when you're really into a collection, sometimes it seems like the more items you add to it, the better. that's not always true though- especially if you're interested in living with your collection and not feeling like it's swallowing you whole. editing may downsize a collection, but it can make the collection feel more important in your home. 

to demonstrate, let's take a look at an area in my home that i have been unhappy with for years:


now there are several little collections contained on those shelves, and while there are a lot of cool items there, the cluttered look has been bugging me. in fact, when we moved into our current apartment, i was so annoyed by all of it (and totally overwhelmed by all that needed to be done at the time), that i had the mister put it all out and haven't really messed with it much since then. 

let the editing commence. 



first, decide on what your overall goal is. make the area look less cluttered? get rid of items you're not loving anymore? what are you ideally trying to accomplish? for me, i wanted to both pare down some of these collections, and make the space look more stylish and less cluttered. 

i've been tiring of my deer collection for awhile and while, so i know i need to either put them all away or find a way to love them again. 

i also haven't really ever loved the way the 'Bill and Danae' vignette looks, so it's time to fix that. 


now that you have a goal, take all the items out of the area you're editing. this applies to a whole room- if you're editing furniture, an entire bookcase, or just one shelf. in my case, i started with two shelves of this larger area. you want to be able to see the space you have to work with in it's raw form. this is also a great time to dust the empty shelves. you may also discover work you want to do to make the space a better foundation- in this example, i'd love to cover the back of this cool little shelving unit with something prettier than this water stained panel. of course, since we're moving, i think i'll wait until we're in our new place. 


now, take all the items you'll be drawing from and put them all out together. this helps you to choose what you like best, what works well with the space you have, and which items look best together. it can also help you realize just how large your collection has become. 


as with the shelves, since you'll be handling all these items anyway, it's an opportune time to dust them.

the next part is a bit trickier, but try and cut the number of objects down to half of whatever you had to start with (you can always add more later if you want to). focus on which you love the most, which have special memories attached to them, or which fit with your current style the best. you'll want to choose a variety of sizes and heights to ensure your new vignette will look it's best. a mix of finishes also looks best, so try and avoid only choosing objects of one material. 

take your pared down collection and arrange them in the available space. try and focus on making the most beautiful or impact-full display with the smallest number of objects, while still keeping a 'collected' look. 


step back, and see what you think. if it's not quite right, try rearranging, adding or subtracting objects. continue just messing around with things until it pleases you. 



these are my finished, edited, shelves. 

for the 'us' shelf, i focused on the items i loved the most- the typographical elements and our wedding photo (it's the only wedding photo we have displayed in the living areas). though i love the bride and groom salt and pepper shakers Bill gave me as a wedding present, i decided to save them for a vignette in our bedroom instead. i also ditched a few elements that either didn't stay standing up well or distracted from the typography theme. 

on the other shelf, i picked three deer items to keep- the candle deer because the original Dear Darling Vintage logo was based on it, the deer in the picture frame because Melissa made it for me, and the Victoria, BC deer because it reminds me of our honeymoon on Vancouver Island (although i didn't find it there). the shelf needed something more though, so i picked out a few books in a slim color palette to display with the deer. 

a few more tips:

-i find it helpful to take photos of each version i create, including the original state, so that i can compare and if i like an older version better, i can refer to my photo to set it back that way. 

-don't get rid of objects you edit out right away. once you've lived with the new version for a few days you may want to swap some items out or add something back in. 

-unless you're the type of person who just loves being surrounded by your collections, in general, less is more. a collection of 3-5 objects can be just as, if not more, dramatic than 100 items, if they are displayed well. 

well, i hope you learned a little something from today's post. i had fun with this one and i'd love to know if you'd like to see more posts like this here.


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