Ok, I cheat. My daughter is an interior designer. Originally, I had a few of the these items displayed on the mantel, but when the construction of the Scottish/Irish pub in our lower level was completed, a few pieces had migrated to the bookshelves in the library section of the pub. This left things a bit chaotic and sporadic.
One day, when my daughter was visiting, she sized up the situation, gave me a sly smile and asked, “May I play?”.
“By all means”, I replied and the mantel make-over began.
One thing among many that has developed into a specialty is her collages. Instead of trying to tie in pieces randomly placed in a space, she combines them to form a cohesive group of things that suddenly belong together no matter how varied the items might be. A ‘trade secret’ is to use the element of height in thirds. To achieve this, tall objects are placed and shorter ones that don’t comply with the ‘rule of three’ are elevated by placing them on things like books, small easels or things as simple as overturned votive cups.
Color, texture and the use of reflective surfaces mingle with the occasional ‘surprise’. An item that appears to be a misfit added to the grouping that catches the eye and pulls everything together. In this case, my tri-blade stiletto dagger perched precariously upon a fossilized fish. The clock amid the Egyptian deity statues and fossils seems to mock time itself as more modern items peacefully coexist in the group.
A large leaf cast and black onyx sphere bring Earth, fossils from the sea add Water. Fire is enticed by the candles and Air is evoked with the wave of the dagger.
My daughter threatens to redo it all someday when the urge to ‘play’ strikes again, but for now, it’s perfect. So, look around your space and see what objects you can combine to make a statement. You can follow a theme or allow the obscure free rein. Pull in a color that might be a part of a print in the fabric of your sofa or draperies by using a candle, silk flower or figurine. Above all, have fun with this…’play’ like the experts.