In France we have a wonderful word for anything that is looking a bit out-of-date and old-fashioned, but here, I don’t hear it very often. I don’t think people use it as much as in France.
This word is kitsch.
According to Wikipedia, kitsch“is an inferior, tasteless copy of an extant style of art or a worthless imitation of art of recognized value. The concept is associated with the deliberate use of elements that may be thought of as cultural icons while making cheap mass-produced objects that are unoriginal. Kitsch also refers to the types of art that are aesthetically deficient (whether or not being sentimental, glamorous, theatrical, or creative) and that make creative gestures which merely imitate the superficial appearances of art through repeated conventions and formulae. Excessive sentimentality often is associated with the term.”
Really- kitsch objects are to home decoration what guilty pleasures are to music- you’re not supposed to like them, but you can’t help it.
Well, you know what? I love kitsch. I love anything that looks a bit OTT, and a bit naff.I like to add some touches of kitsch in my home, because they probably remind me a bit of me: a bit uncool, a bit naff, and terribly unashamed of it.
A couple of months ago I bought a absolutely hideous stool in a charity shop for £2 and promptly sent a picture to my sister, saying “I know it’s ugly, but I love it”. Below is an idea of what it looks like, just imagine it to be in much vibrant, 70s colours (brown, orange, moss green):
With that in mind, let me show you the cushion I made…
The fact that 1) it was very quick to make 2) overall it cost me less than £2 makes it even better! The front is a completed cross-stitch I found in a 99p bin in a charity shop. The person who made this was very patient and very talented, and I thought it was a bit sad it ended in a bargain bin. The back is a remnant I picked ages ago in another charity shop- hoping to make something of it at some point. It’s a bit more vivid than on the picture, there is a nice mix of purples, pink and blues there, I thought it went very well with the front.
For the cushion I used a blank one knocking around after its cover wore out. This has got no zipper or buttonholes, it’s sewn the whole way through, but I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to remove this cover if I ever want to. It was a bit of a “spur of the moment” creation, and I love how it turned out. I also really like the bed cover I recently purchased with birds and birdcages- at first I thought it was a bit too whimsical and twee for me, but the addition of my super kitschy cushion nicely counter-balances it.
Does your home look all prime and proper, without any decoration faux-pas? Or are you like me- keeping the charity shops alive by buying what no one else wants because, let’s face it, the 70s should be left where they are??
(Bonus: this picture of Staffordshire pottery dogs like the ones you can see at Rhyd-y-Car Ironworkers’ Houses in St Fagans- I absolutely love them- is there any hope for me?)