Art and crafts have always been a great love of mine.
A few days ago, I was very lucky to visit a fair dedicated to the traditional folk art and crafts of my native country – Slovakia.
The whole experience was just magical. That is probably the best word I can use to describe the feelings I had when I was watching a selection of very old crafts being demonstrated by the most skillful craftsmen right there in front of my eyes. They are the crafts that helped my ancestors live better and nicer lives. And the best thing is that those traditions are still alive.
I am very thankful to the kind people who came to demonstrate their skills in front of curious people like me and I am also thankful to the people who want to keep the old traditions alive and organize this great festival. It was an amazing, sentimental and important touch with the wisdom of the past. Just have look…
Bobbin lace making.
Painting on glass.
Making musical instruments.
Weaving on loom.
Cast brass bells making.
Crooked needle embroidery.
Making wooden toys.
Easter eggs decorating.
Making shepherd’s dishes.
And making herding sticks.
I hope you enjoyed this tour of traditional folk arts and crafts.
I often receive a question from you, dear readers, asking what kind of surface or background I used in this or that photo. These questions led me to an idea that it could be fun to share the pictures of surfaces and backgrounds I like to use… so, here they are.
The first picture shows my probably most often used photo surface, a simple wooden table from Ikea that I bought many years ago. It actually moves with me wherever I move and it serves as my office or studio focal point. I love that little table.
What I probably like best about it is its natural look and honey-like color. I like that color a lot and I think it makes the pictures look soft and cute.
I have used my good old table in many photo shoots – like here …
Since I really love wood and I am a big fan of wooden paneled surfaces (even the header of my site tells this very clearly), I bought these wooden babies about a year ago (you can get them in any good home store, like Home Depot in the USA or Baumax in Europe; the good people there can even cut them for you in any size you want). My official plan was to fit them together at home and use them as one piece, but, for some reason, I did not find the time neither the nails to do that.
Just lately it occurred to me that there’s actually no need to fit them together. I can easily place them on top of any surface (floor or table) and they will work just fine. And on top of that, they are much easier to store this way – as individual panels.
And you know what? I really really really love using my wooden panels. You can find them in many of my pictures … like here …
As time went by and I got more and more inspired by darker backgrounds in photography, I decided to get something like that into my life too.
So I gathered up some dark-brown wooden exterior home paint, a brush and a protective plastic sheeting, …
… I laid out my old planks …
… and I did it. In other words, I applied three coats of color to one side of each of my wooden panels.
Oh, how I loved the result. A dream come true! Now my wooden panels can work as a bright and dark background too.
I have been happily testing my new dark background in the past few weeks and I’ve been utterly impressed by the results.
Ahhh, it really makes my heart sing to see something new after years and years of using bright surfaces mostly. Change is good!
Oh, and this picture brings me to another area of photography that I wanted to mention – backgrounds.
This picture shows how the previous photo was taken. A kind of ‘behind the scenes’. 🙂
Since the natural space in my shooting corner does not offer the neatest background options, in the past I spent hours and hours thinking and trying to figure out the right solution to that situation. Luckily, one happy day, as I was walking the endless isles of Ikea, a gorgeous idea struck me – what if I used a clothes rack for this purpose? It is an inexpensive and really perfect solution!!
So I brought one of Ikea’s clothes racks home and have been happily using it since then.
I have already used a large sheet of colored paper as a background.
And I have also tried to use a dark fabric too.
Here’s the result.
When it comes to backgrounds and surfaces, I would really love to mention this simple solution, my good old buddy, the Lowel EGO Sweep.
The sweep is a table-top background support stand and it comes with many colored paper backgrounds.
Oh, and of course, then there are fabrics. They can be used as surfaces, backgrounds, props … anything. I love my fabrics. My collection comes from Ikea and the local fabric store. And as with any other props, there’s never enough, that I know for sure. We’ve definitely entered a little addictive area of my life here. 🙂
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