Creativity Before Consumption, Interiors

Trashy Art

I’m always on the lookout for interesting art and to be honest, I have a really hard time finding it. Mostly because I’m picky, my tastes change constantly, and I can’t just go out and buy a Cy Twombly, which is really want I’d love to do. Me being my usual bratty self, I don’t want what everyone else has, so you probably won’t find me with a mass produced print, even if it’s nicely framed, unless I absolutely love it. The kind of art I currently have at home: a huge Jackson Pollack-like painting that my son did in pre-school and I had framed; a Kim West¬†(not THAT Kim West people. My friend, the brilliant LA painter)¬†painting on glass that my husband bought me for our anniversary at least six years ago; and art by my brother Duncan (Simpson).

Now I can add to the collection what can only be described as ‘trash art’ because it was literally heading for the rubbish bin. Earlier in the year when I was working with Anthropologie Europe, I was overseeing the opening of two new mini stores in Paris. The display team were mass-producing (by hand, of course) thousands of paper blades of grass for the opening display project and they were laying out the dyed paper grasses onto big white sheets of paper so they could dry. When the grasses were dry, the paper beneath had been stained with the most gorgeous abstract patterns. I saved stacks of it, some of which we used in the stores and some came home with me.

I don’t know why I love it so much because I realise to some people it looks like, um rubbish, but to me it’s beautiful. And that’s the beauty of art – it’s totally subjective and it doesn’t matter what other people think.


First there was this…

Dyed paper sheets

Then there was this…
Green leaves display Anthropologie Emily Henson

Then there was this beauty made by my talented display ladies….

Anthropologie Paris display

And finally this…Emily Henson diy art close-up

Call me crazy, but I think it’s gorgeous!

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  • Reply Kendal 4 May 2016 at 6:02 AM

    Love the grass display and ‘trashy art’, I’d love to take a stab at both. What kind of paper did they use for the grass? And what kind of green dye, rite dye??

    • Reply Emily Henson 11 May 2016 at 3:57 PM

      Thanks Kendal! For the grass display it was a mix of watercolour and tracing papers dipped in different dye baths. And yes, plain old Rit dye. For the ‘leftovers’ art I framed, it was just very basic paper usually used to wrap breakable things in stores. Any absorbent paper would probably do. Good luck!

  • Reply Julie Meulemans 23 December 2016 at 4:39 AM

    I agree. Absolutely love both! Question- How did your team attach the blades of grass for the sculpture? I would love to try to create a similar look.

    Thank you!

    • Reply Emily Henson 3 January 2017 at 1:20 PM

      This magical stuff called hot glue! If you don’t own a hot glue gun, you must get one. Good luck!

  • Reply Molly 27 July 2017 at 11:58 PM

    Love this! And appreciate your gracious sharing of how to. Thank you!

  • Reply HUNG DIEP 2 November 2017 at 12:40 PM

    That was amazing! thank you for sharing, first saw it i thought it was a peacock tail, so elegant!

    • Reply Emily Henson 5 January 2018 at 5:15 PM

      Thank you! They were a lot of work, but the end result made it worthwhile.

  • Reply Sarah 24 November 2017 at 12:57 AM

    Gorgeous- thanks for sharing – how did the grass get stuck on the wall?

    • Reply Emily Henson 5 January 2018 at 5:17 PM

      Thank you! We cut a large piece of paper attached directly to the wall in the shape we wanted to cover, and we hot glued (have you used a hot glue gun? A worthy investment) each leaf to the paper. x

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