Almost a year in the making, my dream Family Tree is finally up on the wall! I’ve never fancied myself any kind of decorator, but even I knew I needed a serious overhaul when I traded the old desk with a high back for this simpler version, exposing more of the ugly wall. One of my passions, as you know, is family history research which I accomplish while facing this very wall for untold hours. I was initially inspired by trendy floor-to-ceiling stenciled tree silouettes, but I didn’t want it to be too generic. If I was going to the trouble of putting it up, I needed it to be personally meaningful and help my family become more acquainted with our ancestors. As I brainstormed (for literally months) my idea eventually morphed into something totally different from the original idea. I stretched canvases, gessoed, painted, attached photo prints, and framed all by hand and a long process of trial and error.
The most difficult part of this project was figuring out how to attach the photos in a way that they could be rearranged. I spent most of forever collecting family photographs, resizing, and adjusting the colors to semi-uniform tones. Then I experimented with printing them on canvas I had hand gessoed and cut to fit my printer. (I could have spent the money to have them printed professionally, but there’s apparently something in my DNA that prevents me from doing things the easy way. If I CAN do something myself, I can’t bring myself to NOT do it.) I tried a couple of different methods before I settled on using mod-podge to secure the little canvas prints, along with name labels, to balsa wood I had painted black. To the back of each little picture print I fastened a metal washer, using round ceramic magnets behind the canvas to make them repositionable in the hopes that more photos will become available to me in the future.
The joy is in the journey, and in this case, it also resulted in a keepsake I’m proud to display.