Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pretty But Useless (No Name Calling)

I was feeling uninspired and thought I should get out of the house. I went to Pier 1 down the street. Maybe sticking my nose in the new reed diffusers was all I needed to recharge. I leaned in to sniff the citrus basil when something caught my eye. A big, shiny metallic swirl on a throw pillow drew me in – it looked like those cheesy special effects that put characters in a hypnotic trance. I had to walk over and touch it.

Ouch! I checked to see if I needed a Band-aid. That eye-catching spiral might as well have been cut from sheet metal. Which made me wonder – aren’t pillows supposed to be soft and cuddly?

I checked out the selection of throw pillows. Sure, they were nice works of art – but what about, um… function? Some were completely encrusted with colorful seashells. Or buttons. Imagine the pock marks you’d end up with if you fell asleep with your face against that. Some had layers of mystery fabric and stitching that poked out like wires. No matter how much polyester fluff you stuff in it, a pillow made of sandpaper would still scratch, right? How about a pillow made of glass, like Cinderella’s shoe? That’d be pretty, but I wouldn’t put it on my couch.

So what is the purpose of a throw pillow, exactly? I always thought they were supposed to make you more comfortable. Or are they called throw pillows because you have to throw them aside to get comfortable?

If they’re just for looks, why not hang them up? That’s what I finally did with the frilly rosette my mom sent years ago. I got tired of having to throw it on the floor every night before I crawled into bed.

And somehow that reminded me of one of my favorite examples of absurdly non-functional art: Meret Oppenheim’s fur-lined teacup.

Got a favorite looks-pretty-but-does-nothing item? Remember, no name calling!


C.R. Evers said...

ewwwwww! Just thinking about a fur lined tea cup makes me ~twitch~

I'm all about functionality, so it may take me some time to think about unusable art. hmmmmm. . .

fun post!



Rena said...

Ooooooh, that fur lined teacup makes me twitch too! The spoon makes me want to gag. ICK!

I have a quilt hanging on my wall. Each square was made by the kids in my daughter's kindergarten class. Not exactly something I want the cats sleeping on.

I'm also one of those weirdos who has towels hanging up in my bathroom that no one uses. Drives my husband nuts.

adrienne said...

Christy - I agree with you on functionality. It's even better when things are multi-purpose :)

Rena - Quilts make great wall decorations. I had one in my daughter's room when she was little.
It is too bad towels only look good when no one uses them!

Kim Kasch said...

I never thought throw pillows were for anything but "throwing" at my brothers and sisters ;-D

Hey, I just wanted to say ”TAG” You’re IT!

Carrie Harris said...

Yep. I think throw pillows are meant to throw. The ones you're describing are meant to throw at horrendous siblings, or maybe intruders.

adrienne said...

Kim - Right - no need for anything fancy for that!

Carrie - Is it the offense to their sensibilities that makes them run away?

sruble said...

We were somewhere recently that had really beautiful throw pillows, the kind for decoration. I starting thinking of how cool it would be to have those pillows in my house, with a few changes to make them comfortable, as well as pretty.

I like my throw pillows to be comfortable, but I know some people use them just for show.

We have lots of cool, do nothing things, but then again, they do do something. They look pretty, or are entertaining, or have a memory behind them.

Although we're trying to pare down. The apartment isn't getting any bigger ...

adrienne said...

Sruble - I have many objects that are just to look at, also - as many as space will allow. It's when a piece of art is supposed to be functional, but isn't, that kind of bothers me.

Brenda said...

Yep...twitching here also...I guess beauty really is in the eye of the beholder...yikes!

When Hubs and I first got married I had about 10 pillows on my couch and he hated when we moved in our new home 3 years ago, I had to promise to toss the I did...thankfully none of them had hard shells, etc. on them...grin..

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Pretty but does nothing? I could give you a list of former students a mile long! But truly, those pillows take the cake!

adrienne said...

Brenda - Hope your hubby has quick reflexes! ;-)

Green Girl - Yeah, that list is almost too easy...I thought I'd stick to just household objects that lie around...