Experiment in Asymmetry

November 9, 2012 | My Jottings

I’m not sure if this configuration on our living room console table is how things will look forever, but here’s what it looks like today.

Five years ago I would have made sure everything was as symmetrical as possible. I would have used taller candles on the left, so they could more closely match the height of the topiary on the right. I would have put the old family clock smack dab in the center of the table, directly below the goldfinch. That poor clock is broken — if you click to enlarge the photograph you can see the sad little hour hand fallen behind the glass. We’ve had this clock to the repair shop and the fixes have never lasted. We now just let it rest quietly without ever expecting another thing of it. (And if you’re new here and you’ve never read the story of how ridiculously frustrating it was to get that middle goldfinch picture into our home, you can click here for the weird account and some photos that will make you smile.)

I really like each thing on the table. If I were going off the deep end, I would elaborate on how each piece has great meaning to me, like the candles represent light in the darkness, and the candle holders are gifts from the SAGs, and the birds represent hope, especially the cardinal on the wall next to the goldfinch, and how a broken clock reminds me to quit rushing around and just relish the moments I’m given, and how the letter B is a unique and beloved gift from my sister-in-law and niece and nephew and has Bible verses all over it, along with the spine of a navy blue Bible and a taupe colored ribbon that matches our couch, and an old fashioned key, which could symbolize so many things, such as praise being the key to joy and Jesus being the Key to eternal life, and how the crown on the table stands for how the Magi (“We Three Kings”?) came from afar to worship Christ and gave him precious, costly gifts and how Jesus is my King and I should do the same, and how the topiary represents growth, which is what I hope will characterize my life someday….

But that’s only if I were going off the deep end.

What do you think — should I place the items more symmetrically? Maybe remove an item or two?


  1. Ember says:

    I think it looks lovely. xxx

  2. Just Julie says:

    I just can’t picture you saying, “I think it looks terrible!” Thank you… 🙂

  3. Kay in UK says:

    I’m with you on asymmetrical displays, Julie. I think that when everything is too precisely matched, the sense of homeliness is lost. I also like the fact that you’ve got a clock that doesn’t work, but you keep it anyway. It would be awful if God abandoned His creation because it didn’t work properly …
    The bird on the left looks especially appealing – I, too like to be reminded of the beauty of nature.

  4. Just Julie says:

    Thank you for your thoughts, Kay. Do you have any collections? xxoo

  5. Ginny says:

    I would put cardinal in the center as it is a way different color from the other two. Maybe raise it in the center a bit higher than the others. Then and only then would I start on the table IF and only IF I was going off a deep end… Hope you are going to share your completed mantel! It ROCKS!

  6. Just Julie says:

    Sara told me the same thing Ginny! Hahaha. So I moved the cardinal to the center, where I agree it looks much better. But the hanging wire on the back of it is off, and it didn’t hang levelly with the others. It meant I would have to rehang the nail, and so far I’ve been too lazy to do that! I am going to get out my hammer and find a new nail, and do as you’ve suggested. Cardinal in the middle! Thank you…

  7. sue raimo says:

    Love the meaning you gave to the broken clock. We have a broken grandfather clock which seems to mock me every time I look at it. I will borrow the symbolism you gave yours and turn a negative into a positive.

  8. Just Julie says:

    God bless you, my dear friend Sue. Thank you for visiting here…. xxoo

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