A decorative art is a form of art wherein the artist uses a great range of material to create ornamental or functional work which can be used for decoration or are decorative in nature.
The materials used for decorative arts can be anything ranging from ceramics, wood, glass, stones, metals, textiles, paper etc. Decorative arts came into prominence during post renaissance period and can be found in every bit of post renaissance work and thus gained immense popularity. There was a marked increase in the number of patrons of decorative art and its wide popularity can be noticed from the fact that decorative art was found in everyday use.
The role of decorative art was quite popular in western as well as Islamic architecture. Decorative art takes care of the taste of its patron and representation skill of the artist.
The variety, taste and the medium to present the art has increased with time and changing taste. However, the basic principle on which decorative arts rely has remained the same. Decorative art can be in the form of calligraphy or designs or patterns which can be created to meet the taste of people.
The different types of decorative arts can be broadly categorized as follows based on the medium used:
Ceramics: Ceramics have been considered a common material for decorative arts. Even traditionally, ceramics were used for decorative arts. The simple reason being, it is easier to handle ceramics for decorative arts and is readily available. Also, ceramics can be used on wide varieties of base. Ceramics can be used to extend a decoration or to create decorative items like vase, pitchers etc. Ceramic art is used even for flooring and wall surfacing solutions.
Wood: Wood is also one of the common decorative materials used. Raw wood is carved to give it decorative shapes. However, because of perishable nature we do not have much evidence of wood being used during earlier days. We can witness the beauty of carved wooden gates of sun temple, Almora to gauze the intricacies of decorative arts that flourished during that era. Today, wood is an expensive decorative material and decorative items made using sandal wood particularly fetches very high price. Now-a-days many electric tools are available in the market which can be used for wood craving and for providing glossy finish to wood products.
Metal: Metal is considered as an important material for decorative art and is used extensively for making decorative items. Many antiques like cups, pitches, bowls, tumblers etc sells for quite a high price not only because of their age but also for their decorations. Metals can be used easily for decorations and engravings.
Ivory: Decorative items using ivory is not restricted to Elephants tusk but includes tusks of walrus, hippopotamus and whales. However, ivory carvings are rare because of wild life conservation and ban on animal hunting. However, ivory carvings are still done using tusks of dead elephants and fetches very high price because of scarcity of supply.
Stained Glass: Stained glasses were used extensively in western countries to decorate the buildings and palaces. Churches particularly have used it extensively to decorate the arch windows and even Islamic architecture has used stained glasses for decoration. Today stained glass decoration is not restricted to window panes and other related items but with the advent of technology has branched to many varieties like decorative tables, electric lights etc.
Jewelry: Jewelry is one such thing which has fascinated human kind since its advent. Jewellery is one of the oldest and popular forms of decorative art. Decorative art in jewelry form is not restricted to objects such as jewels but also used for making cutlery, personal collections, religious signs etc.
Mosaic: Mosaic by putting small stones while laying floors or while plastering walls are also an important form of decorative art. Mosaic can be used on variety of base like ceramics, glass, marbles etc.
Textile: Textile is used for creating decorative items like wall hangings, curtains, banners, flags etc. Textile can be dyed to bring the decoration or sewn together to bring the artists vision or can be used with other decoration base to give it a distinct decorative taste.
Stones: Stones were used from pre-historic era to form various forms and sizes but use of stones for decorative articles came into existence only after advent of tools for stone carving. Stone decoration can be seen in many palaces and is used extensively even to date. Decorative arts on stones can be done on marble stones or even on ordinary sand stones. Jade is used quite prominently in China and adjoining regions.
Graphic Design: Graphic design is used for decorating books, magazines, posters and news & publicity articles. It is one of the modern decorative art form and is extensively used now-a-days. The use of graphic design as decorative art is many and with new technology it is getting better and better.
Decorative art has gained immense popularity and are used extensively for adding an elegant touch to homes, studios, shops and other places. Decorative art is considered different from fine arts by many scholars and patrons of art but many consider it as a branch of fine arts.