art across america

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Beautiful art is found all across America, from sea to shining sea. It’s interesting to see the differences that geography brings to artists and their approaches to art. Landscapes, for example, look very different when you’re in New York than they do in Arizona. Likewise, wildlife and culture are unique to their environments, and artists looking to their surroundings for inspiration may bring those influences into their artwork.

Mixed Cane Foglio by David Patchen - San Francisco, CA

Mixed Cane Foglio by David Patchen – California

California, Oregon, and Washington are known as hotbeds of the art glass movement. The influence of the California College of the Arts and the Pilchuck Glass School is far-reaching throughout the West. David Patchen studied at Pilchuck Glass School, which was co-founded by Dale Chihuly. He currently works from his studio in Public Glass, San Francisco’s center for glass, art, and eduation.

With the largest cultural center in the United States, it’s no wonder that more of our artists call the Northeast home than any other region. Some come to the area for the Maryland Institute College of Art, like Shana Kroiz, who has been teaching there since 1991 and founded the Jewelry Center. Others, like Nancy Linkin, are simply inspired by the beauty of the surroundings. Her studio in coastal Maine is surrounded by a perennial garden and lush woods that influence the fluid, natural forms of her work.

The rich landscape of the Southwest has served as inspiration for numerous artists, dramatically apparent in the earthy palette and sinuous shape of a much of the artwork from the region, notably in art furniture and pottery. Native American history is rich with beautiful pottery designs, and the landscape continues to inspire. What originally began as functional pieces for daily life has been elevated to a fine art form.

The Midwest has left an indelible mark on fine craft in America, with the birthplace of the modern studio glass movement. Harvey Littleton, considered the “Father of the Studio Glass Movement,” taught at the University of Wisconsin. His influence is far-reaching, with his students spreading across the region to promote art glass appreciation and education.

Fine craft has been a cornerstone of American art, with the Penland School of Crafts serving as a creative center of craft in the Southeast. Located on a breathtaking campus, the school is inspiring in its beauty. Whether glass, jewelry, paintings, or furniture, art from the Southeast tends to combine brilliant color and dramatically original design—reflecting the rich and varied culture and landscape of the region.

Whether you’re looking for a desert scene of the sunsets in Sedona, a blown glass vase that reminds you of the waves off the Florida coast, or a piece of stunning jewelry that mimics the waving grasses on the Great Plains, American artists are continuously creating artwork that reflects the beauty around them.

By |July 2nd, 2015|articles, spotlights|1 Comment

artist spotlight: randi solin

“My work is rooted in the process of creating.  I’m in love with the act of blowing glass, and with its optical properties,” says Randi Solin.

Randi Solin didn’t always set out to become an artist. Her early ambitions were political in nature — she wished to be a senator so that she could make a difference in people’s lives. However, upon her arrival at college, she witnessed another student blowing glass and decided to alter her course and create art instead. With no prior background in art, she found it challenging indeed — but she managed through art school on grit and determination. Today, she has been making art glass for over 25 years.

Randi Solin

Randi Solin (left) with former glass assistant Marie Formichelli (photo courtesy of Solinglass)

Perhaps this unique approach to her career in art is what led her to her own extraordinary style. Solin explains:

I incorporate techniques found in both classic Venetian glassblowing and the American Art Glass movement. However, I approach my work two-dimensionally, like a painter to a canvas or a weaver using thread to create an intricate tapestry. My glass pieces are compositions, and, atypical to glass blowing in general, they have a “front.” Generally, my forms have an Asian-influenced simplicity, which allows for my complex and painstaking coloration process to unfold. I build layer upon layer of color using glass in all particle sizes — powder, cane, frit, and rod — like a painter’s palette, to create original coloration and truly one-of-a-kind work.

Solin uses layers of glass cane and frit to create color and texture in her pieces

Solin uses layers of glass cane and frit to create color and texture in her pieces (photo courtesy of Solinglass)

 

My optics serve as the window into my coloration process — into the “soul” of a piece — allowing the viewer to peer into its life, like the rings of a tree. All of my pieces are intellectually created on the notion that with each finished work, a history is revealed. My layering and coloration process is all about showing that the piece was made over time. I accentuate each individual layer, which for me is a tremendously important component to my work.  My optics — the cut and polish, the juxtaposition of this organic form with this stark hard edge — is unique to my work and a signature of sorts. My work requires the viewer to interact with the piece, to hold it, pick it up, to look into its interior life, to feel its incredible weight and mass, and to engage with its optics and its coloration.

“My work is a juxtaposition of weighted organic form and sharp polished edges.”

Each of Solin’s pieces has its own distinct inspiration and process. She explains:

The inspiration for the ‘Aquos Rectangle’ came from a request from the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. They were having a grand opening for the world’s largest aquarium, and the piece was designed for the event. The ‘Aquos Rectangle’ is hand-shaped, mold-blown glass off the pipe with a triptych coloration including gold and green aventurine and a multi-layer of sterling silver leaf and white cane. It has an angled cut and polished top. I designed the ‘Aquos Rectangle’ to use the juxtaposition of the hard, rigid corners of the form with the movement and fluid nature of the coloration.

Solin‘s inspiration is often found in the pages of National Geographic magazines. She pulls the essence of exotic locales into her work, traveling vicariously through the images and then the glass. Her piece “Malibar” alludes to the spices found in the Malabar region of India. “Glacier” appears to be born of the same ice it is named for, with layers of blues and greens that play with the light.

Not only is Solin committed to creating incredible pieces of art, but she is also highly engaged with teaching and continuing the education of the next generation of artists. Having been a school teacher prior to working in glass full-time, she currently teaches courses on glassblowing in the space she shares with ceramic artist Natalie Blake. The two have created a destination arts facility;  the website states its purpose “for the creation, instruction, and promotion of silica-based arts (main ingredient in both glass and clay). Fundamental to our mission is making fine crafts accessible to a wide range of people.” Solin‘s passion has come full circle — her original plan was to positively affect people’s lives, and she’s achieved that goal without ever needing to run for office.

By |June 23rd, 2015|spotlights|1 Comment

visiting with cynthia

Recently, Lisa, Barbara, and I had the opportunity to visit Cynthia Ashby in her studio near Chicago. Though we were sure it would be a great trip, we were not prepared for the incredible experience that awaited us on an otherwise normal Wednesday.

We arrived at a city-block-sized building that had been a factory of some sort in a previous life. Cassy, who works with Cynthia, greeted us at the door and started to show us around. She explained that the building’s current owner recently saved it from being torn down and is now turning it into artist studios and event spaces. She brought us into an impressive room that preserved the building’s personality with exposed brick walls, the original freight elevator, vintage factory relics used as decorative objects, and a row of tall factory windows filling the space with natural light. There was also an atrium filled with plants tended to by the building’s tenants—a beautiful and peaceful place to clear your mind. The entire space was inspiring and left us awestruck.

Cynthia Ashby studio space

After we were sufficiently inspired by the building itself, Cassy led us to Ashby’s studio space, which contained a rack of new apparel creations, walls of exquisite photos and ads for Ashby’s clothing line, and all of the work space that you’d expect to find in a studio. It was a quaint but well thought-out space. And, of course, everyone there was wearing at least one of Ashby’s designs.

Most of Ashby’s pieces are garment dyed. That means that each garment is sewn together first and the entire piece is then dyed as a whole. This is not a common process in the fashion industry because it takes more time and effort. The color depth and texture found in Ashby’s clothing are a testament to this technique—the kind of details that can only be created in small batches by a talented designer.

Cynthia Ashby dying process

As the team walked us through the steps required to create one of these garments, Barbara couldn’t help but try her hand at the dyeing process.

Of course, we were actually visiting the studio to preview new designs for the fall season, and it was time to get to work. Cynthia started pulling garments off the rack. Each piece had that signature Ashby flair, yet each one was different. Some pieces relied on layers to give them dimension. Others had custom dying techniques to give them personality. There were familiar silhouettes that we know and love from Cynthia, plus new shapes and silhouettes for the fall season.

Cynthia Ashby showing fall styles to Artful Home CEO Lisa Bayne.

There are so many incredible designs, it’s difficult to choose which ones to bring to our customers! Let’s just say I’m glad I’m not the one who has to make those decisions. It was a treat to experience the creative back-and-forth between Cynthia, Lisa, and Barbara as Cynthia shared her designs and we discussed her thought process for each one.

We had a fabulous time spending the day with Cynthia and her team. As always, the time was much too short. It’s an honor to be able to visit such a talented designer in her studio and to experience her energy and excitement for the work she does. Thank you to Cynthia and her team for letting us spend the day in their studio!

the Artful Home team with Cynthia Ashby's team

l to r: Lisa, Barbara, Cassy, Kaylee, and Cynthia

By |June 18th, 2015|spotlights|0 Comments

what’s hot this summer

Now that summer is in full swing, let’s take a look at some of the hottest things we’re seeing this season:

Summer’s Glow

Imagine a summer sunrise. There’s a haze — a glow — to it. The heat makes the light behave in entrancing ways. We are loving the warm radiance of these ceramic lamps by Muhammad Moussa and Lilach Lotan. They give off a serene elegance and provide a clean, tranquil aesthetic whether lit or not. Sunrise, sunset, or the illusion of fireflies in the evening — these lamps are the epitome of summer light.

Bright and Bold

Color is everywhere. Saturated, stunning hues echo the sun, flowers, and exuberance of summertime. Color just feels differently in summer — deeper, warmer, more vibrant. The sun seems brighter in summer, the sky bluer, the flowers bolder. Bringing those colors into your home is a way to instantly immerse yourself in summer.

Fabulous and Flowing

When the temperature goes up, you don’t need to sacrifice style to keep cool. Light, flowing fabrics and sleeveless designs are our choices for the summer season. The colors are fresh and soothing, and the designs are incredibly flattering. These pieces could be worn easily on the beach or out to dinner on the boardwalk. Bonus: these knit pieces are incredibly comfortable and easy-care — perfect for travel to all your summer destinations.

Ocean Breezes

Sun, sand, and water: the combination is an instant recipe for summer memories. Waves foaming against the shore, stunning sea life viewed through a snorkel mask, or even a gorgeous sunset over the water are all immortalized by artwork. We love these pieces that bring to mind surf, sunsets, and sea life.

Summer brings with it a state of mind. Bringing art inspired by summer into our homes can keep us in this magical season all year long.

 

By |June 11th, 2015|articles|0 Comments

7 ways to bring art outdoors this summer

Who says art has to stay in the house? Including artwork in your outdoor space can complement the style of your home, make outdoor activities even more enjoyable, and provide a visual focal point for all seasons. From artist-made garden sculpture to handcrafted furniture, here are seven great ways to enhance your outdoor space with art.

1. Gather ‘Round the Fire

One of my favorite things to do on a cozy summer evening is to gather around a fire with family and friends. With an extraordinary fire pit like this hand-cut steel fire bowl by John T. Unger, the whole experience becomes even more dramatic and memorable.

The Great Bowl O' Fire by John T. Unger (image courtesy of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc)

The Great Bowl O’ Fire by John T. Unger (image courtesy of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc)

2. Strategic Seating

Place garden stools or benches at points where people can linger or enjoy a beautiful view. Bonus points if they’re near fragrant plants like lilac, wisteria, or rosemary. I particularly enjoy the playful polka dots and earthy appeal of this wheel-thrown ceramic stool by Michael Jones.

3. Dining Al Fresco

Enjoying an outdoor meal is one of the great pleasures of the summer months. Especially when it’s food that’s been prepared outside, like grilled burgers, wood-fired pizza, or fresh garden salad. But no matter what’s on the menu, a remarkable table like this one by Terence S. Dubreuil makes every meal more festive.

4. Serve It Up

Of course, once you have a beautiful table for outdoor dining, you’ll want beautiful serving ware to accompany the meal! These serving utensils by Nicole and Harry Hansen contrast wrought iron with bright sterling silver to make an elegant statement.

Drinks, anyone? This ceramic carafe and wine glass set by Peggy Crago serves up anything from lemonade to sangria with cheerful color—perfect for enjoying near a garden.

5. Garden Sculpture

A gorgeous work of art has a way of making your existing landscaping even more stunning. I love the organic, abstract forms and flowing lines of this pair of sculptures by Aaron T. Brown. Together, they create a fantastic focal point for a dramatic landscape.

With its rhythmic stacked shapes, this ceramic sculpture by Victoria Shaw suggests a totem or cairn. The cool blues and purples would look beautiful surrounded by lush greenery or bright flowers like poppies, yarrow, or daylilies.

6. For the Birds

Inviting wildlife into your yard can be a great source of delight. Cheryl Wolff’s ceramic bird houses and feeders elevate common objects to something far more distinctive that both birds and people can enjoy!

7. A Touch of Whimsy

Try a little bit of art in an unexpected place—like next to your front door. A doorbell frame by Rosalie Sherman is certain to get a chuckle from visitors—and what better way for guests to enter your home than with smiles on their faces?

By |June 4th, 2015|articles|Comments Off on 7 ways to bring art outdoors this summer