30 years of celebrating and supporting art and fine craft in america

In 1985, our company was formed with one specific mission: to help artists and fine craftspeople across America to sell and show their work to a national audience. At a time when there were few venues in which artists could show their work outside of regional art shows, this concept was revolutionary. Originally started as a publisher producing Guild Sourcebooks, the company has evolved over 30 years to become Artful Home, the greatest online gallery and catalog of work by North American professional artists, craftspeople, and artisan designers.

Today, Artful Home represents over 1,200 artists with more than 18,000 works listed on the site. All artists have been juried and vetted, with the eminent Michael Monroe leading our panel of jurors. While the world of art and craft has grown and changed, and a newfound respect for craft and handmade is taking hold in our culture, Artful Home continues to bridge the gap between artists who were part of the 1970’s craft movement and young artists who are taking an approach born of a millennial mindset.

What is remarkable to me is that the world of art and craft has continued to expand and invent, so 3-D printing and computer-manipulated images sit comfortably side by side with hand-forged metals and glass blown using techniques which are 1,000 years old.

Cage Bangle (3-D printed bracelet) by Maria Eife and Color Field Vase (30th Anniversary blown glass piece) by Wes Hunting

Cage Bangle (3-D printed bracelet) by Maria Eife and Color Field Vase (30th Anniversary blown glass piece) by Wes Hunting

To mark the occasion of our 30th anniversary, Artful Home asked several artists to create exclusive pieces which represented their work yet explored new artistic territory. Many artists used this opportunity to develop ideas not yet realized, and we could not be more thrilled with the results.

Please join us as we celebrate our 30th anniversary.

Check back over the next few months to get to know the artists, find out the inspiration behind the artwork, and dig deeper into Artful Home’s unique story. You’ll find the next 30th Anniversary story on August 10th.

By |August 26th, 2015|30th anniversary, articles, events|0 Comments

artist spotlight: wen redmond

What began as an art form of felting, needlepoint, and woven fabrics has evolved into entirely new concepts under the skilled hands of fiber artists like Wen Redmond. Creating art from fiber isn’t new, but the innovations and techniques utilized by Redmond are taking fiber into exciting new directions.

Redmond’s work features her original digital photography, manipulated and printed on prepared fabrics or other substrates. It is then further worked through painting, dyeing, stamping, screen-printing, mono-printing, stitching, or other means of surface design.

She explained:

“I am a process-based artist. I’m always experimenting with combinations of materials and presentations, including or rejecting the outcome in my work. And so my work morphs with each new idea…

I’m passionate about coming up with ideas and working out the kinks. This leads to more discoveries, an evolution. I make the art and then the art makes me.”

By printing images onto different types of fabric and playing with layers and transparency, Redmond creates dimension and a holographic effect to her works.

“As is the case with most of my work, I create an image with a variety of photo manipulating programs. “Pause” was layered with three photographs. One is an image out my window of trees in my yard, another of a prior finished work, and the last is of my painted cloth — thus my hand-painted fiber is inside my images and outside serving as borders for other works. The edges are finished with acrylic metallic paint, and it is creatively stitched.”

“While the result is successful, “A Thousand Wishes” is an experiment I’m not likely to repeat. It consists of a manipulated image of a barn, printed on cotton satin. I hand-painted borders of cotton duck, one of my favorite fabrics for borders or frames. The same image was printed again on silk organza. I stitched this directly on top of the prior construction in a grid formation. I very carefully sliced the organza so the pieces flip up, creating a series of visual multiple holographic imagery.”

Wen Redmond continues to push the limits of fiber. Her innovations and experimentation take a traditional medium into exciting new directions — and we can’t wait to see what direction she goes next.

By |August 21st, 2015|spotlights|0 Comments

no place like home

The themes of house and home are captivating to artists, and in this Flash Gallery, eleven Artful Home artists explore ideas of dwellings and structures, as well as the emotions associated with home. From the dreamlike pastel suburbs of R. Michael Wommack to the illuminated porcelain factories of Jonathan White, to the archetypal symbolism of Cathy Broski and Julie Girardini, these American artists explore a sense of time and place that is unique to an America in the post-industrial age. In these 38 works, house-like structures take both center stage and form a backdrop for the dramas of everyday life. Constructed from metal, wood, and clay, woven in tapestry, quilted in fabric, drawn with pastels and painted with oil, these pieces of artwork explore the landscape of the heart as well as architectural structure.

The iconic symbol of the house as a vessel is important to several of the artists in this event. Clay artist Cathy Broski is known for her archetypal figures where the house symbolizes a vessel that holds life’s memories and experiences. As Broski hollows out cavities in her large and amazing sculptures of human figures, she inserts stacked cups, houses, and ladders in the resulting “grottos,” often positioning the houses closest to the heart.

Metal artist Julie Girardini also views the house form as a symbol. Not only does this iconic form hold the essence of our history, but, to the artist, it is also is a symbol of where we are going. Julie Girardini’s houses are clean modernist statements of the value of growth and phases of life, each documenting a stage in experience. In “Story Houses,” diary-like writing covers the external walls and roofs of two houses, hinting at the stories within. In “Missing Home,” the sculpture is dominated by what is not there, a huge house-shaped void in the middle of a web of overlapping metal wires.

Lynn Cornelius, a fiber artist, explores the nature of home as both an interior and exterior experience. She interprets “home” as many things: the physical body; the interior world of thoughts, emotions, and sensations; the structures in which we live; and the larger community of the planet. In the “The Sky’s Loneliness,” the artist explores the smooth exterior house shape reflecting the patterns of a starry sky, and within, the interior chaos of exposed threads.

In Chris Bowman’s Dwelling series, the artist combines salvaged materials from old houses and barns with new house forms. Recycled floor boards, moldings, and beams create the bases for Bowman’s tiny carved houses. Directionality of houses is important in these enigmatic sculptures. In “Coming and Going,” we are presented with the front of the house and the back of a house, while in “North South East West” the houses are positioned to align with the cardinal directions. Bowman leaves the marks of the tools on each house surface, imparting a charm and character not unlike that of a handwritten letter.

While Kyle Hawke’s sculpture called “Roots” seems to tell a universal story of a house becoming rooted in place, it also tells a personal story of the artist and his wife. Before the artist was born, his father cut down a Black Walnut tree on the family property and had it milled into lumber, which has been used to carve the curving roots beneath the house. The Linden wood for the house itself came from a tree that his father-in-law felled on the property where his wife grew up. “Both of our families are responsible for all of the wood used in each ‘Roots’ piece,” writes the artist. “Needless to say it works on many levels.”

When you think of the suburbs, you often think of rootlessness, or temporary houses purchased for specific stages in life. However, in R. Michael Wommack’s beautiful and dreamlike pastels, the artist creates a fantastic vision of the suburbs. Inspired by a dream of swimming in illuminated pools in the suburban neighborhood where he grew up, the artist began a project that is now in its eighth year. Wommack creates a vison of the early suburbs of any major city. The repetition of identical houses and swimming pools and holiday decorations is imbued with an ethereal glow. Indeed the blue light of TVs and Texas-shaped swimming pools imparts an unearthly color to Wommack’s night scenes, and daylight brings a Hopper-like sense of quiet and order. These are landscapes where peach and mint and turquoise houses curve gently into the horizon, untroubled by motor vehicles or noise or playing children.

David Stabley’s visions of houses are just the opposite — each dwelling seems to explode with the energy inside. Nothing is orderly here — furniture and people are positioned at crazy angles, the houses seem alive, and the doors and windows are sprung wide open. Through them, beds and stories and dreams seem to wind around coffee cups and hearts, and escape into the starry skies.

In Brian Kershisnik’s painting “Dances Through Disaster,” a man dances on a rowboat as the house behind him is swallowed in rising water. If you look closely, the house is filled with stained glass windows, and the story becomes a deeper message of faith and tribulation and a spirit of rejoicing. Therese May’s “Sweet Home Sweet” and “Home Sweet Home” express in quilted detail the value of family and home, and the place where all roads lead. And Ken Girardini, with his wonderful metal drawing called “Rocket is my Home,” celebrates his coming of age during the time of space exploration, his subsequent career at NASA, and his fascination with outer space.

And this all leads to the final artist featured in the event, Jonathan White, who creates factory-like structures out of porcelain. White first builds the porcelain frameworks for the buildings, which are then covered with thin porcelain sheets. As you walk around these magically illuminated sculptures you are struck by both a sense of their fragility and their underlying strength, their portrayal of buildings usually created in iron and steel recreated in what seems to be the most fragile of materials. And yet, porcelain is one of the strongest and most resonant of clay bodies and the apparent fragility, the underlying strength, the illumination brings to us yet another metaphor for home.

In this Flash Gallery, the forms and the messages of these artists create a resonance that exists long after you leave the event. There really is no place like home.

By |August 9th, 2015|events|1 Comment

from inspiration to art

An artist can be inspired by any number of things: a dream, memory, or feeling, or more tangible things like nature, people, or a location. While anyone can look at something beautiful and be inspired by it, moved by it — it takes an artist to take that inspiration and create something entirely new from it.

The vast and unreachable “unknown” of outer space captivates artists and scientists alike. Glass artist Josh Simpson (married to renowned astronaut Catherine Coleman) creates stunning glass planets that evoke some of the incredible beauty of space.

Each night, Simpson walks from his home to his studio and spends time gazing into the night sky. He never tries to replicate the beauty he witnesses, but instead tries to instill some of the wonder of the universe into his glass work. He often isn’t even aware of the source of his inspiration until someone points it out to him later.

Neil deGrasse Tyson said:

As you know, I study astrophysics, and let me tell you the kind of art I’m least interested in – it’s when people see these beautiful images from the Hubble telescope, and they’re inspired by that, and they just sort of draw that.

And my response is – I don’t NEED you to draw that. I have the telescope to give me that. As an artist, why don’t you process that through your own creativity, and take me to a place I’ve never been before?

Then you’re adding a dimension to it. Don’t just copy what’s there – I’m not telling an artist what to do, but what I like is when an artist is inspired by the Universe, and it goes through their machine, and comes out of them in a new kind of way, and you go “Hey…I bet I know what inspired that.”

I want an artist to show me something I might not have noticed about that natural beauty. I want an artist to layer an emotion on that natural beauty that I might not have seen myself, or even known to access.

From outer space to inner reflection — this piece by Cathy Broski is inspired by memorable people and events in her life. Broski created a cavity in the form which features metaphorical objects: a ladder symbolizing inner growth achieved through aging, a bird as a metaphor for the inner voice helping to keep us on our path, cups representing time spent with the ones we love.

Sometimes it’s important to look at something in a different, unexpected way to find inspiration. At first glance, we may only notice the blooming flowers in our gardens. Look again, and you may notice more subtle beauty found in the silvery fuzz covering a stem or the fresh green tones and shapes of leaves. Nancy Linkin is inspired by the curvilinear forms found in nature and geometry. In a conversation with Linkin, she shared that the spiraling curled ferns and gracefully bending vines and grasses in her garden inspire her work — can you see their forms in her jewelry?

Memories and experiences are sources of inspiration, too. Perhaps a blue and white color scheme present in a childhood kitchen now evokes feelings of calm and happiness. Or maybe a memory of a special trip to the ocean draws you to pieces with a nautical theme. The Summer Porch Peach series by Karen Schulz was inspired by ‘a summer vacation ritual of lining up luscious peaches, to watch them ripen and dwindle over relaxing, joyous, carefree days on Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.’ The warm yellows and oranges in the piece contrast with the cool blues and greens to bring the artist’s memory to life.

Inspiration can strike anyone, but it takes an artist to transform inspiration into something new and beautiful.

By |July 31st, 2015|articles|0 Comments

artist spotlight: hal mayforth

Art can be serious. It can express things that are not easily talked about — heavy things that make us think. Often art is profoundly beautiful, and brings us a sense of peace and contentment simply for its presence. However, there’s a lighter side to art. Sometimes art just makes us smile, or chuckle. Much of Hal Mayforth‘s art falls into this category — art that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Mayforth’s early interest was music, and he considers himself lucky to have graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in Fine Art due to spending most of his years there playing rock and roll in bars.

When his band relocated from upstate New York to Boston and then quickly broke up, Mayforth began to get his drawings published in the city’s lively alt-press scene.

I was also getting a lot of work with various computer magazines in the Boston area. There was a need for humorous illustrations to liven up some fairly dry material. By the time the computer epicenter had left Boston and moved to Silicon Valley, I was already advertising nationally, and creating illustrations for publications all over the country. I have had a successful career as a humorous illustrator for more than 35 years. My work has appeared in many US national publications including Time, The New York Times, US News and World Report, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Rolling Stone, Outside, The Boston Globe, and Road and Track. I have won a boatload of awards for my illustration work, including Cartoonist of the Year from the National Cartoonists Society in 1993 and 2 silver medals from The Society of Illustrators. I have always done personal fine art work throughout my career and lately have been spending more time to that end.

With such a prolific and successful career, it takes a great deal of effort to support it. We asked Mayforth about his process:

When I was a junior at Skidmore College, I had a drawing instructor that assigned a sketchbook for the entire semester. I’ve been doing them ever since. The concept resonated with me. I have a morning routine that I have followed for the past 35+ years. I start with 20 minutes of meditation and then I draw in my sketchbook for an hour. I work directly in pen and ink and a smattering of watercolor and colored pencil. I try to work with mistakes and never use white out. The ink blobs and splatters are all part of the process. When I start a new volume I do a front page that indicates volume number and the date started. I usually carry over graphic themes to the front page that I have developed in the previous volume. Because I have been devoting an hour every day for the past 35+ years to drawing in these books, certain rhythms emerge.

Hal Mayforth sketchbook cover (image courtesy of Hal Mayforth)

Hal Mayforth sketchbook cover (image courtesy of Hal Mayforth)

At times I struggle and other times the ideas seem to pour out of my pen tip. I never know what will happen. I’ve always thought the important thing is to just keep doing it. You never know when lightning will strike and a good idea will come out of the blue. Chances of capturing these strikes are increased through the act of drawing. I try to meditate every morning before my drawing session. This clears my mind and lets the good stuff rise to the surface. It also relaxes me and provides focus. I am much more measured in my drawing after I meditate. It works for me.

Hal Mayforth

Mayforth’s bright, colorful pieces and clever humor make wonderful additions to any collection. Because really, who doesn’t need a reminder to lighten up once in awhile?

By |July 24th, 2015|spotlights|Comments Off on artist spotlight: hal mayforth