exciting new jewelry

As Artful Home‘s Associate Merchant for Apparel and Jewelry, I have the opportunity to see exciting new jewelry on a daily basis, and I love seeing all of the extraordinary things artists create.

I’d like to take a moment to share some of the new artists, pieces, and trends I’ve come across recently, and share with you a little about why I find them so fabulous:

Acrylic & Gold Beveled Cuff

Acrylic & Gold Beveled Cuff

I love the geometric forms and bold fashion-forward style of Jennifer Merchant‘s work. Jennifer is known for her technique which involves bonding printed papers, gold leaf, and other materials between layers of solid acrylic. These cuffs are a great way to add a fun, personal statement to your wardrobe.

Sky & Water Through the Branches Pendant

Sky & Water Through the Branches Pendant

The organic feel of Ben Dyer‘s jewelry is one of the things I love most about his work. Each one of his pieces has movement, which is both unique and graceful. His pieces are great for everyday wear or for special occasions, and the amount of detail in each is truly beautiful.

Silver, Red, and Jewel Tones Echo Necklace

Silver, Red, and Jewel Tones Echo Necklace

I wear a lot of neutral-colored clothes, and Julie Powell‘s new pieces are perfect for adding that much-needed pop of color to any wardrobe. Her pieces not only exhibit an intricate amount of detail, but can truly become conversation pieces. Her interplay of color and texture is a sight to behold.

 

Jungle Fever Stacking Rings by Nancy Troske

Jungle Fever Stacking Rings by Nancy Troske

Carved Prong Set Pyrite & Bimetal Rings by Heather Guidero

Carved Prong Set Pyrite & Bimetal Rings by Heather Guidero

Stacking rings are a trend that I can’t stay away from. These versatile rings can be worn singly for a minimal statement, or stacked for a bolder look. I love the animal print inspired look of Nancy Troske‘s Jungle Fever Stacking Rings, and the sculptural feel of Heather Guidero‘s Carved Prong Set Pyrite & Bimetal Rings.

What new pieces are you excited about?

By |March 2nd, 2015|articles|4 Comments

why we love what we love

Each of us is drawn to a work of art for different reasons. Some feel the call of a discipline – glass, ceramics, metal. For others it a theme – modern, abstract, floral. For many it’s difficult to define what draws us to a piece. What is it about any piece that speaks to our soul? Because that is what art does – it speaks to our soul, and calls to us to fall in love with it.

It would be easy to say that pieces simply remind us of a time or place. Spending your childhood summers at the ocean shore may draw you to works that feature ocean themes – fish, sea creatures, the ocean waves. Spending time in the southwest could make you crave works that feature desert landscapes. Days on the ranch may draw you to works that feature horses.

Memories may be part of what draws us to a piece but there is much, much more. Each artist uses his or her work as a voice. The story is different for every artist and every work of art but there is still an unwritten and unspoken narrative around a piece. It may tell of a dream or a wish or a hope. It may tell of a place in time. It is a way for an artist to express without explicitly using words. It’s this voice of the work that speaks from the artist to us. This voice that pulls us back to the pieces we love. The artist is telling us something that we may not be able to fully comprehend or put into words, but our soul understands the story.

Because we can’t often put into words what it is that draws us to a piece, it can be difficult to define what we love. You’ve heard the phrase, “I’ll know it when I see it.” Because the moment when we lay our eyes on a work of art is the moment we will know if the story the artist is telling resonates with us.

Perhaps you’ve had an experience like this: you’re walking through the artist booths at your local art fair and suddenly there in front of you are pieces you’ve never seen before…but that you can’t take your eyes off of. If you’re like me, you’ll spend the next half hour in that artist’s booth enjoying each and every piece. And, if you’re like me, the work will draw you back to it at least once more before you leave the art fair. It is the unspoken story that is drawing you back.

You may have noticed the pieces I’ve included here. These are some works that genuinely speak to me and seem to share their story with me. Over the years I’ve started to understand that I’m not drawn to specific colors or disciplines. I’m drawn to organic, elegant work that often has some connection to nature and has a simplicity to it. The simplicity of these pieces can offset the complexity of the artist’s work. On the most basic level the Nicolas Bernard vessel is a simple form rendered in clay. But Bernard’s use of a bright, unexpected color for the medium along with the graceful textured slip elevate the piece from a simple ceramic form to a work of art that calls me back to it again and again. You can see similar threads in the other pieces. On some level do they harken back to a childhood spent appreciating nature? Absolutely. Do they bring a calming escape from the business of day to day life? Of course. But beyond that I feel in all of these pieces that there is some part of the artist that is speaking to me on a level that words cannot convey.

There are so many pieces that speak to me that it is impossible to share them all with you in this post. Therefore I’ve created a Pinterest board with thoughts on what it is about various pieces that really draws me to them. Feel free to share your thought on each piece. If one of these pieces speaks to you, let me know what it is that draws you to it, what story it tells you. Or share with me the pieces that speak to you – either post in the comments below or tag us (@artfulhome) on Pinterest. I would really like to read your comments and see how your life is impacted by living with art.

By |February 27th, 2015|articles|0 Comments

artist spotlight: dolan geiman

Many artists found on Artful Home have work that I find absolutely stunning. It’s rare, however, that an artist will enchant me with every single piece of art they create. Dolan Geiman is one of those rare artists whose aesthetic is so appealing to me that I would be thrilled to own any of his work. His prints are created on wood, which I find lovely, and Artful Home now represents many more original paper collages as well.

Bicycle Collection by Dolan Geiman

Bicycle Collection by Dolan Geiman

Bicycle notwithstanding, Dolan’s artwork is most often inspired by nature, with a western flair. Animals, cowboys, fish, and Native American figures all feature prominently. Dolan often creates mixed media work, using found articles of metal, wood, and paper to create incredible collages filled with color, down to the last feather or leaf.

Beauty in Every Shadow by Dolan Geiman

Beauty in Every Shadow by Dolan Geiman

The truly extraordinary thing about his work, however, is the detail. What might look like a painting from afar is actually a collage created from THOUSANDS of hand-cut pieces of paper, which are then painstakingly glued into place. I had the opportunity to see his work in person at Art Fair on the Square in Madison, WI, and was amazed. Walking closer and seeing more and more tiny pieces come into focus is an incredible experience. The amount of time and artistry that goes into a piece is astonishing, especially when considering that many pieces are quite large, some stretching out to 8 feet or more. Even Dolan’s metal work is created through cutting, layering salvaged pieces to create a sculpture.

Hand Cutting
Work in Progress
Work in Progress 2
African Bird Diorama: Lilac Breasted Roller by Dolan Geiman
African Bird Diorama: Lilac Breasted Roller by Dolan Geiman
African Bird Diorama: Lilac Breasted Roller by Dolan Geiman
Growing up with a lot of time spent hunting, fishing, camping, and otherwise enjoying nature with my dad, the images of trout, deer, bear, and other wildlife remind me of childhood and of the careful relationship between mankind and the environment. Bringing nature into my home is a wonderful way to remain cognizant of the outdoors, even while inside.

Warblers Box Print by Dolan Geiman

Warblers Box Print by Dolan Geiman

By |February 20th, 2015|spotlights|0 Comments

the long and winding road: paths to artistic success

With one look at our site and the hundreds of artists we represent, it’s clear that the cliché of the “starving artist” is simply not true. Every single one of our artists is a success story—someone making a living selling their work and following their passion.

But how did they get there?

Candone Wharton's introduction to clay involved only the use of her hands and the simplest of tools. Today, she combines years of experience with diverse influences to create ceramic art in a style all her own.

Candone Wharton’s introduction to clay involved only the use of her hands and the simplest of tools. Today, she combines years of experience with diverse influences to create ceramic art in a style all her own.

As the copywriter for Artful Home, one of my jobs is to review and edit the biographies artists submit to our site. As an artist myself, I find it fascinating to find out how these artists got their start and built successful careers.

Some artists follow a seemingly straightforward path—they go to art school, get apprenticeships, and eventually open their own studios. However, many artists take a more circuitous path. I am struck, for example, by the number of artists who are entirely self-taught, or who became artists only after years spent working in a completely different field. Just as there is no “right” way to be an artist, there is no “right” way to become an artist.

One thing that quite a few artists do at some point in their careers—whether they’re self-taught or have an MFA degree—is to attend classes and workshops outside of a formal degree program. This could be anything from a highly specialized workshop at an artist residency to years of evening classes at a community college.

Today, perhaps more than ever, there are limitless opportunities for artists to learn in non-traditional settings, even while juggling other responsibilities. Classes can be found at local universities, community centers, libraries, arts organizations, and even stores and cafes—and these learning opportunities can be vital for success.

As someone who has also taken a variety of art classes throughout my working life, it is inspiring to me to see how other artists use these opportunities to develop their careers. Here are a few pieces I love created by artists whose multifaceted backgrounds and educational paths particularly interest me.

Amber Basket Handled Teapot by Suzanne Crane

Amber Basket Handled Teapot by Suzanne Crane

I simply adore Suzanne Crane’s work, and I feel a certain kinship with her because we are both artists, writers, and nature lovers. She started out with a background in English and creative writing, and took her first pottery classes while working as a professor, intending to get her mind off of text-based communication and to experiment with being a beginner again. For the next ten years, she continued taking pottery classes while working full-time. Eventually, she opened her own studio and began pursuing a career in ceramics.

Carved Green Bottle by David Royce

Carved Green Bottle by David Royce

David Royce not only creates gorgeous artwork, he also gives back to his community. He first started glassblowing at the age of fifteen as an apprentice in a local glass shop. In college, he intended to earn a BFA in glass, but after studying abroad in Taiwan, switched his focus to child psychology and Chinese. He eventually rediscovered his passion for glassblowing and joined Foci Glass Studios in Minneapolis, where he now teaches and creates his work. He serves on the board and has been honored to make glass more accessible to the community.

Gold Fuchsia Brooch/Pendant by Vickie Hallmark

Gold Fuchsia Brooch/Pendant by Vickie Hallmark

There is a prevailing myth that artists and scientists are completely different from one another. It turns out that quite a few Artful Home artists, including Vickie Hallmark, have backgrounds in science—proving that creativity and logic are not so incompatible, after all.

Trained as a research scientist, Vickie studied gold and silver for many years before returning to her birth name’s heritage of metalsmithing (a “hallmark” is a maker of fine metals). After training with recognized master jewelers, she combined classical techniques with experimentation on her own to develop a truly unique style.

Boat Bowls by Charan Sachar

Boat Bowls by Charan Sachar

I love the way that Charan Sachar’s fascination with the textiles and culture of India, where he spent much of his life, comes through in his richly patterned clay pieces. In 2011, he quit his full-time job as a software engineer to pursue his passion in clay. He started exploring ceramics in a studio co-op in Tacoma, WA. A combination of workshops with ceramic artists and experimentation on his own led to the work he creates today.

Striker by Ken Edwards

Striker by Ken Edwards

I think most artists can attest to loving the tools of their trade. Ken Edwards goes one step further: he transforms beloved vintage tools into unique works of art. After 30 years as a firefighter, Ken Edwards retired and found himself casting about for something real to do. He had always been drawn to contemporary art, and so he began to experiment with materials he was familiar with—wood and paint. He is largely self-taught and has taken classes and workshops in sculpture and furniture design.

Every one of these artists has his or her own story. Once you dig in to the story, it becomes clear that there are many ways to be an artist, and many paths to success—which is good news to artists and art lovers alike.

By |February 10th, 2015|articles|1 Comment

putting the art in heart

This time of year, hearts are everywhere. The well-known symbol of Valentine’s Day floods us all. However, artists make use of the heart year round, and throughout history.

The popular icon for the heart can be traced all the way back to before the last Ice Age. Cro-Magnon hunters use the symbol in pictograms, although we can’t be sure what exactly it meant to them. The meaning of the symbol would become universal in the Middle Ages.

Berenguer, M., 1994: Prehistoric cave art in Northern Spain, Asturias, Cuidad de Mexico: Frente de Afirmacion Hispanista.

Berenguer, M., 1994: Prehistoric cave art in Northern Spain, Asturias, Cuidad de Mexico: Frente de Afirmacion Hispanista.

Historians think the modern symbol originated from the shape of the ivy leaf. Stylized, rounded leaves decorating vessels, urns, and tombstones portray eternal love. Inspired by the art and ornamentation of the early depictions, monastic illustrators painted images of Trees of Life bearing red, heart-shaped leaves. The green leaves became red for the color of warm blood, good luck, and health. The modern concept of the heart symbol was born.

Winged Nike with heart shaped vine leaves (cymation) and heart symbol in the top right-hand corner; Brescia Museum (Italy) 5 th century B.C.
Floor mosaic, Villa Adriana near Tivoli (Italy), 120 A.D.
Heraldic heart-shaped leaves and tree. The minnesinger Heinrich von dem Vorste with his beloved mistress; Middle High German manuscript, 13th century
Winged Nike with heart shaped vine leaves (cymation) and heart symbol in the top right-hand corner; Brescia Museum (Italy) 5th century B.C.
Floor mosaic, Villa Adriana near Tivoli (Italy), 120 A.D.
Heraldic heart-shaped leaves and tree. The minnesinger Heinrich von dem Vorste with his beloved mistress; Middle High German manuscript, 13th century

The symbol of the “playing-card heart” became universal as time passed, reaching numerous religions and cultures worldwide. Today’s symbol of the curved heart now encompasses a wide range of emotions and meanings.

At Last, My Love has Come Along by Elizabeth Robinson

At Last, My Love has Come Along by Elizabeth Robinson

At Last, My Love has Come Along by Elizabeth Robinson is titled after the song famously performed by jazz vocalist Etta James. Created with bright colors and bold patterns in the recognizable heart shape, the glass brings the music to life. You can almost hear the moody, vibrant sounds of jazz coming through the piece — the discordant clash of red and yellow along with slashes of black make you feel the dissonant chords that then melt and resolve into a whole piece of beautiful art that somehow flows together seamlessly.

I Carry Your Heart Necklace by Beth Taylor

I Carry Your Heart Necklace by Beth Taylor

The Robinson piece used the heart shape to represent the idea of love in music, and this necklace by Beth Taylor alludes to a well-known poem by e e cummings. The poem is one of my personal favorites, and I love the way this artist conveys the literary meaning by placing the words inside the different layers of the heart.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
        – e e cummings
I imagine wearing this necklace as a representation of my husband and children — carrying them with me always. It could also stand as a symbol of remembrance for a loved one lost. Giving it as a gift would be a strong statement of love to the recipient.

 

Two Hearts in Hand by Cathy Broski

Two Hearts in Hand by Cathy Broski

This sculpture by Cathy Broski is a piece that can truly mean something different to everyone who views it. Whether the hearts represent children, a couple, parents, or other loved ones — or whether the hand is our own, someone else’s, or something bigger — is open for interpretation.

Chatham Heart by Kerry Vesper

Chatham Heart by Kerry Vesper

The open design of Chatham Heart by Kerry Vesper is a subtle, flowing take on the traditional heart shape. Originally commissioned by a cardiologist for installation in the Chatham Art Center, this artistic representation of the physical heart is a beautiful piece.

Artists use the symbol of the heart to represent abstract ideas, express love, or even to literally stand for the actual organ. The symbol of the heart is found everywhere. What does this symbol mean to you?

By |February 6th, 2015|articles|1 Comment