2014 ornament artists

Don’t let the small size fool you — each ornament in our 2014 collection is a piece of art.

Our ornaments are selected through a rigorous process from some of the finest artists in North America. Each one is individually created in small, independent studios — not overseas, not in factories.

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Every artist is unique, and brings their own personal style to their ornaments. Some are intricate replicas of plants and animals, some take modern forms, some are whimsical creatures, and some explode with color. With over 175 ornaments this year being made by 80+ artists, there is a wonderful variety of beautiful creations to choose from.

Whether you’re looking for an ornament for an avid scuba diver, a fan of hot air balloon rides, an animal lover, a home brewer, or someone who loves to garden — you’ll be sure to find the perfect gift.

 

By |October 16th, 2014|events, spotlights|0 Comments

@large: ai weiwei on alcatraz

Recently I attended the massive installation “@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz” by dissident Chinese artist and activist, Ai Weiwei. It takes months of planning to get a ticket and is profoundly worth the wait and effort.

Created for and set in the crumbling and horrifying remains of the prison on Alcatraz Island, the installation is divided into seven parts, each with its own distinct and often visually beautiful perspective on imprisonment, domination, freedom, isolation, and the bleak endlessness of incarceration.

A recurring technique in many of Ai’s pieces is the use of massive quantities of something, often a hand-created something in honor of his reverence for craft. An oft-cited fact about one of the pieces in this installation, “Trace,” is the use of 1.4 million Lego pieces. But the installation is powerful for reasons that are greatly beyond this notable quantity.

Ai Weiwei "Trace"

“Trace” is an installation depicting portraits of 176 individuals incarcerated for their beliefs, most of them still held as of this past June. Ai refers to them as heroes, though many people on my tour questioned certain individuals such as Edward Snowden being called a hero. I found the effect of the Lego portraits to be profound. It is so very easy to read about dissidents, to see them as far off from one’s everyday life, to know of them in a small, faraway way. The first impression of these dozens of portraits is one of pixilation, difficult to identify. And then. Then your eyes begin to see them and take in the enormity of their sheer numbers. The millions of pieces begin to make sense in relationship to the millions of individuals around the world whose freedom is compromised.

Ai Weiwei "Trace" Nelson Mandela

Just as we began to leave “Trace” we decided to take a few photographs with our phones and discovered that viewed through a phone’s camera, the portraits became instantly clear, the blurriness of pixilation gone, as if to reflect on how information about today’s dissidents is instantly and clearly communicated thanks to technology. It changed the entire experience, added a deeper level of meaning.

 

“Blossom” takes place in the prison hospital, often a place of residence for the mentally ill, a place of desolation. Here, Ai has filled the old discolored sinks, toilets, and bathtubs with tiny, precious white porcelain flowers. The decrepit containers are filled to overflowing with what at first glance could be Styrofoam packing peanuts, but on closer inspection are each beautiful, detailed blooms. Who knows how many blossoms there are, who knows how many cries took place in this place of horror and in others around the world? What a contrast between these horrible porcelain fixtures and these minute pieces of art — a contrast of purpose, a reminder that those imprisoned for their thoughts never see or receive flowers of any sort. There was no beauty here.

Ai Weiwei, "Blossom" (photo: Jan Stürmann via FOR-SITE Foundation)

Ai Weiwei, “Blossom” (photo: Jan Stürmann via FOR-SITE Foundation)

It is often noted that art has the power to reveal and re-color reality. In the case of @Large, Ai does even more than that. He explores, exposes and ultimately fills us with the enormity of the commitment of individuals for their beliefs. Extraordinary.

 

By |October 13th, 2014|articles|1 Comment

guest author: carole guthrie

Artful Home represents more than a thousand of the most extraordinary artists and designers in North America—and this is one artist’s story.

“When I met my husband, I knew he was the man/artist for me. He was a really fine painter of landscapes and rusty tools and seascapes. His name was Rod Guthrie.

Painting by Rod Guthrie

I had always wanted to paint, and I watched him do fabulous watercolors with exciting skies: landscapes that had buildings with crisp edges and beautiful, realistic stonework, and seascapes with sailboats that rode on stormy seas. I entered the School of the Chicago Art Institute with a portfolio that emulated his work. Although I did get accepted into the BFA program, I was not happy with my work. It seemed technically okay but imitative of Rod’s paintings. I met a woman – an abstract watercolorist – who showed me how to go from realistic work to a more abstract style. I made the leap and worked on design, color, and technique for many years as my personal style emerged.

Girard Station by Rod Guthrie

When Rod was transferred to New England, I continued my studies at UMASS Amherst. I studied modern art history with Mark Roskill, learning about cubism – something I had admired since my study of Picasso. My painting professor, John Grillo, opened my eyes to color and construction in painting. I went on to MASSART in Boston for graduate study, exploring all the theory I wanted to accompany my studio work in art. I began to paint in contemporary mode in earnest, until I developed my own personal style.

Figure 5 on Edge by Carole Guthrie

As my painting developed, Rod told me that my abstractions actually affected and inspired his work, just as his had inspired mine. Instead of the John Ford long view of a landscape, he picked out architectural details and focused on them in close-up views, like some of the modern filmmakers. He abstracted from reality as well, while maintaining realistic subject matter.

Watercolor Painting by Rod Guthrie Watertower at Embudo Station by Rod Guthrie

We painted together for many years in our home studio in Massachusetts. One day in 2001, Rod noticed a weakness in his right arm – his painting arm. He went to the doctor, who told him he had ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He began to lose muscle function in both arms and neck, but he never stopped painting. First, he held up his right arm with his left arm. When that became difficult, we modified his brush with wadded up masking tape. He painted with his mouth and I painted some of the detail for him. He made some of his most monumental works during this most difficult time.

The bravery he exhibited during those most difficult years was amazing. His desire to paint was always there early on and at the end. We had a celebration of his life with bagpipes, songs, and poetry with his artwork hanging on the walls. His work is my legacy.

After Rod took his leave, I taught art at a local college. I sold my home and bought a small ranch with a side porch of many windows. I paint at the easel he made for me and I think of him every day. While I always use a brush, I experiment with tools like the palette knife, rollers from my printing press, and cut down squeegees. This allows many interesting effects, with color blending and transparent passages, which work their way into my canvases juxtaposed against opaque shapes. I am always trying new colors, even though some are my favorites.

White Rhythms by Carole Guthrie

I once wrote a paper for college on “Painting from the Right Side of the Brain.” In my own work, I find that I need both sides of the brain, perhaps starting with the right side, then going to the left for design, then going back and forth, until the composition is complete. I believe it’s a Matisse quote, “What I dream of is an art of balance.””

By |October 9th, 2014|articles, spotlights|9 Comments

american craft week

American Craft Week

Currently in its fifth year, American Craft Week is the perfect time to celebrate the beauty and diversity of fine craft in America. With hundreds of diverse events in all 50 states, the official celebration held October 3-12 will be found in artists’ studios, museums, galleries, festivals, and schools. People will have the chance to enjoy educational, charitable, festive and commercial activities centered around craft.

“American Craft Week has caught the imagination of so many supporters. With the growing appreciation of both artisan products and American-made goods, craft is highly regarded for its strong design, quality materials, expert workmanship and enduring value,” said Diane Sulg, event founder and co-chair. “The very essence of our event is to bring together everyone who is involved in craft, whether they make, sell, exhibit, celebrate, collect, or just plain love craft, to help put it in the national spotlight.”

As proud sponsors of this event, we are excited to share with you an abundance of extraordinary work created by today’s masters of fine craft. Artful Home connects artists and art lovers, offering the most significant online collection of juried and curated fine art and craft by North American artists. Through our catalogs and website, Artful Home provides vital connections between artists and those looking to acquire their work. We represent over 1,000 artists — glassblowers and ceramicists, apparel designers, jewelers, and more — all working in independent studios in the USA and Canada.

> take a peek inside the artists’ studios

David Patchen

David Patchen

Meg Little

Meg Little

Kerry Vesper

Kerry Vesper

Nancy Linkin

Nancy Linkin

Candone Wharton

Candone Wharton

By |October 3rd, 2014|events|0 Comments

cohn-stone studios

We learned recently that Molly Stone and Michael Cohn of Cohn-Stone Studios will no longer be creating their magical glass pumpkins. For over ten years, we have worked with Molly and Michael to create annual collections of these masterful pieces for Artful Home.

Heirloom Pumpkins by Michael Cohn and Molly Stone

Heirloom Pumpkins by Michael Cohn and Molly Stone

I am sure I will find something else to do in March, but there will be a gaping hole in my calendar that I can already anticipate. That hole will be my annual visit to the studio of Molly Stone and Michael Cohn in order to work with them on the following Fall’s collection of glass pumpkins. It’s an extraordinary experience, a visual extravaganza with masterful precision at its core.

Cohn-Stone Studio, San Francisco

Cohn-Stone Studio, San Francisco

From the moment I enter the studio, I always feel like I have entered another magical land. I am surrounded by dozens and dozens and hundreds of pieces of art glass: pumpkins in many sizes and colors, oversized fruit, vases, leaves, one of a kind birds. The abundance and exuberance fills the gallery room and the showroom, then snakes outside to the lush garden Molly has cultivated and filled with a mixture of live plants, glass fantasies, and whimsical creations.

This will be the last October that Molly Stone and Michael Cohn open up their studio garden, which doubles as a showroom, to the public.

This will be the last October that Molly Stone and Michael Cohn open up their studio garden, which doubles as a showroom, to the public.

And yet, yet, there is such a great degree of order and precision necessary to create these amazing and larger than life pieces.  Molly is the master of color, mixing and blending to achieve rich, saturated colors — colors which she and Michael are able to reproduce again and again.  Michael blows and shapes the pieces, and watching him bring a blob of molten glass into the form of a perfected pumpkin or peach is incredible.  He works and works on a shape until he knows he has achieved a technique which will be perfect, elegant, sturdy, and beautiful.

A pumpkin in progress in the hands of Michael Cohn

A pumpkin in progress in the hands of Michael Cohn

I shall miss these visits, miss these pumpkins, and know I will not be the only one missing them come next year. Nonetheless, I am equally excited to see what Michael and Molly work on next.

By |September 26th, 2014|spotlights|0 Comments