extraordinarily uncommon

At the heart of our clothing collections is the belief that there have to be designers out there who are creating styles for women marching to their own beat, clothing for women who care about style but are not driven by the whims of fashion. When we find a piece which hits the mark, it’s kind of like Cupid’s arrow striking.

Shortly after the debut of the Sunset Dress in the summer, we began receiving phone calls and emails from women telling us – unsolicited – how much they loved this dress, often with stories about the comments received while wearing it.

Based on this, we asked the designer, Mariam Heydari, to create a new version for Fall 2014. We sent the dress to several women we knew to see how they might wear it, if at all. It was fantastic to see their individuality shine through in the ways they styled themselves and the dress, in their vamping for the camera, and in the comments they had.

Sunset Dress by HeydaribackSunset Dress by Heydari

Models have their place in the world of fashion, but we continue to believe that great style is an individual thing for women of all ages and shapes. Does the dress make the woman? No way. But give a great dress to some extraordinary women and it’s amazing to see the results.

(Full disclosure: I had to see what all the fuss was about and finally purchased the dress for myself. It turns out I’d be wearing it every day if I could…)

Lisa Bayne in Sunset Dress by Heydari

By |September 16th, 2014|spotlights|0 Comments

just seen in elle decor

Once again we find artists we work with prominently featured in a trend alert. This time it’s the dynamic duo of David Forlano and Steven Ford on the pages of Elle Decor‘s October issue as part of the Vermicelli trend.

Elle Decor October 2014

I love seeing them as the only jewelry piece featured in this trend. You could take a lot of necklaces and lay them down to imitate vermicelli, but the Multi-Color Squiggle Necklace really evokes that pasta style without trying too hard. David and Steven create long tubes of brightly colored polymer clay that are strung together to create these squiggly, wiggly curves.

What do you think about this wiggly trend?

By |September 15th, 2014|spotlights|0 Comments

artful alchemy

Dark and light. Shadow and shimmer. In this emerging trend in the art and design world, shades of black and gold mingle with near-magical results.

From the streets of New York, to the runways at Fashion Week, black and gold have been emerging as a new combination in fashion. To me, this look speaks of luxury along with a little mystery.

Lacuna Dress by HeydariMeander Vest by Cynthia AshbyMatte Jersey Mod Top by Planet

Shown: Lacuna Dress by Heydari, Meander Vest by Cynthia Ashby, and Matte Jersey Mod Top by Planet

The combination has also been featured prominently in jewelry and accessories, creating a bold and dramatic style.

Pebble Scribble Earrings by  Sydney LynchBlack and Gold Silk Chiffon Truffle Scarf by Yuh OkanoMultiblossom Pendant by Christine MacKellar

Shown: Pebble Scribble Earrings by Sydney LynchBlack and Gold Silk Chiffon Truffle Scarf by Yuh Okano, and Multiblossom Pendant by Christine MacKellar

Likewise, interior spaces are getting a decadent infusion of black and gold. Using these colors in the home is an instant way to make a statement.

Two Seater by Isaac ArmsGently Holding by Cheryl WilliamsGolden Moment by Debora Stewart

Shown: Two Seater by Isaac Arms, Gently Holding by Cheryl Williams, and Golden Moment by Debora Stewart

Take a look around — are black and gold finding their way into your life?

By |September 4th, 2014|articles|0 Comments

artist spotlight: mieko mintz


Mieko Mintz

Born in southern Japan, Mieko Mintz uses handcrafted textiles from around the world to make contemporary pieces. Her signature line includes jackets made from vintage sari kantha, each with its own variety of colors and its own story.

What influences you in your art?

I want to be different from everyone else, and that inspires me to create.

Where do you go for inspiration?

Jaipur, Paris, and Kyoto.

What does the kantha tradition mean to you?

To me, kantha is a romantic idea — old fabric being reincarnated into a new world and giving pleasure to a new person far beyond its time.

Mintz’s work follows in the kantha tradition. First her designs are made into kantha throws in West Bengal, which she then cuts to fit her jacket designs. Her focus is a kantha line that is not only comfortable but contemporary and sophisticated.

About Kantha

By |September 2nd, 2014|spotlights|0 Comments

brian rutenberg

Brian Rutenberg is one of my favorite contemporary painters. I discovered Brian’s work at Art Chicago in the early 2000s; his paintings, large abstract landscapes, are boldly colorful with wonderful gradations within larger fields of color. There is a representative collection of his work on Pinterest.

Brian Rutenberg

My favorite experience with his paintings was at Jerald Meldberg Gallery in Charlotte. While on a trip in the south, I traveled several hundred miles out of my way to visit this show – and I’ll have to say – it was totally worth it.  His work was in a large gallery space – huge abstract landscapes.  I sat and stared at those paintings for an hour and a half – for this fellow painter, it was almost a religious experience.

Rutenberg features rich, bold colors – built around a harmony of complimentary hues.  Within larger sections – he develops intriguing gradations built from a dominant color.  Perhaps there is a yellow/gold section.  He introduces a range of colors – a little more green here, a little more orange, a lighter section – all working together to vibrate with life, and often also creating great sense of depth.


Rutenberg describes his paintings as abstracted landscapes, many based upon the Low Country of South Carolina (his home).  I think this is another aspect of his work that I find satisfying – that it is based on something real – giving you hooks to hang onto within the painting’s composition.  Often times though, whatever sense of reality he gives you is very vague.

Influences listed by the painter include Hans Hoffman and Joan Mitchell – and I see Richard Diebenkorn’s more abstract work in some of these as well.

Brian is one of the top working painters in the US.  He is represented by Forum in New York, Melberg in Charlotte, Toomey-Tourell in San Francisco and Tew in Atlanta.  He also has a series of video blogs on YouTube that are very interesting.


By |September 1st, 2014|articles|0 Comments

jewelry care and cleaning

Because proper care for jewelry depends on the materials used to create it, who better to ask for tips on cleaning and care than jewelry artists? Here, seven artists share their best advice.

Large Blossom Necklace by Deborrah Daher

Large Blossom Necklace by Deborrah Daher


There are many commercial cleaning products for jewelry made exclusively of silver, but what if a piece is made of bimetal (two different types of metal that have been fused and rolled together into a double-sided sheet)?

“Because I use a dark patina on my bimetal pieces, I make sure to tell customers NOT to use silver polish products, because they will remove the patina,” says Deborrah Daher. “The best way to clean a bimetal piece is in room temperature water with a very mild clean-rinsing liquid soap (if needed), and an old, soft toothbrush, followed with a soft cloth to dry the piece. If you put your jewelry on after you apply makeup and hair products, it’s likely you never will need to use more than a soft cloth.”


Abacus Criss Cross Earring by Patricia Madeja

Abacus Criss Cross Earring by Patricia Madeja

Sterling Silver

For silver jewelry with a lot of intricate details that are hard to reach with a soft toothbrush, Carla Dillman, former Vice President of Merchandising for Artful Home and a former jewelry artist, recommends the following. “Line a glass baking dish with a layer of aluminum foil, then coat the bottom with a layer of sea salt, and fill the dish with hot water. This creates a sea salt bath in which you can submerge your silver pieces to remove tarnish. Rinse thoroughly with fresh warm water, and dry with a soft cloth.” She uses this method to clean her Samantha Freeman bracelet, as well as her silverware!

“If your silver piece has a pearl, you can use a commercial silver dip, but you have to apply the dip to the piece with a Q-Tip to keep it away from the pearl, and rinse it really thoroughly before drying,” Christine MacKellar advises. “Make sure no cleaner remains on the jewelry because there is an ingredient in silver dips that actually acts as an oxidizer as well as a cleaner.”

To help prevent silver jewelry from getting tarnished in the first place, she recommends storing it in a closed container such as a jewelry box, a plastic bag, or an anti-tarnish pouch to minimize exposure to air when it’s not being worn.


Ancient Steps by Lisa Ceccorulli

Ancient Steps by Lisa Ceccorulli

Oxidized Silver

With most commercial jewelry cleaners designed to remove oxidation, oxidized metal (metal that has been deliberately darkened or colored through contact with oxygen) presents a cleaning dilemma. Fortunately, however, the solution is easy.

“You can just rinse the pieces off with soap and water,” Lisa Ceccorulli says. “If you wear a piece of oxidized jewelry like a bracelet or a cuff all the time, and it gets bumped, it will start to burnish. You can have the piece re-oxidized in those cases, but basically the care of oxidized pieces is easy.” Just be sure to rinse the piece thoroughly with fresh water and dry it with a soft cloth to prevent water spots from forming.

Earth Elements with Blue Topaz Set by Susan Barth

Earth Elements with Blue Topaz Set by Susan Barth

Matte-Finish Gold

A matte finish is often applied to a piece when the jewelry artist wants subtle textures or fine details to be more visible. Highly reflective surfaces, such as those seen in high-polished jewelry, can obscure such details.

Over time, if a matte-finish ring is worn often, a soft sheen starts to develop simply from friction against the fingers or physical contact with things being held or gripped. Susan Barth says there’s a simple technique to bring back a matte finish if that occurs. “A small piece of the green coarse kitchen sponge, ScotchBrite, held between the thumb and forefinger and rubbed over the surface of the metal will soften the sheen and bring back a matte finish. It might have a slightly different appearance then when the piece was first bought, but overall, the look will be very similar.” (Please note: ScotchBrite can be damaging to softer stones, so it is advisable to protect the stones by covering them with cellophane tape prior to buffing.)


Small Feather Earrings by Jamie Cassavoy

Small Feather Earrings by Jamie Cassavoy

Intricate Jewelry

For intricate pieces of jewelry, Jamie Cassavoy recommends this cleaning method: “Put some dry baking soda in the palm of your hand and rub the piece gently to remove tarnish.” She has found this method to work well on every type of jewelry she has tried so far, even a piece with pearls. “You just have to make sure to get all the baking soda off when you’re done cleaning,” she adds. To do so, she generally rinses the piece under warm water and dries it with a soft cloth.


Sweetheart Bracelet by LuLu Smith

Sweetheart Bracelet by LuLu Smith


“Resin jewelry is very resistant to water, but extended submersion is not recommended,” says artist LuLu Smith. It should definitely not be soaked in liquid jewelry cleaners. Instead, Smith recommends cleaning the jewelry using a soft toothbrush with lots of soap, or with a silver polishing cloth, followed by a thorough rinsing and drying. “Also, exposure to extended amounts of strong sunlight isn’t great for resin jewelry,” reports Smith. “The pigments in the pieces can be affected by light, so they should be kept out of the sun when they’re not on your body.”

Each artist will know best how to care for the particular pieces she or he creates, so when purchasing a piece made from unfamiliar materials or a unique combination of materials, always be sure to ask for cleaning and care instructions.

Because artist-made jewelry is often composed of unique material(s), follow the specific care instructions supplied by the artist who created your piece to avoid inadvertently damaging your jewelry. If in doubt about how to care for your treasured pieces, it is best to consult with a professional or have them professionally cleaned. Please feel free to contact our Customer Care team for specific questions regarding your jewelry pieces purchased from Artful Home.

By |August 28th, 2014|articles|0 Comments