lighting the menorahs

Many years ago, a friend invited me to her annual Hanukkah party, a party of more than 50 people. In addition to the pot-luck nature of the gathering, my friend’s one request for the party was that the attendees bring their own menorahs and candles for a group lighting. Although I had celebrated Hanukkah all my life, I had never been at a gathering like this, and when we all stopped and lit our menorahs at once, the effect was both moving and dazzling. In that one house, in that one instant, there was an immediate feeling of connection to the families worldwide who were participating in this same ritual. At the same time, it was visually dazzling, with menorahs from the most humble to the most glamorous, with candles galore lighting up the house.

Image found on Flickr

Image found on Flickr

I have since borrowed my friend’s tradition on a much smaller scale and the effect remains powerful and beautiful. And now I am starting a new tradition of collecting one menorah a year so that my home can always have the look of my friend’s tradition.

Here are a few that are on my list to collect or give:

Created by a furniture maker, the graceful minimal lines from the branch fit the modernist aesthetic that is calling to me lately.

Menorah by David N. Ebner

Menorah by David N. Ebner

I lust over this menorah every year and perhaps this is the year I will spring for it. My desire today for recycled materials mixes with the enjoyment of the symbolic use of olive oil cans.

Menorah by Jenna Goldberg

Menorah by Jenna Goldberg

Rather than adding to my collection, I think I’ll give this menorah to a young family I know, celebrating their first Hanukkah with their young child. It has such a joyous feeling to it.

Line Dancing Menorah by Boris Kramer

Line Dancing Menorah by Boris Kramer

A piece of sculpture as well as a menorah, this piece by a Tennessee furniture maker celebrates tradition in a most untraditional way, a combination that speaks to my mind and spirit.

Blue Green Jagged Menorah by Kimberly D. Winkle

Blue Green Jagged Menorah by Kimberly Winkle

Happy Hanukkah!

By |November 20th, 2014|artful home for the holidays, articles, events|2 Comments

it could have been kindling exhibition – tom loeser

When a couple of us saw that there was to be a major retrospective of Tom Loeser’s work, “It Could Have Been Kindling” at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, WI, we didn’t hesitate to make the long drive to visit the show – and Tom – as a collection of so many of his pieces in one setting is a rarity not to be missed. Tom is well known to us at Artful Home, a master artist and teacher at the University of Wisconsin. We have known him well over the years, and continue to represent talented artists like Sylvie Rosenthal who have come through his program here in Madison.

Loeser’s work is a clear example of art that can draw you in at a surface level for one reason and then twist your brain around and force you to think at another level entirely. Much of the work is quite colorful and can bring a smile when first glimpsed based on what appears to be its cleverness, but beneath the initial whimsy is both curiosity and precise engineering.

I am particularly drawn to Loeser’s double chairs, chairs which both represent and beg for conversations. When two people sit in one of the rockers, the behavior of one person has a direct effect on the other. As in a conversation, it takes a back and forth to make these rockers work.

Double Rocker Back to Back by Tom Loeser

Loeser is interested in conversations: what starts them, what keeps them going, isolation vs socialization, and his chairs allow us to explore Loeser’s interests and make them our own. That the chairs are beautiful and interestingly balanced is almost a given, such a given that in some of his later work he abandons completely making the chairs and instead the entire pieces are about the placement of found chairs to create conversation-making places.

In addition, Loeser’s boat forms fascinate. After working with two master boatbuilders to learn the craft, Loeser used the techniques to create boat-forms which answer the question: What might a boat look like if it could swim on its own? If a boat could move all by itself with no help from mankind, what might it need to look like?

Geodesic Aerolite Whitehall 12′ by Tom Loeser

These sensuous forms challenge our notions of movement while defining the spaces around them, forcing us to acknowledge how little we know of these forms which help us move across water like a fish.

The full range of work at the exhibit has been made public in a free downloadable exhibit catalog in case a trip to West Bend isn’t in your plans.

By |November 13th, 2014|articles|0 Comments

lisa’s holiday wishlist

It is a fairly common practice in businesses to ask the CEO to put together a wishlist of favorite pieces for the holidays, with the expectation that they will write about what the marketing department wants them to write about (if, in fact, the CEO is doing the writing at all). When I was asked to do so, I decided to look for pieces that I really really really wanted, pieces I would love for someone to give me. While they may not represent the broadest assortment of the Artful Home collection, they all would be loved and worn or used immediately!

I keep noticing women wearing stacks and stacks of bracelets and I’ve been wanting to try this look. It seems like The Year of the Bracelet. I know I would want a few versions of these stacks and so my wishlist has two different ones.

With John Siever‘s long wrapping bracelet, “Rectangular Strips with Round Beads“, the look of multiple bracelets is there yet the silver art created by John is not lost in the mass. I love that he mixes his art with African beads, creating a look that is not instantly identifiable but is all clearly handcrafted.

Rectangular Stripes with Round Beads by John Siever


I also love the mix of Christine MacKellar‘s “Circle Line Bracelets“. They are elegant and simple, feel like air when worn, are incredibly clever to clasp, and I might just never take them off. And who doesn’t need a few diamonds for everyday?

gold_silver_bracelet_l (1)

Most of my wardrobe is black, grey, and white. It’s a simple way of dressing for someone who travels as much as I do. I’m always looking for accessories to take solid black to something more interesting, and this cozy, textured scarf by Jeung-Hwa Park is perfect for wintry days.


I love to entertain and almost everything I eat on or serve with is handmade. These days, I’ve got two sets of dishes, one wildly colorful and the other in shades of black, white, and brown. These “Nested Servers” by Nathan Falter would make a great addition. I’m imagining bright red pomegranates in the largest dish on my coffee table, a mélange of roasted root vegetables in the medium one, and pumpkin mousse in the smallest one. Yum.


Considering buying glasses is an interesting challenge when my husband is a glassblower and has filled the home with his work. However, these glasses rolled in gold leaf are begging to join the family. They are sophisticated and modern, with a stemless design that makes holding a holiday glass of wine an absolute pleasure.

glass_tumbler_l (1)

This outrageous box of chocolates is my final wish as a gift. I have given these chocolates several times to others and luckily, I’ve been able to taste them as a result. They are gorgeous. They are original flavors. And the quality of the chocolate is outstanding, which is a statement this avid chocoholic doesn’t make lightly. But I have never had a box to call my own, never indulged myself.


And a great gift is that, isn’t it? Something that you would like, wish for, never consider getting for yourself, something purchased with YOU in mind. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to tell anyone what I want as a gift, but a little hint every now and then can’t hurt! Happy Holidays!



By |November 6th, 2014|artful home for the holidays, articles|4 Comments

artful home ornament giveaway

Each year, we search far and wide for the most exquisite ornaments created by North American artists — and this year’s collection is simply unparalleled. From glittering spheres to undersea creatures, discover a treasure trove of unique holiday accents, splendid gifts, and year-round decor.

Ornament Giveaway

Here on the Artful Home blog, we’re giving you the opportunity to win one of our stunning ornaments. Scroll through and enter for as *many as you’d like, or shop the ornament boutique.

This giveaway has ended — thank you to everyone for entering!


Poinsettia – Victoria Q.

Reindeer Games – Peggy L.

Harlequin – Donja R.

Joy to the World – Tina D.

Celebration – Krista W.

Flamenco – Hilaria M.

Mistletoe – Caroline C.

Ruby White Pirouette – Chrissie B.

Turkish Twist – Amanda S.

Champagne and Lace – Ann W.

Rainbow Hummingbird – Julie H.

Cherries Jubilee – Amanda O.

Creme de la Creme – Cheri P.

Joyful Memories – Lori H.

Gilded Dragonfly – Lisa-Marie L.

Orchid Teardrop – Shannon F.

Gingerbread Man – Glenda H.

American Beauty – Sandi M.

Dolphin – Barbara G.

Snow Queen – Bethany M.

By |November 1st, 2014|artful home for the holidays, events|23 Comments


Let it be said — I love Halloween. I enjoy the opportunity to wear costumes, create a festive atmosphere, and host parties. I find it absolutely fascinating that one holiday can contain so many different elements — some scary, some mystical, some silly and fun.

Having small children, I often get caught up in making Halloween fun without being scary. We focus on costumes, carving pumpkins, and trick-or-treating.

Sweet Tooth by Terrece Beesley

Sweet Tooth by Terrece Beesley

But there’s something about that night — when you step outside into the crisp air just after sunset, with leaves rattling down the sidewalk and the newly-bare tree branches swaying in the glow of porch lights — that makes you stop and peek into the shadows, feeling the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Maybe it’s just me, but there is always something just a little spooky about Halloween night.

Tempest by Paul Mahder

Tempest by Paul Mahder

Halloween decor can help to set the mood — whether it’s one of candy-filled revelry or mysterious and eerie.

Starry Sky Luminaries by Tabbatha Henry

Starry Sky Luminaries by Tabbatha Henry

Purple Pumpkin by Ingrid Hanson, Ken Hanson

Purple Pumpkin by Ingrid Hanson, Ken Hanson

Crow Mug by Eileen de Rosas

Crow Mug by Eileen de Rosas

Leaf Vessels in Fall Tones by Nick Chase

Leaf Vessels in Fall Tones by Nick Chase

Snowy Owl on Snag by Marceil DeLacy

Snowy Owl on Snag by Marceil DeLacy

How do you decorate for Halloween?

Explore more of Artful Home‘s Halloween-themed artwork on Pinterest….if you dare.



By |October 30th, 2014|articles, events|0 Comments