artist spotlight: eileen de rosas

“Form and decoration, the practical and the whimsical work together in my pieces to create engaging and lighthearted works of art for the home.”

Eileen de Rosas brings a touch of fun to everyday objects. Her ceramic mugs, plates, bowls, and pitchers are hand painted with images reminiscent of childhood – toys, bicycles, and even Godzilla – or feature portraits straight from nature.

Backyard Animals Cup Set by Eileen de Rosas

Backyard Animals Cup Set by Eileen de Rosas

How did you get started as an artist?

My first instinct is to say that I’ve always been a an artist–in the way that all children are artists. I just never outgrew it. Seriously, since I was very small I always knew I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. Making and enjoying art is an integral part of my identity.

So I started by drawing incessantly (if I wasn’t reading or playing outside). Then I went to art school after high school, then I had various odd jobs so I could make art, then I discovered ceramics at this wonderful studio called Supermud on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Once I discovered the pottery wheel it was all over–I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. In the beginning my pots were plain, but once I learned the maiolica technique the drawings have sprouted all over.

Eileen de Rosas

 

Who or what has influenced you the most?

In ceramics, my greatest influences are medieval Italian maiolica, Iznik fritware and Korean Choson and Koryo celadon. Japanese brushwork and composition directly influence the way I decorate my pots.

Hiding behind the work and in the back of my mind are all my wonderful teachers and fellow art students, and especially my talented husband, Shunsuke Yamaguchi, who always has the best feedback and creative thoughts.

Eileen de Rosas

What do you do when you need inspiration?

For inspiration I like to take a break from pot making and go for a walk in the woods or cook a good meal. I am lucky to live close to a major city where I can go see great art as well. If I am really stuck often I will concentrate on routine work and put the new stuff out of mind. While working and thinking about something else, usually the answer or idea pops right into my head.

Describe a breakthrough moment.

I had been making a traditional Korean form called a moon pot. This pot is made by joining two large bowls together to make a very round form. Usually it is glazed white, hence the name moon pot. I work in terra cotta, a very different clay body, which I then glaze white and decorate.

So here I am in my studio, late at night, staring at these round forms. How on earth am I going to decorate them? They are nothing like my other work, they demand something more than flowers and fruit. As I am staring at them and working out design ideas on them with food coloring (this burns out in the firing so I use it to lay out compositions and work out any mistakes), suddenly I see the roundness of the form and its similarity to a head. And because it’s late at night and I have a lot of these pots I can take a chance. I paint a closeup North American Black Bear face on the pot. This bear motif has since found its way on to cups, bowls and platters as well as these portrait moon pots.

Bear Bowl by Eileen de Rosas

Bear Bowl by Eileen de Rosas

What do you love about what you do?

I love working with my hands. Working in clay is so tactile and magical. I am so lucky to be able to get muddy almost every day!

Eileen de Rosas

What object in your home tells the best story?

It has to be the bottle of St. Gerard’s oil that I couldn’t throw away when we moved in. We live in my late great uncle’s house—he was part of a large Irish family, so my grandmother and great aunt also lived here, as well as my great grand parents and assorted great aunts and uncles, and even my father and his brother and sister at one time.

They were quite a religious family. When my parents were cleaning it out after my great uncle’s death, they found gallons of holy water in the attic and of course dozens of religious figurines. They gave away or disposed of most of the religious paraphernalia, but the bottle of St. Gerard’s holy oil with the pretty label was left behind in the basement. And I just can’t get rid of it–it is a tangible connection to that whole large, gregarious, full of the blarney, Irish American family.

If you weren’t an artist you’d be…

Dead.

No, I’m kidding. A writer or editor, probably. I love to read.

Artful Home blog photos (3)

 

 

 

 

 

By |October 23rd, 2014|spotlights|0 Comments

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