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Archive for the ‘incredible artists’ Category

In the fast paced cyber world that has reached all of us in some form or another, a day of escape to Gruene, TX for the Texas Clay Festival was just what the doctor ordered! The artists, all talented clay workers, showcased the best Texas has to offer in this medium. In addition to their well priced booth products, many gave live demonstrations in several venues throughout the day.

Randy Brodnax finishing a piece with ferric chloride spray after live firing.

Randy Brodnax finishing a piece with ferric chloride spray after live firing.

Randy Brodnax collected quite a crowd as he pulled hot pieces from his onsite gas fired kiln. Pieces were selling “hot off the press,” with one especially “hot” item – three legged frogs.

THis lucky frog made it through the firing into a trash can with newspaper reduction process.

This lucky frog made it through the firing into a trash can with newspaper reduction process.

Movement, composition and texture were very strong in many of the artisans pieces. Here are a few favorites:

Massive sculpture by JoLea Arcidiaco , gifted sculpture from San Antonio, TX

Massive sculpture by JoLea Arcidiaco, gifted sculpture from San Antonio, TX

Round Rock, TX artist "Shika" had some incredible vases and teapots.

Round Rock, TX artist “Shika” had some incredible vases and tea pots

Abstract art plates by Ron Boling, self-proclaimed "rakooster" from New Braunfels, TX

Abstract art plates by Ron Boling, self-proclaimed “rakooster” from New Braunfels, TX

Creative dinnerware was an easy find. Kym Owens, Vietnam orphan, adopted as a baby, grew up in Lubbuck, TX. Also a classically trained dancer, she can be found at teaching at Sunset Canyon Pottery in Austin.

Creative dinnerware was an easy find. Kym Owens, Vietnam orphan, adopted as a baby, grew up in Lubbuck, TX. Also a classically trained dancer, she can be found teaching at Sunset Canyon Pottery in Austin.

Clay shard enhanced skulls were selling quickly from Jessica Battes both. This artist lives/teaches ceramics in San Antonio, TX

Clay shard enhanced skulls were selling quickly from Jessica Battes booth. This artist lives/teaches ceramics in San Antonio, TX

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Prepared to be inspired! Artist studio tours throughout the U.S., you can help get caught up with artistic inspiration. Even if you are not an artist yourself, or shopping for quality art work,  the unique homes and studio spaces may inspire you to pick up a remodeling hammer in your own space.

The April-May 2013 WEST studio tour featured west side Austin artists within 178 individual stops. Each stop had one or more artist featured, so the two weekend show was impossible to view in it’s entirety within the time frame. However, we managed to squeeze in about two dozen artists. A few inspiring images follow:

Love the gargoyles in this creative landscape. We knew a clay artist lived nearby…

Landscape outside the Patricia Meheriuk clay studio

Followed the path signs on well used easels to talented Brigitte Edery’s studio:

Follow the signs

Follow the signs

The creative use of an L-shaped lot, with only a small amount of street contact in Austin, TX, worked well for a studio/home combo for Diana Seidel. The small home near the street was converted into a quaint potter’s studio. The larger open back of the lot was used to build a new home.

Diana Seidel's customized studio in front of her Austin home.

Diana Seidel’s customized studio in front of her Austin home.

 

Entrance to Melissa Grimes home/studio was inspiring. The inside space allowed for three secluded porches that wrapped around the home for a welcoming entrance, a well lit studio and private eat-in porch. Grimes noted the turn of the century home was “pulled” into the Austin neighborhood. Detailed preservation but also some added interior features make the structure comfortable and workable.

Art-Studio-Melissa-Grimes

Melissa Grimes home/studio in Austin, TX

 

Many artists use their creative energy both inside and outside their properties. Stephanie Bradley, artist/realtor saw a diamond in the rough in her central Austin home. The rough, disheveled yard was converted into a storybook walk to additional studio space in the garage.

Yard work constantly in progress at Artist Stephanie Bradley's home

Yard work constantly in progress at Artist Stephanie Bradley’s home

 

For many of the artists on the tour, we were allowed a rare glimpse of work in progress. Across the alley from the Austin Art Garage, we were allowed into the inner sanctum of Austin artist Joel Ganucheau. Not every painter has an easel!

Studio wall of Joel Ganucheau's space

Studio wall of Joel Ganucheau’s space

So get online and do a Google search for “art studio tours” followed by the name of your city. The drive and inspiration is incredible, as well as meeting the artists in person. Understanding their perspective may change your perspective entirely on what to purchase for your space. Or you might be inspired to get your own studio started!

 

 

 

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Artist’s minds don’t stop being creative just because they are out of their studios. The artistic eye of Sarah Bork in Austin, TX is always on the look out for her “daily image.” Bork made a commitment to do a full year of iPhone photos with a daily piece placed on “calendars” drawn on her home walls. In addition to using the iPhone to take all the photography, she found editing apps that allowed her to manage any contrast and brightness issues she could detect on the spot. The nearly completed year was on display in her home during the West Studio Tour held in Austin (April and May 2013). Kudos to Sarah for sticking to the daily plan, but also showing her amazing photographic eye in such an accessible method.

iPhone shots daily by Sarah Bork - Austin, TX

iPhone shots daily by Sarah Bork – Austin, TX

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From an original spelling (no “B” in Thumprints) to original style, we love the new introductions from Thumprints lighting collection.

To get to know brand designer Allison Davis a bit better, we asked her a few questions about her line.

Allison-Davis

Here is a glimpse into her design aesthetic and a few exciting new products.

Mill and Leaf: What are your earliest design memories in any medium?

Allison: I started making lamps by going to antique stores and finding unusual objects.  I made them out of candle sticks, boxes, blown glass, wine bottle etc.  You can make a lamp out of just about anything, which is what makes them such fun accessories!!

Mill and Leaf: What excites you about working with lighting, in particular, as a designer?

Allison: I am not sure why I got into lighting, but I still have several unusual lamps that I picked out for my high school bedroom, so I have always been intrigued by unique lighting.  Lighting is an important part of every room, and lamps can simply serve the functional purpose of lighting, or become an artistic focal point of a room. When designing lamps for the line, I focus on creating pieces of functional art – “lamps as distinctive as your thumprint”.

Mill and Leaf: What art style, either current or historical, is a favorite…and why?

Allison: I like abstract art and bright colors.  I am also drawn to sculpture and three dimensional design. Thumprints lamps are artistically-styled, and often “sculpted” from a single object or form, and combine textures, shapes, colors and materials, all of which I attribute to my love of abstract art and sculpture.

Nandina-Table-Lamp

Mill and Leaf: Any especially interesting fact/feature concerning your company or products  that you would like to share.

Allison: All of Thumprints 2012 introductions are Made in the USA.  We are proud to support American manufacturing!

Sounds like you found your calling Allison. We are happy to share your innovative designs with our customers!

Tiger's-Eye-Table-Lamp

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Quote from Genevieve Gorder

Thoughts from Genevieve Gorder

Ooooohhhh! I LOVE Genevieve Gorder! Her smile is infectious. I loved her when she first started out on HGTV. She was so accessible to “normal” people like me. She has a firm grasp of practical design implementation yet her head is forever up in the clouds of innovation.

The folks at Capel Rugs must feel the same way. Of the many HGTV designers being sought after for licensing their own design styles, Genevieve Gorder is among the top.

At HighPoint Market, we got to see some of Genevieve’s latest interior design work for area rugs.

Natural flat-woven rug design from Genevieve Gorder

Warm colors liven up any room

Natural flat-woven rug design from Genevieve Gorder

Geometric patterns pair well with classic and modern pieces

Natural flat-woven rug design from Genevieve Gorder

Bold color choices make a statement

Her flat woven rugs made with natural fibers are perfect paired with reclaimed wood furniture or classic pieces alike. She utilizes bold as well as traditional colors and her patterns are fun and innovative. We’re impressed!

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Lately while prepping for the High Point Furniture show in NC, the focus at Mill and Leaf has been searching for the best furniture collections we can find. In our “upholstered search” I stumbled on an artist who has been using vinyl and thread for years to create (upholster) common objects other than seating! Check this out…

Vocho (yellow) – 2006 – Vinyl, thread and car parts

Texas 3-d artist, Margarita Cabrera views fabric (in this case vinyl) in a whole new way. Who doesn’t love a yellow Beetle.

Her earlier work, of a 80-inch, baby grand piano is my favorite. You can almost hear the crescendo of the music, though this upholstered piece has never been played.

Baby Grand Piano – 2005 – Vinyl, thread, metal & wood

The contemporary art lines of the loose vinyl and threads make these pieces scream for attention.

Now…back to looking for well tailored modern furniture. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

 

 

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Furniture Designer Maria Yee

A glance at Maria Yee’s line of furniture tells you that she has elevated furniture design to an art form. The clean lines of her pieces will add elegance and grace to any room. But one thing you might not notice at first while enjoying the artistry of these pieces is the incredible technical, eco-friendly innovations that go into creating each one.

Maria Yee has perfected a patented BreathingJoinery™ manufacturing system, based on traditional techniques, that uses no nails or screws in construction and allows the materials to maintain their original strength and beauty.

This platform bed is an excellent example of this incredible joinery technique and easily has the highest construction quality of any bed we’ve seen recently.

Yee also pioneered the development of FSC-certified BambooTimbre™, a material created by layering renewable, fast-growing Moso bamboo to create boards that are stronger than steel.

Other ways Maria Yee works to minimize the environmental footprint of her line are by heating the factory with scraps created in the furniture production process and by using specially formulated water-based finishes and glues.

Our Mill & Leaf team enjoyed  getting to visit Maria Yee’s incredible showrooms at this spring’s High Point Furniture Market. Typical of her eco-friendly aesthetic, her showroom was housed in a renovated space in Hight Point, North Carolina. We loved the repurposed floors!

The clean lines of the furniture are beautiful in person, but she has managed to make these pieces incredibly comfortable to sit in as well.

Upholstered furniture was a new direction for this artist in 2012. This Arial sofa was one of our favorites.

Since Yee pays careful attention to the design of all sides of her pieces, the back of each product is gorgeous, so they would be a perfect fit for open floor plans where all sides of the pieces need to shine.

Finally, as if the excellent design and environmental conscience of Maria Yee’s furniture weren’t enough reason to fall in love with this line, the story of what led this artist to furniture is truly unique.

Born in China, she was sent to work at a rock quarry after her parents were imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution. After her release she studied as a machinist and became a mechanical engineer. Her passion for the art and design of furniture was sparked as she saw the destruction of historic masterpieces during the Cultural Revolution. As a result, she recruited a group of masters to recreate museum-quality pieces from the Ming dynasty, which led to the creation of her California-based company in 1988.

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