Tuesday, November 26, 2013

alexandra valenti

I freely admit that I'm stealing this from today's Daily Candy. But Alexandra Valenti's decorated horse photographs are too good to pass up.

Friday, November 22, 2013

project nightstand


I'm helping a client give her (already cool and beautiful) house a fresh start after the end of a relationship. I'm having lots of fun finding art to complement her collection—and she's even trusting me to scout out some furniture pieces for her. For her bedroom, she wants new bedside tables. We're still on the hunt for some small enough to fit her space, but in the meantime, here are a few pretty options: mirrored and retro but fairly simple, so they're feminine but not ditsy. I always thought I'd take my own bedroom in the sleekest direction possible—but if we ever get around to redoing it, these could change my mind.

Pier 1
Z Gallerie
Lamps Plus (!)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

pinterest grab bag

Weego Home

I'm grateful for Pinterest to inspire me when I'm in the midst of a project. These prints turned up in my feed, and their precision and beauty are just what I needed to see.

Z Gallerie
Lovely Sweet William on Etsy
Jorey Hurley on Etsy

Thursday, November 14, 2013

monday thoughts (on a thursday): homeward bound

I'm reading Homeward Bound by Emily Matchar. It's a study—researched and annotated, but with a conversational, anecdotal tone—of, according to its subtitle, "why women are embracing the new domesticity." Matchar talks about her own ambivalence toward all things homey and retro, and she explores the cultural forces that led so many women to try a different path from our career-minded elders. Matchar knows this shift isn't only for women; men too are making artisanal pickles and tending backyard chicken coops. Progressive, blue-state hipsters and conservative home schoolers alike are part of this movement. And they all seem to read mommy blogs. (She also makes the case that the "new domesticity" isn't necessarily working; artists and craftspeople who truly support themselves with their work are extremely rare. And the blogs can present an unrealistically rosy and unattainable picture of home life. Is "domesticity" just another way for women to feel bad about themselves?)

I've thought about this cultural movement myself, if you'll forgive the term, and I relate to it: I'm a mother who left work to be with her kids, and now I'm an art consultant who embraces the accessibility and affordability of Etsy. I like supporting (and buying directly from) independent, small-scale artists. So the book (and responses to it, on Etsy and Amazon) is definitely making me think: about mass production versus handmade work, and the merits of each; about the overlap between environmentalism and traditionalism; about nothing less than women's life choices, including my own.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

too late for leaf crafts?

Looking over my recent Pinterest activity, I was struck by these images. Our trees are mostly bare at this point—but maybe it's not too late to gather some pretty leaves from the ground and fancy 'em up with some paint and markers.

Of course, there are always sticks around:

Monday, November 11, 2013

philip barlow

Today I'm loving these blurry paintings by South African Philip Barlow. They're so intriguing and mysterious—I don't want to ruin them with words.

Friday, November 8, 2013

tessa horrocks

Tessa Horrocks is a London printmaker. Her intaglio and screenprint pieces are eerie and lovely. And her name is OK too.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

20x200 is back

I can never get enough of Sharon Montrose

20x200 was one of my favorite online art sources...until it mysteriously disappeared last spring. Well, funding or corporate structure or whatever was the problem has now been straightened out—and the site is back with a new beta url: youshouldbuyart.com. For now they're just selling in-stock inventory, but there's plenty to choose from. I've picked a few great pieces; I've recommended some of these before, and it's great to see them again.

Mike and Doug Starn
Carrie Marill
Christian Chaize
Jennifer Sanchez
Liz Kuball

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

framing tips

Beautifully framed art from my Pinterest

People are always asking me about framing. So today I'm going to give away a couple of my secrets. A great frame elevates and validates a piece of art, of course. Just look at this scrap-paper chameleon, all dressed up in black:

Sharon Montrose needs no help, but her animal photographs (which I recommend all the time) look especially crisp and beautiful with matching frames and mats:

Even a sheet of wrapping paper becomes art if you frame it:

A frame can totally change the mood of a piece of art. I recently fell in love with the idea of a Moroccan wedding blanket for a friend's dining room; putting this one under glass would protect it and formalize it, while still showcasing its texture:

(wish I had a shot of this framed)

Pictureframes.com and framesbymail.com are my two favorite online sources for custom sizes. They've got a huge range of styles and are priced way less than a custom shop, and the turnaround time is pretty speedy, but you'll have to be really really careful with your measuring, and once the frames arrive, be prepared to do a little work putting them together. If you don't completely trust yourself, make friends with a local framer. I'd recommend going to a professional anyway for larger jobs or more valuable pieces. On the lower end of the spectrum, you can find affordable, good-looking standard-sized frames anywhere from Target to West Elm to Michael's. 

One last point: Frames can make you reconsider what art is. Good frames automatically make children's art more important and permanent. Or look at the robot wrapping paper above. (My own walls have several pieces of paper framed just like that.) You can frame the pages of a book, or a piece of fabric. I always say something is art if you say it's art—or if you frame it and treat it like art.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

me elsewhere: red tricycle kids' art classes

Red Tricycle just posted my roundup of great local kids' art classes. DC-area parents, check 'em out.

Monday, November 4, 2013

monday thoughts: i am worn out

blues fom my Pinterest

Radio silence lately, more or less: The fall has been one thing after another, boom boom boom, school starting, Tessa's birthday, Halloween, various family events and milestones—not to mention various work projects and appointments. I'm so happy to be busy and challenged. But I neglected this space last week. I promise more art inspiration here on a regular basis. And I promise to show up more on Pinterest and Facebook.