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So sweet!

   

We are anxiously awaiting spring! These sweet succulents of various shapes and textures are lined up on the windowsill in preparation for our favorite season. Equally loved is the pot it lives in – cool texture and glaze. So sweet!

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Language of the Mudcloth

   

African mudcloth is a roughly woven and distinct fabric that we’ve been collecting for a while now. Mud cloth, or Bógólanfini, originates from Mali, West Africa, and is first hand-woven into 4” strips and pieced together by the tribe’s men. Next the patterns and dyes are applied with a mixture of mud, clay, and leaves by the tribe’s women. We recently acquired several yards of this rich, textural fabric and are in the process of transforming it into several hand-sewn finished products. This scene of a coiled serpent watching its prey tells quite a story. Often, designs on the cloth have symbols that carry meaning within the tribes or ethnic groups, and this “language of the cloth” is passed down from mother to daughter. So just like the mud cloth makers, here at the studio, we too strive to pass down our talents, language, and love to the next generations.

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From Pony to Pillow

   

  Life can get busy. Really busy, in fact. So busy, that keeping up with the media side of business can escape us. Then when you’re least expecting it, you’re hit with textural inspiration in the form of a giant fuzzy animal. This Rocky Mountain Horse at our favorite local equestrian barn is growing her luscious winter coat, a warm chocolate brown speckled with dirty blonde. Don’t you think the colors of her fur draw on the colors from the pillow? Rich browns, muted blues, soft yellows and dull reds blend beautifully into both the horse’s fuzzy face and the unique weave of the Turkish kilim pillow. Both are coarse, but we can’t help but to want to nuzzle into them…

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Painting the Town

   

With summer approaching, scaffolding begins to rise as artists make plans to add to the number of murals in our city. We salute ArtWorks Cincinnati for commissioning new murals for the summer of 2015 and providing jobs for students and professional artists alike. I love that these murals help to invoke pride in our city and spark joy in our daily commute. Some of our favorites are featured below. Mackenzie, part of our team at Houston Design Studios, worked on the Singing Mural in 2011. She was proud to be a part of an organization that strives to positively transform a community through artistic collaboration. We’ll be on the lookout for hard hats and flying paintbrushes! The Divine Proportion of All Things, 2010, Covington, designed by Tina Westerkamp Singing Mural, 2011, Central Parkway and 12th, designed by C.F. Payne Energy and Grace, 2013, 12th and Vine, designed by Kim Krause  All photos taken from artworkscincinnati.org

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My Olde Mint Julep Recipe

   

The 141st Derby is coming up Saturday and this Louisville girl is once again ready to celebrate the Run for the Roses with family and friends. The first Saturday in May is always flavored with mint juleps at our house. This year I’ll be making them with Angel’s Envy, my new favorite Kentucky bourbon. It’s both smooth and a little spicy, and perfect as a trackside sipper. The many fine folks that have enjoyed my juleps inspired me to create a design using my own mint julep recipe, now printed to bar towels. (Follow this Simple Syrup recipe to make a thicker & delicious julep!) I hope you pick a winner!

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From Rough to Refined

   

Spring Spotlight: Artists at the Pendleton Art Center For 20+ years, Karen Heyl has called Cincinnati’s Pendleton Art Center, home. You will find her nestled in her 1st floor studio carving out beauty from both clay and from giant limestone slabs. Those slabs are her canvases, carving intricate patterns and designs with her chisel and hammer. She is most known for her bas-relief sculpture work but recently has created a captivating collection of sculptured bird pitchers. Seeking connection with natural, organic forms, Karen weaves stories into her scenes, finding nature to be an inherently symbolic theme for any narrative. Her work transforms a rough medium into one of refined fluidity and grace. Check out more of her work at: http://www.karenheyl.com/ or come to the Pendleton Art Center for Final Friday this Friday, April 24!

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Hand Bound. Objects Found.

   

Spring Spotlight: Artists at the Pendleton Art Center Judith Serling-Sturm is a talented book artist and friend who creates in her studio just down the hall from us. Her textured book art utilizes handmade papers, natural elements, and found objects. The rough paper, seemingly straight off the tree, creates a raw, rustic feeling. Her creations become beautifully-bound journals for multi-purpose use: anniversaries, travel, wine logs, and any other vessel for documentation. When asked about the creativity behind her leather journals, Judith recalled, “While awaiting a delayed shipment of traditional book board one hot July day, I walked by a Salvation Army store around the corner from my studio, advertising leather jackets. Many, many, many hours later, recycled leather jackets were married with found metal, beads, silk ties, old jeans, to create rugged, one-of-a-kind, hand-bound journals”.  https://www.facebook.com/SerlingSturmBookArts

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Glass Tapestries

   

Spring Spotlight: Artists at the Pendleton To kick off Spring, we’re highlighting some of our neighbors here at The Pendleton Art Center, Cincinnati. We appreciate our community of local artists and strive to promote their incredible talent and artistic contributions. Across the alley at the Marta Hewett Gallery is the home of some of the most sensational glass artworks in the nation. On the shelves of this renowned gallery space, curated and represented by Marta Hewett, sits the intricate glass tapestries of Jim Vollmer. Strips of stained glass are sliced into tiles and fused together to create amazing patterns. These fragile “glass fabrics” have energetic patterns, transcendent movements and prismatic jewel tones. Stop in the gallery and view for yourself! http://www.martahewett.com/artist.php?artist_id=vollmer

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Bold & Unapologetic

   

Black and white lovers: Take a look at this killer, diamond-pleated couch. Discovered in Anthropologie’s spring house & home catalog, this particular couch caught our eye several times while page flipping. The jagged, black stripes woven into the creamy background create an energizing pattern that is bold and unapologetic.

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Reclaimed [Wood] Reflections

   

Personal history can be crucial in an artist’s development of style and inspirational focus. I often pull inspiration from my home state of Kentucky and my ancestral roots, while artist Michelle Peterson Albandoz draws her inspiration within the forests of the two places she grew up, Connecticut and Puerto Rico. The trees she played among as a child became central to her art. In recognizing the destruction of deforestation and otherwise environmental wastefulness, she began using reclaimed lumber to arrange her art pieces. I love the way she separates piles of discarded wood and pulls from each to create dynamic pieces with rhythmic pattern. The story of the wood lives within each replicated pattern, letting each piece speak for itself. Michelle’s work is bi-fold...both a political exclamation and a simple reflection of modern nature. http://www.michellepetersonalbandoz.com/works.html

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