Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2013 Authors Series featuring "Love Where You Live" by Joan Osofsky

Love Where You Live by Joan Osofsky and Abby Adams
 Introducing author and entrepreneur extraordinaire Joan Osofsky. Many of you may know her from her three very successful locations of her lifestyle shops, Hammertown Farm, in The Hudson River Valley and New England.

Please Click on any Image to enlarge for details.

"Mediterranean Pizzaz in a Rural Vermont Setting"
Thank you for participating in The 2013 Authors Series featuring your new book, “Love Where You Live”.

1)      Would you go back and tell our readers about the beginning of your design and artistic leanings?

I think the beginning of my interest in design began with a friendship in college.  My friend Vicki’s Mom was an amazing woman…a knitter, a couture sewer, an avid antique person, and an inspiration, on so many levels.  The beautiful brick Georgian home in Maine furnished with antiques and the family gatherings in around the fireplace and the love that you felt being there …I will just never forget it.  It made a special impression.  Now Vicki, still my best friend from college, lives in her family homes and I visit and spend time there at least 2 to 3 times a year.

Part of Joan's Collection of Antique Toleware Trays

A found Cast Iron Urn atop a stone wall which transitions the Lawn to the Meadow to Views of distant hills

2) The three Hammertown Barn Stores in the Hudson Valley and New England are renowned and loved by so many loyal customers. How did this spur you on to write your book with Abby Adams?

Because of the response over the years that I felt from people walking in the store.  They loved everything, it made them feel comfortable and they felt the love and soul I and my staff put into all the stores.

A Library Card File, now a cupboard holds beautiful green shades of American Art Pottery

3)      This wonderful book features 18 different homes, including your spacious farmhouse and your current smaller and more intimate cottage. Where did you discover these unique properties?  

Many were customers, others were people friends knew and others came by word of mouth.  We scouted each of the homes and our criteria were the following:  Do we love the home?  Does the owner love where they live?  Can we photograph just the way it is…we are not bringing things in to the homes to style.  This book is about real living, real homes, real people.

Original golden paint on this gorgeous Hutch. The Chairs and Table from Hammertown
4)      Why do you feel the owners all sought out homes with a lot of incredible land and beautiful vistas?

It is often a criteria for people when they look for country homes…the vistas, the views the feeling of living in the country.

5)      Joan, I found the backgrounds of the owners so interesting. Architects and Interior Designers, Artists and Museum Curator, Dress Designer and Restaurateur, the Founder of Coach Leatherworks. In what way do you feel that these careers led to the uniqueness and authenticity of these homes and properties? 

They lead creative lives and their creativity pours into their homes.  

This eclectic mix works so well. Train your eye to seek out treasures that meld together beautifully. The contemporary art sets the tone! I love the pillows, Beethoven, Chopin, and Mozart.
6)      Have you had mentors or others you have admired in this area of business? How has this impacted your career?

One mentor was Anne Tarbell, who I mentioned above.  Other mentors and people in the design world I have admired are:  Mary Randolph Carter, Mary Emmerling, Bunny Williams, Thomas Woodard, John Derian, Ralph Lauren, Jasper John, Andrew Wyeth, Marston House…I could go on.  People with amazing style and taste who have an authentic spirit and style …that’s what inspires me.

Dining Table and Chairs designed and built by the Owner! The panoramic view speaks for itself!

7)      Finally, what words of wisdom do you have for the person who has a dream and the hope to implement it?

Do your homework and be passionate.  I was very fortunate in that everything was in line for me…my timing was good, the internet was not here, so I did not have that to compete with, and I started small and learned as I went along…I paid attention to detail and gave my heart and soul to this business.  It has paid off, because although not a huge, we have multiple stores that set a standard of good design, spirit and authenticity that people connect with.  The best compliment I can ever get from a customer…”I just feel good walking into your stores.  They are special!”
The View and the Home meld together with floor to ceiling windows!
Nature speaks with wood, stone and other natural elements.
Joan, I appreciate you taking the time to add to the aura of your life and book. You are a fascinating and inspiring woman.

Be sure to check out the Hammertown Site

"From the moment I walked into Joan's Shop, Hammertown Barn, I became a fan."                                                                                                      Bunny Williams

This a book where every amazing room will  thrill you with the love and thoughtfulness it exudes.

Please leave a message for Joan and of course be sure to pre-order her book!

Thank you for supporting The Arts!

Art by Karena

I received an advance copy of "Love Where you Live" from Rizzoli, New York
Photographs by John Gruen

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

2013 Artists Series: Anne Harwell

Introducing Anne Harwell, a most talented artist and author of the blog Annechovie 

Please enjoy our conversation below and some of Anne's works of art!

1) Anne, tell us about your beginnings and the pursuit of an art career.

I have always been artsy and crafty since preschool, but I never grew up with any sense or goal of being an "artist" per se. I honestly kind of just fell into it in my 20's after finding I liked working in watercolors on boring Winter evenings. Things slowly evolved from there and I started selling my work in a home & antiques shop my parents used to own in Atlanta. The rest is history but involves a whole lot of work, ups and downs and some great opportunities and many disappointments I had to push through.

One of Anne's most popular prints, The Courtney Barnes Chair

2) Did you have encouragement from a mentor, or are there certain artist’s works that you admire?

    To be honest, I have admired other artists, namely Monet, Matisse, Bonnard, Mark Hampton and others but have not had a formal "art education" so to speak. I don't use any specific technique other than what just feels right to me. I would make a horrible art teacher because I do not have an exhaustive knowledge of art history or technique. The Nike motto applies to me when painting and sums up the way I work - "Just Do It".
Chanel #5 
      3) You do have a very distinctive style. How did your genre come about and    would you tell our readers about your methodology
      don't use any specific technique other than what just feels right to me. I would make a horrible art teacher because I do not have an exhaustive knowledge of art history or technique. The Nike motto applies to me when painting and sums up the way I work - "Just Do It". I probably lean more towards saturated, clear colors and am not all that attracted to muted tones. Several people have told me that my colors are "happy" and I am glad that's what comes across.
Worcester Porcelain Jar

    There's so much darkness and heaviness in this world and even though life is not always upbeat, I am an optimist and prefer to focus on the positive. Honestly, I am one of those people who doesn't have a staid regimen and doesn't do anything by the book. I just implement the "LOOK LONG AND CLOSELY AND ABSORB" method. LOL. Anything that has developed with me came by digesting tons of paintings, magazines, books, etc. and then working by trial and error to paint what was in my head. I started out with watercolor and have found myself moving more towards acrylic and even oils now. 
     I am a work in progress and have a looong way to go, but I have learned to enjoy the journey. I am a firm believer that God gifts us with all and any talents that we have and my personal relationship with Him is a tremendous source of inspiration and motivation that has helped me to grow and develop more than anything else.

Ginger Jar #2
      4)  Do you work in a studio or do you have a dedicated area in your home? (if you have a studio could you send an image?)
I    I work in a studio area that is part of my home now. I am moving into a new home with my husband in 2 weeks, so will have a completely dedicated room to work from where I can just shut the doors on my art mess and leave it undisturbed.
Peonies and Paisley

5) You must have a fine print-maker (I have several of your chair series prints) How does an artist find one where you can be sure of good quality control?
II    I now print most all of my own work and carefully researched printers, ink and paper before I found what worked best for me and produced the highest quality print. I am happy with my method now because so many of my customers tell me that the prints look exactly like an original.

Chairs Series Notecards

Ginger Jar Pillow
6) When did the light bulb go on so brightly to start licensing your art and are you pleased with the results?
    Actually, I was blessed to be approached by a company for my first licensing contract and didn't do the initial chasing, although I continue to seek out great opportunities now for licensing more of my work.

Hermes Bag
     7) What is the best way for our readers to reach you with any inquiries
      They can contact me via a convo on my Etsy page or email me direct at: anneharwell@hotmail.com
      Other Links for Anne are:
      Etsy store: www.annechovie.etsy.com  
      Blog: www.annechovie.blogspot.com
      instagram: http://instagram.com/anneharwell

Anne does Custom work, simply send her an inquiry; also custom pet silhouettes on Canvas

Custom Pet Silhouettes

      8) Lastly, Anne, What words of advice do you have for the beginning artist of any age?
Follow your natural bent and passion, don't shy away from hard work and don't give up when there's not immediate gratification or open doors!

 20% OFF
THROUGH 8-25-13!! 

Anne, Thank you so much for participating in The 2013 Artists Series.
I love the Pop-Art quality to your work, although I know you do very traditional renderings as well. 

Wishing you and your new husband much happiness and a bright future together!

Dear Readers, Thank you for supporting the arts and please leave a comment for Anne!

Art by Karena

Images Courtesy of Anne Harwell

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The 2013 Designer Series featuring Barry Darr Dixon

Barry is a renowned Interior Designer practicing from the Virginia countryside near Washington DC.  He has been on Good Morning America and HGTV.
His projects have been featured prominently in many Shelter Magazines including Veranda, Southern Accents, House Beautiful, Metropolitan Home, and Traditional Home. 

Part of Barry's Design Philosophy
"Successful design emanates a feeling, not just a look. Nuance is employed to fine tune the whole to the personality of the individual. In the best instances the effect is a magical aesthetic harmony that is not initially surprising, at least not jolting. Upon inspection or reflection however, the effect is cleverly unexpected, bridging past with present bringing the best of history into the future."
Barry, welcome to The 2013 Designer Series

1)    Please tell us about your early years and when Interior Design became your lifetime calling. 

Moving from place to place in my nomadic childhood, (my dad worked for a foreign corporation) allowed constant, vibrant change to our living environment. I was bitten by the design bug early on…

      2) Your own home, Historic Elway Hall, an Edwardian style Estate which includes 17 fireplaces in the  Virginia Countryside, was recently featured in Ronda Rice Carmen’s book, “Designer’s At Home”. Does your own home exemplify your overall design style, taste and aesthetic? 

  My personal style, yes, but each of our clients has his/her own style.

3)  Where do you derive the inspiration that ultimately leads to a fabric in your sumptuous Collection with Vervain, the unique Collection with Moussa and Arteriors, or your Bespoke Furnishings with Tomlinson? 

Anywhere and everywhere! Foreign cultures, our aesthetic past, abstractions of form, color, and of course, primarily, the natural world around us…

4)   Your use of color is renowned! How does the space call to you a certain combination of blues, violets, and amethyst for example? Do you try to adhere to your client’s idea of color or suggest to them they give you the freedom to surprise them? 

Of course we find out what colors our clients love, as a start. But we also look beyond the windows of a space and pay homage to the “view of the world” that is innate to every room…

5)   Details, Details, Details! As one’s eyes wander around one of your rooms, nothing jumps out startlingly; however nearly every single piece of furniture, fabric, curtain panel, or accessory has your mark on it. Distinctly unique. When does this talent of the perfect trim or use of an antique come to you in the design process? 

1)    This comes near the end of each individual concept… Big picture to fine-tuned detail. For a window treatment we’d first imagine the general shape & complexity of the best overall solution; then the fabric/pattern/color that seems appropriate, then the trim & application that modifies/underscores our approach in the best way.

6)   How important is the inclusion of original art and antiques to you in a design project? 

Absolutely imperative… art and
antiques are not only the soul of the interior, but the most personal elements of expression.

7)   Barry, whose works do you admire and also have you had a mentor in the business? 

No actual mentor, but I’m heavily influenced by many… Lutyens, Fortuny and Morris come to mind, and more recently Albert Hadley, Rose Tarlow and John Saladino have changed the way I see things.

8)   Finally what words of advice do you have for the beginning entrepreneur? 

Be brave and original, yet pay homage to the evolution of design… 

Excellent! Thank you so much Barry for sharing so much of your design aesthetic and these gorgeous images!

I know that Barry would appreciate any comments you would leave !

You can reach Barry through his website BarryDixon.com
His latest books which I highly recommend  are:

Barry Dixon Inspirations and Barry Dixon Interiors

Purchase at Barry Dixon Books

I received copies of these to review and trust me,you will spend hours browsing through every sumptuous page!

Thank you as well to my readers who support the arts !
Art by Karena

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