Monday, August 25, 2014

Thomas Fuchs Creative Collections and P & G's The Children's Safe Drinking Water Initiative

When I read this description on Thomas' Biography and saw his neo-classical works I knew that this is a designer, that  I had to feature at The Arts by Karena! 

"Art—in all of its infinite forms—is the catalyst for what Thomas Fuchs does. He’s a furniture designer, creator of stunning Venetian glass, an avid painter…and so much more. Art—is his passion. And that passion passes on through his work." 

Please enjoy our conversation and getting to know more about Thomas .

1)     Thomas, did you know from an early age that you were interested in being creative and the arts?  

        It was never a conscious thought.  I wish it was because then I could have stopped it and became a lawyer or banker.   Only kidding, I knew there was something in me pulling me but never put a name or function to it, I just always needed to create.

The fabulous Bollicine Chandelier

2) Would you tell our readers a bit about your background leading up to Thomas Fuchs Creative and Otium, your Lighting and Accessories Company? 

I was very fortunate to attend the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. as well as the Art Student League and the National Academy of Design in New York City.

During my studies, I interned at C. G. Sloan, an auction house in Washington D.C., (this opportunity is an incredible education for a designer) after my graduation they hired me full time in the furniture department.  From there I went onto join Butterfield and Butterfield in San Francisco as an appraiser. After a few years, one of my client asked if I would move to LA to create a line of furniture, which I did.  I spent a few years in in Los Angeles but I got homesick for NYC. 

Lucky for me this happen to coincide with John Hutton, the Creative Director of Donghia requesting me to move back to New York and work with him.  Once back, John suggested we start working in glass, so they sent me to Italy where I worked closely with the factories to create our first collection.  When Donghia was eventually sold, I thought it would be a good time to leave and start my own lighting company, Otium.  That was a little over 10 years ago.   

The Disco Volante Candle Holder, Murano glass and 24 carat Gold Leaf 

3) Is travel one of your passions; I understand you spend a lot of time in MuranoItaly to oversee the art glass production. Where else do your travels take you?  

Travel is a big part of my life, both personally and professionally.  I always seem to fit factory visits in anywhere I go in the world especially if there is a glass factory within a 100 miles to where I am.  Being in a factory and working with the artisans is one of the best ways to learn about a culture, its beliefs, work mentality, etc.  My partner and I just returned from Africa which I love, I have been there a few times, in fact we visited 3 glass factories there, as well as the game parks and we “adopted” a couple of elephants in the sense that we made a donation to the game park.

The Lion Chandelier

4)   What inspired the new Butterfly Barware Collection which is making its debut at Saks Fifth Avenue this fall?  

I love the artistry of the precious and semi precious stone inlay done in India.  I thought a butterfly wing would lend itself to this craftsmanship.  I also tried to make the collection a little dark in spirit in that a butterfly spends so much time in the process of becoming a butterfly and then is only one for a short while.  But it is hard for people to see a butterfly as a dark subject matter.

The Butterfly Collection debuting at Saks Fifth Avenue this Fall

5) Who are some other artists and designers that you admire?  

Albert Hadley was not only a visionary I admired, I was also able to develop a friendship with him from a very early age.  I also love the kinetic energy a Calder sculpture creates and the realness of the texture Giacometti used in his work.   There are many, many more inspirations as well.

6) I was very excited to hear about your Foxware Glass Collection in the water wave pattern in collaboration with Proctor and Gamble.  Would you describe how this is going to benefit children in need?  When will this glassware be available to purchase and where? 

This collaboration is to benefit Proctor and Gamble's CSDW (Children's Safe Drinking Water) sustainability program. Clean water is the biggest commodity in the world. Enabling and supporting P&G's program by donation of funds through selling of these glasses will mean people will be able to get the kits to clean the water. This means women and children will not have to walk to wells daily freeing them time wise to be able to go to school.
Wave Glassware by Fuchs to benefit Children in need is in partnership with Proctor & Gamble. Every set of four glasses sold will bring $5 for the CSDW Program. Foxware is an artisanal home goods company  owned by Fuchs and creative collaborator Michou Mahtani. 

This special designed glassware will be available in November 2014 at  Please visit and make a purchase to assist in this great endeavor.

Thomas at the Hotshop (Glassmakers Studio)

Fuchs first approached Proctor & Gamble about their Children's Safe Drinking Water Initiative after  seeing how a small packet of powder developed by P & G scientists  could transform even the dirtiest drinking water into pure water within minutes. It removes parasites and arsenic, while destroying common waterborne bacteria  and viruses.

Please do take some time to peruse Thomas's websites, Otium and Thomas Fuchs Creative. Enlarge the images so that you can see the incredible details of his works.

Much appreciation to Gwen Toline of GHT Communications for sharing this information about Thomas Fuchs and his artistry.

Thank you to my many friends and Followers who support The Arts!

The Arts by Karena

Please leave a comment as they make my day!
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Presenting Ronda Rice Carman: Author, Blogger, and Entrepreneur

Many of you have watched the trajectory of our friend Ronda Rice Carman's fascinating career. Join me on this adventure along with Ronda and hear how her life has unfolded in the most magical way.

Ronda, You have been on a whirlwind the past few years. There have been so many changes and new ventures, both personally and professionally. Would you tell our readers about your very interesting background, blog, the places you have lived and what is new in your life?

I was born and raised in Houston, Texas.   Prior to moving to  Scotland in 2005, I lived in Pittsburgh for five years. Yes, it’s been a whirlwind tour over the past 8 years and very exaggerated the past year or so.   It’s hard to believe that it’s been seven years since penning my first blog post. In all honestly, I could never have envisioned the path that my life would take as I typed that first post in January 2007.  It seems at every turn, there is another door that opens with opportunity behind it.
This past year was professionally exciting and personally demanding. Commuting from Scotland  to the States for my  book tour, combined with my consulting practice and starting a new business has played a nontrivial role in whirl-winded schedule.
As many now know, I have entered a new chapter in my personal life…I’m divorced, I moved back to Texas  and I started Ronda Carman Fine Fabrics with my new love and business partner, Matt Whitaker. As this new chapter unfolds, I am both excited and inspired.

A new Luxe Line of Lambswool and Cashmere Scottish Throws

What was your vision when you started your widely acclaimed blog, All the Best?
I wish I could say that I had a vision.  What I had was a vague notion of what I wanted and strong desire to succeed. I began my blog (on a whim) in 2007 while working in corporate fundraising for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. After discovering the blogs Peak of Chic, Style Court and Absolutely Beautiful Things, I decided, on impulse, that I wanted a blog too.  All the Best, (named after the January issue of Town & Country sitting on my desk) was little more than an anthology of my thoughts on champagne, wine, dog beds and candles, among other design and luxury topics. My thought was, ‘I’ll just blog about whatever I deem to be the best that day.’ The blog became my connection to like-minded individuals and a way of adjusting to my new life in Scotland.
After 6 months I lost focus and became disenchanted with my new ‘hobby’. But after a shout out from Domino Magazine, my readership skyrocketed from a couple of views each day to more than 2,000 visitors. I emailed Rita Konig to thank her for the mention and she agreed to an interview on All the Best. I was so excited by the idea of ‘interviewing’ designers and tastemakers. Before long I was profiling people that I had admired for years, such as Ivanka Trump and Tory Burch. I had that aha moment…I found my niche and that is when All the Best really began.
When I decided to resign my real job and blog fulltime, my ex-husband thought I had lost my mind. I remember saying to him, ‘If you do what you love, the money will follow.’ I’m so glad I followed both my heart and head as opportunities are abound.

Ronda, when I received your recent book, Designers at Home, Personal Reflections on Stylish Living, it was like a jewel box of a book. Page after page of the best of the best in the Interior Design world. How did this feat come about?

Thank you. It was a life long dream. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to write a book. I have been collecting magazine clippings and tucking away “book ideas” since I was 12 years old. Much like the aha moment I had with the blog, the book idea was the same.   
In many ways I wrote it for myself. I am curious by nature. I wanted to know what life was like at home for designers…what they serve for dinner, the kind of sheets they use on their beds. Like Diana Vreeland once said, “Few things are more fascinating than how people live during their private hours.”

When I gave my mom and dad a copy of my book, my father commented, “It’s as if you have been preparing for this your whole life."

I am most appreciative to Rizzoli for publishing Designers at Home, my editor Sandy Gilbert and Martha Stewart for writing the forward. 

There have been a lot of changes in your life these last few years, and you are now launching Ronda Carman Fine Fabrics (to the trade) with your partner Matt. It was fun to see you both attired clothes made from your interiors fabrics. What's the genesis of this collection? 

Having lived in Scotland for 8 years I was privileged to build close relationships with several of the country's finest textile mills.  I soon learned that many of the most celebrated international luxury-fashion houses rely on Scottish mills for their fabrics. Many of the relationships go back decades.  And while the apparel industry knows full well the exceptional quality of Scottish fabrics, the interiors market has yet to utilize wholly Scotland’s finest offerings. We were given a very unique opportunity to curate and represent some of the finest mills under the brand RONDA CARMAN FINE FABRICS.

We are headquartered in Houston and have representation at EC Dicken in Dallas and Ainsworth-Noah in Atlanta. We will be looking at showrooms in NYC and LA later this year. It’s very exciting and surreal. The support and enthusiasm of the design community has been great due the exceptional quality of our suiting, wools, sateens, sheers, cashmeres and leathers.  With almost 400 different fabrics, we have something for every designer and every project.

Who are a few mentors or people you admire greatly; those have inspired you to make your dreams come to life?

Creative couples have always inspired me, and since launching a business with Matt, I have been looking at other couples as examples.  A few include:


Kate and Andy Spade

Kate and Andy Spade have been my style icons for years. Now I look to them as a creative couple that made it work…very successfully. I can relate to them from a business (and personal) point of view. From the beginning, nothing was planned at Kate Spade. Neither of them grew up wanting to be a fashion designer. The idea formed with a question from Andy: "Why don't you do handbags? You love handbags." And that was that. "We never thought about starting a company. We just said, ‘Let’s make some bags and see what happens,'" said Andy. Not bad for a $59 million payday.
RONDA CARMAN FINE FABRICS started much the same way.  Matt said to me one day, “with your love of textiles, relationships with the mills, and friendships within the design community, why don’t you start a fabric business.”

Charles and Ray Eames

Charles and Ray Eames were a creative powerhouse. Best known for their groundbreaking contributions to architecture, furniture design, industrial design and the photographic arts, each brought unique genius to their union (he was an architect by training and she was a painter and sculptor). The house they built together inspires  me on many levels. Charles and Ray moved into the House on Christmas Eve, 1949, and lived there for the rest of their lives.  I love that the Eames House truly reflects the personality of both Eames’.

Tim and Nina Zagat
Founders of the iconic Zagat guide, Tim and Nina started the guide as a fun project during the early years of their marriage (both working as corporate lawyers). In a recent interview they were asked, “How do you work together as husband and wife?” Tim answered, “We each work in our strengths and accept that we won’t always agree on the means, but we always agree on the end.”

Tell us about your latest collaborations in the creation of the Scottish Throws of angora and lambswool, they look so luxurious.  What's special about the mill producing your cashmere?

We actually have four different blends that make up our line of throws.  Our high-end is 100% cashmere (not the stuff you would normally find).  Our’s has always been used in the fashion arena for scarfs and wraps (some of the biggest names you could imagine). Fashion houses have been using this wonderful fabric for years, we happen to be very fortunate in bringing this same quality of luxury to home interiors. 

Traditional, time-tested techniques are always applied. Such two include, pummeling the cloth in a century-old wooden milling machine to release short fibers for a soft handle, and brushing the cashmere with hand-harvested Italian teasel plant heads sprinkled with Scottish water to create the characteristic ripple effect.

Not only does the mill use the finest raw fibers, they carry out regular tests to ensure the purity of the yarn. Once spun into yarn, the fibers are then woven, washed, brushed, hand-cut and meticulously finished, before a final inch-by-inch inspection by two craftsmen. The mill, and their reputation, rely on fantastic hand-skills going over every inch of the fabric.

Once I experienced the time-honored tradition of the Scottish mills firsthand it deepened my appreciation of a skilled craft. I wanted the opportunity to share these amazing fabrics with the interiors world. The Scots have an extraordinary commodity to offer—textiles of the highest tradition and quality.

Ronda this is truly fascinating and educating regarding the intricate process of weaving cashmere. I had no idea what is involved in the production of these lines! 

Finally what words of wisdom do you have for the beginning author, designer, artist, or person of any age wanting to make a change in their life or career?

Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally. Two favorite quotes come to mind.

“To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.”
Mark Twain

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”  Winston Churchill

Ronda, thank you so much for sharing your story with our readers. You are truly an inspiration! We wish you and Matt all the best as you move forward with making all of your dreams come true.

Visit Ronda's website to learn even more and see her  fine fabrics and leather goods at   

Be sure to visit Ronda's blog All the Best, Passport to Stylish Living!

Order her book, (you will be thrilled that you did )  Designers at Home, Personal Reflections on Stylish Living 

Thank you to my Friends and Followers who Support The Arts!

The Arts by Karena

Please leave a comment as they make my day!

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Featuring: Stolen Sceptre Fine Jewelry

Recently I met with Chris Garrett, the founder and creative genius behind Stolen Sceptre Fine Jewelry. LIsten to his description of these very special pieces and the meaning behind them.

This Fine Jewelry is hand made primarily in the United States, applying old world techniques to vintage rare materials and recycled precious metals.  Pieces are often one of a kinds, unlike anything else. The process is "small batch," never mass merchandised.  If you appreciate the special look that wear and time create, you will love these products.  

Some surface scratches are intentionally present.  Many items are even tumbled and burnished to produce this effect.  Buy, cherish and appreciate these creations for their unique character.  His mantra is to choose something unique and follow a different path...

Stolen Sceptre Fine Jewelry.

Vintage Peruvian Cuff Bracelet in Sterling Silver, 22K Gold Vermeil and Python

The Meaning behind the phrase,  Stolen Sceptre

Stolen Sceptre can mean different things to each wearer.  In general, it refers to something very special which was lost or taken, something life altering.  It could mean the loss of a physical thing (an object, a fortune, a beloved friend, a cherished lover), or of intangibles, things we understand but others may not.  Perhaps it involves an obstacle... an illness, sobriety or a goal yet to be completed.  

Ixtapa Pendant of  Sterling Silver with Faience Accent on Sterling Rope Chain  

Great loss can be very sad, but it can also serve to strengthen our spirits, one of life's most rewarding triumphs.  Wearing a token from the Stolen Sceptre Fine Jewelry collection is a remembrance of where you, the wearer, have been and how far you have come.  It is a personal celebration, a reward.  Though it can be given to you or by you,  it is an intimate token, amulet or charm to remind each of us of the great power drawn from perseverance. 

Vintage Ivory Fortune Teller Ring in Sterling and 14 K Gold

On his website you will find more fine pieces of jewelry, Chris's Biography and the credit he gives to all of those that he works with and give him inspiration. Please be sure to visit! Also visit his facebook page 

Thank you to my Friends and Followers who support The Arts!

The Arts by Karena

Please leave a comment as they make my day and do sign up for email updates to see my latest features!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Featuring Artist John Matthew Moore

I only recently discovered John Matthew Moore's amazing works of art and was immediately mesmerized by this paintings!  His intricately detailed works have garnered much attention and publicity. His works of art are included  in many prominent international public and private collections. 

Moore is currently the National Chair for the Art’s Advisory Consul for MADE: In America focusing on bringing attention to diverse arts and artist in America.

Please enjoy my conversation with John

This Flaming Parrot Tulip is done in Sepia Pastel on Paper

1) John, thank you so much for participating in this interview. When did you  discover that art is your passion in life?

 I started drawing at around the age of three.  I have very vivid memories of drawing in those early years.  It's been a passion ever since the beginning.  

2) Your botanicals, sea shells, and landscapes’ are stunning. How was it that you were drawn to these specimens?

I love history and have always been drawn to the artists from the 15th to 19th century that documented subjects of nature on their journeys.  Growing up on a farm in South East Georgia and spending so much of my childhood in the woods around the farm picking up objects and observing wildlife also contributed to this love of nature

Detail of the Reception Hall in the D.C. Design House 2012

3)  What is your favorite medium to work in, and do you mainly produce large scale paintings?

My medium of choice is Gouache, an age old medium used a lot by artists painting in the fields.  The caulk base not only is richer and more vibrant than other mediums like watercolor allowing me to get those really strong luscious colors found in nature, but it lets you highlight over darker colors as well.

John Matthew Moore Fine Art also offers the finest Museum Quality Custom Framing with a wide range of both contemporary and period style moldings. Moore is  also a master gilder and restorer.

4) Where do you find inspiration? Is most of your art created in the studio?

My inspiration comes from everywhere.  Travels to other countries, walks around my city of Washington, DC, photography.  You name it, at some point something that I saw several years ago might find it's way into a painting at some point.  All of my work is done in my studio though! 

Gorgeously framed Shells done in Gouache in the home of designer Tobi Fairly

5) Who are some other artists that you admire, and do you have or have had a mentor?

It's hard to list just a few artists I admire.  There are so many from the artist of centuries past to modern artists of today.  No matter what their style or subject matter, there is something to obtain from their work.

6)  John, what are a few of your favorite pastimes?

My favorite pastimes are traveling and seeing other cultures, spending hours in museums or somewhere quiet surrounded by nature.  It's all fulfilling in some way.

7) John what advice do you have for the beginning artist at any age in life?

My advice is to do what feels right to you.  You should be your biggest judge.  Also art, as in writing, should be about something you know or respond to.  That's what has always worked for me.

Artist John Matthew Moore

Be sure to visit John's web site at 
John does most of his fine works of art by private commissions and he currently lives in Washington D.C.  

Thank you to my friends and followers who support The Arts!

The Arts by Karena

Please leave a comment as they make my day!
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