"When I first saw your work at the American Craft Council Show in Atlanta this past March, I just knew this was what I wanted in our home." Well, if that doesn't make you feel great, I'm not sure what will! Today, that's what my client told me as I was hanging their new wall hanging in their home located in the serene mountain setting of Anderson Creek Retreat in Ellijay, Georgia.
I did indeed meet this couple in Atlanta at the ACC show back in March 2015. After a few emails, I arranged for a home visit to see the space and talk about possibilities. That was fun! "This house has been in the making for over 20 years... in our dreams" they said. Only just finished this summer, the home is a testament to high-end luxury building in a rustic modern aesthetic. In short, it looks like it's a 150 year old farm house that's always been right there with the simple addition of lots technological conveniences and modern amenities.
A couple of the things that were important to this client were simplicity and connection with the land. It's on that foundation that I began the design process. I visited the home once again this fall and harvested the mountain laurel branches, bird nest and wasp nest from their property. We took the raw branch inside, talk about ideas and then I was off to the studio to do what I do best... create.
After a brief sketching session, I started weaving and wa-la, the piece was born. I used the decor of the great room for color inspiration including creams, greens, turquoise, blue and dark walnut. I was very pleased with the outcome and so were my clients!
Today was installation day and for me, that's the most fun! I absolutely love connecting with me client, seeing them excited and enjoying this special piece I've created hanging in it's new home. If you're considering a piece like this for your home, please contact me for a consultation. I'd love to dream a little with you and create something special for your home.
It's always a good thing to Google yourself from time to time because you never know what you're going to find. Luckily this time, I found a wonderful feature article about my work on DailyArtMuse.com, a leading blog touted as "a curated collection of contemporary fine art." Thanks DailyArtMuse! Here's the link to the article.
This weekend I have the pleasure of teaching a short workshop for 6 students at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. During the weekend, we'll go out and harvest materials from the local area, learn to prepare those materials and then make some incredible sculptural pieces. For many students, this will be the first time - or first time in a long time - that they've made a basket, so i'm honored to be able to introduce them - again - to the incredible world of basketry.
For more about my basket weaving classes, you can check out this page. For more about Arrowmont, click here. I hope you'll join me at my studio in 2016 for a workshop in Asheville, NC's River Arts District!
As long as I've been creating unique woven art for luxury mountain homes, beautiful outdoor porches have always been my favorite spaces. They literally ooze mountain elegance and it's such a privilege to have my work featured in these spaces. Today, I got to install my second piece in one such space in beautiful Cashiers, North Carolina.
The wall hanging sculpture piece I created for this space is on a shake wall as you exit the porch, entering the great room of the house. As you view the piece you can literally see gorgeous mountain cliffs and a waterfall to the left as the gentle breeze wafts through the porch. It's the perfect spot to relax with a glass of sweet tea and let time stand still.
Coloring for this piece was inspired initially by a blonde mountain laurel branch I harvested from the forest. It's unique color lent itself to a brighter color scheme but well within the look and feel of natures bounty. To that end, I used some greens and turquoises with the copper botanical accents to make the piece something really special. I hope you agree! And, just in case you happened to get bored sitting on this porch, your eyes can shift to the other end of the porch. There, you'll find one of my only lit fireplace mantel sculptures featured on a beautiful rock fireplace. Yes, this room is truly spectacular! (Just a note: this now makes 6 special pieces of my work in this home. What an honor! The pieces include a tabletop collection for a sofa table, bark and wire freeform basket in the den, bark vessel in the master bath, wine bottle basket in the wet bar outside the wine cellar and the fireplace mantel sculpture on the outdoor porch.)
I'd love to create a special piece or two for your outdoor porch! Contact me to get started!
Creating a special piece of woven wall art for someone is truly a privilege! I met this wonderful couple at the July 2015 Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands. They were instantly drawn to one of the wall hangings I had featured in my booth but unfortunately for them, it was already sold. Luckily, I enjoy creating commissioned work and so after a brief discussion, we settled on the direction for the piece.
One of the things I enjoy about the commission process is, if possible, visiting the home of my clients. I like to get a feel for the home, their taste and the ultimate environment where the piece will live. All of these things give me the emotional and artistic context for creating a special piece of art for the home.
Upon visiting this home in particular, I noticed that they really loved dark, rich colors including lots of reds, burnt siennas, coppers, golds and walnut. Understanding their color palette gave me exactly what I needed to create this piece. While I incorporated the rich color palette into the piece, I also highlighted with some yellows, greens and turquoises in order to give the piece some selected highlights. I think it turned out nicely!
Today, I installed the piece in it's forever home and as you can see, it fit just beautifully! The clients were extremely happy and so was I! If you're interested in having me creating a special piece of woven art for your home, please contact me to start the conversation!
In a world filled with so much cheap, mass produced crapola, the expertly crafted work of master artisans stands in stark contrast. It's refreshing to see see work thoughtfully designed and executed by craftsmen of every medium who love their work, the creative process and the interaction with their clients. That is what the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands is all about.
Ever since I moved to Asheville in 2009, the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands has been one of the highlights of my year. Even before I was a member of the Guild, I would go and see the show just to be around these incredible artists and the beautiful work they produce throughout the year. Luckily, I now get to count myself among the members of the Guild since 2011 and what an honor it continues to be!
This year, as usual, I'm downstairs on the arena floor. The Fall show is really fun and there are tons of people there from all over the country, most who are visiting for what we call "Leaf Season" here in the mountains. I love that because it means that the work we create here in the Asheville, NC area is being seen all over the country and internationally when it goes to it's forever home. Yesterday, I was privileged to sell a piece that's now headed to Europe as a gift for a family member. WOW!
Each year, the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands is held the 3rd weekend of July and of October. For many it's a must see with vacations being planned around their attendance. If you've never been, or if you've not been in a while I hope you'll consider coming to the show this weekend! The fair runs Thursday - Sunday, October 15-18 from 10am - 6pm daily downtown at the US Cellular Center in Asheville, North Carolina.
When you're an artist, you have to learn to go with the flow. When inspiration strikes, you respond and when opportunity appears, you say "yes"! This was the situation last week.
In my already busy schedule of commissions and show prep for the Fall edition of the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands here in Asheville, NC I was asked my a local interior designer to participate in the Asheville Home Builders Association 2015 Parade of Homes. These are some of the best of the best new homes in WNC built by incredible luxury mountain home builders. Of course, they wanted a fireplace mantel sculpture for the outdoor porch. How could I say no!
To top it all off, the fireplace mantel on this porch was only 4" deep - actually designed for a flat screen tv to hang above it (which is why the fireplace stone doesn't go all the way to the top of the ceiling). Up until this point, I'd never created a fireplace mantel sculpture that shallow - it was like weaving in bas relief - but I was up for the challenge.
Since this was pretty much "artists choice" I got to design the piece with no limitations. Since I've really been enjoying creating copper leaves and copper botanicals, I made sure I included these in the piece. I feel like the final piece turned out really nice and I hope you agree!
PS, as of October 8, 2015 this piece is still available! It's 52" wide by 32" tall and would fit very nicely on a 6' wide mantel either on a covered porch or in a great room. If you're interested in this particular piece or having me create something special for your home, please contact me here.
Creating woven art with bark, vines and wire is one of the techniques I've practiced now since around 2011. As a self-taught basketry artist, I've learned most things on my own from experimentation and reading books. This technique, however, was so complicated that I ended up taking my first basketry workshop ever in Denmark with famed basketry artist Ane Lyngsgaard. Funny enough, the techniques we learned were taught to the teacher in Oregon by some of the great cedar bark basket makers! Yes, it was a long way to go to learn this basketry technique, but it's become a staple in my woven art.
One of the things that makes this "x-stitch' technique so interesting with bark is the juxtaposition of the shine and patina of the copper against rough texture of the bark and vines. It's a beautifully elegant way to have natural materials in a sculptural basket, but in a very refined style. Over the years, I've created many of these on commission for specific clients in a variety of sizes. The largest I created for a couple in Atlanta that was 32" at the base. Below are some images of other woven art that I've created in this style.
Matt Tommey is a sculptural basketry artist working in Asheville, North Carolina's River Arts District.