Viewpoints

Artist Profile — Kristi Taylor

I have always admired people who can pick an interest and stick with it. Not that it’s bad to dabble—we learn so much that way. But focusing on an avocation or even concentrating on a certain theme can result in impressive work.

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That’s how it is with abstract artist Kristi Taylor and her Tree Views series of paintings. Her kaleidoscopic interpretation of light filtering through trees has evolved.

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“Many of my early Tree View compositions included roots,” said Kristi. “I think the roots grounded them visually in a way and as I moved toward abstraction I wanted to focus on the branches. My newest collection, Sunlit Trees, depicts full branches with circles of light shining through.”

“Tree View no. 2″ is one of Kristi’s earliest works in the series.

Tree View no. 2 is one of Kristi’s earliest works in the series.

By Tree View no. 7 she had begun to develop her trademark inclusion of light.By “Tree View no. 7″ she had better developed her trademark inclusion of light.

For the colorist living in the Appalachian mountain region of Tennessee, the bountiful trees were the perfect choice. “The Tree View series began in autumn as the leaves dropped from the trees revealing the lyrical lines of the branches,” said Kristi. “I was inspired by the shapes they created in the empty sky.”

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Light dances through Kristi’s acrylics on canvas. From a distance, the glisten and glow is apparent. “A number of people have commented my work reminds them of stained glass so I hope that means I am doing something right with light,” said Kristi.

But gaze only from a distance and you’ll miss out. Zoom in on one of the Tree Views and the textural brush strokes and confident color combinations become the focus.

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“The name Tree Views has a dual meaning in my work,” said Kristi. “Primarily it references two distinct vantages. One from a distance which relies on movement created with shape and color harmony and the other close up revealing the heavy textures and complexity of the color palette.”

Kristi’s passion for color is evident in her work. Other artists she admires for mastery of color and their timeless work include Paul Klee, Kandinsky, Gustav Klimt and Georgia O’Keeffe.

“It can be like music,” said Kristi. “The right arrangement of tones creates harmony and the possibilities are endless.”

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With an interest in Feng Shui, Kristi believes that color can affect mood and well being. “I tend to favor palettes that reflect something between tranquility and happiness,” said Kristi. “I want my color selections to make people feel good.”

Because of the mix of color, geometric and organic elements, Kristi has seen her paintings work well with many styles of home decor. “I love pairing them with dark woods and leather elements to really play up the contrasts,” said Kristi.

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A career sidetrack into the world of digital design has served her well. In 1999, fresh out of college and armed with a Fine Art degree with a concentration in painting, Kristi found herself without the resources to market her then large-scale work to galleries. So she took a job in Web design. “That led to more new media jobs and…opportunities to learn a variety of digital mediums,” said Kristi.

Her Web jobs gave her the skills and knowhow to confidently present and market her artwork online. “By the time my Tree View paintings had grown into a collection I had more then enough knowledge to get them out there.”

Kristi Taylor“I didn’t understand where my path was going while I was on it but everything has fallen into place,” said Kristi.

Kristi’s advice for other artists? “Don’t use colors straight from the tube! Well, you can if you want to but I never do.”

Kristi Taylor’s paintings are found in galleries throughout the Southeast and are available online through:

What’s the most colorful piece in your home? How did it earn a place in your decor?

Fabric as Wall Art — Designer DIY

by Leona Gaita

What a fabulous week! Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Leona Gaita, HomeWorkshop.com Interior Design Expert and our newest Contributor. You’ll adore Leona’s inspiring, creative and resourceful posts for HomeWorkshop and those for her popular Gaita Interiors blog.

I’m constantly knocked out by the stunning creativity of textile designers! Every time I go to the Decoration & Design Building in NYC, I see more gorgeous prints that I want to take home with me. Many of them really are beautiful enough to be called art.

Meanwhile, empty walls can be a problem. Once the drapes have been installed, the wallpaper hung and the furniture delivered, there are still blank walls to be addressed. Here’s a way to create your own wall art, using some of the fabulous oversized prints that are out there.

Fabric as Wall Art

Staple Guns for Fabric ArtHere’s the finished product. The print is from Gaston y Daniela, Honshu Cotton & Linen Print, color Antracita. It’s available through Brunschwig & Fils. The fabric is stretched and stapled over an 18″ x 24″ cork board from Staples.

I used an electric staple gun. If you’re “crafty” this is a worthwhile investment, but you could also use a hand-held manual staple gun.

Lay the fabric over the cork board. Lightly trace the outline of the board with chalk. Then cut away the extra, leaving a 3″ border all around.

Cutting Away Extra Fabric

Put one staple into the center of each side, pulling the fabric tightly; make sure not to distort the design. Gradually add staples working your way out on each side from the centers to the corners, stretching the fabric tightly.

Stapling Fabric ArtFabric Art Corner Detail

Trim away extra fabric at corners, leaving about 1″. Then staple the remaining excess down with a few staples. Put it into your selected frame. That’s all! This small piece took me about 20 minutes to complete.

20 Minute Fabric Art

The full repeat of this print has several different horse figures, so if you order a couple of yards, you could make a series of three pieces to cover a large space!

Matsuyama Cotton and Linen Azul

This unbelievable print is also from Gaston y Daniela. It’s called Matsuyama Cotton & Linen, color Azul. This time I used a ready-stretched artist’s canvas, 30″ x 40″ and dropped it into a ready made gilded floating frame, intended for oil paintings. EASY!!

Leona at Work with the Canvas

Canvas with Fabric Side DetailMake sure the canvas fits comfortably into the frame. Once the fabric is stapled on, the fit can be tight. If the frame is a little warped, it can be hard to get the covered canvas into the frame. I had to check a few, to find one with a roomy fit.

With this type of frame, you’re stapling to the side, not the back. After you’ve stapled, you can trim the fabric very close to reduce bulk. The raw edge will be hidden by the extra deep side of the frame.

Here it is, all done!

Completed Matsuyama Fabric as Art

I LOVE the way this piece looks in my music room.

Matsuyama print in Music Room

There are so many of these oversized prints that are very appropriate for framing. Here are a few. If only I had more walls!!

Gaston y Daniela 71572 979

Wouldn’t this be great in a kitchen? It’s Gaston y Daniela #71572-979.

Decorators Walk 2629520 F S SchumacherGreek Vase with Different Sportsmen

I love the authentic look of this print with motifs taken from ancient Greek vases.The tawny color with the black background is right on the money! It’s from Decorator’s Walk #2629520, available through F.S.Schumacher.

Here’s a fragment of an ancient Greek vase. You can see why the print really caught my eye!

Brunschwig and Fils Fortunate Harbor

This border print can be used with or without the border. It’s called Fortunate Harbor from Brunschwig & Fils.

F.S. Schumacher 262093

This beauty is from F.S. Schumacher #262093. Prints with a dominant central motif are the easiest to work with, but almost any large print that you love, can be used.

The frames are all from A I Friedman. For pricing and availablility of the fabrics shown, call Gaita Interiors (914) 834-8282.

BE BOLD, HAVE FUN, and GO DECORATE!!

Leona GaitaLeona Gaita has an infectious enthusiasm for interior design that she shares with us, with her clients and with the readers of her popular blog, Gaita Interiors.

With a lifelong involvement in the fine arts and design, Leona designs for Gaita Interiors, a staple of the local community for over 40 years, serving Larchmont, Westchester County and the New York metropolitan area.

“I want to show people where I get the inspiration for my own creativity, and teach them how they can apply these principles to their own lives and their own homes,” says Leona.

Have you used fabric as art?

Trend Alert — Wine Bottle Lighting

Good wine and good lighting come together with this trend. Some of these have been around a bit, but we are seeing more—and more interesting—light fixtures and lamps made from wine bottles.

My favorite is Pottery Barn’s Wine Bottle Chandelier that my friend Marie at Decorator on Demand mentioned on her blog. The ring of suspended green bottles is simple and impactful.

Pottery Barn Wine Bottle Chandelier

Pottery Barn Wine Bottle Chandelier in Room

FCL Style’s take on a Wine Bottle Chandelier is a reproduction of a French antique. Its quirky beauty develops as you add souvenir bottles from favorite wines.

FCL Style Wine Bottle Chandelier

My Twitter friend @remodelcenter reminded me of the Meyda line of wine-bottle lighting, like this lively Seven-Light Floor Lamp, the Three Light Sconce or this Blue, Wall-Pocket Sconce.

Meyda Transitional Wine Bottle Floor Lamp

Meyda 3-Bottle SconceMeyda Wine Bottle Pocket Sconce

Etsy’s Bent Bottle crafts this creative pendant from flattened bottles. Or for some colorful candlelight, suspend a grouping of WineVine Imports’ Wine Bottle Tea Lights.

Bottles Up Recycled Wine Bottle Pendant Lamp

Wine Bottle Tea Lights at Winevine Imports

Wine Bottle Lamp Kit

A DIY option? Try this kit to make your own Wine Bottle Lamp.

Tell us about the room (real or fantasy) where you’d use a wine bottle light.

Makeover — Ribbon Upholstered Chair

by Diana Durkes

We are in for a treat today, when furniture makeover and upcycler specialist Diana Durkes joins us as a HomeWorkshop.com Contributor. Diana gives “New Life to the Tossed and Found” at her blog, Fine Diving in Chicago.

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I’m a plaids and stripes kind of person. Something about vibrant colors arranged in sensible lines and angles will have me forever gravitating to a vintage kilt or a store full or ribbon.

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So when I came across a photo of these striped chairs, the idea of combining all kinds of ribbon for an upholstered piece stayed near the top of my inspirations file.

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Shortly after, I sized up a rescued orphan chair as the perfect shape to try out the ribbon design. The seat and back were in excellent condition once the old upholstery was removed, and the chair’s generous seat and back proportion made it easy for a DIY upholstery project.

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To start the chair rehab, I removed the seat and back from its wooden frame. I used an orbital sander to take off the old finish and rehabbed it with a thick coat of Minwax Ebony stain.

photo4Next, I removed the old upholstery fabric and cording from the chair’s seat and back. With a yard of medium-weight cotton, I traced around each piece to make a template for the outer ribbon upholstery. I bought approximately 20 yards of grosgrain and satin ribbon in varying widths from a local fabric store. I pinned the ribbon in overlapping lengths on top of the cotton templates I previously cut. Using a sewing machine, I zigzagged them in place.

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When the chair seat was completely sewn, I used a staple gun to attach it to the seat cushion. Doing the same to the chair back was a challenge since I lacked a long-nosed upholstery stapler, a tool now on my wish list. I switched to plan B and took the chair to an upholstery shop for their assistance. They stapled the back and glued on the double row of black cording.

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Diana DurkesThe project makes a comfortable desk chair in my home office. In high-low comparison, the total spent on it was a fraction of the cost of the object of my inspiration.

The original, a product of Dransfield and Ross, retails for $2,300. The DIY chair, though of unknown origins but much TLC, cost $150 for the ebony stain, ribbon, cotton fabric, staples and upholsterer’s labor.

Diana Durkes is a creative recycler and a confessed alley shopper. She gives a makeover to one found item each week, and publishes the before & after on her blog, Fine Diving in Chicago.

How’s that for a Makeover?

And what furniture have you rescued and resuscitated? Send your Before and After photos with a description of your Makeover to makeovers@homeworkshop.com

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