Category: Gifts

Objects of Desire Gift Guide: Part 3 -The Natural Order

Choose among baskets, sculptures and wall works of natural materials including wood bark, cockle burrs, leaves and feathers.

Natural Order Objects

1) HAYSTACK RIVER BASKET, Dorothy Gill Barnes
early river teeth, 14.5″ x 21″ x 16″, 2011

2) PANIER-MAISON II, Stéphanie Jacques
wood, willow, raw clay coated and limewash, 16.5″ x 21.25″ x 21.25″, 2010

3) MARAG, Lizzie Farey
willow, wax and galloway pebble, 
16.5″ x 11.5″ x 11.5″, 2006

4) GUARDIAN II, Jan Buckman
waxed linen and hawthorne branches, 
27″ x 7.5″ x 7″, 2002

5) BIRD BRAIN, John Mcqueen
woven willow twigs, waxed string , 26″ x 23.5″ x 23″, 2002

6) CAMPHOR, Lawrence LaBianca
glass with photo, branch, steel, 12″ x 22″ x 7″, 1999

7) EMU, Virginia Kaiser
pine needles, Emu feathers, stitched with linen, 14″ x 5″ x 5″, 2011

8) PUSSY WILLOW XIIII, Markku Kosonen
willow, 8″ x 12″ x 12″, 1996

9) LEAF BOWL, Kay Sekimachi
skeleton of big leaf maple, 8″ x 5″ x 5″, 2011

10) FITTINGS V, Hisako Sekijima
cherry and maple, 
8″ x 10″ x 9″, 1999

11) CRADLE TO CRADLE, Gyöngy Laky
apple, commercial wood, screws, 16 x 30″ x 30″, 2007

12) CHINESE LANTERN, Ceca Georgieva
burdock burrs, chinese lantern, 16” x 8.25” x 4.75”, 2012

13) MOTHER  & CHILD, Dawn MacNutt
twined willow, 
36″ x 9″ x 9″, 2009, $3,000

47db TWENTY FIVE SQUARES14) TWENTY -FIVE SQUARES, Dail Behennah
willow silver plated pins, 
37.5″ x 37.5″ x 3″, 2007


Objects of Desire Gift Guide: Part Two — Spheres of Influence

A selection of rounds, orbs, spheres and circles in different sizes made from a myriad of materials, including paper, safety pins and silk.

Sheres of Influence
1) OVER EASY, Dona Anderson
paper armature covered with pattern paper as surface design. Frame (cover) is rounds reeds strengthened with pattern paper, polymer and black paint, 10″ x 14″ x 14″ , 2011

2) SMALL WILLOW BOWL, Dail Behennah
white willow, silver-plated pins, 9″ x 9″ x 9″, 2007

3) A BEGINNING, Kyoko Kumai
stainless steel filaments, 7” x 7” x 7”, 2007

4) AIR, Christine Joy
Rocky Mountain Maple with encaustic finish, 9.84″ x 9.84″ x 9.84″, 2012

5) REVOLVING SIX ELEMENTS KYOUGI, Noriko Takamiya,
hinoki inner thin splint, 6″ x 6.75″ x 6″, 2012

6) BLUE SPOOLS SCULPTURE, Axel Russmeyer
bobbins, wood, copper wire
,, 4″ x 10″ x 10″, 2008

7) GOLDEN CRATER, Norma Minkowitz
mixed media, 18″ x 18″ x 18″, 2009

8) EUCALYPTUS BARK POD IN WOOD FRAME I Valerie Pragnell, 
eucalyptus bark, clay and bees  wax in wood frame, 
19″ x 15.5″ x 16″, 2001

9)  SILVER SPHERE,Tamiko Kawata
saftey pins,14″ x 14″ x 14″, 2004

SPHERES OF INFLUENCE

10) WARP IKAT SPIRAL, Ed Rossbach
3’ X 9’, 1962

11) HOMMAGE Á ROTHKOMariette Rousseau-Vermette
wool87″ x 84.5″, 1979

12) PODROZ (Journey) from the Kolodia seriesAgnieszka  Ruszczynska-Szafranska
linen, sisal, wool60″ x 56″, 1986


Objects of Desire Gift Guide: First Up, Gilt-y Pleasures

Watch the eyes of those on your gift list sparkle, when you choose one of these glimmering sculptures or wall works by artists from the US and abroad.

Kiyomi Iwata, Glen Kaufman,  Jin Sook So, Jan Buckman, MaryGiles

1 Auric Grid Fold, Kiyomi Iwata, aluminum mesh, french embroidery knots, gold leaf, silk organza, 19″x 18″ x 10″, 2013

2 Yoshikawa, Noto
Glen Kaufman
silk damask, silver leaf; screenprint, impressed 
metal leaf, 48” x 24” x 1” 1990

Pulguk-Sa, 
Kyong-Ju
Glen Kaufman
silk damask, silver leaf; screenprint, impressed metal leaf, 
48” x 24” x 1” 1990

Gold Bowl, Jin-Sook So, steel mesh, painted, and electroplated gold, silver leaf
2.75″ x 6″ x 6.25″, 2005

Untitled #8-5Jan Buckman, waxed linen and gold leaf, 8″ x 3.375″ x 2″, 1995

5 Center Fracture, Mary Giles
waxed linen, fine iron wire, hammered brass wire
, 13.5″ x 17″ x 17″ 2011

The Golden Child, Norma Minkowitz, fiber, mixed media 12″ x 11″ x 8″, 2009

Bling Art 2

Reflected Haze
Lewis Knauss
woven, knotted hemp, linen, acrylic paint, 20.5″ x 20.5″ x 2.5″, 2010

En Face
Agneta Hobin
mica and steel

70” x 48”, 2007

9 Copper, Tin Sculpture
Axel Russmeyer
copper, tin, stainless steel, hemp
17″ x 17″ x 17″

2007


Books Make Great Gifts 2013 – Part II

More book recommendations from artists and us.

“There are a series of books, journals, Daybook, Turn, and Prospect, by Anne Truitt, the minimalist sculptor,” Mary Merkel-Hess writes, “that were important to me when I was a young artist. In a marvelously lucid way, Anne Truitt wrote about her life in the studio, her marriage, children, and making a living at art. Particularly interesting to me was her discussion, in her first book, about turning away from a life of doing ‘good’ in the world (she studied clinical psychology and worked as a nurse) to become an artist.”

Nancy Moore Bess, recommends The World of Donald Evans by Willy Eisenhart. “I had purchased some bookmarks with his watercolor ‘stamps’ and was excited to see a book about him. His work is visually so rich and really reflects his life…which tragically ended in a fire at his studio in 1977. If you ever find a copy, curl up with it yourself.”

For Heidrun Schimmel, Documenta 13, was one of the best ‘documenta’ exhibitions and the publications — there are three — give a great deal of information about the art scene, the questions and problems of our world. Documenta 13’s Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev described the 2012 festival as “choreographing many different kinds of materials, methodologies and forms of knowledge.” One of the three publications, Documenta 13: The Book of Books reproduces the entire 100 Notes – 100 Thoughts series of publications (either as facsimiles or with entirely new layouts), and is supplemented by essays from Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Chus Martínez, Franco Berardi and others, plus statements by some of the festival’s agents and advisors. Heidrun also recommends Ends of the Earth, Art of the Land to 1974, by Philipp Kaiser, Miwon Kwon, Tom Holert and Julian Meyers. The companion exhibition is at Haus der Kunst, Prinzregentenstraße 1 in Munich,
Germany through January 20, 2013. “I think this exhibition is very important for anyone who is working with ‘material as matter,’ perhaps especially for artists of my generation who remember this revolution in art history.”

I am thoroughly enjoying Confessions of a Generalist, by Niels Diffrient, as I have a few moments to read amidst holiday prep and end-of-year items. Niels is a friend, the spouse of tapestry artist Helena Hernmarck and designer of the Freedom, Liberty and World ergonomic chairs. His is a remarkable journey — from a Mississippi farm to Cranbrook to Italy, to work with Eero Saarinen, Buckminister Fuller, Henry Dreyfuss and for Edwin Land, on every every type of equipment, as well as computers, exhibits, trucks, airplane interiors and corporate identity programs. The book is lavishly illustrated and captioned and Niels succeeds in his aim of creating a “communication product,” that closely relates words and pictures, both physically and intellectually, and approximates “the way we experience reality with both our intellect and senses.”


Books Make Great Gifts 2013 — Part I

It’s that time of year again. Over the next few weeks, we’ll offer a wrap up of books that the artists, clients and staff of browngrotta arts have been reading and thinking about this year.

Kiyomi Iwata recommends Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton. Hamilton is an owner of a restaurant called Prune in New York’s East Village but she is a chef, writer and an artist. This book also comes highly recommended by collectors/family members Sandra and Lou Grotta. Kiyomi’s second choice is Growing, Older, A Chronicle of Death, Life, and Vegetables by Joan Dye Gussow, Chelsea Green Publishing. “Gussow is a pioneer of the ‘Eat Local’ movement,” Kiyomi writes, ” and a very honest and funny writer.”

Dail Behennah admitted it was hard to whittle down her recommendations for books to read, but here goes: “The best book I have read this year is Making by Thomas Heatherwick and Maisie Rowe, published to accompany the exhibition at the V&A.” The 600 pages of drawings and photographs show the work of the designer Thomas Heatherwick and his Studio, with beautifully written explanations of each project. Arranged chronologically, each project is headed with a question “Can a giant sculpture fit through a letterbox?” “Can straight pieces of wood make a curved building?” Heatherwick’s enthusiasm for these problems is infectious, and he always comes up with an unpredictable solution which is elegant and deceptively simple. “I am sure,” she adds, ” that this is a book that I will return to over and over again.” The book that Dail is eagerly awaiting is Making and Drawing by Kyra Cane to be published this month by A & C Black. “It promises to provide inspiration and an insight into the way other makers think.” she writes. “Some of my favorite makers are included and I hope that it might change the way I draw. Some of my plans on graph paper are included in the chapter, “Drawing as Planning & Design.”

A book that Gyöngy Laky predicts could be just the right gift for an art lover is The Art of Rebellion III The book about street art by Christian Hundertmark. “I am intrigued by much of the free wheeling creativity and great skill I see in graffiti but also troubled by it – particularly when it is destructive, unwanted and messy, ” Laky writes. “The front of our house got tagged one night with ugly, awkward, large, purple marks. We were not happy. In this book, however, the works go beyond just graffiti to surprising street art, clever and comic installations, thoughtful environmental art or engaging guerrilla works. There are numerous, creative, inventive, original, playful, funny, crazy and fantastic conceptual works that will delight and inspire the reader. These artistic expressions do present a perplexing problem; if they are wonderful events and brilliantly creative, but made illegally and clandestinely on private property or public areas where they should not be made, can we still love and appreciate them?”

Ane Henricksen wrote us about Dr. Jessica Hemmings new book, Warp & Weft: Woven Textiles in Fashion, Art and Interiors. The book has six chapters: “Threads,” “All Kinds of Light,” “Dynamic Responses,” “Sound,” “Community” and “Emotion.” Described by its publisher as, “[a]n excellent resource for everyone with an interest in modern, woven textiles,” this book features work by Nuno, Ane Henricksen, Grethe Sørensen, Lia Cook and many others.


Dispatches: Swans Island, Northport, Maine

photo by Tom Grotta

We vacationed in Maine last month and included one fiber-related stop in our itinerary.  Just up Route 1 from Camden is the headquarters of Swans Island Blankets. Twenty years ago, John and Carolyn Grace moved to Swans Island, off the Maine coast, to make blankets from the wool of hardy island sheep.

photo by Tom Grotta

The new setting (since 2003) in Northport is idyllic, the sheep there are welcoming and the beautiful handwoven summer- and winter-weight blankets and scarves are artfully displayed. Swans Island is a recipient of a Smithsonian Blue Ribbon for Craft. The wool is hand dyed, using only natural materials; all weaving and finishing is completed on site — though most of the sheep remain on the Island.

photo by Tom Grotta

The rare wool and equinox blankets are made from wool of naturally brown and black sheep. The blankets, throws and scarves are trimmed in silk. You can view the works online http://www.swansislandblankets.com/— and don’t miss an opportunity to visit.


Books Make Great Gifts 2011: Artist Recommendations

This year we asked the artists we represent just one question:

What was the most enjoyed/most inspirational book you read this year?? Here are their wide-ranging replies:

Nancy Moore Bess and her friend, artist Sharon McCartney share studios with for occasional “play dates” that involve hours of restorative art chat, small handwork and book sharing. It was Sharon, Nancy says. who introduced me to the exhibition catalogue, El Anatsui at the Clark (Clark Art Institute). “I had seen ads for his work,” adds Nancy, “but the catalog was more than glorious photographs – it placed his current work in the larger context of his entire career/life. Known now for his monumental ‘fabrics’ with metals and Nigerian liquor bottle caps, his earlier work with wood, found metals, steel sheets, etc. was equally exciting for me. I love rust! I was extremely sorry to have missed the exhibition which was installed in the Stone Hill Center at the Clark Museum, but delighted to have access to the book.

Sharon loved a book that Nancy owned, Boro, by Amy Sylvester Katoh, who lives and works at the Blue & White shop in Tokyo. When she tried to order it, she found a different book that Nancy recommends,  Boro: Rags and Tatters from the Far North of Japan by Yukiko Koide and Kyoichi Tsuzuki (Aspect). Both books illustrate the traditional practice of reusing rags and stitching them into clothing and household textiles. Amy’s book concentrates on mostly indigo fabrics which she collects. Both books include impressive photographs with the closeup images really illustrating how the fabrics are used. “Sharon and I both do a great deal of top stitching,” Nancy says, “she on her fabric constructions (she is the queen of French knots!) and I on my experimental paper work. The variety of garments in her book and the variety of fabrics really inspires me to get to the book store!!”

“I have one great book to add,” writes Gyöngy Laky, “though only peripherally art related:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Ellen Forney (Little, Brown; National Book Award) . This is a semi-autobiographical novel by award-winning author, poet and film-maker, Sherman Alexie.  Alexie has been named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists and has been lauded by The Boston Globe as “an important voice in American literature.” He is one of the most well-known and beloved literary writers of his generation, with works such as Reservation Blues and War Dances. He also wrote the screenplay for the film, Smoke Signals, based on a short story from his book, Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.   In his novel, Alexie tells the heartbreaking, hilarious, and beautifully written story of a young Native American teen, Arnold, as he attempts to break free from the life he was destined to live.  Arnold’s drawings illustrate the book.”

Kate Hunt’s suggestion was a CD, rather than a book, Souvenirs, featuring opera star Anna Netrebko. The Independent says she is, “in a word, sensational . . . Netrebko’s strength is not just in the mobility of her voice and the razzle-dazzle of her upper register’s big-money notes – no, it’s the fullness and beauty of the middle voice that singles her out . . . properly overwhelming. For once, fullness of heart is truly matched in fullness of sound.”

Mutsumi Iwasaki enjoyed,「朝鮮陶磁図録」(tyousen toji zuroku), a book on ancient Korean pottery that accompanied last year’s exhibition of Korean Ceramics – 50 Years After the Death of Muneyoshi Yanagi at the Japan Folk Crafts Museum in Tokyo.

Lawrence LaBianca recommends The Last Place on Earth by Roland Huntford (Modern Library) and Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft (Simon & Schuster) by Thor Heyerdahl. Both are true accounts of heroism and determination and creative reasoning used to reach historic goals in exploration — Huntford in the South Pole and Heyerdahl in the South Seas..

Sue Lawty, wrote to us about Edward R. Tufte’s Envisioning Information (Graphics Press), a book I bought for Tom a few years ago.  Sue bought the book, which covers wide-ranging systems, patterns or logic for presenting information from mathematics to maps, a couple of weeks ago in London as a present for her nephew, but now she wants a copy of her own. “It stimulates thinking,” writes Sue.  “For example, in the micro/macro design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, artist Maya Ying Lin had the vision of ordering names chronologically (resolutely resisting pressure for a more pedestrian telephone directory-type listing) thus, within the overwhelming density of 58,000 named dead, the unique loss of each individual is retained. I know I need this book on my shelves to dip into at sly moments and be informed by.”

“I read a good book called The Craftsman by Richard Sennett (Yale University Press),” Mary Merkel-Hess  wrote. “It is a broad-ranging analysis of what it means to do good work. His definition of a craftsman extends beyond those who work with their hands to include everyone who wants to do a job well. So many references to literature, sociology, society — it was fascinating.” Mary also enjoyed Architecture of Silence: Cistercian Abbeys of France, photographs by David Heald which contains marvelous photos of stone buildings and their simple but inspiring interiors and the catalog from Stimulus: art and its inception (browngrotta arts). “[S]peaking of inspiring, thanks for the Stimulus catalog! It’s great!”

For Lija Rage, her most-enjoyed book this year was Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Penguin), the first work by Salman Rushdie after The Satanic Verses (Random House Trade Paperbacks). She’s also been reading about Chinese culture in preparation for her next exhibition.

“The most important book this year is for me,” writes Heidrun Schimmel, “is the catalog of the Venice Biennial, 54.Esposizione Internazionale d´Arte Illuminations. I visited most of the exhibitions in Venice for three days and of course there are many ‘pros’ and ‘cons.’ But this year the catalog is very good and there is an English edition, The Venice Biennale. 12th International Architecture Exhibition. People meet in architecture (Marsilio Editions). In Munich now you can see two wonderful exhibitions with works of Ellsworth Kelly. In Pinakothek der Moderne you see 60 drawings of plants (through January 8th) http://www.pinakothek.de/en/kalender/2011-10-07/14412/ellsworth-kelly-plant-drawings. And the catalog is an inspirational artwork for itself! But there is only a German edition.”

Karyl Sisson reports that, “Sometimes I just need to laugh.  Tina Fey’s Bossypants (Reagan Arthur Books) did it for me.”

Wendy Wahl, writes that, “It is with pleasure I sing the praises for a book that is pure joy to consume in a vicarious living sort of way. Rosamond Bernier has written Some of My Lives, A Scrapbook Memoir (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The author’s voice comes alive as she tells the stories of her amazing life’s experiences with leading personalities of the 20th century in the world of art and music. She has lead such a vivid and unique life; the book is fabulous armchair travel.” (Full disclosure: my day job is with this publisher’s parent.)

Sensual Relations by David Howes (University of Michigan) is Deborah Valoma’s recommendation.

Randy Walker  found Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century by Carl Schoonover (Abrams) to be inspirational. His wife bought the book for her sister, who is a Doctoral student in Psychology, but when Randy saw the images in the book, he nabbed it and his wife had to buy another one for her sister.

Lena McGrath Welker loved Jane Urquhart’s  Sanctuary Line (MacAdam/Cage Publishers).


Artful Gift Giving Made Easy: Visit our Online Gift Gallery for suggestions from $14 to $1200

Jiro Yonezawa bamboo vase $380, photo by Tom Grotta

Our Online Gift Gallery link makes it easy to surprise the special people on your gift list — and maybe even yourself — with a memorable, one-off gift of art. Art is often among the items people choose to forego in trying economic times. By choosing an artful gift, you can offer your family and friends something they might not be willing to buy for themselves, but something they’d love to own. You’ll have chosen a truly one-of-a-kind, individually selected gift, and that’s an art in itself.

Rebecca Medel TWO PATHS $650 photo by Sam Fritch

The Online Gift Gallery at browngrotta arts makes choosing art gifts simple by featuring three price tiers. In tier one are works $500 and under, which includes catalogs, books and videos starting $14, raw silk scarves made in India by Japanese artists Chiaki and Kaori Maki starting at $380, a whimsical lidded bowl made of measuring tapes by Karyl Sisson for $160 and an elegant bamboo vase, complete with presentation box, by Jiro Yonezawa for $380. In tier two are works from $501 to $1000, including delicate black baskets of waxed linen, thorns and porcupine quills by Birgit Birkkjaer of Denmark, a surprising geometric sculpture of safety pins by Tamiko Kawata, and a sculptural piece by Rebecca Medel. In tier three are works from $1001 to $1200, including a small embroidered drawing by Russian artist Irina Kolesnikova, an indigo banner by Hiroyuki Shindo and a wall sculpture made of newspaper and saw blades by Kate Hunt.

Irina Kolesnikova, BALANCING II $650

Purchase any item from the Online Gift Gallery before December 1st and your shipping, anywhere in the US, will be free.  (If you purchase videos, books or catalogs from the Online Gift Gallery through our website before December 1st, we’ll send you a refund for the shipping.) And, for every item we sell from the Online Gift Gallery by the end of the year, we’ll donate $5 to the International Child Art Foundation http://www.icaf.org.

browngrotta arts will also participate in Small Business Saturday on November 26th. American Express cardholders who register their cards before that date and then make a purchase at a participating member on the 26th will receive an American Express gift card worth $25. Register here.