Simon van der Ven initially formed his Shoji Pattern Vase on a potter’s wheel. He then carefully used an X-Acto knife and other small tools to draw his pattern onto the clay after it had dried. Van der Ven made the petite pierced porcelain bowl with a celadon glaze in collaboration with fellow Maine potter Mark Bell.
An inlayed antique nineteenth-century chest from Autrefois Antiques in Brookline, Massachusetts, acts as an elegant perch for Anna Kasabian’s High Tide at Island’s Cove. The sea provides infinite inspiration for Kasabian’s undulating porcelain forms.
With a unifying all-white palette, these four pieces from Warner Wolcott’s Magnolia Ceramics and Warner Wolcott Ceramics feel graphic and sophisticated. The key to artful styling, says Karin Lidbeck Brent, is balancing various shapes, sizes, and heights to provide visual interest.
Frances Palmer’s Four Ear Vase adds a whimsical note to the traditional living room. The ceramicist’s pieces have garnered a cult following due in part to Palmer’s thoughtful Instagram account. The chair is a Louis XIV gilt fauteuil armchair (circa 1930–1940) purchased at The Barn at 17 Antiques in Woburn, Massachusetts, and reupholstered in Pierre Frey’s Victor Hugo–Imprimé fabric. The stylized floral pattern complements the lines of the vase.
A selection of handblown leather-bound vessels by Providence glassblower Jon Watanabe demonstrates the impact of massing like objects or collections. The ikebana vase, also by Watanabe, beautifully displays a simple Japanese-inspired floral arrangement. Interior designer Kate Coughlin wrapped the room in Crezana’s embroidered Bowden Square wallcovering.
Pottery from Lauren Gelgor Kaplan’s Twigs and Twine series makes a dramatic statement. The hand-thrown white-ceramic pieces are finished with a matte-black glaze. Kaplan incorporates collected driftwood that has been treated for indoor use. The five pods below the vessels are part of Berkshires-based ceramicist Paula Shalan’s Pod series. Each one is smoke fired, which lends an earthy color palette. A cozy throw handwoven by Humble Linens adds a layer of softness to the room.
The work of two makers creates a captivating mix in the cozy study. Boston-based Niho Kozuru casts candles like her Large Pendant, Tower, and Pendant using antique finials and balusters. Two colorful baskets from Kari Lonning’s Hairy Basket series are an exemplary example of contemporary basket weaving. Artist-dyed pieces of reed woven into the baskets’ walls create the “hairy” effect.
: Rhode Island School of Design graduate Carrie Gustafson’s Lattice Bowl demonstrates the artist’s prowess with intricate detail and light reflection. The rug is Antelope Ax by Stark
Light streams through a glass vessel blown by Randi Solin, whose work has been shown in museums and galleries worldwide. You can see Solin in action at Fire Arts Vermont in Brattleboro, a studio and gallery she founded with fellow artist Natalie Blake.
New Englanders have long had an affinity for adding personality and context to their homes with handcrafted objects. From furniture carved in Rhode Island to silver poured in Boston, our appreciation for fine craftsmanship can be traced back to colonial times. Today, artisans continue the tradition with the help of a supporting cast of regional institutions including the North Bennet Street School and the Rhode Island School of Design.
We challenged New England Home stylist and contributing editor Karin Lidbeck Brent to incorporate the work of some of New England’s most exciting makers into the decor of a family home, demonstrating how to successfully include artisan pieces in your own space.
“Sometimes a unique piece is a jumping-off point for a room design or can be added as the finishing flourish,” says Lidbeck Brent. “Either way, these works of art elevate a home, adding layers of personality and charm that’s elusive with mass-produced items. Without original art and handcrafted works, a home feels like a show house, not a reflection of the homeowner’s unique style.”
A suburban Boston home designed by Kate Coughlin provides a fitting backdrop. Coughlin mixes custom wallcoverings and rare antiques with the homeowners’ extensive art collection. The well-considered residence happily adapts to additional styling and artistic elements.