Sunday, October 31, 2010

Designer Spotlight- Jill Rosenwald

(image from Holly Becker of decor8)

Mass production, large factories, big containers coming here from Asia . . . now where is the romance in that? Yes, we have all consumed mass market product so there is nothing really wrong with it but I still love the handmade item and I love finding a really cool and really fun artist that still does just that. Born in NYC, Jill Rosenwald fell in love with making things by hand at summer camp in Vermont- you know macrame plant hangers, leather bracelets, etc. In her words, "I succumbed to the power of the handmade life very early on. As time passed, and college loomed, I realized I wanted to find a school that would speak to both sides of my brain the academic and the artistic. But after graduation, realizing that it was time to make the donuts, I decided to bring my work to the people of NYC, and I set up a box of earrings on a soho sidewalk, and as they say a star was born and I was forever hooked." She opened up her sunny downtown Boston studio studio in the late eighties in a very artsy section called Fort Point Channel. She works with her husband Lawrence Mcrae, also a very talented ceramic artist, and 7 artists who throw the earthenware, fire it, glaze it and hand-paint it. It's a long arduous process but a labor of love for both Jill and her husband. Jill has had much success with various home good licensing agreements (rugs, lighting, baby, etc.) but her studio line is just that- lovingly made in her studio and I think that is just perfect. This has been an amazing year for her - she introduced the much acclaimed line called the Hampton Links at the NY gift show in January and it appeared in several magazines from InStyle to House Beautiful. Her newest collection, introduced in August of this year is just as fabulous. It's called Buckley Chevron. It's a simple, trend right, "Charlie Brown" (as she calls it) pattern. She makes it special by the rich color combinations she puts together- orange with navy, yellow with light blue and light chartreuse with ochre. Jill gets inspiration from everywhere- a yellow and purple bed of flowers, Pucci scarves found in her Grandmother's drawer after she passed away, a pair of orange and white stripe pants she saw someone wearing. She snapped an image of a back bay balcony of an old townhouse that would later become inspiration for another new fall pattern called Newport Gate. Her designs are colorful, unique and so aesthetically pleasing. They will add a great pop to your home. I have a few pieces in my kitchen and they make me happy every time I look at them! And of course, they are just perfect for gift giving. Oh, and more importantly- she's a great person- full of life and hysterically funny!

Each piece can take several days to create from throwing to firing and painting. See the amazing process (highly simplified) below:

1. The inspiration:

2. The design- sketching and picking the perfect colors

3. Making the bisqueware

4. Sketching on the bisqueware

5. Painting

6. Glazing and firing

7. Voila!

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