Photos by Hillary Ehlen
We made it! Spring is finally here! Another winter is behind us and we can look forward to more sunny days ahead. If you’re anything like me, around this time of year, you are itching for some bright sunny weather, tailored curb appeal for the exterior of your home, beautiful fresh cut flowers displayed in unique ways in your interior spaces and all the delightful spring colors and patterns you can find for inspiration.
While you’re working your way through your spring-cleaning list, opening all the windows, dusting off the pillows, getting rid of the old and adding new things for the season, consider the objects you surround yourself with and what they mean to you. The book “Fewer, Better Things” by Glenn Adamson is a thought-provoking read about the items we have in our lives, our connection to them, what they mean or don’t mean and how we might make better, more sustainable decisions on what we choose to acquire and what the life of those objects looks like. Consider upcycling old items in new ways, search out items that are inspiring to you, shop local artists and find a story behind each object they make or get out and connect with people in the community at one of the many locally owned businesses and create stories of your own!
Illustrations by The Art of Seth
$25 – $35
This character-packed pair was the initial inspiration for this month’s title “April (Snow) Showers, Bring May Flowers,” the sweet red heart rainfall followed by the patient gardener planting and growing his crop are great images to have in mind when we long for our winters to end and are reminded of how beautiful the spring renewal season can be. Unglued carries many different illustrated scenes by this West Virginia artist, who by serendipitous events has found himself on the shelves of a shop in Fargo. Every time I stop in Unglued, I find myself flipping through the assortment of illustrations The Art of Seth creates. I love them all and there are so many options, I have a hard time deciding which ones to choose! Swing by Unglued, located at 408 Broadway in downtown Fargo, and see if you have better luck deciding than me!
Tara’s Tip: When you find an assortment that you love, consider the different sizes of illustrations available to create a unique display on your wall at home. For a neat and classic look, frame your collection in simple contemporary black frames. If you’re feeling bold, look for different color frames in similar styles and frame each illustration in a different color.
Mixed Media by Emily Williams-Wheeler
“Seams Like Good Things Are Happening”
24” x 24” x 1.5”
“I’m Not Talking To You, Alexa!”
8” x 6” x 1.5”
$300 (sold as a pair, not shown)
When I think about spring, or just need to be inspired by color and texture, I think about artist Emily Williams-Wheeler. Her work is so beautifully vibrant and tells a story with each layer of material she adds or takes away. Williams-Wheeler describes her work as, “Finding an intimacy in the pull of broad paint strokes and the delicate, thoughtful line-work. I am playful in my use of color, lines and drips. Light translucent veils intermixed with mark-making leave a trail of my thought process as each piece develops. Acrylics are paired with graphite. Encaustics (pigmented beeswax/natural resin) are sculptural. I sketch. I paint. I carve. I scrape. I build. I reveal.”
You can visit Williams-Wheeler in her studio this month during her open house on Saturday, May 11, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., located at 215 N 10th St, Moorhead, Minn. Studio e shares a building with Theatre B and Old School Music, which will also be open for the event.
Tara’s Tip: If you have spring remodeling projects or room updates in the works and feel a little stuck or unsure of where to start, try finding a single object for inspiration to get you started. This could be anything from a throw pillow, accent chair or multi-colored mixed media artwork. Use this inspiration piece to help guide you through decisions on finish options, textile additions or other furniture and accessory options for the space.
Ceramic Tulipiere by Tara Fermoyle
Vases are one of my favorite things to make, maybe because I love having flowers around all the time and it’s a great excuse to have them readily available! This vase design is my interpretation of a modern-day tulipiere, or tulip holder. Ceramic tulipieres are historic vessels that were handcrafted to grow tulips, each spout or opening was created to hold one single bulb. Popular among 17th-century European elite as status symbols of wealth, tulipieres were very ornate in design, large in scale and would adorn the interiors of homes. While historically they were used to grow tulips, most tulipieres today are designed as vases to hold cut tulips for display. The tulipiere design that I’ve created has some local history of its own, this piece was stamped with an original ceiling tile from the Historic Dakota Business College. Located in downtown Fargo, the DBC was a small private college established in 1890 by F. Leland Watkins. The building is still owned by the Watkins family today and is home to local businesses.
I utilize the pattern and texture of the ceiling tile to create a base layer of surface marks on the clay at a very soft stage, I then use those marks as inspiration to create additional patterns of my own. The form is created from a custom plaster mold, then assembled together by hand. I add detail and surface design throughout the many different stages of dryness the clay goes through. Small detailed marks are saved for when the clay is leather hard. The last steps are glazing and firing to create the finished piece you see here – just add tulips!
Fermie Studios is located inside of ‘Apt, a creative incubator‘ in downtown Fargo. You can see this tulipiere and many more pieces by myself and other artists during our Final Art Market on May 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 225 4th Ave N.
Tara’s Tip: As much as I love real fresh flowers, these silk flowers are so perfect for long term display purposes. A person has to get pretty close and have a good eye (or nose) to tell that these are not real tulips. Give silk flowers a try if you have areas in your home that you don’t frequent as often, but would still like a fresh flower feel you can keep in place all spring and summer without the fuss.
Metal Flowers by Karman Rheault
How awesome are these metal flowers? I love the patina and the texture on the metal roses and the polished metal tulip pedals that are made from old spoons — what a unique addition to any home collection. Artist Karman Rheault creates these and other metal artworks at Snowfire Studio, located on her rural Moorhead homestead. Rheault pulls inspiration from many things including nature and creates work that reflects the rareness of naturally created things. You can find these and other work by Rheault at Gallery 4 in downtown Fargo. Gallery 4 has recently moved locations, visit them during regular business hours at 115 Roberts St. N., Fargo. It’s now a perfect time to get out and walk around downtown!
Tara’s Tip: Display these upright in a vase for a big statement or lay them horizontally on a focal surface, working them into your centerpiece display. Mix and match your favorite metal flowers to create an arrangement special to you. Try adding one or two metal flowers to an existing fresh flower bouquet.