[image ©Anne Harwell]
New to painter Anne Harwell's online shop is a set of Christmas cards featuring her original rendering of an 18th-century French chest topped with pretty packages. How great is that green with the gilt bronze mounts? Apart from her attention to detail and her light hand, I think it's Anne's color sense that makes the work sing. Click here for a peek behind the scenes.
I'm not sure how booked up she is between now and New Year's, but for those who don't know, Anne also welcomes commissions. We had fun recently working on a fall/winter version of my blog banner, and when I saw the finished piece, I was struck by how many different creative spirits had indirectly been a part of it. (Sounds a bit hoaky, but it's true.) Long before I started blogging, I'd been saving pictures of Louis XV chairs covered in caramel leather (like Stephen Shubel's from the cover of San Francisco Style by Diane Dorrans Saeks). Lately I've added to the pile of images.
Chairs are great because they are among the most accessible pieces of furniture. When there's no way that tall secretary or extra long chesterfield is fitting through the front door, even the tiniest one-room apartment can accommodate your fantasy chair. They are portable, cost less to reupholster than a sofa, and nearly all of the classic styles are available at varied prices, depending on whether they are found at a fine antique shop or a garage sale. In terms of design history, chairs are usually the best embodiment of a given era.
So I styled a vintage Louis XV-style chair that I have with a cup of art supplies and old books bought from Lynn over at Paris Hotel Boutique, photographed the composition, and asked Anne to do a virtual "reupholstery" job based on some inspiration pictures. As we brainstormed, Amanda serendipitously sent me a photo of an authentic period chair snapped at Gerrie Bremermann's. The aged pumpkin-ish leather with painted green frame was perfection. I asked Anne if she could make a green frame work with a background of leafy-green burlap I'd found in the remnant section at Forsyth Fabrics, and as always she was up for the challenge.
I hope you can see what a lovely job she did with the nailheads and chair frame.
Credits for the inspiration board: Cover of San Francisco Style photographed by David Duncan Livingston; Miguel Flores-Vianna photographed Peter Dunham's bedroom for domino; the books shown include Goodbye Picasso, The World in Vogue, and Cecil Beaton's Far East.
For the record: Anne has in her shop a couple of prints with my name in the title -- they were inspired by my things -- but we are not business partners and I receive no compensation of any kind (no money or free services) from her.