Clark Gallery Offers Engaging Art in Boston Suburbs

I recently had the pleasure of discovering an interesting art gallery in Lincoln, MA, The Clark Gallery owned by Dana Salvo and Dawn Southworth (both established artists). Nestled near the railroad tracks in a quaint New England small town, this gallery showcases unique and contemporary art works. A well established gallery (1976), that partners with 1st Dibs and Artsy, Clark regularly renews its exhibits and represents a wide selection of contemporary artists.

I recently dropped in as I was scouting a piece of art for a client, and was wowed by Clark Derbes‘ sculpture work. A self taught sculptor, Derbes (born 1978 in New Orleans, now based in Vermont) recycles weathered wood and creates enigmatic illusions with his colorful and geometrically patterned sculptures. I love how the linear patterns react on the weathered and highly sanded wood shapes : imperfectly perfect! Derbes’ work has a modern folk art vibe, and his highly contemporary pieces would look great on a wall, shelf or a pedestal…


Clark Derbes sculpure | photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Clark Derbes Sculpture | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez Elza

Clark Derbes Sculpture | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez ElzaClark Derbes Sculpture | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez ElzaClark Derbes Sculpture | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez Elza Clark Derbes Sculpture | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez Elza Clark Derbes Sculpture | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez ElzaAll photos of Clark Derbes’s works by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Another artist on exhibit is actually also one of the gallery owners, Dawn Southworth. Her mixed media works is arresting : composing a multi- layered and finely executed body of work, Dawn is constantly tapping into embroidery, sculpture, drawing, writing, painting, cutting (even burning!) as she works. It’s as if she can’t get enough of any one media, and deliciously indulges herself in as much as she can along the road of the creative process!

Dawn Southworth | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez Elza Dawn Southworth | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez ElzaDawn Southworth | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez Elza Dawn Southworth | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez Elza Dawn Southworth | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez Elza Dawn Southworth | Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch for Chez ElzaAll photos of Dawn Southworth’s works by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Looking at art will invigorate your mind, take a break and make sure to check these out, fellow Boston area residents!


My Mother: An Inspiration

My mother is someone very special in my life: a strong and creative woman, a nurturing figure, a source of inspiration and laughter.

My mother and IMy mother and I

These past few months have been difficult for me on a personal level. Raising a son who has special needs can be exhausting, and I can thank my mother for being there for me as my husband and I battle the system to help our son reach his full potential and be happy. Some of you may wonder why I have not blogged as much: I have been focusing on my youngest son and my design business. I put the blog on the backburner…

As long as I can remember, I lived in a creative home. In fact, I learned to sew and draw at a very young age, modeling after my mother’s creative energy. I remember falling asleep to the sound of the sharp blade of a pair of sewing scissors, gliding along confidently on the hardwood floor, as my mom cut large slabs of fabric pinned to patterns to make dresses for us (at midnight!).

Fabric was a soothing and happy word in my household.

As a little girl, I saw my mother become a Montessori student and then a teacher. I would go to her classroom to help on my days off school, and hold the colorful beads, cherishing the colors and shapes. I would position the pink tower blocks carefully one above the other or arrange the little trays with the small pitcher and cup on their shelves.

Our house accumulated oriental rugs my parents shopped for; I remember we could spend a whole weekend driving around the country searching for the perfect antique corner cupboard. My mother would take an antique quilt and repurpose it as a curtain between two rooms, or she would make a patch work art piece for my younger sister’s bedroom, using scraps of fabric.

Color, texture, beauty, in infinite details of objects or in a carefully cared for garden, continue to inspire my mother to this day:

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaMy mother’s collection of antique chess pieces. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaMy mother’s assortiment of little boxes and “chinoiseiries”. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza Books and picture in my mother’s living room and below, her wingchair- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza


Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaMy mother’s glass menagerie Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaHer silver cups…

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaA fun vignette, I love the stool with the embroidered seat under the English table…Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaMy mother has style everywhere, including in her garden! Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaDid I mention she is a painter nowadays? Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAnd to top things off, my mother takes me to strange and totally cool stores when I visit, like this escapade we made to Vermont, just to check out this quirky shop, The Owl’s Nest. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

 I’d say my passion for interior design and the creative process was inspired, day in and day out, by my mother.

Interior Design, after all, is about the loving juxtaposition of items, gathered together to create beauty and comfort.


Two Jaw Dropping Museum Collections in Boston

Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaThe Harvard Museum of Natural History is a wonderful gem  located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Photo credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

With a mission to enhance public understanding and appreciation of the natural world and the human place in it, the Harvard Museum of Natural History draws on the University’s collections and research to present a historic and interdisciplinary exploration of science and nature.

I try to go once a year to take in some of my favorite museum collections. Today I am sharing two of my favorite permanent exhibits. What is really wonderful about these is you can see them anytime, they never go away…

The Ware Collection of Glass Models of Plants are the most delicate and exquisite glass models of botany ever seen. These unique pieces were commissioned by Professor George Goodale, founder of Harvard’s Botanical Museum, who wanted life-like representations of the plant kingdom to teach botany in his classrooms.

From 1886 to 1936, father and son glass artisans team Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka of the Blaschka Studio, Hosterwitz, Germany, made these beauties entirely of blown and fused glass, with wire reinforcements hidden inside the glass as needed.

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaRows and rows of plants in gorgeous polished wood and glass cases adorn the exhibit. Above, a glass banana plant and fruit. Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAbove, a glass water lily. Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaTools of the trade used to make the glass plants. Colored glass was used for many pieces and, in some cases, some plants were enameled with a thin wash of colored ground glass or metal oxides and heated until the material fused to the model. Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

In another room, is the extraordinary museum collection of rocks and minerals. This renovated gallery displays thousands of rare minerals and sparkling gemstones in both rough and cut examples, including a 1,600-pound amethyst geode from Brazil. Exhibits highlight new research and offer a broad overview of the dynamic processes and events that formed our planet and that have shaped its continuing evolution.

To visit this room for someone in love with nature, color and texture, is equivalent to dying and going to heaven:

Photo credit: Barbara Elza HirschPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza HirschPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

Photo credit: Barbara Elza hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza HirschPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! Happy weekend!


When Fashion Intersects with Art…

Happy New Year, friends! May  2013 be THE year for you!

I was recently stunned by a few creations I wanted to share here with you.

First, Marit Fugiwara, a simply brilliant textile artist. Her creations are wearable and incredibly crafted:

Here is a photo showing the detailed work on this elaborate dress:

Marit Fugiwara (detail)


Another wonderful creation by Marit Fugiwara, photo courtesy

Detail of previous dress by artist Marit Fugiwara.

The paper dresses by Annex, pictured below,  would make an extraordinary art statement on your wall, framed in a clear plexiglass or glass shadow boxes.

Annex Paper dresses on hangers. Dresses are 90 centimeters high.

 Hope these inspire you to work and create with passion again this year, whichever your field!

A bientôt!



Three Artists I fell for this week

Gosh, oh gosh, my life is moving at lightning speed and I am running, running,  like so many of you are, to catch all the balls in the air! Being an interior designer is fabulous, exhausting, hard work, so rewarding, as is being a mom to a teenager and a second grader, and a regular not-as-regular-as -I’d -like blogger! I miss blogging so here I go, trying to write smaller pieces to share with you all!

This week I ran after my submission date to send out my monthly piece for about Art Gifts for the holidays. It should come out some time later this week. As a rule of thumb, you can read my Houzz articles in my ideabooks section: the published ones are the ones that say “Guest Picks…..”. Do take a look at it when it publishes, as you may find just the right gift idea for someone you love! Researching art for that piece was thrilling and I wanted to share some of that excitement with you here. I gathered a few photos of artists I truly enjoyed fell head over heels for while preparing this post. And…you can buy these. Yep.

Kathryn Markel Fine Arts Gallery  brings us artist  Deborah Zlotsky
It happened, but not to you, 2012- Oil on canvas- 60 X 48 inches. A masterpiece.

“Top Cat” Original hand-printed etching by Kay Mc Donagh – Image size 8cm x 9.5cm, a darling darling piece. All her art is fabulous by the way!

Giclee Fine Art Print - Cheer

“Cheer” by Yellena James done with pens and ink, 8 x 10. Delicately colored water or land plants are bundled together in complex and lovely patterns.

I’d love to hear if you like any of these :-) A bientôt!

Thank you, #InStyleTour for a fabulous event!!!

Yesterday I attended the well awaited #InStyleTour event I was telling you about in my last post. I had a lovely time, enjoyed great conversation and food at Villa Francesca, where the cuisine is truly divine.

Villa Francesca private dining room offers the perfect cave atmosphere. Low ceiling with exposed beams, brick walls, dim lights. Notice the wine cellar gates are LOCKED. Mmm, wonder why?

Fellow designers take the pose! From left to right Elizabeth Benedict, standing, Andie Day, and Michele Cortizo.

Three happy designers enjoying dinner to come at Villa Francesca. Linda Merrill, Laurie Gorelick and myself. Photo courtesy Linda Merrill.

After dinner, we all walked through Little Italy cobbled streets to Giovanni DeCunto‘s studio.

Delicious spreads of Italian desserts expected us. I don’t think anyone could beat the scrumptious locally made tiramisu .

Amazing portrait of artist and rapper TUPAK by Giovanni De Cunto. Painstakingly executed dot by dot -à la Seurat, this black and white painting actually changes to color when the lights are turned off. Special effect glow in the dark paints allow this process to occur.

Painting by De Cunto.

One of my favorite paintings along with TUPAK was this one:

Transmission 21 by Giovanni De Cunto.

A business card drawing for prizes occurred and Laurie Gorelick won a small abstract painting by De Cunto! Laurie wins at every of these events, I swear!!! As she says, she needs to play the lottery now! Michele Cortizo won a BLANCO faucet:

Christy Emens of BLANCO presents Michele Cortizo with her prize, a faucet by generous event sponsor BLANCO AMERICA.

As for myself, I won a …um, yes, embarrassing but true, hickey kiss on my right cheek (yes, a hickey!) from the artist himself, Giovanni De Cunto! Giovanni, I know I am irresistible, but please, no more unsolicited hickeys! Next time, paint me a kiss on a canvas and I will gladly accept it :-) !!!!

I cannot part without thanking dear Andie Day and Todd Vendituoli! They put in a lot effort behind the #InStyleTour event creation and implementation!

They’re gonna kill me cause it’s a poor shot (why is there no WHITE EYE correction on my Photoshop??) but I believe it will give you an idea of how happy and friendly this bunch is:

Lovely Andie Day stands in red top, Michele Cortizo-laughing as always-shows her back, seated center is Christy Emens from Blanco (voted best haircut of the evening), Todd Vendituoli is seated in front of his partner in crime, Sidney, shown taking photos. These folks were laughing so hard and moving so much, I just could not take a good shot!!!

A bientôt!

First #INSTYLETOUR Celebrates Sinks, Art and Tweeps: Press Release

Twitter-inspired social media gathering attracts national sponsorship, interior
design bloggers and original artwork!

Boston, MA: What began as a desire to bring regional design bloggers together in
real life has morphed into a celebration of inspiration and excellence in art and design
for over twenty-five interior designers from the Boston area and beyond. The two-
part event on Tuesday, October 2nd, sponsored by Blanco America and internationally-
acclaimed artist Giovanni DeCunto, is being held at north-end restaurant Villa Franceso
then moving to DeCunto’s studio for a special viewing. Highlights of the event will be an
interactive presentation from Blanco representatives and a draw for an original piece of
Giovanni DeCunto’s art.

Art by Giovanni De CuntoCourtesy artist’s website.

Blanco Purus 1 Faucet in Truffle

The Blanco Purus faucet with Side Spray in Anthracite mix is elegant and brings a bit of additional color to the counter top.I love that it comes in all sorts of colors to coordinate with the kitchen materials.

The idea for this event, labeled with hashtag #instyletour on twitter, was born at a July
2012 tweetup hosted by local interior designer Andie Day and Vermont-based builder-
turned-social-media-specialist Todd Vendituoli. “Art, interior design and fashion continue
to overlap as today’s technology-infused lifestyle evolves,” explains, Andie Day. “We
know that bloggers play an important role in communicating trends to consumers. We
wanted to continue to push that envelope by exposing designers to manufacturers with
beautiful, functional pieces for the home and unique styles of fine art. We’re excited
about our first #instyletour evening.”

“Blanco America embraced the concept right away,” adds Vendituoli. “They see the
value in harnessing the power of design blogs and talking about their beautifully-crafted
sinks and faucets to such a targeted audience. Exposing their product to an audience so
heavily immersed in communicating good design is invaluable.”

Day and Vendituoli hope to roll out the #instyletour concept to other design-centric
markets such as Miami and San Francisco. The goal is to provide venues for those
who have met via twitter to meet face to face and interact with brands that provide
products to the design industry. “Face to face connections are still incredibly important,”
says Vendituoil. “We all ‘talk’ virtually all the time, but now we’ll be in the same location
learning more about design and art, and making our connections even stronger.”

Members of the media who wish to attend the first #instyletour night, contact organizer
Andie Day at 978-500-8172 or

I personally cannot wait to attend this private event and am so thankful to Andie and Todd for coming up with these opportunities to meet fellow designers, bloggers and vendors. It is so enriching to exchange ideas and meet in real life: we really all learn from each other AND have a lot of fun! I love being part of such a vibrant community!

Connecting Design, Art & Inspiration

Ever since I’ve been a child, I have been incredibly moved by what my eyes allow me to see. All that is visible triggers a strong sensory experience in me: the shape of a floating cloud in a darkening sky, the smooth face of a baby against the shine of its eyes, the wondrous delicate insides of flowers. Beauty is everywhere. The down side of being so attuned to what one sees, is that as visual thinkers, we tend to be easily distracted by a shocking image, which can stay imprinted in our minds forever! A childhood traumatic memory, a violent image in the news: these can resonate very strongly with us.

Today’s post is about what associations come to my mind as I see something that captures my eye. Without further ado, I present to you our magical world and its many inspirations…

Fairfield Porter Painting

This dreamy and calm image evokes a sense of play. One is on vacation, at the seaside on a quiet grey day. The dog is at the door, alive and tail wagging. But, what can I create with this image? A soothing color scheme for an interior using pale greens, blues, white and grey. This what I associate this scene with:

A country armoire with glass doors in pale grey via
Cloud Stool via
Mack Lamp via
Pillows by Sarah Foote via
Green Garden Chairs via


Japanese Trees Fabric by Timorous Beasties


Duralee Fabric 42132-665

And…I could not resist a photography of man (or woman’s) best friend

Photo with dog via Pinterest -Source Unknown

And so it goes…I could go on and on!

Another example:

When I pinned this photo via Pinterest, I immediately began thinking it would be a great color inspiration for a room. Here are some thoughts that pop to mind. Bookworm, soft, feminine, restful, nostalgic. And now a few images that may bring us to see this photo translated into a style :

Dresser and Rose via
Sofa via
Jason Home Bench via
Night Sky silk fabric by Barbara Barry for Kravet
Tempo Velvet Pillow via
Crystal Chandelier
Georgia O’Keeffe Painting


Putting a Face on: A Style for this Inspiration via

Hope you enjoyed. This was fun! A bientôt!