The Colors of Happiness

“Red hibiscus – it’s almost like a kiss.”

Dana Cooper Design

That is how artist, resort-wear designer, and illustrator, Dana Cooper, describes a color. “Green, for me, is the color of happiness. It’s one of my favorite colors – specifically lime green. Also, turquoise and aqua because they remind me of the ocean.”

dana cooper bathing suit

Dana Cooper Swimwear

Modwalls Pool Tile

Modwalls Pool Tile

Cooper’s resort and swimwear reflect the colors and environments of her native home in Bermuda. Her father was a sailor so when she wasn’t with him on the boat, she was running barefoot on the beach.

“You’re surrounded by the Atlantic, and the colors of the sky…it’s like watching God in motion.” She talks about shades of blue, orange, magenta, and “tons of rainbows.” These are the colors she captures in her work, first as an illustrator, and then as a clothing designer.

WHEN ONE DOOR CLOSES…

“In 2005, I got divorced, and I designed my first beach wrap. It was basically a leap of faith.”

A textile manufacturer from Bali encouraged her to take her colorful illustrations off the page and transfer them to fabric. She started with a leaf design found along the shores of Bermuda and Florida and added beads to it. Much to her surprise, the orders started pouring in.

Cooper Beach Wrap

Then the financial crisis hit and sales came to a standstill. But – as they say – when one door closes, another (or two) opens.cooper coral dress

“An old friend of mine who works in the fashion industry started a company and wanted to take my design one step further, so we went from a square beach wrap to dresses, skirts, and other stuff.”

Soon her line was sold at Saks, Calypso, and small, hip boutiques. In 2013, she branched out on her own.

cooper bikini

“People respond to the prints; they resonate. They’re seeing a landscape. It’s a landscape embedded in my mind.”

Designer Dana Cooper

Designer Dana Cooper

She splits her time between Bermuda and New York, and is proud of the fact that all her work is made in the U.S. and hand sewn in New York. Her line includes SPF fabric, which is in high demand, and there has been interest in expanding her collection to include home textiles such as duvet covers, pillows and sheet sets. “People have remarked how soft they are. They’re like a baby’s blanket.”

To view more of Dana Cooper’s designs, visit her website and receive 10% off their first order – just mention your friends at Modwalls!

Micheline Auger is a freelance writer who loves art, design and all things Modwalls.

August 28, 2015 at 1:33 pm Leave a comment

Staging Your Elements of Style

Lucia DeSimoneLucia DeSimone of Before and After, the popular New York staging and redesign company, is not afraid to move. During a ten-year period, she moved eight times.

“I loved moving, and not everyone has that experience. The minute I would walk into a new apartment, I would think, ‘what can I do with this space?’ I knew that I needed to do something with that.”

YOUR HOUSE IS A STAGE

DeSimone works with home sellers so that they can get a greater return on their investment. “The longer your home is on the market, the lower the price.”

She contends that when sellers work with a staging company, their homes sell faster and the National Association of Realtors seems to agree. According to one study published by NAR, 32% of buyers’ agents believe staged homes increase the dollar value by one to five percent.

DeSimone adds, “only 10% of home buyers can visualize the potential of a home.” Her goal is to make a seller’s home an inviting place for a buyer’s imagination (and investment). The cost? “You don’t always have to spend additional funds on purchasing new items.”

280_22nd_Street_New_York_(3)

She brings a designer’s eye to what sellers already possess, and focuses on furniture placement, clutter-removal, and adding simple but effective accents, like fresh flowers.

These techniques are useful for new homeowners, or anyone who wants to make their home or office more reflective of their personal style. “Every piece of furniture in my space is a reflection of who I am,” says DeSimone. “There is not a single plant, not a single item of soap, or a succulent, that doesn’t belong there. When I’m working with a client, I want to know who they are.”

brio-blend-city-sunshine

Strategically-placed soap! (Modwalls’ Brio Blend City Sunshine Tile)

WHO ARE YOU?

But, um, what if you don’t really know who you are, or, at least, what your style is? DeSimone’s technique is to ask, look and listen. When doing a walk-thru, she pays attention. “There are things that clients really love, and things they don’t pay attention to.”

She translates these observations into design elements that reflect each client’s personal aesthetic and aspiration.  “I had one client who didn’t necessarily have an interest in design, but we’ve been in touch regularly, and now she’s found her own personal style and has fun with it.”

Tanner's BrownAnd how does DeSimone, as Modwalls’ likes to say, ‘live her colors?’ “I’m totally neutrals and earths – all the way. My favorite colors are based on my favorite type of paint, Farrow & Ball. I love Tanner’s Brown, Pale Oak, and Vert de Terre.” And accents? “I would pop that with a mulberry, or a magenta – like a purple – definitely.”

Lucia DeSimone works with clients in New York City, Miami, and nationwide. For more information, or to schedule a phone consultation, email lucia@beforeandafter.nyc.

Micheline Auger is a freelance writer who loves art, design and all things Modwalls.

August 20, 2015 at 5:49 pm Leave a comment

Creating the Personal with Art

Do you ever see a painting that would look great in your living room…if only it were a different color? Do you love art but think collecting it is for other people? Meet Jennifer Broussard Artworks.

Flower Fields Jennifer Broussard Artworks 36x12

Jennifer Broussard is a contemporary photographer and artist who starts with a photograph and then uses color and design to create a work of art. Her clients range from retail to interior designers to gallery owners, resort hotels and health care centers.

“Clients look at what I have and sometimes they’ll have specific things that they want, so I’ll create it for them; or designers will send me the design of a room – the color palette, what the chairs and walls will look like, and I’ll work with that.”

THE ART IN NATURE

She takes her inspiration from the natural world creating vibrant collages from images of oceans, flowers, mountains, animals and butterflies.

JenniferBroussard,com Wyatt, Earle & Kentucky WIlde Longhorns

“I start with a color and then take it as far as I want. The Animal Kingdom Series started with the Longhorns and received such a huge response. I use color to layer, design and erase.”

In addition to her collection of animals and landscape collage, she has created the Auntie Jennie Series which is made up of pieces that are as colorful as they are whimsical – perfect for a nursery or play center.

JenniferBroussard,com Giraffe With Icecream Tree

“I have been selling these to the retail market – a lot of families, or for gifts; some hospitals have been purchasing them for their children’s areas. My work has been chosen by people who have studied evidence-based design because it’s seen as being healing.”

JenniferBroussard,com If They Could SpeakUSING ART TO FEEL GOOD

Evidence-based design is a field of study on how design can reduce stress, increase feelings of well-being and healing. Research shows that patients who have access to views of nature (as opposed to a brick wall) require less pain medication and recover more quickly.

Art, lighting, furniture, texture and color are all tools that can be employed to influence how we feel, function and communicate – and businesses, institutions and decorators are taking note.

“I’ve sold a lot of my work to cancer units – like the butterfly collages, for instance. Hotels and hospitality tend towards more modern, abstract, and contemporary designs.”

HOW DREAMS EVOLVEJenniferBroussard,com Between The Lines 081

Jennifer began her career with commercial portraits and image development, often working with musicians, actors and other artists.

“I liked doing that, but I reached a point where I told my boyfriend, ‘I think I’m an artist without any art,’ so I sat down and, for three months, made twelve-inch squares of painting and photography. When I was done, I had 99 pieces.”

Pop Art Palm TreesOne of those pieces was a leaf collage that she showed to an sales rep who asked for five more. A few months later, he asked her for pieces with palm trees for a hotel client.

“I didn’t have any but I said I could shoot some, so I drove around Malibu, took photos, showed him, and then I had a career. Everyone went crazy over the palm trees.”

Jennifer took that model and expanded on it. She now has a collection of 250,000 photographs and 15,000 collages.

Jennifer Broussard

Jennifer Broussard

“When I went digital, I got everything under my control. I didn’t have to rely on a printer or a retoucher. All these ideas that had been pushing to come out – all this creativity that had been stuffed inside of me – just poured out, and now I have to manage that because it’s really hard to know when to stop. It just keeps coming!”

Jennifer Broussard Artworks is offering Modwalls’ customers 10% off their first purchase! Visit www.jenniferbroussard.com and enter MODWALLS during check-out. For inquiries, please email info@JenniferBroussard.com. 

Micheline Auger is a freelance writer who loves art, people who make art, and all things Modwalls.

August 13, 2015 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

A Story of Family, Friendship and Tile

Regina Gong

Regina Gong

Regina Gong is a good friend and because of that, she has good friends with good taste. As they say, ‘like attracts like,’ but is it possible for some really gorgeous tiles to come between two friends?

“I was on Houzz looking at all these tiles and complaining that I couldn’t find anything that was unique or in our budget. It was pretty depressing.”

Enter Regina’s friend, Anita.

“Anita said, ‘check out Modwalls! It would match your aesthetic,” explains Regina. “The prices are really reasonable and the staff is wonderful to work with.'”

Regina fell immediately in love with the Carmelita Lush Tiles – the same Carmelita Lush that Anita had.

Regina and her husband

Regina and her husband

“My husband and I were very reluctant to choose that tile,” continues Regina, “because we didn’t want to, quote unquote, ‘steal’ someone’s idea, or risk any weirdness in our friendship, so we asked her and her husband’s permission to use the tile.”

What happened?

“They just started laughing. They said, ‘we don’t care at all. We love it!'”

A FAMILY DECISION

Even though her heart was set on the Carmelita, Regina picked out a bunch of tiles that she liked and showed her husband without telling him of her preference.

“I laid it all out for him and he pointed to the Carmelita right away and said it was a no brainer. We also have a three-year-old daughter who wasn’t really part of the decision but really likes it.”

Regina's husband, 3-year-old daughter and

Regina’s husband, 3-year-old daughter and “8-year-old fuzzy daughter”

JOY, LOVE AND GOOD FOOD

“The house is not that big but we wanted the kitchen to be the hub of everything,” says Regina.

Regina’s husband is a chef so they knocked out a few walls and have an open kitchen with what her husband calls – not an island – but a peninsula, with counter stools and a dining table next to it.

“We knew the tiles had to be the centerpiece, and we knew we wanted red. In terms of psychology, red is in many restaurants because it promotes hunger and the desire to eat. When anyone comes in, the first thing they say is, ‘Oh my God, I love the tiles!’ It’s a huge statement, and it’s very vibrant and happy. It reflects our family. It is very communal, very warm, and very fun.”

RED AS THEME

Detail of flowers from Regina's wedding

Detail of flowers from Regina’s wedding

Regina has loved the color of red since she was little. She wears red as an accent, but it functions more than just an accessory color for her.

“I’m of Chinese descent and red has always signified joy and love and is very vibrant and happy. I got married in a Chinese long gown that was red, and all the decorations were red. In our American wedding, our invitations were red and robin’s egg blue, so red has played a very significant part of my life. It represents joy and warmth and life, so I want our house to represent that. That’s what the tiles are for us.”

Show the world what color means to you and join us in celebrating our ten-year anniversary with 10% off retail orders in 2015 with MOD10 at checkout!

July 31, 2015 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

Weaving Color and Sustainability

Artist and weaver Brooke Demos

Brooke Demos

Artist and weaver Brooke Demos works with a material most of us throw under our kitchen sinks or some other sacred spot (or possibly don’t use anymore because we conscientiously carry a grocery tote). She uses plastic bags.

“I started collecting them in the 90’s. The bags were more colorful then. I guess the thinking is ‘why spend the money on dyes?'”

She weaves them into both functional pieces such as rugs, pillows, place mats, shower curtains and tepee skins, in addition to more conceptual designs.

Polyethylene Playground

“I consider the tepee skins both functional and conceptional. Native Americans always used resources from their natural environment. In fact, shelter is one of the oldest structures that incorporates the weaving technique. Weaving is a very, very old construction and women were the first weavers.”

Wantimatika Tee Pee

Wantimatika

Conceptually, Demos has created wall hangings and larger pieces. Her American Flag wall hanging is titled Consumer Allegiance which is a meditation on patriotism, capitalism and consumerism.

Commercial Allegiance

Commercial Allegiance

“I weave discarded plastic shopping bags because of the transformation that occurs when I process this modern waste product, produced in vast quantities on a global scale, into a sensual fabric or textile construction. The material speaks to me about where it comes from and what it is made of, directing me to themes of a universal consumer culture, sustaining the environment, and turning blight into beauty.”

Shopped Down

Shopped Down

And she loves color.

“I’ve been drawn to color all my life. The more the better. I’ve been experiencing the color of bags for over twenty years. Some of my favorite were newspaper sleeves. When they started throwing those newspapers on people’s porches in plastic bags, they came in an array of colors. I have quite a collection and they’re gorgeous.”

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Her technique entails cutting the plastic bags into strips, warping the loom with them and using the contrasting colored strips in the fill to create different designs, patterns and images into the cloth.

“The collection of raw material to produce my art could be likened to those who raise and shear sheep or harvest flax or cotton plants. My collection process includes gleaning bags from the street, fences and recycling containers at the local grocery stores. Friends and family have enthusiastically saved post-consumer bags for me.”

Wantimatika Flooring

Wantimatika Flooring

In addition to attending the Art Institute of Chicago, Demos studied textile development and marketing at FIT in New York where she learned the significance and importance of color forecasting.

“There was a panel on color forecasting that involved political scientists, economists and major designers from all over the world and they discussed some of the current global topics, such as war and the environment, and how these issues could be represented in color. All colors are going to stimulate some kind of emotional and intellectual response and people are paid a great deal of money to study and influence these trends.”

Ecology: For the Masses

Ecology: For the Masses

In terms of a personal color palate, Demos goes for purple.

Clayhaus Plum - Dark Purple Ceramic Tile

Clayhaus Plum – Dark Purple Ceramic Tile

“It’s a royal color. It was a very difficult color to get for the purple velvet robes that kings wore. It cost a lot of money to get the shells – actually the purple comes out of a couple plants and shells – and it would take thousands of pounds of shells to make this dye for the kings. It was considered exotic.”

Artist Brooke DemosDemos weaves on two looms; Harrisville, 36 4-harness floor loom and Toika, 60 countermarche rug loom. Her work has been exhibited at ARC Gallery and Educational Foundation in Chicago, Fibers Arts Network of Michigan, and has received the Curators Choice Award at the Chicago Art Open. For more information on her work or commissions, email brookedemos@gmail.com and see more at Saatchi Art.

 

July 16, 2015 at 10:54 am Leave a comment

Tile as Art

Artist Christie Beniston

Christie Beniston

Artist Christie Beniston creates work for public, commercial and residential spaces.

“Mosaic became my medium for its beauty and durability in an outdoor setting. I approach each project first as a designer and then as an artist. As a designer, I decide how to visually communicate the intention of the site and then, as an artist, I determine the palette, select the materials, and create the artwork. I’m sure the designer and the artist within are much more entwined, but it does feel like I have two distinct roles that I bring to each project.”

She was searching the internet for glass tiles for a school mural she was working on.

“I loved the name Modwalls. I love their consistent product lines. They’re reliable, professional, and I love their fast delivery.”

Hwy 101 Water Column

Hwy 101 Water Column

When asked about her thoughts on color, her response was enthusiastic.

“I am all about the color! The brighter the better! Color is one of the things I appreciate most about ceramic and glass; the material won’t fade over time, and the intensity of color will look just as good as the day I install.

Beniston had been focusing on ceramic work for galleries and became interested in handmade tile.

Solana Beach Library

Solana Beach Library

“For one of my first large public murals, I had intended to make all of the tile myself, but I was required to incorporate commercial tile that was part of an existing donor wall. I quickly saw the advantages of exploring other materials beyond what I was capable of making! So I began incorporating commercially-made ceramic and glass tile in my background fill areas and putting my emphasis on my hand-built relief tiles.”

Glendale Adventist Hospital

Glendale Adventist Hospital

The work above used Modwalls’ tiles. You can see more of Beniston’s creations on her website, and don’t forget to check us out for your own home project!

July 10, 2015 at 1:56 pm Leave a comment

Change your tile, Change your life!

Dr. Alicia Armistead

Dr. Alicia Armistead

What do tiles and chakras have in common? “Chakra-wha?”

According to yoga philosophy, chakras are several points of physical or spiritual energy in the human body. Each chakra has a corresponding color and affects us in its own unique way. When you walk into a room and feel really good, is it amazing design or the vibration of color? Or both?

“When the energy center, or chakra, is blocked or weak, physical and emotional dysfunction can occur,” says Dr. Alicia Armistead of Healing Arts NYC. Dr. Armistead is a color therapist, chiropractor, and one of only a handful of practitioners in New York City to be certified as a Master in Nutrition Response Testing.

So how does it actually work? How does color work with the chakras to promote healing and balance?

“There are different ways to go about color therapy,” says Armistead.  “Many times a patient explains their emotional state and physical symptoms with a color therapy practitioner and the practitioner decides which chakra to work on. When working on a chakra, different colored sunglasses can be used. For example, if the patient needs to strengthen their root chakra, I would then treat it by having the patient wear red sunglasses for 60 seconds. This treatment of color into the eyes stimulates the brain at a wavelength of about 700nm which resets the chakra energy.”

Armistead has developed the use of muscle testing or applied kinesiology in her approach to working with the chakras.

“In muscle testing, I put my hand in the patient’s energy field and if an energy field is weak, the muscle testing will show that. After finding out which one(s) go weak and then prioritizing which one needs the most healing, I then have the patient wear the appropriate colored sunglasses that correspond to the weak chakra.”

Chakras

What if you don’t have access to a color therapist in your area? How can you use color to improve your life?

“Thesky_sub_bath_kkatchre are many ways to stimulate the chakras other than wearing different colored sunglasses. For example, if you want to work on your throat chakra, you can wear blue, color a room blue, decorate with blue fabrics, blue candles, etc.”

“My treatment room is colored a light purple to help have patients’ crown chakra open for healing. I also wear purple-lensed sunglasses in my daily life which help my own crown chakra. I pick out my outfits in the morning depending on how I am feeling and what chakra I want to strength for the day. So if I feel my root chakra needs help, I will specifically wear red that day.”

kitchen_update_1re

Lush 3 x 6 Surf

So the next time you enter a room and feel calm or agitated, look around and see what colors are present. Look at our tile samples and see how they make you feel and then imagine being surrounded in that feeling. Does that feeling suit a kitchen where you might want a sense of vitality and optimism, or a bedroom where you may want to nurture a feeling of calm and serenity?  Dr. Armistead helps us remember that spaces are both inner (your body and mind) and outer (your home and office), and that color transcends the surface to affect the beautifully essential.

May 17, 2015 at 7:14 pm Leave a comment

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Rebecca Lonergan


Founder and Creative Director of modwalls.com, a designer of modern tile with an online showroom at www.modwalls.com. Modwalls are colorful tile designs with a uniquely modern sensibility in a wide range of materials.

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