Nature Therapy: new mosaic series

Nature Therapy is the second mosaic series Johannah completed over the summer. If you haven't read about the first set, Domestica, you can catch up here. Next month you can find both series at Gallery Flux in Ashland, VA for their 6th Annual Miniature Show, opening November 30.


Nature Therapy started with what is, for me, the ever-present siren call of art subjects, nature. Whether it's to remind myself of the everyday beauty that surrounds us, or to connect with others so they might more strongly feel the call to protect our environment, nature is a subject that is at the heart of who I am and what I do.

Like Domestica, this series was an unplanned, spontaneous journey. "Leaves" was the first piece to arise, driven by a need to create something green and lush, and inspired by my talented friend Emily Herr's Thrive series, especially some of the leaf shapes in this piece and the colors in this one.

"Trees" and "Mountain" came next, designed with the simple, graphic shapes and similar color scheme of the first piece. As with all unplanned journeys, this one took me to unexpected places. When I got to the end of this series, I realized that the point-of-view moved further out with each consecutive piece, from leaf to tree to forest.

As I worked on this series, I thought about the idea that time spent in nature heals and nurtures us, even nature viewed through a window. And like Domestica, the political climate had me thinking of the inequities of this idea, the fact that access to nature has become a privilege for some rather than a right of all, that the lives of some populations are unduly burdened by their lack of access to clean nature. So a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this series will go to Green for All, whose mission is to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.

Nature therapy mosaic series PH2017.jpg

Domestica: new mosaic series

Johannah completed two mosaic series over the summer, one about domestic objects and one about the natural world around us. Next month you can find them at Gallery Flux in Ashland, VA for their 6th Annual Miniature Show, opening November 30.

Read the story behind Domestica below, and stay tuned for the second series, Nature Therapy.


It all started with a teapot.

Teapot PH2016.jpg

Looking back over some older work, I came across the teapot and thought, "Hmmm. That was fun. Where could this go?" (The most satisfying series are always unplanned journeys.) Remembering a photography project I did a few years ago, I thought a return to the topic of mundane domestic objects might be interesting.

At the time of the earlier project, I was forced by the circumstances of being the primary care-giving parent to two very young children to mostly shoot items around the house. But as the project went on, I found it piqued my feminist interest in domestic objects. Many of these items are kitchenware, associated with the traditional work of women. True, they are mundane, everyday objects. But might it be their very everyday-ness that gives them their power? We need these items, we keep them close to us because of their necessity or utility in our lives. Many of them we come to love, because they were passed down from a great grandmother or because they bake the perfect batch of ginger snap cookies.

Domestica mosaic series PH2017.jpg

So I devoted this series to portraits of individual pieces of kitchenware. Set alone in silhouette, we can admire the shape of the objects, consider their use, appreciate their utility in our lives and yes, even their beauty.

And while I worked, I thought further of other domestic items or happenings we might take for granted. Eventually I couldn't help but associate "taking for granted" and "domestic" with the idea of domestic abuse. I suppose it doesn't hurt that with the political temperature of the nation this year, I'm more aware than ever of the changes I want to see, and striving always to do more toward that end. The result in this case is that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the pieces in this series will go to a group like the Virginia Anti-Violence Project for survivors of domestic abuse, especially those in the LGTBQ+ community

Summer of Railings

Do two sets of railings make for a summer of railings? Does making them at the peak of the summer heat in a sweltering studio with just a few fans blowing on the blacksmiths make it count? Yeah, we thought so too.

{Click through the slideshows to see works-in-progress. Click on the single images to enlarge.}

We're really enjoying these minimal, open designs. This first small handrail was installed in a porch with slate steps.

This second railing design required a pair to complete the sweet little brick path from the street up to the house. Notice the detail at the end of the handrails. This was a particularly fun design!

If you're in need of custom railing (now or dreaming for the future), take a look through our Architectural Ironwork gallery and the railing posts on our blog. We love to create custom designs to fit a client's needs, and we can usually provide a few options to fit a variety of  budgets.