Beautiful Balloons at Bergdorf’s by artist Jason Hackenwerth

Balloon artist, Jason Hackenwerth makes beautiful balloons for Bergdorf Goodman.

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Art + fashion come together as Jason uses his childhood  skills taught to him by his mother. He learned  how to make balloon animals for parties. From the Guggenheim to Hong Kong he creates art that slowly deflates to the size of a puppy. Here are several examples of his beautiful balloons. His body, face and lungs are his most important tools. This type of physical energy requires him to stretch and meditate each day. The balloon inflating machines just can’t blow up all the skinny beautiful balloons. At times, using over a thousand balloons, he must wear silk wraps on his fingers as the latex wears off his skin. Sometimes he has to make his beautiful balloons on site and make them in sections to be able to fit through doorways.

He began his career by creating these fantastical sculptures in the subway stations in New York City. He has figured out a way of knitting these protoplasmic beautiful balloons into monstrous creations. ” A balloon is a benign object that anyone can afford, but connected they transcend their individuality to become something greater, larger than life. It’s a metaphor for what we’re capable of as species when we unite.”

His works go far beyond the fashion world as he creates beautiful balloons for buildings, TED Talks, The Great Hall of Dinosaurs at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. In addition, he even creating swarms of protruding tentacles atop an ancient lava flow in Oregon. His beautiful balloons transformed Selfridges department store in London into a coral reef jellyfish colony. For this  project Hackenwerth and his assistants worked 10 hours to inflate and twist 35,000 balloons.

Lastly, while  beautiful balloons are not collectible art, he also creates large scale sculptures out of other materials.

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How can you not think of Alexander McQueen on Halloween?  He found beauty in the grotesque.This incredibly talented tour-de-force of  fashion  could turn the unthinkable into something sexy and mysterious.

What you see here are 2 Styrofoam skeletons from Target sprayed silver. They are sitting on a huge pair of butterfly wings, a little girl’s costume, flower, also from Target. The cocktail forks were my mothers, could not resist. Have fun with your table decorations!

McQueen loved to  mix color and texture. Here is a pumpkin dressed in lace fabric, tied at the top with a rubber band. It is sitting on an Alessi bowl turned upside down. Mixing the unusual with traditional, straight lines with curves makes design much more fun. Check out his link and don’t forget to visit and Happy Halloween!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Alexander McQueen › Home › Exhibitions‎. This show was amazing.


Meet Maurice Bennett, the “The Toast Man”. I like working with vegetables, and he likes working with bread!  I’m guessing this is pita……
Below is The Mona Lisa, all toasty, in a mall in Hong Kong
You can also read a bit about Mr. Bennett below and check out his website,
For more vegetable art, check out!



Renaissance master Guiseppe Arcimboldo painted portraits of an arrangement of seasonal produce. Now artist Philip Haas has contstructed 15 foot tall fiberglass busts to look like Arcimboldo’s four seasons. These were recently on display at New York Botanical Gardens. Below are the Haas figures of The Four Seasons.
To see more vegetable art on a smaller scale, please check out my website,!

Artist Warren Muller

Meet artist Warren Muller. His studio, Bahdeebahdu is located in Philadelphia. He has been creating illuminated sculptures out of re purposed material for many, many years. His work can be seen in the Guggenheim Museum in New York City , the Dallas Fort Worth Museum , countless restaurants and buildings in New York, Philadelphia and even the Bat Bar in Japan.
Former education director of the Museum of Modern Art, Phillip Yenawine describes Warren’s work:
“A glance is all it takes. We grin and think, never saw anything like that before..
The way Frank Gehry has reshaped our expectations of buildings, Muller has exploded the notion of look and function of lighting.”
I so enjoyed working with Warren. We had a lot of fun searching through his wonderful, odd, old, shiny, collection of flea market finds.Once selected, he starts to assemble and magic happens.
Below are examples of his work, enjoy!

                                                           Here is Warren in his studio

                                        A look at how Muller’s sculptures read in living spaces


                                                          Brooms never looked so good

                                             A close up of Warren’s newest work for the Sherle Wagner showroom
                                                    in Los Angeles. Look at the swan faucet!

This is a vintage jeep that hangs in the Philadelphia Cruise Ship Terminal’s Naval Yard. It weighs over a ton.

                    Reception desk at Bahdeebahdu. portrait is made entirely of one tread and straight pins.

this is a close up of the front of the desk above. you are looking at ephemera and toys painted white

Lastly, here is a photo of Warren and Yours Truly standing below our collaboration in his studio this past summer.
To read older design blogs, go to and go to the archives on the right. Also, stay tuned for the next blog which will feature a different kind of art. It will  also be sculpture, but the materials used are VEGETABLES!



Artist, JoAnne Russo

This is the work of JoAnne Russo, contemporary basketmaker from Maine. This is part of her “Pod” series. What attracts me to her work is her use of unexpected materials like buttons, and zippers, and eyehooks. her application creates an unusual sophisticated surface design, they transcend their use and take on a new meaning.
Ms. Russo started making baskets in 1984. She was inspired by the works and basket techniques of the basketmakers of long ago from Mount Agamenticus in York, Maine. She was able to learn their techniques and incorporate them into her work. It involved selecting the right kind of Ash tree, splitting the wood for handles and rims using tradtional tools and then finally weaving the basket. She was also inspired by basket makers from Native Americans from the north east and the southwest. She started to incorporate porcupine quills and other natural materials which gave texture and individual presence to each peice she refers to as “Animism”.
Here is a close-up. These pieces are from the “zip it” series.
Above is a shot of the inside. The buttons used create a wonderful 3d textural element to the
surface. Below is a basket whose top is made using acorns.
Her use of simple acorns adds a certain quiet elegance to this piece.
The pieces also look wonderful together as a group in the “chili pepper” series.
The curves in the eye hooks look like an ornate surface design I featured in my last blog, the
surface decoration of architect Robert Adam .
I am always impressed by taking unconventional materials and using them in such a poetic way. Russo has won numerous awards. Her pieces have been purchased by several museums including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
To see older posts, please go to my main blog page,


This month we are going to take a look at the art and living space of artist, Susan Ludwig. Susan specializes in mixed media collage. above is a collaged self portrait. We are going to look at how this talented artist creatively mixes color and texture in her collage work as well as in her furnishings. Susan’s home is a symphony of color. Her possessions are mostly thrifted and gifted.

First, we begin with a glimpse of her workspace. Simple pencils and markers create a little sculpture.

There are pockets of “theater” all around Susan’s home. Here in the dining room, we see a ceramic dish framed by an oval tray. The two look connected. It is important to layer your accessories. Unusual colors are placed together to form an interesting grouping.

Also in the dining room are a collection of cigar boxes when stacked become sculptural. What a great idea to place these next to a buffet, usually dead space in a room. The repetitive nature of the boxes work well with the stained Popsicle stick lamp beside it, also in repetition. Repetition can also be found in her use of mirrors even though the frames are different, just like all the different boxes. Repetition in an interior creates a balance and acts as a kind of anchor to support all the one of a kind things that surround the space.

Below we are looking at a close up of the kitchen cabinets.

Susan has taken a checkerboard pattern and applied it to white metal cabinets. The overlays are old National Geographic magazine covers. The checkerboard is repeated in the back splash. The bursts of color are layered over the squares like the oval tray which is layered are with the ceramic dish. The high contrast of color and the high contrast of black and white are quite dramatic in an otherwise small kitchen.

Susan’s living room has little treasures wherever you look. Below we see a collaged screen made of folding doors.

There are scraps of sheet music that are introduced to you by a bust of Beethoven himself! The screen becomes textured and performs as a backdrop for a variety of collected illustrations.

Below, the mantle becomes a stage for collectibles positioned in an interesting way. It is important to visually connect the wall and mantle (or a table) when you are accessorizing so that your eye moves around.

To help make this connection, the mantle items intersect the pictures above.

Let’s take a peek at the powder room.

If you need privacy, forget draperies, why not obscure the window view with art? In a small space, decorate with small accessories. The collection of shoes in graduated size make an ordinary windowsill and unlikely stage.

The bedroom is full of surprises.

This flea market chest has a painted surface and is decorated with buttons.

The nightstand illustrates the repetitive design of the cigar boxes, only this time, old suitcases have been used.

One of the most innovative ideas can be found in the bed area. Here, Susan paints found spindles of wood in different colors and uses them as a headboard AND they double as picture frames. Also, notice the variety of colors and textures on the bed’s landscape of pillows.

We’ve seen wonderful vignettes of objects places all around the home. Let’s take a look at some of Susan’s art! Here are a series of collages that she enjoys creating and has been exhibiting for many, many years.

The last photo before we get to my interview with the artist, is an example of a french tile technique called Pique Assiate, a special type of mosaic. Susan has covered her brick walls and surrounding windows as well as bowls, tables and picture frames with her unique tile work.

Here are a few questions I love to ask artists to find out what makes them tick…..

How would you describe your style?

Eclectic…..My motto is “Let no surface remained unadorned.”

What is the one thing you could not live without?
Laughter, ice tea with lemon no sugar.

What is your most prized possession?

My stash of “stuff”…. old, new, frivolous and unique.

What inspires your creativity?

Anyone or anything i see that engages me… particularly something I can re purpose in an unusual manner. Art materials such as Sharpie’s new Poster Paint pens and Caran d’Ache 11.

If you could collaborate with someone on a project, who would it be and why?

Henri Matisse without question. I would like to have been an apprentice to this master of color and pattern.

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