Meet Jen! founder & owner

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...jen o'connor's...Artful Adventures & Daily Inspirations

I Love Art, Adore the Handmade and Treasure the Vintage. I am the Fun Mom, the Silly Friend and the Writer who wants to make more room for beauty in the everyday.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007


...Halloween & Vine...

all manner of fabulously themed and hauntingly spectacular creations from an uber talented group of artists ... some the makers of some of my favorite creations and many, many others whose work I look forward to discovering and capturing on film to share in this BLOG.


A big thanks in advance to the folks behind the event...

Scott, Christy, Susan and Ginny... have lured me to California yet again!!!

I'm away until Monday, October 1st...when I shall return laden with stories, images and new ideas... and perhaps, some treaures to add to my ever-growing collection of Halloween folk art and fall follies.

until then xxoo Jen O'Connor

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Magda Moment

There are moments when we face a remembered or imagined scene and drink in its details. Whittling it down to black and white, it becomes simple shapes, an austere form on a backdrop. Sometimes then, we can better grasp the layers of sentiment that surround an exchange of ideas, a daydream or a painful experience.
Bravely, Magda Trzaski has shown me this in her "Black Iris" creations.
Magda’s works are moments frozen. Compelling in their starkness, they beg a closer look, then another. Her cats, rabbits, birds, and skeleton-like snow folk are displayed under glass like curiously forestalled activity. Balloons float mid-air and balls hover mid-juggle as her creatures balance in a limbo of thought and activity.
I find her pieces simply alluring in their form, and utterly thought provoking in story. While Magda is influenced by the 17th century Dutch vanitas painters who deftly reminded us of our mortality through their heavily symbolic still-lifes, she is also intrigued by the Victorians’ obsession with paraphernalia and collections. These influences and themes are echoed in our pop culture by the likes of Tim Burton and Edward Gorey, with their allusions to the afterlife and the fleeting nature of earthly pleasures through black comedy and imagery.
Fate's twisted thread brought Magda to my attention. An e-mail with one attached image was enough to send me on the hunt. Never mind that it took many pleading conversations and almost 2 years to convince her to create her work for me to sell here in the States. And so thanks to Robert Tonner, Lynn Johsnton (did you even know you made this happen by shopping for a gift in Toronto) and of course my special pal and assistant Michelle Hodge...whose fabulous taste and great judgement never end.
Be sure to crack open the current issue of Mary Engelbreit's "HOME Companion" for a wonderful piece on Magda as this month's Artist Workshop. And join me in celebrating those frozen moments; that invigorate, question and invite emotions closer to the surface. We might just be brave enough to acknowledge them in our appreciation for Magda's style and art form.
xxoo Jen O'Connor
ps I meet Magda for the first time in 2 days...I will be picking her up at the San Francisco airport with Nicky Bowen and Laurie Meseroll. We'll be making the drive to Petaluma to drink in all there is at "Halloween & Vine"... I will keep you posted on our adventures! memento mori baby...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Dose of Dagmi

 she is...
the diva of decor, the connoisseur of kitsch,
the maven of mood and setting...

My friend Jane has a capacity to synthesize texture and color that would be downright unfair if it remained unshared. She catapults her vision of style across the pages of "Country Living" as their Editor-at-Large. At her post, she exuberantly scours the urban and pastoral to "see" the why and how, the who, and the wonder, of what people like, what they live to enjoy, hunger to collect, and transmit in their homes and design sensibilities... She puts forth her findings with total aplomb in stories so "Jane",
they have her hand prints on the pages.

I have seen Jane work....she wanders and ponders...
"Does the Bakelite-bangled babe also horde colorful 40s Fiesta Ware in her cabinets?"..."Does the faded prom dress hanging in a closet confess the owner's love for vintage textiles and old songs...?", and" ...are the shells on the sill those gathered on a lonely beach last season?".

Jane distills her musings into thoughtful stories and pictorial essays on captivating subjects and locales. In her work, an appreciation for what is simply "there", is omnipresent.

I see her loathe to fluff the pillow, brush the seat print from the bed covers, or adjust the slightly askew frame on the wall. She sees a beauty in the vernacular, the handmade, the folly and the worn. She celebrates what is around her, and in so doing, inspires her readers to the same. Like the smile I must surrender to Rory's baby fingerprints on my kitchen windows, Jane sings a gracious song of time and place and the well lived, and lived-in, life that makes me sway.

I must yield the floor to Jane, and warmly invite you to visit her blog... is a link...'s filled with musings, mutterings and the things that inspire her days.

And, yet again, I am reminded in my gratitude that friendship is like a paper chain. One link, one friend, brings me forward to the next. So many thanks to Stacey Bear, without your friendship Stacey, I would never have met Jane. So it continues, the chain, the circle of friends...
the women that inspire me.

xxoo Jen

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bountiful, Beautiful Day

We did it! …our first Earth Angels event open to the public….
and it was a success! Tons of people (well more like 250...) came by the gallery to toast the art and artistry of Jill Wiener and Jennifer Lanne. Many left with colorful canvases and pottery to enliven their homes and spirits.

So glad so many of you could make it to share in the day!
….and were those Blueberry Belinis yummy, or what?
...I loved meeting Sharon, the gal who went out to buy napkins at the market across the street, saw our “Reception Today!” sign in the window, and left with a huge canvas for her dining room wall… cousin Shelley popped by not realizing it was my event...
...and the Warwick Town Supervisor, Mike Sweeton came by to wish us success with the new Main Street venue and couldn't resist Jennifer’s “Lavender on Eggplant” for his wife, a professional gardener…
I will treasure these stories from the day…
and I am confident that art can bring us together.

Thanks to all who made this beautiful and bountiful day possible…..our hosts Ken and Debbie, Tasie (the best barmaid this side of the Mississippi), Shannon, Ro (our decidedly overqualified check-out chick), Laurie (ace flirt), Nancy, Joanne, Rosie, Jim, Loretta, Michelle and of course
Jill and Jennifer, artists extraordinaire!
I will be counting on each and every one of you to make our next event equally successful… so save the date for 11/3! What a crew we are!

And thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement in this venture! Your emails and comments to this blog have meant so much…

...hope you can join us next time
xxoo Jen O'Connor

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pals on the Porch

The summer is ending with fall nipping at it's heels. There are too many errands to run, school's in for the kiddies and business is blessedly busy....
I hope someone visits soon. We'll sit on the porch once more this season, before it's too cold to go outdside at all. We'll watch the world go by and I will forget, for a few moments, all that waits inside...
the laptop, the dinner waiting to be cooked, the inevitable chores.
There's nothing like friends on the front porch. It's the spot that's half way between home and the rest of the world. It's my buffer. The friends that fill it join me with acceptance, shared joy and in reflection.
Come to think of it, I think gal pals and a front porch are a fabulous combo....beside we're not gossipping, we're just "networking".

xxoo Jen

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

what she knows

I know that a friend's home can feel as comfy as the well known pillows of a favored couch. No wonder I want to visit again and again.
And so, I have invited myself, 3 kids and hubby in tow, to Jennifer and Dick's this can I resist the call of her barnyard and that fabulous studio! I love Jennifer's work and seeing her
inspirations is a real treat.
Jennifer Lanne paints what she knows, what she loves...flora, fauna and farm. Her true affection for her surrounds shows in her work. The images she captures brim with the details of her life. The roosters the run across her canvases are from the yard, the pigs that jump across stiles are her "girls" Olive and Violet, and the landscapes that fill her work with rolling hills and sentinel like trees are the views she sees
from her 1760s home.

The images above were taken on a day trip I made with Shannon and the kids a few weeks back. We made the jaunt to Ballston Spa to plan for the gallery event "BOUNTY", Jennifer's show currently up at The Country Life Gallery in downtown Warwick.
As we prepared for the show and now the upcoming reception, Jennifer and I have worked closely. It's given me the opportunity to fall head over heels for her work at the same time we have been able to become closer as friends. This might just be the first group project I'm enjoying;
or pehaps, through my business I have made friendship the group project!
Thanks to Jennifer for being my friend, and for all the hard work she has put into this show. Please join me in wishing her the best of success!
If you'd like to meet Jennifer, she will be at the Gallery from 2pm-7pm
on the 15th along with
Jill Wiener the creator of Earth Girl Pottery, and my great gal pal.
xxoo Jen O'Connor

Monday, September 3, 2007

wearable fun

Lynsey never ceases to amaze me. From humble wool she concocts and array of jewelry and wearable art that pays homage to her love of color and her beloved Scottish home.

I wear a piece of Lynsey's jewelry almost every day. It's festive, light and adds a needed tactile hue like salt to soup. Never mind that Lynsey is one of the best gals on the planet. She's earnest, with a quick wit and a smile that is lovely beyond words. I think perhaps, I first bought her work because I liked her so much and envied her never ending imagination for shape and color. Now, wearing her bracelets, scarves and chunky rings, has become a bit of my signature style. I am grateful to Lynsey for this wearable fun; her creations are ever the ice breaker and beg to be touched!

Lynsey introduces a new line twice a year at the NY International Gift Fair in the Spiffy British Artists aisle.... february , when she has been in the States to be our featured artist at out annual Valentines Festivities,
and in August.

So here's to Lynsey and her new line...this time around there are birds, twigs, baubles adorned with wooden beads, and some fabulous monotone pieces in crisp heather grays and charcoals with black.
We'll be sending out an email update of this new work, just email me if you'd like to be on this list.

And in the meantime, remember if you love art, wear art.
xxoo Jen O'Connor

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