So sister Sally won in the holiday decor department this year with her festive living room situation. I completely failed on putting up any sort of decorations aside from tacking up my "Mistletoe. Like, Now" print and filling this bowl with a small assortment of my ornaments (you can see my sad attempt at cheer here). Even though my living room didn't get the Christmas treatment, it did get some new artwork that I'm so completely in love with!
I had been corresponding with artist Dorothy Shain since March about commissioning a few custom pieces. For those of you unfamiliar with her work, Dorothy is a contemporary artist based in South Carolina. Her paintings, collages, hand-dyed fabrics, and mixed media pieces have been gaining steady attention and praise - and Sally and I have loved following her work over the past few years. I was over the moon when she suggested we work together to come up with something specific and special to my home. The result are three bikini pieces that wouldn't be more perfect...
When Dorothy and I first started talking about what might work with my style I told her that while I had some art pieces that were bright and bold, I was most interested in bringing in something neutral. Being the sweet, Southern gem that she is (along with being comfortable working with any color palette), Dorothy was more than down for doing something neutral. We discussed where I envisioned a piece(s) going – sizing – and which of her pieces I favored most. I told her that I was obsessed with her bikini pieces but that I didn’t know if they were totally me…their feminine nature always made me think they’d be better suited in Sally’s home. But after some thinking I determined that they were too magical to pass up and I knew Dorothy would make me a bikini or two that would perfectly align with my aesthetic.
Dorothy’s bikinis were an instant favorite among fans and she continues to sketch, paint, and tweak the concept; her experiments with styles (high waisted briefs, underwire tops, string ties, etc.) and play with patterns and colors has elevated the teeny swimsuit to something more than worthy of having on the wall.
Once we settled on the bikinis, I gave Dorothy an idea of what I meant by “neutral” colors. I pointed her towards Loeffler Randall’s Pre-Fall ’16 mood board…I’m an LR addict but this particular collection really aligned with what I going for in my living room area (bleached neutrals, blush pink, intentional pops of color like sienna and red). It was kind of a weird reference but I thought the bikini pieces totally fell in line with the “everlasting summer” concept they had for the collection and lucky for me, Dorothy totally got where my head was at. I also sent her an image of the rug I had bought for the room (a vintage Turkish piece from Etsy seller Lavendersky Blue).
And then….I patiently waited. Usually I am HORRIBLE at waiting for anything when I’m super excited but moving in September and getting Rosebud in November, coupled with being work busy helped distract me. It also helped that Dorothy sent me a sneak peek of three (3!) bikinis she had been working on for me in early November. My response was something like, “OMG OMG OMG so amazing, looooooove them.” We chatted about various framing options and determined that simple white frames and floating the pieces on a white mat would look best.
Next thing I know…it’s Tuesday of this week and the bikinis are at my doorstep (each lovingly wrapped in layers of bubble wrap, framed to perfection, and signed). I was blown away that Dorothy sent me all three – we’d originally talked about one or two – so I was equal parts shocked and touched. The bikinis are so special in person (though I tried to capture their beauty and Dorothy’s artistic layering with these pictures) and I still can’t believe they are mine. These are my first “original” mixed media art pieces and that makes them all the more special.
When it came to hanging, I knew I wanted two of the three bikinis to hang with the mirror above my entry table in my living room – with one on either side. Sally helped me determine which pair looked best and we decided that they looked best positioned a little higher than centered in the middle of the mirror. Our mama is really the master when it comes to hanging art but she’s taught us well and getting these babies up was a snap.
I’m still thinking about where the third bikini will go…for now it’s leaning on the entry console below the pink bikini. I think my heart is feeling a little sad about breaking up the trio so soon – they just look so great together! But I have some empty walls that I’m contemplating moving it to.
If you love Dorothy’s bikinis as much as Sally and I do (and really, what’s not to love?!) you can shop her current offerings of the swimsuits here. We love the black and white versions and Dorothy has told us that she’ll be adding more with color and on white backgrounds to her site in January. Make sure you also check out her collages and giclee prints, and follow her on Instagram @dorothy_shain to stay in the loop when new pieces are released, upcoming events, and more. In addition to her prints and originals for sale, Dorothy creates custom invitations, stationary, and logos and is accepting commissions for custom art pieces for 2017. We’re predicting that her star will continue to rise so if you’re interested in her talent, now is a great time to work with her!
Thank you again, D! Adore you and smile every time I look at my new bikinis!