Arts + Crafts

Artist Leslie Oschmann & Swarm Home

December 1, 2008

I was invited to attend a gallery breakfast tomorrow at Anthropologies Rockefeller Center location but of course being in Germany it is not possible (obviously!) I hope that another blogger will attend and blog about it because I’d love to see how the event turns out. It features the work of former Anthropologie visual director (for 8 years) Leslie Oschmann (full bio here) and after you view her website I think you’d also want to see her work up close and personal. Wow. Great stuff. I think it will make you look at vintage paintings a little differently, especially the ones that you find at flea markets that could use a little love… Why not add some of your own creativity to them like Leslie does?

Leslie relocated from the states to Holland and now has an Amsterdam-based studio called Swarm Home where she gives new life to old furniture and paintings found in local flea markets. Have you seen her work before? It’s just lovely. I’m quite impressed with her painting, I wonder if she is also doing decoupage in her work? I do see some needlepoint on a dresser door below that I think is exquisite and I really like the application of silk on vintage portraits because it makes the painting feel much more current and fun.

I adore mixed media art and enjoy viewing how Leslie uses many different materials to create art, combining unexpected materials takes so much talent and skill. Leslie is just one of many artists out there doing exciting things with found objects… have a look around her website and see for yourself — it is quite a fantastic visual trip!

Tip: For those who cannot paint like the talented Leslie, no worries! Have you thought of decoupage as an option? It can be done really well and seems to be gaining popularity again here in Germany (and northern .Europe in general) I love seeing decoupage, stenciling, and stamping making a comeback because it was somewhat snubbed in the interior design world and referred to as being, “Soooo bad 1980’s” or “Craft store kitsch” but if done right (take Wary Meyers for example), I think that it can be lovely. I had this feeling that the decoupage ‘trend’ could come back but when my friend gave me the current copy of the German Elle Decoration and I saw a complete spread on decoupage (used on bespoke furniture) my suspicions were confirmed. Decoupage can be done right.

(images from leslie oschmann and swam home)


  • Reply Sharon December 1, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    What a gorgeous blog you have and I’m so delighted I found you through Rita Vindedzis’ blog. The work you feature is absolutely gorgeous and it appears you have a plethora of talent and creations to explore. I look forward to my future visits. All the best ~ Sharon

    Sharons last blog post: A Wish for You

  • Reply Andy Mathis December 1, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    I too like decoupaged items, when they are taken to the next level, with a little stamping, stenciling, drawing, etc., yielding an item with a little more artistic flair than decoupage alone.

    There used to be a publishing company that published some of Rosie O’Donnell’s artwork that featured decoupaged items, if I remember correctly .

  • Reply amber December 1, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    uuuum, Anthropologie people?

    I’LL GO! Can anyone who wants to go?

    ambers last blog post: Domino Magazine Giveaway

  • Reply abby December 1, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    wow. all of this from one woman? inspiring. time for me to get up and get busy. :)

    abbys last blog post: GIVEAWAY: "je blog/blague" tote

  • Reply Luphia December 1, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    gorgeous paintings! love that cabinet, it’s so gorgeous and full of vintage charm too!

    Luphias last blog post: Zen Dining

  • Reply michele December 1, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Hi Holly,

    Swarm House is totally cool !!!
    Thank you for letting us see

    Decoupage has been hot for a few thousand years now
    It was invented in China about 4000 years ago
    then was the rage in France about 300 years ago
    hence the French word decoupage
    but you knew that right?

    And now we have the master of decoupage John Derian?

    but Holly,

    I think your readers would enjoy seeing your “mini” paintings you made over the Turkey Day weekend you said you would make…did you? Because I didn’t know you painted. You have me in suspense. Pleeeze show us your mini painting talents Holly. Mini paintings of what?

    Here is a funny coincidence. I’m working on a ship painting right now. I love them. Since I was a child. My ship is only in the sketching stages and drawing it is such a B***h but I hope in the end it’s worth the trouble

    It would be so much fun to see what you paint.

    michele :)

    micheles last blog post: Carolyne Roehm Wraps & Ribbons

  • Reply katrina December 1, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    what a lovely behind-the-scenes peek into the creative direction of anthropologie. and i love knowing that she’s using found objects and reinventing them. i love it!

  • Reply rochelle December 2, 2008 at 7:26 am

    I am just about to decoupage some Ilkea shelves for my living room…I feel like I am ahead of a trend!! That is a groovy feeling!

    rochelles last blog post: Christmas lights

  • Reply Tara December 2, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    I adore the old, kitschy paintings! Lovely!

    Taras last blog post: Don’t Forget about the Giveaway Contest!!

  • Reply Cat December 2, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Decoupage is all over the place now and very sophisticated. I love those BSG sepcial publications on DYI etc. They always have tons of it. So much fun when combined with paint, fabric and stenciling (which is also very sophisticated now) on furniture, mirrors, frames etc and even right on a wall!

  • Reply fiona January 21, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Does anyone know why this lovely and talented lady called her new company swarm?

  • Reply Maaike October 1, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Fiona – Apparently she likes things in masses because she thinks they look more appealing, and i’m inclined to agree!
    I found one chair by her, and I like it, but when I saw the photo of 400 in her courtyard? I nearly cried. I am in love!
    .-= Maaike´s last blog ..Leslie Oschmann =-.

  • Reply becky from hatch October 5, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Chiming in a year later here – Leslie is featured in the Holland/Belgium episode of Man Shops World on the Sundance Channel. They feature the gallery show that Holly mentioned above – it’s neat to see her story on the TV show.
    .-= becky from hatch´s last blog ..Betty in her Natural Habitat =-.

  • Reply Maaike October 5, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Oh to have access to Cable/Sundance Channel to see that! The promo for it is how I found out about Oschmann in the first place
    .-= Maaike´s last blog ..Wary Meyers =-.

  • Reply becky from hatch October 6, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Maaike, I wonder if it will ever wind up online anywhere? I watched the first 8 episodes and they are all awesome – if it winds up on iTunes for downloading it’s definitely worth it!

    .-= becky from hatch´s last blog ..Betty in her Natural Habitat =-.

  • Reply maaike October 6, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Hey thanks Becky, I always forget itunes does video as well, i’ll keep an eye out
    .-= maaike´s last blog ..Wary Meyers =-.

  • Reply victoria March 2, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    thanks for sharing this link, holly! love her work. :)
    .-= victoria´s last blog ..vintage finds for a modern world: etsy love. =-.

  • Reply Hilary September 3, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I love these! I am totally late on the discovery of Swarm, just bumped into a chair yesterday at Anthropologie, but luv it all the same.

  • Reply Biljana September 12, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Wonderful paintings, I love your works:))
    Greetings from Europe, Biljana

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