Photos by Hillary Ehlen
This month, I pulled my inspiration from local artist Ashley Kunz. Her work is gestural, organic and highly pigmented. She describes it as “nonrepresentational” as it does not represent anything in the visible world. I found Ashley’s work when strolling through West Acres Mall when she was their Artist in Residence back in March. The compositions of her work attracted me and filled me with a sense of wonder. Her works encourage viewers to create their own visual stories within them.
For me, I saw gemstones, rich berries and changing of the seasons. I couldn’t help but think of a plethora of rubies, emeralds, amethysts and many other precious and semi-precious stones all melding together to create a work of art. I also envisioned the colors of fall, the smell of the autumn leaves and the taste of berry jams my Mom creates from wild plums and chokecherries on our farm. Ashley’s work can be more than just a focal point; it could easily be the inspiration for an entire space.
Kayla Cote van Rensburg is originally from Minot, N.D., and has made her home in Fargo with her husband, Piet van Rensburg. In 2017, the two founded the local lifestyle Brand, Dak & Co.
Perfect Pairings for Local Paintings
The decor I have selected for this month is unconventional, unique and would bring a feeling of luxury to any environment. Natural gemstones, gorgeous geodes and colorful ceramics are sure to pair well with her art.
“In the Fall” & Natural Gemstones
Her piece, “In The Fall,” brings out all of the tones of the season. Incorporating hues from this color palette would create a sense of richness and an air of elegance in any space. Natural gemstones are available in many of the same tones seen in Ashley’s paintings. Gemstones can be used in a multitude of ways in your home. Now and Then Shoppe caries a variety of natural gems, including these 2-inch to 6-inch, cut, shaped and polished pieces.
“Transition” & Gorgeous Geodes
“Transition” for me takes on the look of a landscape with rich, autumn leaves on trees reflected the waters below. The vibrant-yet-calming colors in this piece would create a sense of peace and tranquility in any space. Gorgeous geodes can be used to bring out these autumnal colors. Now an Then Shoppe carries everything from 3-inch geodes to 3-foot geodes.
Kayla’s Tip: Sprinkle natural gemstones and geodes around your coffee table as an accent, or create a focal point on a shelf by adding a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.
“This Is A Fantasy” & Magical Mugs by Fermie Studios
“This Is A Fantasy” is a whimsical piece with a playful use of color. It is a fond reminder of fading summer days spent in laughter and play. Much like Ashley’s paintings, there is something special about hand-crafted mugs because no two are identically the same. I’m especially loving these pieces by Fermie Studios. The organic nature of the shapes mimic the style of Ashley’s work “Float On.” Start your day off on the right foot with a cup of coffee in a colorful, happy mug.
Kayla’s Tip: Claim your own! Make it fun for the family by letting each member pick their favorite mug. Use them as a conversation starter and ask the kids why they picked their mug and what is special about it to them. It’s a great way to promote self expression.