Blending art and home furnishings in Kennett Square
● By J. Chambless
The store's loft space is now Lesher's studio.
By John Chambless
When artist Carol Lesher realized she needed more space in her storefront studio in Kennett Square, she didn't have to look any farther than next door.
The large building on Broad Street where Nesting Feathers used to be was a perfect home for Holly Peters Oriental Rugs and Home, and the loft space in the showroom was a perfect place to set up an easel. Lesher and Peters knew how well paintings and home furnishings can work together, so it was only natural that the two women should team up.
"I moved here in June," Lesher said during a walk-through of her open, airy loft studio last week. "But I've been in Kennett Square for about four years, right next door. I felt like I needed a little more space and had outgrown the space I was in."
Lesher's large, semi-abstract landscapes are displayed on the walls downstairs, working in tandem with the elegant rugs and furniture to suggest room settings. "Aesthetically, they work together well," Lesher said. "People who are interested in furnishing their homes with fine rugs and furniture typically might be interested in art as well."
Lesher has been a full-time artist for the past 15 years. Examples of her earlier work, stored in her studio, show a tighter, more detailed painting style. Her work is moving towards larger canvases and depictions of places in Chester County, Cape Cod and the Delaware beaches that are non-specific enough to strike a chord with just about everyone.
"A lot of my work is places that I know," she said. "My work has evolved over the years. It's becoming more abstract, but it's still representational. The work is getting larger, too. I like to work with a palette knife and large brushes. I'm always trying to create a balance within the work. There's a lot of layering in the painting."
Lesher's studio is up a flight of stairs in the large showroom at the Holly Peters store, meaning that people can just wander up while she's working. She said she enjoys meeting customers and those who are just curious about what she's up to.
"People can always pop up and have a look around, even if I'm not here," she said. "There's a lot of great energy in this space. All these beautiful things are an inspiration," she said of the elegant antiques and rugs all around her.
Peters said she welcomes Lesher's artwork, which complements the pieces she offers to clients. "Most of the slant we've worked on is to get people to look at rugs as art," Peters said. "I had space in the back of the building and Carol was looking for a space, so we thought it might be an interesting way to present her work and our rugs together.
"I encourage people to choose the pieces that they like," Peters said. "If they're chosen with the heart, then everything works. It starts with the objects -- it doesn't start with a design idea. So many times people tell me, 'You know, I never really liked these drapes or that painting, but the designer told me it worked well.'"
Peters works with customers to trust their own instincts and buy what they like – with a little guidance. The addition of Lesher's beautifully rendered paintings is a win-win for both women.
"Her color palette is just extraordinary," Peters said of Lesher's work. "Her paintings, to me, represent a fresh perspective that runs counter to a lot of the very traditional art we see coming out of this region. I like that."
Holly Peters Oriental Rugs and Home is at 109 S. Broad St., Kennett Square. Call 610-444-6032 or visit www.hollypeters.com.
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.