“Support: something that holds up structure” works by Molly Koehn

Beginning July 1st, Practical Art will feature the amazing work of local artist, Molly Koehn. Come by and explore the relationship between humans and nature in her show, “Support: something that holds up structure.” Attend our Artist’s reception on Friday, July 1st, from 7:00-9:00pm, and meet the artist herself!


We asked Molly to give us some insider information about her pieces, and she was happy to give oblige:

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  1. What processes/materials did you use to create the pieces?

Many of my pieces use a process called eco-printing. It is a natural dye process that uses leaves to create a print on the fabric. The leaves are bundled up in fabric and steamed for an hour. The color from the leaves transfers to the fabric. I also use embroidery, weaving, and drawing.

  1. Is there a theme to your show? If so, what is it?

This work is looking at natural systems and the role humans play in those systems. These pieces are also looking at the idea of support. In these systems, is nature supporting us or are we supporting nature? And I definitely acknowledge that we are part of nature, but I think in general, humans separate themselves from nature.

  1. What inspired your work for the show?

Moving to the valley 2 years ago has been a huge inspiration. The greater metropolitan area is just so bizarre to me in how different it is from the desert surrounding. Arizona in general amazes me. Down here there’s cactus and shrubs everywhere, but up north it’s all pine trees and snow! I love the diversity of climates and vegetation. I see something new and interesting almost everyday. I could probably live here for the rest of my life and stay consistently amazed.  

  1. What is your favorite part about making art?

That’s a tough question. I love the general process of making—using my hands to create. I just love working hard and getting dirty.

  1. Do you have a favorite piece in the show? If so, what is it?

I’m partial to my maggot embroideries. There is something so satisfying about the play between something gross and beautiful at the same time.

  1. If you had to describe your show in 5 words or less, what words would you use?

Maggots, leaves, landscape, support, systems.  

  1. What other artists (any local?) inspire you?

I find a lot of inspiration from land artists, specifically Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt. I’m also the biggest Patricia Sannit fan in the world.

  1. What do you want your viewers to know about you as an artist?

I’m awesome.

We can’t wait to see you at Practical Art on First Friday, and throughout the month of July!



Photo Story: Studio visit with William Letterman

Here at Practical Art, we love the sensations of handmade goods– smooth glass, sanded wood, soft wool fibers, scented wax, vibrant palettes, cool metals. We know that our mom, too, greatly appreciated the encaustic wax finish of the Lara Plecas art piece she received, or the deliberate color choices of the Pat Mahoney planters, chosen just for her. With the success of our Mother’s Day selections, we figure it’s never too early to start getting ideas for Father’s Day (dads are pretty important, too!). When we visited William Letterman’s studio, we knew that his woodturned vessels were perfect. Letterman-01

Letterman began turning wood 10 years ago. He began with pens, and soon progressed to bowls and vases, and then more advanced techniques of inlays, segmented works, and burl pieces. Using a mixture of classic and self-taught techniques, Letterman’s work is flawless.

First, Letterman selects a brilliant series of colored woods to pattern his bowls and vessels. After strategically designing flat rings out of the wood, patterned with the various shades, he then makes additional rings, increasing in size. He glues those rings of wood together to create the rough shape of the desired piece. With great precision, Letterman uses a lathe to spin the wood, and turns a tool down the slope, re-shaping and thinning the walls of the vessel. Sanding and applying a finish complete the process. Letterman works hard to perfect his craft and create one of a kind pieces and custom pieces based on a buyer’s request. The result is a beautiful, natural, and functional piece of art.










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Get a head start on your Father’s Day shopping by coming to Practical Art and exploring the work of William Letterman and more than 130 other Arizona artisans. We can’t wait to see you soon!


Photo Story: Studio Visit with Michaela Edelhauser!


Thinking ahead about what to get for Mother’s Day? Look no further than Michaela Edelhauser’s gorgeous, hand-woven knits. From brightly colored scarves to beautiful totes and colorful utility bags, Michaela’s designs are bright, cheerful, and pristinely crafted. They are the perfect representation of your love for mom!

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A few years ago, Michaela, after reintroducing herself to the art of crocheting and knitting, began investing in higher quality yarns and fibers. On a search for such fineries at an Alpaca Ranch in California, Michaela stumbled across a used floor loom. Purchasing said loom, she attempted to take a class in order to learn how to use it… but the class was canceled due to a lack of students. Instead, she taught herself how to weave through books, blogs, and online videos.  

The new loom changed her art– and her life!

“I taught myself to weave and I connected to it like to nothing else before. It made perfect sense to me, but at the same time, it seemed like magic.  So many times I would pull projects off the loom and wonder “how did this just happen? I did this?”  I wondered how did, what can best be described as a bunch of strings just a few days ago, turn into cloth? And it never gets old.”

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Years of perfecting her works has resulted in increased interest in textile design, and innovative fabrics. Michaela has become an expert in the art of weaving. Her work breathes new life, energy, and vibrancy to the ancient craft– and her products are a testament to her ingenuity.Michaela Edelhauser_08Visit Practical Art today to purchase your own one-of-a-kind, Michaela Edelhauser, hand woven textile (for yourself or mom)! We can’t wait to see you!


Photo Story: Studio Visit with Aaron Voigt

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Rusty nuts and bolts and discolored shards of metal come alive in the skilled hands of Aaron Voigt. Voigt’s fanciful robot banks and pencil holders happily adorn the shelves of Practical Art, and bring cheer to our local shop.

At a very young age, Voigt began learning how to weld from his father. “My father welded his way around the world for the U.S. Army and brought his methods and experience back home to his family’s garage.” Their Father-son projects influenced Voigt as he began exploring his own artistic themes. He began putting his welding skills to great use.

Voigt creates his artwork from pieces of manufacturing machines, aircrafts, cars, household fixtures and any other industrial materials he can find. Taking care to sand, smooth, and connect these odds and ends, he designs art with personality. The history of the materials he uses play an integral part in each creation– every robot has a unique story to tell. The discarded, industrial materials have become charming, fun-loving characters ready to find their permanent home with you!




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Voigt learned his artistic and trade skills from his father, and other mentors. As a result, Voigt works hard to pass along his skills and knowledge to others. “We are here to share and learn. My skills came about through many mentors over the years. I can’t thank them enough for sharing their love. Keep your eyes and your hearts open.”


Visit Practical Art 7 days a week or check out our online shop, and take home your very own Aaron Voigt piece!


“Entangled.” works by Andrew King


If you own a Standard Wax candle, with its classic design and tantalizing scent, then you are familiar with the functional art of Andrew King. However, King’s artistic talents spread beyond these sensuous tapers, as evidenced by his upcoming show, Entangled. Running from Tuesday, March 1, 2016 through Thursday, March 31, 2016, Practical Art will be host to King’s series of emotionally charged pieces. His work “depicts the darkness of being trapped in a place of true unhappiness and using art to claw out.”


To find out more about his raw art, we asked Andrew to answer a few questions about the show and the meaning behind his expressive pieces.

Q: What inspired your work for the show?

A: The show was inspired through a deep creative frustration in my life at the time, and needing to express and grow as an artist in a new way that was completely unique and personal to me.

Q: What is your favorite part about making art?

A: My favorite part about making art is that it’s the only thing in my life that makes time disappear / be completely irrelevant.

Q: Do you have a favorite piece in the show?

A: My favorite piece(s) are the largest ones. I love over-sized art that commands the attention of an entire room.

Q: If you had to describe your show in 5 words or less, what words would you use?

A: Ominous, raw and emotional

Q: What processes/materials did you use to create the pieces?

A: Canvas, wire, watercolor, chalk and oil pastel, spray paint

Q: Is there a theme to your show?

A: The theme is “Entangled”. “Entangled” is a manifestation of the fears, anger and anxiety caused by not living a truly creative life. Art, no matter the medium, is a materialization of emotions. A painting, sculpture, photograph or poem can move people in profound ways. This is because the work of art is not created from paint or clay or the click of a shutter; it’s created from layering feelings and thoughts and emotions and bringing them to physical form using an artist’s tools of choice.

Q: What other artists (any local?) inspire you? 

A: I have a deep appreciation for literally all kinds of art and the process behind original creations – it’s too hard to name a favorite because my ADD demands that I find greatness in everything.

Q: What do you want your viewers to know about you as an artist?

A: I want people to know that I live my life for art and the process of creating and being true to myself in my work, in the space that I occupy and the creative outlets that I choose to pursue is the most important thing that makes me who I am.A King ColorTo find out more about Entangled” and meet Andrew for yourself, visit Practical Art next Friday, March 4, from 7:00pm-9:00pm for our Artist Reception. We can’t wait to see you there!



Photo Story: Studio visit with Marnie Brookins

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Thanksgiving is a time to be… well… thankful! Here at Practical Art, we are thankful for the amazing and unique artists we work with everyday, the fun and functional artwork that decorates our store, home, and office spaces,  the wonderful employees and community members who support our shop, all things local, recycling, Vonceil’s Pies… and as we reach for the holiday decorations in preparation for the upcoming season, we are especially thankful for the amazing Marnie Brookins! Marnie’s handmade glass ornaments not only add a festive touch to the Christmas tree, they also  reflect beautifully when strung up in a window– making them the perfect ornaments for all holidays and seasons!

We love Marnie’s colorful, fun, and festive glasswork– and have a particular affinity for her gorgeous star ornaments. We visited Marnie in her studio, where she gave us an intimate look into the process of making these fabulous pieces. Marnie carefully cuts the glass, choosing the colors that she wants to blend together, and arranging the pieces to melt together. She uses a dedicated glass kiln to fire the ornament, and once it has cooled sands it smooth. She finishes the star by wrapping beautiful copper wire around the center– creating a unique blend of mediums and allowing for the hook by which to hang this wonderful stained glass piece.

Marnie’s ornaments add beauty and fun to any holiday decor. Come by the store and pick one up or find them now on our NEW ONLINE SHOP!

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Photo Story: Studio visit with Sheila Cavanagh!



Costume? Check. Candy? Check. Sheila Cavanagh’s Halloween inspired pottery? Double check!


If you are unfamiliar with the work of our local wonder Sheila Cavanagh, drop what you are doing and head to Practical Art ASAP. Fun, fantastic, and down-right festive, Sheila’s pottery will make you smile. Her whimsical pieces are a direct translation of her creative spirit. What originated years ago as a hobby, has developed into a passion and renewed philosophy on life.

Although Sheila enjoys exploring various methods of ceramic arts (from pinch pots to slip casting) she has a particular affinity for the wheel. As she says, “there is something deeply satisfying about using your hands and mind and imagination to encourage the spinning clay to become what you want of it.” The result is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece with its very own character and identity.

As you browse each unique Shelia construction, you may notice a common element. An elephant. Sheila loves pachyderms. It is an especially significant symbol due to the fact that she spent several years living in rural Zimbabwe—where she learned traditional pottery making techniques from the women in a nearby village.

“In summary, my idea of a perfect day is a warm Arizona morning, sitting over my wheel with a cup of tea and a clay-splattered labradoodle lying at my side.”







From pots to bowls to mugs, small to middling to tall, Sheila’s works fit any size, form, or function. Come by Practical Art today to purchase your very own Cavanagh masterpiece. Now featuring festive fall and Halloween inspired works of art!

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