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Sneak Peek: Laurie Cinotto

by Grace Bonney

This morning we are up in Tacoma, Washington to visit the home of floral designer and artist Laurie Cinotto. Laurie’s floral designs are eclectic, vintage and modern inspired, and often romantic. I also love her sense of color whether it is in floral design or her installation art (you will see this clearly in her home too!). Many of her works have a nod to the natural world through the use of flowers, branches, and birds. She is a co-founder of Soil Gallery in Seattle and has also exhibited at the King County Art Gallery, at Tacoma Contemporary in Tacoma Washington, and at the John Erickson Museum of Art, in Gainesville, Florida. So, let’s go have a chat with Laurie…

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Hi, come on in – I’m Laurie! Our house is a 1913 craftsman bungalow. Inside we have a mix of eras and styles. I have been a collector for a long time. It started with Smurfs in 3rd grade. I love the visual impact of many like-things grouped together. The hunt for the object is great fun. Even though it feels eclectic, I think there are elements that bind it. One binding element would be flowers. I have flowers in many forms in my house. I collect floral paintings, drawings, and collages. There are floral patterns on fabric, flooring and wallpaper. Oh, and fresh flowers of course… there’s usually a stem or two left over from my events. There are other natural elements, such as trees and birds as well. I love bringing the outdoors inside.

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I think I love arranging things, displaying, and decorating because it’s a very easy way to express yourself and be creative in your daily life. I started getting more serious about it as my floral business responsibilities increased and my art got pushed to the side. Floral work is creative, but you always have constraints placed on you by your client (budget, color palette, style, etc). I was missing my time for arts and crafts, and when I figured out that decorating your house is kind of like doing one giant art installation, I started really getting into it. On the wall are cards with antique embroidered medallions. I have collection of Asian chalk-ware lamps and busts. Above the salmon-colored chair is work by Eileen Ward, myself, Amy Ruppel, Jaq Chartier, and others.

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This is my vintage pottery collection. Another tie that binds would be one particular color: it’s sort of a pale aqua blue. This color is the thread that runs through out the house and it’s used an accent in every room. We covered the wall behind the pottery with vintage wallpaper. The buttons on the wall were given to my grandma when she was a little girl. I also collect Lucite paperweights with flowers inside.

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Here hangs art by Dirk Park, Sean Miller, Tinyrat (etsy seller), Craig Miller (my husband), along with family photos, found objects, and miniatures. Every time we travel, Craig packs his miniature watercolor set and paints a postcard sized painting. We hang them on the kitchen wall. Every single day I look at them and think about our vacations together. On the right were plants he painted in Argentina.

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This is our bedroom. The tree is made of florist tape, wire, and fabric leaves. It was part of an installation I did at Ice Box Gallery in Tacoma, WA. The little frames held photos of flowers in their many forms… as pattern, on cakes in wedding bouquets, etc. The boxes beneath the trees contain faux flower corsages.

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I make and sell faux corsages made of paper flowers and artificial birds at my etsy shop. This is one of my “paper fancies”. I make the flowers with a heavy german crepe paper and dip them in wax.

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On the left is my very most favorite lamp. It’s a silk lantern motion light. A tiny city and sea scene spins inside.

The framed pieces above the dresser are mostly bird images. One is a shell collage, several are feather collages, one is a print from “Oh My Cavalier“. The bird on the right was made by Tacoma artists Marc Dombrosky and Shannon Eakins. The bird is carved from a book on birds. It’s spine is the book’s spine, it’s wings are the covers. Below are tiny accordian fold books inside a walnut shell. The books are all images of pre-earthquake San Francisco. I found these little gems at an antique store in Perth, Australia.

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This is our dining room – lots of books to read at the breakfast table. Craig made these eggs as part of an art installation.

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We foster kittens…and this is Lottie. She was just was adopted last month. I have a blog called the itty bitty kitty committee. I use the “hobbies room” for an office and art making space. The floor covering is an old floral print linoleum “rug”.

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These birds are part of installation I did years ago at the King County Gallery in Seattle, WA. The birds are resting on little stacked pillows made of collaged fabrics and trims. I used lots of old hankies, doilies, gems, etc.

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These are floral designs I have done for events. the one on the right features begonias, coxcomb, ranunculus, ferns, roses, and succulents, in birch tubes. The lush green palette of the Northwest is what still manages to inspire me. I love the thick, rich moss and ferns. My favorite time of year is spring, when the cherry trees and dogwoods bloom and there’s lots of bright green new growth on the trees. The endless color combos mother nature presents keep me in awe.

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