Bennett Bean Studio
The designs of Bennett Bean Studio are the result of a collaboration between two artists — Bennett Bean and Elizabeth Rand — whose contrasting points of view create a singular body of work where maturity balances youth, experience is enhanced with fresh perspective, and process is enriched by joining an additive versus subtractive attitude.
Over the last 40 years our namesake and founder, Bennett Bean, has built a reputation as a sculptor and painter working primarily in ceramics. Best known for his pit-fired white earthenware vessels, Bennett has developed many innovative post-firing techniques for decorating his pieces. His gold leaf interiors have become a signature style.
In 1997, Bennett began his adventure in making rugs. He describes this experience by saying, “Making these rugs has been a little like falling in love; it starts with a chance event and then begins to take over your life. Each year you learn more and relationship becomes richer.” While the rugs began as only one of a number of projects in studio, they came into their own in 2003 with the recognition of the “Red Zed” rug in the Metropolitan Home’s Design 100.
Elizabeth Rand joined the studio in late 2004; her fresh perspective and technical expertise clarified the Studio’s direction and expanded the scope and complexity of the Studio’s rugs. She and Bennett continued to build on the Studio’s earlier successes; their creative frission results in unique, artist-designed objects, which now includes a line of metal furniture.
BENNETT BEAN is a quintessential American polymath. Formally trained in fine art, he is best known as a ceramic artist but works in a range of media including stone, precious metals, paper, parchment and painting. Bennett has been making things, prolifically, since 1960, full time in studio for that last 25 years. His work is represented by numerous galleries as well as in major museum collections nationwide including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the White House Art Collection.
ELIZABETH V. RAND is a Philadelphia based artist and designer. She received her B.F.A from Kansas City Art Institute in Fiber and Textiles and has participated in several artist residencies around the country. Having traveled extensively across the United States as well as abroad, she incorporates the textures, patterns and processes of the places encountered into her design and artwork. Her aesthetic choices reflect her inclination to pare designs and ideas down to their truest and most succinct form.
Bennett Bean Artist Statement:
To understand an object I want to connect with it, to live with it, to have it around me. I’ll buy one if I can afford it but some things don’t exist anywhere but in my head. Those I have to make. In making I learn what’s there. The things I make influence what I buy and the things I buy influence what I make. From this process objects accumulate. Then comes the problem of “putting a thing in the world.” How do you present a pot, a painting, a piece of sculpture? You need some place to put it. So I work on the house. I don’t make any distinctions between making things, cooking, gardening, and building houses. Elements from the garden appear in paintings and the surface obsession of the pots appears in the house as consciousness of each decision about material and finish. Each cross-pollinates. Curiosity about how to express identity results in having my DNA done. That image then surfaces in collages and then again in rugs. The paintings and the pots have both contributed their imagery to the rugs. It’s a dance where ideas are applied in different ways depending on the medium.
**All photos courtesy of Bennett Bean Studio