At Home with Dorothy Shain

Dorothy Shain is a South Carolina-based artist and creative entrepreneur with a knack for bold color, pattern and organic forms inspired by her travels.  Dorothy's dynamic portfolio explores mediums ranging from large scale oils to prints, and most recently a debut collection in textiles and wallpapers. Did we mention lampshades and a stunning swimwear collection for Anthropologie?
    
We spoke with Dorothy from her Greenville dining room about her journey as a creative, advice for entertaining at home and tips for aspiring art collectors & artists. Let's see how Dorothy made the dinner table her canvas..
Dorothy Shain, Girard Stripe

What's your approach to intimate gatherings at home? How do you like to keep things festive?

My approach - plan ahead and keep it simple. I'd much rather serve pizza on china than experiment with a disastrous complicated recipe and not have fun. There is nothing worse than hosting people but not being able to enjoy their company.

hanover placemats

We love that you’re constantly experimenting with new mediums. How has your work evolved over the years?

Thank you! As an artist - and a human - I think it is so important to learn, to read, to try new things. If you don't - your work (and you personally) never evolve. It is so important to lean into what calls you or what you are curious about. 

 

Your textile & wallpaper debut is a dream! Can you share how the Heritage Garden Collection came to life? 

You are the kindest. This project really took roots when I was in L.A. 6 years ago. I was touring an exhibit at LACMA and ran across a collaboration between textile companies and artists in the 60's. I love watching artists, specifically painters, cross genres. Alexander Girard is a huge inspiration of mine. While his background was architecture, his talent took him places no one would expect. Textiles and Wallpapers felt like a natural progression.
We’ve seen on Instagram that you’re in the process of renovating a beautiful historic home in Greenville. How would you describe your aesthetic? We’re dying to see how your work plays a role.
  
Gosh...my aesthetic. I feel like it changes constantly, but I really like to stick with the motto "If you love it, it will work anywhere, with anything."
   
Instead of collecting art and furniture to curate a room - I try to collect based on what I love and let the rest play out. Most items in my home have a story or my art pieces were a trade. Owning a home has also taught me that decorating, and renovating are a marathon not a sprint! As a person with a vision, I have a hard time with patience. Since our home is a 100-year southern bungalow, you are greeted with my Okra textile pillows lining the furniture when you walk in the door. 2021 - our goal is to redo our bedroom, the bathroom and the guest room. I can't wait to play with my patterns in those spaces!
Who do you look to for inspiration? Are there any artists that you admire or up and coming creatives you’re excited about currently?
 
YES. Alexander Girard. Josef Albers. Fairfield Porter. De Kooning. - I look to all of these guys for inspiration. As far as up + coming creatives I am really excited about now: Glory Day Loflin is an artist who trained at Cooper Union. Her work and talent completely blow my mind. 
 

Do you have any tips for buyers beginning to form an art collection?

Tips for buying art: Buy ONLY what you love!!! If it speaks to you (whether it is $1 or $100), buy it. Don't do it all at once. I like to think of it like a life thing. I will be collecting over my life and each piece will have a story. Get your honeys involved! William and I have a goal to collect at least one piece TOGETHER a year (meaning a joint decision) - it is fun way to get them involved. 
We loved seeing photos from your beautiful wedding! Can you share one or two of your favorite details from the day?
 

Thank you! Yes, I sure can. The morning of the wedding (we got married in Charleston, SC), William and I walked down the street to our favorite local eatery, Baba's on Canon for a quiet moment together before the craziness began. The owner caught wind that we were getting married that day and proceeded to toast us with prosecco and coffee. It was so unexpected but such a happy way to start our day. We were all smiles and laughs.

The other detail was the dance floor. Mid wedding - I looked up and noticed how much fun people were having. My aunt was dancing her heart out by herself. I think Covid had really run its toll on everyone and our wedding (while we still wore masks) was a chance for people to finally see people they loved in person and have a little fun. It made my heart skip a beat. 

Any favorite pieces in your cupboards currently (or from your registry)?

Yes! I think my favorite pieces from my registry were these Terrafirma plates. I feel like they really elevate my day to day living. My other most favorite gift was a set of Estelle Colored Glasses. I'm plotting where I will put them on display.
If you had to choose a few artists from history to join you for an epic dinner party, who would they be?  Set the table for us… 

What:  Dinner Party

Where:  Black Mountain College

What to Wear:  A Giambattista Valli dress (a dream to own) 

Around the Table: Josef Albers, Annie Albers, Cy Twombly, De Kooning, Georgia O'Keefe, Henri Matisse

On the Plate: Can't focus on the food, too scared to spill on my dress and can't stop staring at Cy Twombly

On the Table: Pink and red tulips. Colored candles everyone. Beautiful hand painted ceramics inspired by all of these artists travels 

In the Glass: Bubbles on Bubbles