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Art Galleries and Interior Design

By Dedee Shattuck

Dedee Shattuck, of Dedee Shattuck Gallery, spoke with us about owning an art gallery and how it relates to homeownership and interior design in the 21st century.

What are your thoughts about current home designs?

Since the Industrial Revolution, our homes have become more mechanized, leading to an easier lifestyle for humans. Now we are experiencing a technological structure, which allows even more ease, but with all the machines to make life easier, something essential can be missing entirely: the creative process. Homes should be the place that reflect the people living in them, their individual expression. We are not cookie-cutter men and women, although we are mercilessly marketed to. When crossing a home's threshold, it is refreshing to sense the unique character of the home. What is it that sets this place apart from all the others? Do the spaces flow? Is there a sense of openness? What does the space tell you about the people who live here? Without knowing a thing about the occupants, we can glean information using all our senses. It is a delight to bring a client's personality into the design of his or her space. It is symbiotic process, an unfolding of personal preferences and desires. In my practice, I listen closely and seek to draw forth the magic that everyone has deep within them. Homes are personal, and I must respect the boundaries between my advocacy of my "ideal" design idea, and the client's goals. It's a dance, which I enjoy immensely. Being in the art business allows me to offer an even more personal reflection of my clients' tastes and preferences. We draw from national artists and craftsmen.

Tell us about yourself and your gallery:

Upon graduating from the New York School of Interior Design in 1978, I designed kitchens and living areas in Manhattan, within the new paradigm of an expansive "family room." Gourmet cooking within the home became a way of life and a design statement with bragging rights.

Leaving the city and moving back to my hometown of Dartmouth, I focused on commercial design projects. A contract to design the furniture suite of an executive office led me to study woodworking and joinery techniques at UMass Dartmouth's Program in Artisanry. The skills I learned reinforced the concepts of design so beautifully articulated by Michael Kalil, my professor at NYSID: designing spaces, whether it be a desk or a building, need to be comforting to human beings, using the principles of solidity, light, proportion and detail. What you don't see is just as important as what is seen.

William Shattuck, my artist husband of 35 years, and close friends in the arts, encouraged me to pursue the idea of opening an art gallery. Decades of close observation of galleries and museums, gave me clues to designing the "perfect" gallery space. The monthly exhibitions of national artists working in all media, demand a chameleon-like quality to the space- every show has its own distinct personality, enriching the experience at each visit. A blank palette.

A natural-born love of the arts can be nurtured by keeping a visual journal, even from the earliest age. Kids' eyes light up when something they experience inspires them. There is an erroneous perception that if you can't draw you can't be an artist. A gestural mark can record an experience, and this dedicated practice of drawing will evolve into a more facile discipline. People need to turn off their electronic screens, modern-day time hogs and soul deadeners, and get enrichment using all five senses. The Dedee Shattuck Gallery is a Quaker inspired architectural space, nestled in meadows of flowers and grazing cows. It is located at 1 Partners Lane in Westport, MA (508)-636 4177 Open Wednesdays through Saturdays 10 to 5, and Sundays 12 to 5.

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About The Author

Dedee Shattuck grew up on Barney's Joy Farm in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. She studied...

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