Charley Harper was an American original. For more than six decades he painted colorful and graphic illustrations of nature, animals, insects and people alike, from his home studio in Cincinnati, Ohio, until he passed away in 2007, at the age of 84. His work style has a Mid-century Modern meets Art Deco vibe to it and an aesthetic that is timeless. These items make great gifts for bird, animal and art lovers.
The Charley Harper Art Studio continues to create and sell a beautiful selection of decorative and functional items for the home including Motawi tiles, glassware, dishes, and sculptures with his birds, owls and animals. Of course there are tons of books, calendars, lithographs, posters, stationary, children’s sticker books and more by Charley Harper, but here I am bringing the lesser known housewares to your attention.
“When I look at wildlife or nature subjects, I don’t see the feathers in the wings, I just count the wings. I see…endless possibilities for making interesting pictures.” – Charley Harper (1922-2007)
Renowned New York-based designer Todd Oldham rediscovered Charley’s work in 2001, and collaborated closely with him in the ensuing years; creating books such as the two lovely hardcover editions shown below and sets of glassware for Fishs Eddy.
An Illustrated Life (Hardcover) and Animal Kingdom
Feeding Station Dish-Towel
Upside Downside Dish-Towel
Assorted sets of 4 absorbent stone coasters, one of each design. 4.25″ diameter, 0.25″ thick round sandstone, mined and manufactured in Indiana, with 1/16″ thick cork backing. Each set in a printed box with wooden display stand.
Love Birds Absorbent Stone Coaster Set
Owl Pals Absorbent Stone Coaster Set
Feathered Friends Absorbent Stone Coaster Set
Bird Glasses, Set of 4
Red Bird Glasses, Set of 4
Sunset Glasses, set of 6
Cool Cardinal Glasses, set of 4
Trays, Platters and More
School of Fish Tray
Flamboyant Feathers Platter (14″)
Blue Jay Decanter
For over 20 years, the artisans at Motawi Tileworks have hand-crafted art tile in their Ann Arbor, Michigan, studio. These distinctive tiles are known for their rich glazes and uniquely American designs, inspired by nature, art and architecture. Unlike mass-produced tile, the unique design, beautiful craftsmanship, and affordability of Motawi tile allows people to own and enjoy real art, which won’t go out of style and will last for generations.
Perfect Tree Decorative Tile
Family Owlbum Decorative Tile
Upside Downside Decorative Tile
Autumn Edibles Decorative Tile
Cool Cardinal Decorative Tile
Gregarious Grosbeaks Green Decorative Tile
Limp on a Limb Decorative Tile
Bird Sculptures by Gold Leaf Design
American Modernist Illustrator Charley Harper simplified intricate and complex lines, shapes and movement through his painted art. He painted nature’s gifts with precision and called it “minimal realism.” With extreme attention to detail, Gold Leaf Design Group’s sculptures elegantly capture and render the energy and color of Mr. Harper’s birds in a three-dimensional form. Below are a few examples.
Burrowing Owl Wood Bird
Ruby Throated Hummingbird Wood Bird
Shafted Flicker Wood Bird, Yellow
Blue Jay Breakfast Wood Bird
Signed and numbered limited edition serigraphs such as “Romance on the Richter Scale” and “Down Under Down Under” (both shown below) are also available.
Since this post was written , a new Charley Harper book has been published. More than 110 serigraphs accompanied by intriguing, pun-filled captions fill this new, revised edition of Beguiled by the Wild pays homage to one of America’s most beloved artists.