Hatton House Diaries

One day, we decided to buy a 125 year old Victorian House in Des Moines, Iowa…….

Stained Glass Project Complete! March 11, 2016

wp-1457577085643.jpgBack in 2014, I took a class at the Des Moines Art Center in stained glass, which resulted in a transom window that was almost perfect. I adapted the design of the Keith family crest to a horizontal design, and I only needed to sort out how to add the family motto “Veritas Vincit” (truth conquers). I thought about casting metal letters, buying letters that could be soldered on, or foiling letters, but before I could execute a decision, I found out I was pregnant and didn’t want to be anywhere near lead.

Flash forward to this winter, new baby on hip and struggling to move house projects forward. My new policy is to make decisions and complete projects. Pregnancy brain made it impossible for me to think straight, so I orphaned projects left and right for lacking of trigger pulling abilities. After a brief Facebook discussion, I decided to try cutting letters out of foil, allowing me to control the font, then soldering on top of the foil to give the letters depth.


I made paper drafts to get the letters spaced into the glass.


Cut the letters out of copper foil and stuck them to the glass. Then I carefully soldered over the foil (not sure why I had to get my heart set on letters with so many sharp points, but I did).












Here’s the completed project. I love how it looks, even if it is a finished transom window in an unfinished door frame. The frame is a project for another day. I’m calling this one done.


Stained Glass Class at the Des Moines Art Center March 8, 2014

Filed under: Hatton House Studios,Remodeling and Design Projects — hattonhousedsm @ 11:31 am

wpid-20140308_103026.jpgI took the stained glass class at the Des Moines Art Center about 15 years ago, before we had kids, before we had an historic home. I mostly paid attention to the stained glass technique called “foiling” which is better suited for small projects, as opposed to leaded glass, which is better for larger windows like I want to do in the Hatton House. So when my parents asked what I wanted for my birthday/Hanukkah, the answer was easy: Stained Glass Class!

Turns out, it’s the same teacher still teaching at the Art Center, Jerry Goodrich, who was very supportive in my crazy idea to do a 12×27″ transom window in the scope of a six week class, especially after over a decade break in glass work. I free-hand drew an adaptation of the Keith family crest, altering it from the typical vertical to horizontal. The glass cutting and grinding came back fast enough, but this was my first project in lead, the that was more tricky than I bargained for. After much cursing and one last minute broken piece, it came together nicely. I still need to cement it, and I haven’t decided if I’m going to add the family motto “Veritas Vincit” in the white banner, but here’s the first of six transoms I want to do in the house!


Shop the Hatton House Studios Store! November 30, 2013

Home Cooked LoveWe have a Goodsmiths store now for the art created here! Proceeds go to supporting the restoration of the house, so you get handmade art AND that feel good thing in helping restore the house!


We do custom murals (with the mural artist behind Simply for Giggles fame!) and are happy to help you with commission work as well in ceramics and paintings. Shop here:  https://www.goodsmiths.com/hatton-house-studios

More items added soon!


Hatton House Studios Work by Tanya Keith and Amy Carrell Hanging at the Juice Company! September 17, 2013

Filed under: Hatton House Studios — hattonhousedsm @ 4:04 pm
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Juice CoAs we work on restoring the house, we’ve started to think of this place as a retreat for artists and writers to some day come and stay and refresh their creative spirits. while we prepare the house for overnight guests, I will sometimes invite over my artist friends to create with me as I am painting or making pottery. The eat-in kitchen has become the studio, and I love having friends or my kids around me as I create new work.

The Juice Company in the Shops at Roosevelt currently has a show of our work hanging for you to see some of the things that we’ve been working on this Summer. On the north wall is mixed media artist Amy Carrell, and on the south wall are paintings by me, Tanya Keith. My pieces are acrylic and mixed media paintings, featuring works with Hebrew and German language, a few that my children collaborated with me. I hope you’ll stop by, grab a smoothie and check out some of our work, and maybe even do a little early holiday shopping! Local art that supports local restoration is sure to be a hit!


Hashkiveinu – Hatton House Artist Tanya Keith April 14, 2013

Filed under: Hatton House Studios — hattonhousedsm @ 11:31 pm
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wpid-2013-04-14_15-00-42_22.jpgI loved the prayer “Hashkiveinu” since I learned it as a lullaby ten years ago when my daughter was born. I love it as a prayer of meditation of calming in a chaotic world. This painting seemed to fit. I’m enjoying painting in Hebrew, but I put the prayer text in English, for those of us who would struggle with that much Hebrew.

Acrylic on canvas, 30×30″ $250


Overtasked, Seeking Peace – Hatton House Artist Tanya Keith March 18, 2013

Filed under: Hatton House Studios — hattonhousedsm @ 4:33 pm

Overtasked, Seeking PeaceWe’ve been working on Hebrew study for my Bat Mitzvah, which I promised to accomplish before Aviva’s on August 15, 2015 (tick tock, tick tock, tick tock) and I’ve been working on incorporating some Hebrew into my work. I love the connection to my ancestors that I feel when I’m studying this ancient language. This canvas was about Shalom (which is what the white letters spell), or peace, and started with the bird that I found in my scraps from when I used to design kids rooms. I was thinking about how hard I used to work at my company, and how sad it made me to be away from my kids. I went through my antique photo file looking for a photo that would fit the painting. I found this lovely bit of a woman, slaving away at the books, and it captured my mood perfectly. Then I flipped it over, and the photo was titled “Overtasked,” I word I just love! It was Beshert…”meant to be” which is my next word to incorporate!

Acrylic and mixed media on 12×12″ canvas, $90 (quintuple chai)


Aviva’s Love – Hatton House Studios Artist Tanya Keith

Filed under: Hatton House Studios — hattonhousedsm @ 4:06 pm

Aviva's LoveI spent the afternoon doing abstract art with my daughter, Aviva. We were having artistic disagreements, so on this round, we each did our own canvases. This is what it’s like working with Aviva: a giant ball of great creative energy that can’t be directed. Even when she makes me crazy smearing paint all muddy (on the previous canvas) I love her, and even love how she pushes my creative boundaries (to the brink).

Acrylic on 10×20″ canvas, $100


Paisley Clouds – Hatton House Studios Artist Tanya Keith

Filed under: Hatton House Studios — hattonhousedsm @ 3:07 pm

Paisley CloudsI don’t care if it won’t stop snowing, I have Spring on the brain. I’m going to will it to get all green and colorful outside (while I watch the snow fall.)

Acrylic on 12×12″ canvas, $70


Hatton House Studios – Works in Progress

Filed under: Hatton House Studios — hattonhousedsm @ 2:14 pm

imageA glimpse of what we’re working on right now, including a fireplace mantle I’m either restoring or selling, since I finally found a Victorian one for our house! I’m debating taking the canvas on the right apart and splitting it into two canvases. Tanya and Aviva were working on it together and it developed a split personality on us! We’ll see how it develops!


Launch – Hatton House Studios Artist Tanya Keith with Aviva

Filed under: Hatton House Studios — hattonhousedsm @ 5:59 am
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LaunchIn the midst of my career as a shop keeper, I craved time with my daughter. When I asked what she wanted to do for Spring Break, she said she wanted to have an “art day.” So I booked time in my friends’ studio (before I got my own space at the Hatton House!) and off we went. We each created two pieces on our own, then collaborated on this piece. It was my first big break into abstract (and pallet knives, which I now love), and I don’t know if I would have gotten there without a shove from my daughter.

Acrylic on 54×61″ canvas, Not for Sale











Launch progress

A progress shot, photo documentation that Aviva is slowly learning it’s OK to be messy as an artist, a lesson taught to me by Caren Raphael, a New York based artist who taught children’s art at my hometown Montclair Art Museum. I was her assistant my senior year in high school. One day, she said “Tanya, you’re a very neat artist.” I said “Thanks.” She said “It’s not a compliment.” We all have important lessons to learn, especially from our early mentors. I’m pretty sure she’d be proud of how far I’ve come, messiness and otherwise.