Hatton House Diaries

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

Hatton House Studios March 5, 2013



One of the missions of the house is to give a home for local arts exhibitions and a maker space for artists. You’ll also find the work of Tanya Keith, Lady of the House, posted here. To see the works of our artists, please click here to see the Hatton House Studios posts on our blog. 

Tanya Keith’s Artist Statement

I am an artist on a journey. I worked for many years as a mural painter, designing rooms for children, and while I loved creating spaces around each child, I found myself struggling to find ways to express my own creative voice. I took classes, thinking I was missing the one skill that would make me feel at home, but what I really needed was my own time to breathe and let the work flow. I found my creative space when I closed my kids design business, and along with my family, moved into a 125 year old Victorian home in Des Moines.

Everything about the house spoke to me: as I refinished the hand carved woodwork, I thought about the men who had spent hours carving it, the maids and caretakers who had polished and waxed it, and I began to see stories in everything around me. I found myself getting distracted from my searches for architectural salvage by the boxes of 100 year old ephemera: old photos with charming and mysterious notes on the back, silverware with 50 year old fingerprints.  At the same time, I started a home-based Hebrew School for my children along with a few other community families. Having studied graphic design and traveled extensively, I’m interested in the way our written language evokes meaning, particularly in foreign languages and alphabets. As I guide my daughter through her bat mitzvah study, I am fascinated by Hebrew, and finding a deep connection to the language of my grandparents. I am presently exploring the expression of that connection as a Jew who was raised outside the faith, but now seeks to find ways to make a language lost to many Jews of my generation, meaningful and expressive again.

I want to make connections to the past: languages of my ancestors, the lost stories of our families, fragments of homes and objects that have been lost in the digital age. When people view my work, I want them to see new things in the familiar of their everyday lives. I want them to get lost in the details of each piece and find the little words and symbols hiding within the paint and media. My work is meant to be a treasury of discovery and a spark of color and wonder for people seeking a memory or an inspiration. I hope it makes people more thoughtful about the objects in their own lives, as well as the fragments of history in their own environment.


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