As Aria has taken a great step forward with the recent announcement of an e-commerce platform, it is important to take a moment and remember where this great journey began. The origins of Aria are deep-seeded in an appreciation for art, design, and natural beauty through the Slow Art Movement.

 

 

 

Pictures Herbarium, 2011, Gunilla Lagerhem Ullberg (b 1955), shown at the Slow Art Exhibit in Stockholm 2012. Gunilla Lagerhem Ullberg picked and shredded flowers, dried the petals and combined into patterns into new, two-dimensional version of nature. No two petals are exactly alike, not even two petals from the same blossom. The process is experimental. The lessons learned must be remembered for the following year’s harvest. Photo Credit: Nationalmuseum at Stockholm, Sweden
Necklace, 2003, Janna Syvänoja (b 1960), Paper, steel wire, Height 4 cm, diameter 27 cm, nmk 23/2005 Gift from The Friends of the Nationalmuseum, Bengt Julin Fund, The material is slips of paper cut from an encyclopedia and a steel wire to hold the pieces together. Like pearls, Janna Syvänoja tenderly threads slip after slip onto the wire. The time aspect is central, this is a slow and monotonous procedure. Each slip is positioned with a minute shift in relation to the previous one. In design, it resembles turned wood, the original substance of paper. With time, the paper will go yellow, altering the appearance of the necklace. The process illustrates a modesty found in Syvänoja’s oeuvre, where the works are as transient as nature itself. Photo Credit: Nationalmuseum at Stockholm, Sweden

It all began in 2012, when owner, Vinny Tavares, visited the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm and came across the Slow Art Exhibit. In this exhibit, art was on display that took months and years to create, often from tedious and repetitive actions. The focus is on the art of creation and heirs on the side of quality over quantity. Slow art is in opposition to the direct-to-consumerism approach that so many companies and artists align with as to increase profits and growth in the short-term. Cilla Robach further describes the movement, “the objects that are presented here as Slow Art were hand-crafted in slow, often intricate processes. The considerable time required to make these works has not always been a cause of frustration for artists or craftspersons. On the contrary, they have valued time and regarded slowness as a central element in their artistic process. Many practitioners have put special emphasis on shaping certain details, without having to fear the mental boredom or physical pain of repetition. Instead, the viewer suspects that they have found tranquility in the monotonous and slow work stages that were required to create a specific piece. Our need to slow down and create room for re-election was summed up by Honoré in an overall concept he called the Slow Movement. Perspectives that focus on doing things well instead of quickly, on valuing quality instead of quantity. On handling materials, i.e. our common natural resources, with care, and showing consideration for future generations. On seeing a value in slowness. On allowing time to be a significant factor in the artistic process.”

Dress Broken Shadow, 2008, Helena Hörstedt (b 1977), Raw silk, leather, Height 110 cm, width 50 cm, nmk 110/2009, Gift from The Friends of the Nationalmuseum, Bengt Julin Fund Hundreds of leather pieces of exactly the same shape are combined into cones of exactly the same dimensions to achieve the desired effect. In her artistic process the garments are distinctly set apart from the often ephemeral fashion scene. Slowly, they find their form. Photo Credit: Nationalmuseum at Stockholm, Sweden

Beyond the Slow Art Movement, the concept is also found in several other contemporary categories, such as Slow Food (as opposed to Fast Food), Slow Travel, Slow Craft, Slow Design, Slow Fashion, Slow Media, Slow Consumption, Slow Education and Slow Parenting.

 

Collar Egypten [Egypt], 1983, Helena Edman (b 1952), Titanium, gold 18k, silk, Height 0.5 cm, diameter 24 cm, nmk 27/2006, Gift from The Friends of the Nationalmuseum, Bengt Julin Fund With inspiration from ancient Egyptian collars, the goldsmith Helena Edman made this collar as her graduation piece at the Guldsmedehøjskolen in Copenhagen. The titanium tubes were coloured through electrolyte, where different nuances are achieved by changing the amperage. The titanium has to be clinically clean before the process can start, so Helena Edman has meticulously polished off the oxidised surface before turning on the electricity. When the tubes have gained the desired colour, they are sawn into the final length, a task that uses up countless saw blades. Finally, Edman threads them onto silk. The collar weighs 335 grams and consists of some 1 730 parts. This work took four months to complete, from sketch to finished collar. Photo Credit: Nationalmuseum at Stockholm, Sweden
Sculpture Sub Rosa, 2004, Renata Francescon (b 1962), Porcelain, Height 30 cm, diameter 48.5 cm, nmk 7/2005, Gift from The Friends of the Nationalmuseum, Bengt Julin Fund The art of repetition has a peculiar fascination for Renata Francescon. With her bare hands, she thumbs out thin, individually shaped porcelain rose petals. The process is repetitive; one petal after another is made. Combined into roses and stacked on each other, they form a spatiality where the contrast between the thin, fragile petals and the actual weight of the porcelain sculpture creates a tension. Her method is significant. Francesco’s fingers leave their imprint on the clay, a physical trace of her presence. Photo Credit: Nationalmuseum at Stockholm, Sweden

Vinny, a stone aficionado and industry expert, was intrigued by this concept and could instantly see the many parallels to the stone industry. Beautiful natural stone takes hundreds if not thousands of years to come to fruition through geologic formation. And the extraction process in quarries such as those in Carrara, Italy is an art form passed from generation to generation. But the journey does not end there. The next step of this long and thoughtful process is Vinny, personally hand-selecting each stone at the quarry based on rarity, beauty, and quality, much like an art appraiser inspecting a work of art at Sotheby’s.

As Vinny had long viewed stone as art, he realized that it should be treated and displayed as such. Therefore, the obvious next step was to celebrate stone by showcasing slabs in a gallery-like format, encouraging the viewers to dive in deeper into stone education, and most importantly, by creating an environment that allows the viewer to not feel rushed so they can develop an emotional connection, similar to the overwhelming feelings you experience when viewing art in a museum.

In 2013, the Aria Stone Gallery showroom in Dallas was born, and was quickly followed by a Houston showroom, as designers, architects, and homeowners alike, all appreciated Aria’s transparent and educational approach to showcasing stone as art. The experience of celebrating stone in a peaceful environment allows the viewer to appreciate and gaze upon the stone in awe, rather than grazing slab yards in hopes to find a buried treasure.

The goal of Aria’s e-commerce platform is to share this artistic approach and appreciation for stone as a natural work of art with more and more people, nationwide. And as Aria continuously evolves over the course of the next few years, at the core will remain art appreciation and stone education, #stoneisart.

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