Sunlight slanting through a window pane. The shadow play of squares within squares. An Etruscan coin worn by antiquity. Such beauty inspires sculptor, decorative artist and designer Denise Siegel to create, and drives her passion to share beauty with her clients.
An artist “from the time I could pick up a crayon,” Denise took a wide range of classes at the Art Institute of Chicago from early childhood through her high school years. A lifelong student of studio art, sculpture, art history, as well as historical, cultural and natural ornamentation, Denise’s particular fascination with bas relief, which is sculpture built up on a flat surface, is exhibited in her work. The technique, quite ancient, allows the artist to convey depth by varying the projection of clay from the surface.
And while all businesses begin as a dream, Denise’s destiny as a professional sculptor literally took shape in one.
“I dreamed of a grand old white house on a hill, empty of all but a classical figurative sculpture on a pedestal in the living room, and illuminated by intense natural lighting,” says Denise. The dream’s meaning was less important than its message—sculpture was to be her direction. Shortly after, she took her first sculpture class. “Five seconds into the clay I knew that I was home, and from then on my identity was that of a sculptor.”
Denise honed her figurative sculptor skills as a student of, then studio assistant to sculptor Eric Blome, later taking over teaching his figurative sculpture classes when he moved away. Teaching led to figurative, portrait and decorative sculpture commissions, then eventually to her true passion—decorative bronze art.
Why bronze? For Denise it is the solidity of the metal as opposed to the impermanence, the fragility of ceramic.
“Bronze is the natural medium of the figurative sculptor,” Denise explains. “When I first began sculpting tiles I had no idea tile made of bronze were available. For me, it was taking clay to the next level. My tiles never felt finished until they were bronze.”
Denise’s extensive experience in the casting and finishing of bronze and exceptional design skills dovetailed perfectly with her lifelong passion for decorative art. It led to the establishment of New Bronze Age Tile, Inc. in 2004, then to deniseSiegelbronze in 2010—a studio more encompassing of the art of bronze.