When Hamilton resident Jennifer Paulino decided to redo her kitchen this summer, she was focused on appliances, cabinets, and flooring. On a budget, she was looking for function over fashion, but kept her eyes open for ways to personalize the space.
When she met stone carver Janis M. Blayne Paul of Distinctive Stone Art, she was captivated by the artist’s wonderfully detailed, hand-carved tiles and stones. Paulino knew she found that “certain something” that would transform her new kitchen into something extraordinary.
Paul, a longtime Hopewell resident, said many of Distinctive Stone Art’s clients, with whom she connects mostly through interior designers and landscape architects, are looking for something special to make their space feel special. “Most people are not even sure exactly what they want, at first,” she said. “They know they would love to have something special in their new space, but they need to talk it out.”
As she does with all clients, Paul met with Paulino to discuss plans for what would become a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Using a hammer and chisel, Paul carved for Paulino an abstract wheel of life on Travertine marble. It was installed above the stove where Paulino can admire it daily.
“Adding art to your space makes it yours. You enjoy its beauty and meaning every day, and guests see a new side of you that they may not have known,” said Paulino, a Robbinsville High School teacher and artist. “The artwork connects you with your inner self and your friends on a very powerful elemental level. Plus, having a piece of art made just for me makes my kitchen special. I love it now as much as when I first saw it and it makes me so happy to see it there everyday.”
Paul explained Distinctive Stone Art creates artisan stone tiled bas reliefs and stone sculptures for indoor and outdoor use. In addition to large pieces that must be installed, the company offers a gallery of stones as well as commissioned pieces; these become a perfect gift for the proverbial person who has everything.
Current collections include: mind body spirit carvings, athletics, animals, birds/nature/flowers, occasion stones, Judaica and other religious symbols, Celtic, logos, one-a-kind-designs and an art gallery with signed limited edition works.
“Distinctive Stone Art is uniquely personal and is a wonderful way to make your home, garden or office meaningful,” Paul said. “I believe my commitment and wedding stones are gorgeous personalized works of art that solidify a forever bond. Healing stones channel positive energy, good karma and healing. Intention stones help keep what is important front of mind. Often people use them for daily meditation or as a constant reminder of what’s important.”
Additionally, as with the Paulino kitchen example, Distinctive Stone Art can be incorporated into a new or existing space such as a walkway, a kitchen backsplash, a fireplace, “anyplace,” the artist said, “you want to make come alive with purpose.”
Paul’s carvings come in various sizes and types of stone at the customer’s request. Prices vary in accordance with type and size of stone and complexity of design.
“I certainly understand that most people are on a budget when it comes to re-doing a kitchen or bathroom or outdoor area,” Paul said. “I believe there are ways to make an area uniquely your own by adding hand-carved stones to the design.”
“Subway tile is everywhere. It’s fairly inexpensive and it’s clean and functional. However, everyone is using it. Distinctive Stone Art can be incorporated into any design to just elevate the space to something far beyond the ordinary,” Paul said. “Most people don’t even think about it. However, it’s so easy to incorporate art as a focal point and enhance and enrich the environment.”
Paul gets her name out there through exhibits, trade shows, word of mouth and several collaborations with design professionals. She is active with many civic organizations and participates in many charitable events where she does large-scale installations. For outdoor carvings, Paul uses a pneumatic die grinder along with the hammer and chisels.
“For me, the most exciting part of this work - beyond the actual creation of one-of-a-kind pieces, is the relationships I’ve forged with architects and designers and other professionals who value hard-carved stone art,” Paul said.
Galaxy Tile of Princeton and the Tile Gallerie in Dublin, Pa. are two local tile shops that display her work and facilitate a consultation. Additionally, Paul works with Cabinets by Amy & Lauren of Bordentown. She met the company when she was installing her stones at the Bucks County Designer House & Gardens. “In this business, connections with like-minded professionals are key,” Paul said.
Gallery photos and testimonials for Distinctive Stone Art are available at karmicstone.com or karmicstone.houzz.com.
An architect by trade, Paul, a longtime Hopewell resident, turned her attention from the utilitarian concrete buildings she was designing to tangible, hard-carved stones that “bring to life positivity and happiness.”
“Whether you are decorating your bedroom, updating your kitchen or designing an outdoor space, you should be surrounded with things you love — colors that enliven you, images and artifacts that make your heart sing,” said Paul. “Distinctive Stone Art offers something unique and personal that you will love and your friends and family members will admire.”