About Us
The Ariel Home Arts collection, assembled by artist Mark A. Bernstein, provides a one-stop source for exceptional home design and gift items. Trained at the University of Oxford, England, from where he received a Master’s in Fine Art, Mark has exercised his keen eye to create an eclectic catalog of beautiful and unusual pieces for the home. Through the years, he has called many a place home, but through a personal approach to decorating, has always managed to make it his own. So at Ariel Home Arts, our thinking is simple: Why choose to live somewhere that is ordinary, filled with mediocre mass-produced objects, when without great expense you can enhance your life, transforming your everyday surroundings into something special, even extraordinary?
Individually handpicked for their unique qualities and fine craftsmanship from numerous artisans and suppliers, nations and cultures, the items on display here represent a wide-ranging array of truly choice products. In fact, Mark was so proud of the collection that he literally lent it his own middle name – Ariel. So our name really stands for a personal commitment to quality and service. It is a name which also suitably calls to mind many artistic and Romantic associations.
The word Ariel is Hebrew in origin, meaning “Lion of G-d.” In religious literature it came to be used as a symbolic reference to the ancient Temple that stood in Jerusalem, renowned for its fine materials and awe-inspiring construction, and considered by Jews to be the holiest place on Earth. By extension, a person's home is compared to the Temple in miniature. Likewise, we hope our collection will enable you to create a home that is inspiring to behold, and infuse your living space with a sense of the sacred and special.
Shakespeare’s last play, The Tempest, has long dazzled audiences with its blend of magic, music, humor, intrigue and tenderness, as well as its vibrant characters. The mood is especially heightened by the appearance of a character named Ariel, considered one of the Bard’s most unusual and delightful creations. Ariel is a mischievous, magical, and ethereal “airy spirit,” who sings its own poetic song. It asks of its master, whom it diligently serves,
“What’s thy pleasure?” We at Ariel Home Arts hope to serve you, our customer, with the same kind of devotion. We trust you’ll discover much that you find magical here, to please and delight you, and that, as the play would have it, “We are such stuff/ As dreams are made on.”
The famous Romantic poet Shelley anointed his thirty-foot boat Ariel. Originally it had been named Don Juan by another man, as a compliment to Shelley’s friend and poet, Lord Byron. But according to Mary Shelley (Shelley’s wife and the author of Frankenstein), her husband changed it to Ariel. It was thus the Ariel that Shelley was sailing off the Italian coast at the end of his life. After his body washed ashore – identified by a copy of Sophocles in one coat-pocket and Keats in another – it was cremated on a funeral pyre, on the beach near Viareggio. Added to the pyre were wine, oil, salt, and the volume of Keats. The flames slowly consumed everything – except, the legend goes, for Shelley’s heart. This was taken, still whole, and given to Mary Shelley. She is said to have kept it till her dying day. The ashes of the Oxford-educated poet were interred in the English burying ground at Rome. There, marking the spot, a slab in the ground is inscribed: “Cor cordium,” heart of hearts. Below the dates of Shelley’s life is this Shakespearean quotation:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
The words are none other than those from the song sung by the sprite Ariel in The Tempest. For Ariel was one of Shelley's favorite characters, and The Tempest one of his favorite works; his death by drowning in an actual tempest makes the lines especially meaningful. Ariel Home Arts strives to bring the same kind of passion and heart to our work that Shelley dedicated to his own. And just as Shelley and his wife were strong advocates of vegetarianism, you will find that our store is cruelty-free and none of our products are animal-based.
Of all the schools of design, one of the most famous is what became known as “Scandinavian Modern.” But Scandinavian design of the 1940s and 1950s was much richer and varied than that experienced in the typical American showroom of the times. This is especially true of Scandinavian glass. One of the most famous of the Swedish glassworks is Orrefors Glasbruk, which came to international prominence when Simon Gate and Edward Hald, a former student of Matisse, were hired as designers in 1916 and 1917. One of Orrefors’ revolutionary innovations would be a process called Ariel. With the Ariel process, multiple layers of glass were used to encase sandblasted designs, trapping pockets of air and creating a bubble effect. One of the masters of the Ariel technique, Ingeborg Lundin, has claimed that “You can’t express sad feelings” in glass because it is too “exuberant.” Swedish art glass not only embodies that exuberance, but a devotion to the highest levels of craftsmanship as well; it has often surpassed even Italian glass in the interest generated among collectors. And just as Ariel glass displays excellence in its craftsmanship, and joy in its expression, Ariel Home Arts celebrates this sensibility by aiming to promote work that fosters a sense of refinement and bliss.
Ariel was the name that writer Sylvia Plath gave to her beloved horse, which she liked to ride near the village in Devon, England, where she lived for a time. Ariel then became the title for one of her most famous poems, as well as her last and greatest single collection of poetry. For The Collected Poems she was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize. An enigmatic figure who was also an artist, she was known to have an appreciation of interesting objects and surroundings, and was excited to live and write in the same home as the poet Yeats had done before her. She even wrote a book for children called The Bed Book, detailing a list of fantastical beds. In similar vein, we strive to offer a catalog of home items that is worthy of such creativity and appreciation.    
It is only fitting that we end on a fun note with the sweet Walt Disney cartoon character, Ariel – who yearns to experience the joy of new and different surroundings – from the animated film for children, The Little Mermaid. After all, what is life without variety and change? And what is life without children, and the child inside all of us? Be sure to explore our cute and charming pieces designed specifically for children’s bedrooms. You might just find you have a soft spot for them too.
We hope you enjoy your time here. We’re constantly adding more items, so check back often to find out what's new. We look forward to seeing you again soon!