Homage to Woolworth Walk

I am smitten with Asheville and enamored with the old architecture found in our Downtown.   Our stunning Basilica, the elegant Grove Arcade, the Masonic Temple, the Kress Building. To me, those beautiful buildings are “part of our charm”.

One of my favs is the Woolworth Building.  Located on Haywood Street, it was once an actual “5 and 10 cents” store!  The first Woolworth Store was opened in Utica, New York in 1878. Woolworth opened in Asheville in 1938.  

The Art Deco faced building was designed by  Henry Irven Gaines. and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.   Mr. Gaines came to Asheville from South Carolina and was a successful architect in his adopted City. He also designed many of the homes in Biltmore Forest, the 1930 Coca-Cola Bottling Company Plant, and was the Campus architect for Mars Hills College

The Woolworth Building was restored in 200l, and is now Asheville’s famous Woolworth Walk.  It is an art gallery with the work of over 170 local artists. You can see outstanding paintings and photography, huge metal sculptures, glass creations.  Elegant jewelry. Creative furniture. Over the years I’ve strolled through numerous times, and am always impressed with quality of the art displayed in the building.  It is a great venue to see the commitment to quality, and the passion of so many creative beings! The volume of this creative community is breathtaking.


And great news!  There is a Soda Fountain!  It is in the actual space where the original Lunch Counter was. The milkshakes are to die for, and I love the Reuben sandwich Looks just like something out of the 1950s!  I know, because I’ve eaten at a 1950’s Woolworth Lunch Counter!

Erin, the Manager,  shared some history with me the other day:   

The Building has a ghost, named “Mary”.  She appears to be a benevolent spirit, moving breakables off the walls, and setting them “squared up” on the floor in the aisles.   She also messes with the lights!

Generally, a Woolworth store would open in a city, with Kress Department Store following in a few years. In Asheville, just the opposite happened.

And, here’s a newsflash for you:  The third floor is under construction right now.  There will be loft-style Airbnb units! What a treat to spend the night there.

And now my fiber art is in this wonderful building, surrounded by such a creative community.  I find my own history circling back around. As a little girl I shopped at a Woolworth’s, and had after school malts.   Bought my “Seventeen” magazines there, and of course Yardley perfume! My first job was as a hostess at Woolworth Lunch Counter.  And now, my fiber art is in the Woolworth Walk in Downtown Asheville. I feel honored to be included!


It's not what you think it is!

Recently I answered a question on a group site.  The question was:  tell us something we don't know about yourself".  My answer was that my 2nd grade teacher took my box of crayons away because I kept coloring outside the lines.  And that now I'm an artist here in Asheville.   I included a pic of one of my fiber vessels...the first one I ever created.  This is the one I saw whilst having radiation therapy.  It set me on my path when we moved to Asheville!

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The comments humbled me, to say the least.  One comment was "I love glass".  BUT it's not glass!  It is colored wool, silk, and mohair sewn together, cast into shape.  Then there layers of paint and epoxy resin!   

So, things aren't always as they seem!

Opening at Asheville Area Arts Council Tonight!

Years ago, before I lived here, the Asheville Area Arts Council did a fundraiser for Our Voice.  I donated a quilt about shattered/mended hearts.  It was so big we had to build a shipping box!  Someone bought that quilt, and I've always been glad I donated it.  Through the years, I've visited the AAAC so many times, referred so many friends and visitors to see the excellent exhibits they have had.  

And now, tonight is the opening of a show there, and I'm one of the artists.  I think that is pretty amazing.  I am so full of gratitude!

Swing by tonight (5-8), or visit through July 27th!

Fire!

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Yesterday I used four different colors of wool to create a sample piece.   Whilst the picture below shows the piece as flat, it will be a standing piece, representing the element "Fire".  It has not been painted, embellished or resined.  But when I put it up to the light, I really like it, especially how the light passes through it.  

 

I like it so much flat, that the next step will be cutting it up!   The finished piece looks good in my head, so I'm excited to try this!

Please come and see me!

This Saturday.  Yes, this Saturday.  It's Second Saturday in Asheville's River Arts District.  Ill be joining many of the RADA artist who will be working and demonstrating in the District's many studios and galleries.  And we love talking about what we do.  

I'll be at Eco Depot Marketplace (408 Depot Street) starting at 2:00 p.m., working on a couple of spring vessels.  Here's a pic of the fibers I used.  My first use of Alpaca fibers and they are amazing to work with.   And maybe a piece that is a "whole new thing"!

There will be live music starting at 7:OO, so it will be a great time.  Hope to see you!

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What I learned from a wedding and a garden...

Our son got married last month at a local vineyard.  We love her so much, and are so happy for them.  It was quite a celebration....happy families and friends, beautiful venue.  I slept for two days!  

I did some quilting for the event, and realized how much I'd missed that medium.  Last week, I was working in our garden and was struck dumb by the variety of flowers we grow.  Sweet william, lantana, marigolds, morning glories, and my bold and brassy zinnias.  All different, but a part of the overall garden.  

I began thinking "what if my art included quilting?  The vessels, lamps and window panels are made from fiber, and fabric is too.  No?  And I love making these "petite" quilts - only 3x3.  They come with a wee easel, and are great for shelves, desks, and....wherever!   And by "quilts", I don't mean the kind you snuggle in!   Art quilts....full of beading.  

Some of the petites and the art quilts are in Asheville's River Arts District at Eco-Depot Marketplace.  Stop by and see the new additions and other pieces of fiber art!

Accoutrements....

...or embellishments.  Before the final coat on a window panel, vessel or lamp, I use organic material to add a bit of intrest.  I usually head to The Villagers on Haywood Road in West Asheville.  Bits of beeswax for flowers in a field, chopped oat straw strewn across a pasture, dried rhodiola branches for light dirt.  

But I was stumped on this large commission piece.  The clients wanted fall leaves and a path (needing "darker" dirt.  And that's the fun of doing commission work....listening to the clients and capturing their vision in fiber.

Then one morning I'm out in our garden, deadheading, and voila!  Strawflowers and marigolds for the leaves and magnolia leaves for the dirt!  Pick a passel of those and dried them on my years old drying screen and they are perfect.

I feel like Dorthy, "...there's no place like home."!

 

The largest piece....

...I've ever done!  The pic below is of what, will be, a large bathroom window.  It is the commission piece I've had so much fun doing!   The left side show a finished panel.  Just the sewn fibers.  The right side is after a first coat of resin has been applied.  The blue tape indicates the placement of the dogwood grove and the rhododendron shrubs.   

Once both panels have two coats of resin and  painted embellishing here and there, I'll do two more coats of resin.  In between those, I'll set in the organic elements:  oat straw, beeswax, rhodiola branch, and a little magic!  Trust me, when these pieces are mounted, they will look like stained glass!

This is the trill of creating a commission piece:  designing for a specific space in a home or business, with the hobbies and interests of the about "to be owners" in mind!

What an Artistic Weekend!

Asheville is a well-known center for the arts.  I like to think of it as a "vortex of creativity"!  Seems like that vortex is concentrated in the renowned River Arts District.  I'm one of those artists.  Last weekend was the Spring Studio Stroll.  

Talk about exiting!  Studios are open, with many of use doing demos and talking to all sorts of folks about "why we do what we do" and how we do it.   I was at Eco-Depot Marketplace, working on the first layer of paint.  The piece I was painting is one half of the largest commission piece I've done to date!  Asheville sky and clouds, mountains, and my beloved French Broad River. 

Then I made a huge mistake!  Like spilling emerald green paint on on corner. I was frozen for a moment, but then quickly scooped it up.  I started blotting, but there was soooo much green.  When I got back from washing my hand, there was Shelley, the owner/artist of Eco-Depot calmly blotting it out.  In my frazzled state, I just stepped away.   Shelley kept working.  Buy the time I got back, not a trace of green!

The point of this story is that one of the best parts of being a RADA artist is the collaborative spirit among the artists.  I'm look forward to working with a couple of artist on joint project soon.   

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Getting it done!

Below you'll see the two window panels that make up a portion of the commission I'm working.  The French Broad River.  One panel for each of the two side by side bathroom window.  This has been a delightful set to work on, and an artistic challenge!  The next step in the process is to paint and resin (three or four layers of each!)  Wait to you see it then!

Just Sayin'

Over the years, I will admit I've probably driven my family crazy, saving this and that.  Those items that I "might use in a project".  Lots of fabric, from wee snippets to a yard or two.  Broken glass and tile.

In my studio is a box labeled "Organics".  What is in that, pray tell?  My collection of elk hooves that will some day, in my spare time become a wind chime.  Crushed walnut shells for dirt.  Crushed almond shells for lighter dirt.  Bottle caps...never know when you'll need those.   Tickets.  May want to incorporate those in a painting.  There is more.  It's an eclectic collection.

Today, I'm working on a window panel.  Now these are all sewn fiber that is then painted.  I needed sand for the bottom area of "Koi Pond".  Yep!  Right there in my "Organics" box is sand.  And it was just perfect!

So ya never know when you need just the right thing.  I'm going to have to get a bigger box!

Starting the week with this...

I'm so pleased with this little blue vessel.  I love the shimmer in the bottom, and think it will look like water when it is done.


The shape is a new one, and I like the organic look of it! Now that it is finally dry, and perfect, the next step is to complete the first layers of paints.   I'll be using great metallics in blue and silver.   And it is a perfect day to paint:  cold and gloomy in Asheville!