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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Thoughts On Creating Commission Pieces

I find so much joy in doing commission work.  As the artist, I get to develop relationship with the clients.  If they are local, I even get to design the piece for space, considering the colors, geometric aspects of the site and seeing the furniture and other art work the clients have.

Currently, I'm designing three window panels for the greatest young couple.  There house is quietly elegant, without being stuffy!  Full of stunning pieces.   Because the couple are here in Asheville, I've had a chance to actually check the windows for how the light will come through, which really is exciting for my artist's mind.

It has been so much fun adjusting the approved sketches to the actual size, to source the various fibers (wool, silk, and bamboo), and to work on the layout.  Stretches my artistic "muscle".  

There are large pieces.  The first two are a rendition of our majestic French Broad River, done in two section.  It's 24x40!  Below is the "first draft" of the left window panel piece.

Wonderment Wednesday!

I like to post in "Wonderment Wednesday" about wonderful things I see around Asheville.  Believe me, there are so many!  But today, right in my studio, I'm overwhelmed with wonderment!  

Most of the time, I make pieces I like, inspired by the beauty of nature in my "neck of the woods". But I really love doing commission work.  It's fun to create pieces for a specific window or space, taking into account the likes and thoughts of the clients.  If are hikers, I'll make a trail, and embellish it with chopped wild cherry root.  Pastures may get a scattering of oat grass.  I find this enormously creative and fun!

I've chosen local North Carolina wool, beautiful hand painted bamboo, and silk fibers.  

I've just started on three large window panels. Two are 24 x 39, and the third is 27 x 36.  Huge for my wee studio! Two are The Asheville home they are going to is so beautiful...full of meaningful art that is special to this couple.

I met with the clients last weekend, and on Monday, began sketching out the first two pieces.  They are so big I had to move to the kitchen and sketch on the floor.   Now, I make many "French Broad Rivers" in pieces.  It such a mighty river!  But this is such a huge river, it took me all afternoon to get it right.  Allowed for sweeps and swirls in the River.  The banks will have bit of oyster shell and sand.  Blocks for the rhododendrons and pine trees and an oak grove.   And a trail...the couple love to hike!  

These will take a couple on months, but I'm so filled with Gratitude to have the opportunity to take their vision, my vision and create!

Again, with Gratitude!

Wonderment Wednesday!

Martha, my bestest buddy, is my heart-sister here in Asheville.  We meet once a week for "Coffee Class".  That's where we solve world and family problems, talk politics, spirituality and books, among other things.   Today we shook things up on our "Spring Field Trip" to Weaverville.  Just about 15 minutes north of Asheville.  

First stop was the Miya Gallery, which has amazing wood, pottery and jewelry. Strolled down the street to Magnum Pottery.  What talent!  It is a working studio.  The artists use local cray to make vessels, plates, cups, bowls.  Glazed with magnificent earth tones.   Today we got to see the kilns, both electric and gas.  They are huge!  


Next stop was The Crucible Glassworks.  Hillary kindly showed us around the studio and explained the process of using "canes" of glass to make the various shapes.  The ones we saw were only about 3/8 of an inch in diameter, but can be crafted into such marvelous shaped pieces.


Here's a piece we both liked, based on the shaped of Hopi Indian baskets!


We meandered along the French Broad River up to Marshall.  I'd never been there, but we were both charmed, just charmed.   From the Courthouse with plaques commemorating the local men killed in the Civil War to a marvelous restaurant (forgot the name!).  This restaurant has "Zuma Chocolate Cookies".  Those are the best cookies I've ever tasted.  We talked to Nancy the baker who created the recipe and says those cookies allow her to "live the Dream", which I totally understand.   Luckily, they are stocked the the Ingles Market on Merrimon Drive here in Asheville!

We ended the day at "Flow", a cooperative gallery.  Superb furniture, jewelry, paintings and pottery all made by local artists.  I've simply got to go back there!