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!


Magic is Afoot!

Along with goblins, ghouls and ghosts; spooks, slime and slithery things, another kind of magic is afoot in Asheville!  Asheville is famous for its River Arts District.

The RADA member are working long and late to create a magical treasure trove of art for you to enjoy during our annual Studio Stroll this November 10the and 11th.  There’s fiber/textile art, pottery bowl and plates, sculpture, basketry. There are paintings. There is jewelry and woodworking.

On November 10th and 11th, the magic will be on full display at our annual Studio Stroll!  Studios and galleries will be open, with many artist doing the actual work of “magical making”  And we love seeing you all, and telling you about how we create our myriad of pieces.   

Please make a date to treat yourself to a day in the RAD!

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”Nebula” made from wool, silk and mohair.

A Perfect Day!

It is so Spring today!  Spent the morning in the studio working on a commission piece, and then joined other River Arts District artists for breakfast. 

When I got home, I cut back some of our hydrangeas.  Mind you, these bushes are at least 25 years old.  We brought them to Asheville when we moved.   I saved ooooodles of the dried flowers for embellishing future vessels and window panels!  Loved using dried flowers, leaves and seeds from our little garden in my art!

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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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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."!

 

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!

Last weekend I started a "Spring Makeover" of my space at Eco-Depot Marketplace.  Bless my spouse, Patrick, for helping out.  Let me tell you, what I don't know about electrical things is, well, a lot!

Looks soooo much better.  

Folks, if you haven't been to Eco-Depot, stop by soon.  It is on Depot Street, in Asheville's River Arts District!   There are over 50 local artists showcased in a marvelous old brick building.  

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!

Close up and personal!

Today, I'm messing around with this website to add Eco-Depot Market Place as a venue where my art fiber art can be seen and purchased.  

This is such an exiting concept!  Recycled, repurposed items that are transformed into stunning art work.  Quilts, jewelry, yard art, paintings....oh my!  For me it is stunning to be working with so many talented artists.  I really believe Asheville is a "vortex of creativity"!

Whilst looking for a couple of pic, I came across this one of a close up showing the colors on the rim of a vessel.  I love these colors!  And when the light passes through?  Like stained glass!

Eco-Depot is located in Asheville's River Arts District, at 408 Depot Street.   Stop by and check it out!

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!