Sunday, April 25, 2010

Beautiful Lampwork

Headed over to d'Art Center, which had moved and with the light rail constuction was a nightmare to find. Anyhoo, on this trip I met a lampwork artist by the name of Cathy Jo Ramsey. Truly one of the loveliest people I have ever met. Her space at d'Art is filled with her beautiful glasswork, thousands of glass rods stored in and on antique furniture pieces and her work station. She worked as a PE teacher for 30 years. Retired now, she is following her artist heart to working with glass. She began as a glass blower and has now moved into lampwork. I have to say she was so much fun to watch and speak with. She demonstrated how she makes her signature piece, a glass oyster on the half shell. Take a look at her work here . The way she blends the glass color and curls the edges was truly fascinating. She was very encouraging when I spoke with her about trying lampwork myself. I had to say though I would probably end up with a blob of ugly glass! I guess as with any art it takes a lot of practice to become good at what you do. I told her she would be a great vendor at Art and Soul. I'm sure her items would sell like hotcakes. If you are ever at d'Art Center make sure you stop by to see this wonderful lady and stay awhile to watch and chat.

Not much else was open in the d'Art center on a Sunday afternoon but with all glass fronts you could see the work of other artists. Normally they are there working and sell their art. Apparently, during the week they have lunch events with music. It is definitely a place to visit again, perhaps on a Saturday when more artists are around. Check out their website If you park at MacAuthor mall it's just a two block walk. Directions, hours and parking suggestions are listed on the website.

As usual another art adventure leads to lovely things and lovely people!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

An April Ramble

Yesterday I took off to explore. I headed out to Hampton to Queens Way. This shopping/restaurant area consists of small shops all in a row with brick sidewalks and housed in old buildings. Great ambience. I wish there were more stores to peruse because the ones that are there are great! I started off in a cottage store called Shabby Chic (47 E Queens Way). Wonderful paint flaked windows, sea glass, and all other sorts of old stuff. They have these wonderful mermaids cut from old wood then embellished with sea glass and sea shells. One of those would look so nice in my new bathroom!

At the back of the store you walk through an open area and up some stairs and find yourself in another store, Modernlux. Great retro stuff! Loved the kitschy zippered pouches and shopping bags. A bonus for the green me, they are made from 90% reclaimed materials. If you are lookinig for something mid-century this store is the place to hit. You can become a fan/friend on their Facebook page, Modernlux Hampton.

My next stop was Something Different (19 E Queens Way). Great combination of architectural elements, signs, and garden items interspersed with antiques. I saw several architectural elements I would have loved to hang in my studio. I'll be back for another visit once I get my studio reorganized and figure out what to do with my walls that aren't being used for storage!

Just walking through this area on a beautiful Spring day was a joy. I cut through to W. Queens Way, passing by one of the best tea rooms in the area, The Grey Goose. The menu offers a lot of variety. For those of you not vegetarian, this is one of the places you can get a bowl of Brunswick Stew and Virginia Ham biscuits...two VA treats. Not only great food, but they offer music and dinner theater events which they have dubbed Dinnertainment. One of my favorite director/actors Roxanne Whitmore Kohlman performs at the Grey Goose. By eating here you would also support 3/50 Projects "Eat down the street" initative! (More on this later.)

As I looped back around to my car I meandered through the Blue Skies Gallery. This art gallery contains work from many local artists all for sale. A couple of my favorite picks: The pottery by David Fletcher which is fired in an actual open flame fire instead of a kiln. The markings on the pieces are gorgeous. The assemblage art by Susan Bastinelli. I'm usually not an assemblage fan, due to the fact it often frightens me in a Sid Phillips tortured toys sort of way. However, the piece she has at the Blue Sky Galleries is great. Normal everyday objects and a clock casing used to create a quirky and fun face with a tuft of broom hair. And of course all of the jewelry! I love art jewelry and have gotten to the point where that's about all I wear anymore. I could have dropped big dollars on jewelry here but I was really trying to be good!

Speaking of spending money, if you aren't aware of the 3/50 project click on the link to the right on my blog and find out more. In a nutshell it's about spending your money locally to save the small privately owned business in your community. You pick three and spend a total of $50 dollars each month. Something you might not know is that for every $100 dollars spent at locally owned independent stores $68 stays in the community through taxes, wages and other expenditures. If you spend it at a national chain only $43 stays here. They have created another promotion on their site called "Eat down the street." It's the same kind of concept only it involves eating once a week at one of the local, privately owned restaurants instead of a big chain restaurants. One of my favorite locally owned restaurants is Papou George's. The food is great and the atmosphere is fun. If you go get the homemade potato chips! So, if you are planning to spend the day shopping and maybe stop for a bite to our local businesses!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring is Here!

Spring has arrived. She came to my studio just this week. Yes, I know Spring started on March 20th. But her representative, also named Spring, found me at Tuesday Morning and came home with me. She looks great with one of my background pieces behind her, doesn't she? She now resides on my desk and reminds me of all things spring-ish.

This is my favorite season. I love the weather and the feeling of new beginnings. It's like everything is in a refresh mode. Trees are greening, flowers are blooming, and everyone is sprucing up their homes. The only thing I don't like is the pollen. It's on everything, in my eyes and making my sinuses go crazy. It rises from the streets in plums as cars drive by.

I'm excited to say I have completed a piece for a friend who just moved into a new place. I was inspired by an article in Cloth, Paper, Scissors by Jenn Mason (she is also a CPS editor). So I went to work yesterday and completed it today. I'm happy to have my hands in the paint again. It's been a long dry spell with little creativity except for the theater sort. I was one of the chairwomen for the Dinner Theater production held by the Junior Women's Club of Hilton Village. So I got to reconnect with my theater background which was a lot of fun. But I really found I was missing my art and working in my studio to create. I have been so busy with all the other things in my life and have made little time for my art. But it's Spring Break and I found the time! Yay!

I was so busy I missed an issue of CPS! I can't believe it, I never do that! Also, in this current issue of CPS is a reader challenge called "Fly Your Creative Flag". I will definitely be participating in that challenge!

I'm also in the count down stage for Art and Soul which is May 20-24. I haven't even started making trades. I have some ideas and may have to scale back some in order to get them done. The theme this year is Wonderland so the trades will be fun I'm sure. I'm not taking as many classes, I wish I could take more. But the ones I'm taking sound so good.

I hope this re-birth of art in my life stays around for longer than just Spring!