Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Independent's Week!

ha!  You thought I was going to say 'Independence Day' now, didn't you?!  Well what better holiday to surround with a celebration for true independence in being a small business owner! 

Indie, mom & pop, brick & mortar, how ever you name it, Asheville is filled with so many creative, delicious, inspiring, uplifting and oh-so-useful small businesses.  The news lately has been that the best way for the economy to begin an upward flourish is for people to get out and do a bit of spending, so why not see how many small, local independent businesses you can find to do your business with over the next week, and grow our own local economy at the same time! 

For my own touting, I invite you to service your fine art & craft needs by visiting Echo Gallery at Biltmore Park, where I am an owner/gallery member, along with several other fine independent business owners.  Pick up a lovely gift, or make plans to meet with us about future design needs, be it installation wall pieces, furniture, service ware or custom design in any medium.  

And while you're out there, you can get a great outfit for the holiday weekend at Moda or Constance Boutique, buy something sparkly that can go on a finger or wrist to compliment the fireworks in the sky at Marthaler's Jewelers, pamper yourself royally with incredible spa treatments at Sensibilities Day Spa or Sparrow Spa in the Biltmore Park Hilton.  Been meaning to have the family portrait done or finally booking a photographer for a special event, you'll find Markis Studios right there, and if you've got the kids (young and old) with you, make sure to stop at Dino-kenetics and experience John Paynes incredible interactive sculptures (yes, it's an experience!).  Every one of the businesses I mentioned are local, Asheville-Grown businesses, and that's just in one place!

Yes, I know the holiday is often about the food (actually, pretty much any occasion is about the food!).  Need burgers and veggies for your 4th cookout?  Hit one of the tailgates and get it directly from the farm, or find those same local options at the French Broad Food Coop or the West Village Market & Deli.  Go fill up your growlers or even spring for a kegger at one of the local breweries (no favorites, they're all that good!).   Don't feel like doing all the cooking?  I hear you can pick up some kick-butt 'tater salad and other good stuff in east-West Asheville at 444 Gallery Cafe (go early - they're closed to let their local-grown families enjoy the holiday).

And if you're headed downtown, there are just way too many incredible local-grown businesses in the downtown area for me to list before lunch.  I'm strolling up to 444 to see if they still have that cooling fruit soup today.  You guys take over and list all the indie's downtown that should not be missed (ok, I'll start you off because as you know I absolutely cannot do a post about local grown and not mention the home of one of my favorite food groups:  The French Broad Chocolate Lounge ... now you go!)

Have a wonderful holiday weekend, and where ever you are - go check out your own home-grown businesses and give a little love to the local economy! xo

Monday, June 21, 2010

The longest day of the year...

I'm firing today, and it just occurred to me that I've described many a firing day as the longest day of the year, but today it is literally so.  And starting the longest day of the year at 5am hopefully means I'll have a whole lotta day to get a whole lot done.

Charles & Bennie after a good walk

Unfortunately, I didn't get the kiln started quite so early as I'm tending two very sweet pups and one was up and down last night with some digestive challenges (he on the left), so we got up early just to make sure he'd be ok for me to leave.  He seems to be just fine, and the kiln got started shortly after 6:30, so still a good start.

Firing day is always a nice combination of things.  The crazed pace of getting those last pieces bisqued, then everything glazed and loaded suddenly stops and now the kiln sets the pace.  Still plenty to do - the studio is in dire need of a good shoveling out, lots of admin recovery, prep for next month's 2nd Saturday Market, other applications, and I really should jump back in and start making work for that one last cone 7 load before the Big Crafty.  And I'll likely tackle parts of everything but right now as I'm in the early 'turn-up' phase of the firing, I'll take a cue from the kiln and work into it slowly.

Some of what's in the kiln will be unloaded just in time to go to the Arboretum for Handmade in America's Design Expo.  Last year, the event was held at The Ramble, and various rooms and areas were designed and decorated in a designer/artist/craft maker collaboration.  This year the event will be at the Arboretum, and the Artist Showcase will be under a big tent on the grounds, with various rooms represented in the tent by their design.

beautiful textile art by Susan Webb Lee

I was invited by textile artist (and co-Echo-gallerina) Susan Webb Lee to join the efforts for the 'Sunroom & Sleeping Porch' of the Artist Showcase, and am very pleased and excited to join Susan and some other very fine, talented folk: Becca Floyd (also clay), Howard Atwood (wood), Lang Hornthal (furniture), Joe Cooper (metal), Charlene Cook (interior decorator) and Leo Monahan (paper).

The event is Friday and Saturday, June 25 & 26 (ticket info HERE).  I'll be there both days, so if you come please stop by our booth and say hello!

Time to turn up the kiln ... and maybe another cup of coffee, it's gonna be a long day.

Friday, June 11, 2010

So much to do in the neighborhood(s) this weekend!

We're in that time of year in Asheville when there's always something happening, and this weekend is a perfect example!

My apologies in advance for what I'll inevitably leave out - feel free to comment and add your event to the list - here's a sampling of what's happening ... you'll find me at some and wishing I could go to others:

You'll find me tomorrow at the Rocket Club for the 2nd Saturday Artist Market.  This month we've got a couple of new artists and for the first hour or so you'll also find live music at the door!  We'll also be collecting as usual for MANNA FoodBank - check out the Market Blog for details.  And I think I've mentioned that you can get the best bloody mary in town here.

Those who follow me on Facebook may also know that I'm having a little 'Lori needs a new car' sale at this month's Market.  Yes, my faithful volvo, George Bailey, has gone to the great volvo farm where he can run free.  You'll meet his heir, Harvey George, in a future post.  For now, you'll find deals on all sorts of pretty potteries as I try to create a budget from which I may fund Harvey's addition to the family.  Come by and check out the premium gifties available with certain purchases!

Right down the street from the Rocket Club, the E-W-A's newest member, 444 Gallery Cafe, will celebrate their Grand Opening.  In addition to the great deli sandwich menu, featuring house-roasted meats, breads from West End Bakery, coffee from Dynamite Roasting in Black Mountain and wicked good cake from Short Street Cakes, they also offer the work of more local artists on an ongoing basis.  And, word has it that a certain musician who will play in front of the Rocket Club may also play at the cafe.  You'll just have to come see to find out!  444 Gallery Cafe is also having drawings all day for great prizes - food, coffee, gift certificates toward the purchase of some of the art and more!!

Backing up a bit, on Friday, you would have found me at Echo Gallery at Biltmore Park, where the show "Threads" closes this weekend. Some of the guest artist work has already been taken down, but you've still got time to see fabulous work by Jen Swearington and Libby & Jim Mijanovich.  And mark your calendars because next Friday Echo Gallery will open a new show featuring and celebrating the work of member artists Genie Maples, Barbara Fisher, Susan Finer, and Cindy Walton.  It's called 'Paint'. :)

If you don't want to wait to see new work by Genie and Barbara, then head down to the River Arts District for Studio Stroll - everybody's been working hard, making new pretties and cleaning up their spaces.  You'll find demonstrations, performances and some mighty fine hand crafted work in just about every medium imaginable!  Not playing favorites, but Echo Members Genie Maples, Barbara Fisher, Laurie McCarriar, Anna Koloseike and Dawn Dalto all have studios in the RDA.  As well, you'll find current and former guest artists Heather Tinnaro, Alex Stevens and Barbara Zaretksy in their respective studios and/or galleries too!

Now if you're bugging out of town to avoid the heat, you should head up to the Toe River Studio Tour - follow the link and go for me, I'll be basking in the warmth of east-west-asheville artist love but I'm already making plans for the fall Tour!

So that's a lot to do and I've only mentioned a few possibilities - there's also a great event tonight at Harvest Records, then over the weekend you'll also find Art in the Park, the Downtown Market ... and more to be sure.  Don't let the heat slow you down - you know you can refresh yourself greatly if you find your way to the EWA - cool bevvies, great sammies for the body and an array of beautiful hand crafted goodness for the soul (and the wall, the shelf, the cabinet, the arm, the ears....).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Welcome to the Neighborhood, 444 Gallery Cafe!

 the new kids in town! (photo by Zen Sutherland)

We who live and toil in the E-W-A are very pleased to welcome 444 Gallery Cafe to east West Asheville, and I'm very excited to share this coming 2nd Saturday with them as they celebrate their Grand Opening on June 12!

 Glasswear at 444 Gallery Cafe

444 Gallery Cafe is just what it sounds like, a little gallery, a little cafe.  In the gallery you'll find some artists you've seen at the 2nd Saturday Artist Market, some other familiar creative talents from our neighborhood and you'll also see the work of new, emerging artists.

 terrariums in all sizes by Tristan & Rikki

photography by Zen Sutherland

In the cafe, you'll find great deli sandwiches, salads and soups.  You'll find house-roasted meats, breads from West End Bakery, excellent coffee from Dynamite Roasting Company in Black Mountain, dessert selections from Short Street Cakes, for starters.  

 paintings by Mike Reardon adorn a cozy corner

Owners David & Scott are also committed to being as environmentally friendly as possible, so you'll also find biodegradable and compostable take out products.  And one of my favorite things to see at a coffee station - dried pasta coffee stirs!

Come by the 444 Gallery Cafe and be sure to hit The Rocket Club for the 2nd Saturday Artist Market - we welcome 444 Gallery Cafe to our 'hood and look forward to future events and collaborations!