I'll tell you what, I sipped myself into some serious state of Sweet Tea Oblivion this weekend. I have a great recipe and reputation for it myself, but there is something about the way a tea bag steeps in the shadow of the Smoky Mountains that gives that fabulous tea a most wonderful flavor. Mmmm and oooohhhh shugah!!!!!
I was in the Carolina's working at a wonderful place called New Morning Gallery located in Asheville. The region is known for it's artisans, skilled in all manner of traditional American craft. These are skills that have been handed down from generation to generation. The motto of the gallery is "art for living" and you'll see why as you move on down through the pictures.
The gallery features the finest American Craft work you can find. The wonderful thing is that it's not "don't-touch" art........I love wall art and they have lots of that too, but the store is filled with American Craft art which is functional, textural, touchable and intended to be integrated and used.....as their motto suggests....into your every-day living.
Take a walk with me through the place and I'll show you some really cool stuff......
I especially like fun, sorta odd-ball sculptural pieces. Lots of them to be found in galleries like this. You'd be hard-pressed to find a formal bust of one of the Vanderbilts in this place (although they built the famous Biltmore Estate in Asheville) but there are plenty of crazy dogs and cats and crows and............
All over the gallery you'll find hand-crafted tables set with wonderfully creative pottery pieces. On the shelves are place settings of unique pottery and rows and rows of glassware. If you look closer, you'll note that the goblets are hand-blown glass. The pieces are all signed by the artists.
You don't find stuff like this on the shelves at Pottery Barn.
One of my favorite American Craft artists is Chris-Roberts Antieau. She patches her pieces together using wonderful vintage fabrics, outlining each image in beautiful embroidery stitches.
And more glass........
Could you set a suhhh-WEEET table with pretty things like this!!????
Ahhhem, might you please pass the crumpets.......
For a gal who enjoys most of her beverages from a blue Walgreens tumbler, just picking one of these goblets up to read the artist name on the bottom makes me feel a little bit elegant. And look at the kind of magic they create using their glass-work skills for these beautiful chandeliers.
Brian Andreas is another great artist. His studio is in Decorah, Iowa and you'll see his work all over the country. I could stand and read the themes of his prints for hours. I picked this one out as a favorite this weekend because it reminds me of my daughter..........
I collect stars and shiny glass things that hang in my window and catch the light. Every time I work in a gallery, I choose another piece to bring home and hang in the window. I hope someday when I give them to my little granddaughter, she'll look at them and remember that Grandma Debbie taught her to love art and color.
So pretty in the light.
At the end of our first working day in Asheville, we were invited to the home of the gallery owner for a tour of his private gardens. I get all light-headed and speechless over flats of pansies and impatiens. You can just IMAGINE how much fun it was to walk in this beautiful place...all through the acres and acres of gardens are pieces of very unique sculptural art.
Because of the abundant shade provided by forests of old trees, woodland plants and hostas thrive in these gardens. Never too hot, never too cold. Never too light. And lots of moisture.
Yes, the garden not only sprawls for acres in every direction but it's also multi-level with little paths winding the way to every nook and cranny, many which have themes.
You've probably heard me say it before when I've returned home from a trip. It's true. Every time I walk in after one of these trips I set my suitcase down, look around at my own place and say to myself, "I've got to paint this place..........."