Saturday, August 18, 2012

bragging on a friend

This is my friend Paula MacLeod, and her "Lady Carolina Bloo" mosaic cow for CowParade.  Today, about 80 cows were on display at Durham's Golden Belt Studios for a one day exhibit before the herd trots off to their individual pastures before auction (to benefit UNC Children's Hospital in Jan).  I met Paula briefly at a SAMA (Society of American Mosaic Artists) Conference in Washington DC, and then struck up a friendship with her 7 years ago when I moved to Durham.  She is also a professional mosaic artist and teacher, and has really done an incredible job with this Cow.  She estimated that it took her over 160 hrs (40 days at 4hr work session) to complete this mosaic mainly of cut and broken tableware as well as porcelain tile.  She has several UNC logos (approved of course, she is a professional), as well as hidden barnyard animals and delicate lacy white and off white patterning.  Lady Bloo is covered horn to tail, and udderly every curvy square inch in between.  It will be on display at the Carolina Inn this Fall.  Please take some time if you're in Chapel Hill to see her, photos can't do good mosaic justice.

This is Steven Ray Miller, and his "Heartstanding Cow".  He has had quite a career in art, and was recently voted one of the most favorite artists in Durham.  His business is called Art With Hearts, and paints beautiful landscapes and florals with hidden hearts.  He also does custom framing, and is a delightful person and kind friend.

This is Emily Eve Weinstein and her cow.  It has delicate silhouettes and gentle gradations of color.  Besides a painter and author, she spends countless hours fostering, advocating, and raising money for local animal rescue organizations.

There were also fantastic cows by some of my other local artist friends, Jane Filer, Freeman Beard, Rachel Campbell, and Andria Linn. Keep your eye out in the triangle area this Fall, and if you see one of these pieces of art, take a few moments to consider the time, expertise, and creativity that was given to it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Asheville weekend

I lived in Asheville in the 80's.  I met 4 girls that first year (6th grade) who have remained my dearest friends for over 30 years.  None of us live there now (although one is in WNC), but we do continue to have family and friends in town or nearby.  I stop through several times a year on my way to teach mosaics at John C Campbell Folk School, but this weekend was a real treat.  All 4 of us girls were able to clear our calendars, make arrangements for kids, spouses, and pets, travel from near and far, to converge near Asheville at the Pisgah View Ranch in Candler ("enka stinka", for those in the know).  I learned to horseback ride there with my Aunt, Uncle and Cousin, and a couple of the girls had youth group retreats there many years ago.  It is still in operation, and a rustic mountain getaway.  We spent all day Saturday in Asheville, checking on new developments, like the River Arts District, as well as old favorites, like Wall Street, and coincidentally, Shindig on the Green.
We had gloriously cool temperatures, and were amazed at what our hometown has been up to in the last 20 years.  Of course, we were aware that Asheville had seen some amazing growth and increased tourism.  Frankly, I was totally surprised at how many families, young and old couples, tourists, and locals were peacefully and happily strolling the downtown streets, storefronts open for business and lines out the doors.  It was great to see. 

The wonderful character and spirit of the city was evident on every corner and reflected in the people we passed.  Then, we retreated back to the ranch (literally), and awoke to a serene mountain view, country breakfast, and scenic horse trail ride.  Who could ask for more. 
If you get a chance, check out Asheville for a weekend.  I highly recommend the fish tacos at White Duck Taco Shack.  Or, revisit your own hometown and take a second look.  You might fall in love.