The Piedmont Virginian's Blog

Serving and Celebrating America's Historic Heart

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A Great Month for Local Art

This February features several great opportunities to see the work of local artists, all of whom capture the ineffable beauty of this region and then share it with us, adding to our understanding of this gorgeous region.

Ode to Young Hare by Trish CroseOn Friday, new exhibits open at Piedmont Virginia Community College. “Saints and Angels,” a watercolor series by Trish Crowe is inspired “by the terrain that surrounds her Madison County home, Crowe’s work depicts fields, farms and the animals within. Rendered with her signature strong lines and vibrant colors, the works evoke the energy and beauty of nature.”

Also on display is work by other artists in the “Firnew Farm Artists’ Circle,” of which Crowe is the founder and one of the 35 members in the artistic collective. The gallery features works by John Berry, Leslie Barham, Tina Wade, and many others.

Opening Reception Friday, Feb. 12, 5-7 p.m.

Next week, the 5th Annual Art of the Piedmont event features local fine art, an auction, food, drink, and entertainment. All-you-can-eat hors d’oeuvres from the Goodstone Inn and drinks sponsored by the Piedmont Fox Hounds add to a night of art appreciation and community outreach, as the event benefits Middleburg Montessori School.

 

The event takes place at the Middleburg Community Center, February 19, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Tickets, further information, and a full list of contributing artists and their biographies are available on the AotP’s website: artofthepiedmont.org/

Art by: Trish Crowe | Ode to a Young Hare

1796573_10202889919310186_4960203201090092007_nMorgan Hensley is a recent graduate of William & Mary where he studied English and creative writing with an emphasis on poetry. He is the Assistant Editor of the Piedmont Virginian and enjoys writing about music and the arts.

A Generation of Sourdough Bread

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I would tell a lie if I told you I eat a lot of bread. I actually eat very little bread. However, when I have it, and when I make it, I devour it in a heartbeat. You could say that bread is my weakness when it’s available. But it must be fresh, hot out of the oven bread.

It’s only natural that my very first job was working in a little Mennonite store in Remington, Virginia. I’ve always said that my cooking and baking skills came from that stage in life rather than from my mother or grandmother. I never got many opportunities to cook “with” my mom or grandma, or maybe I simply wasn’t interested in it at the time. But as I have grown and now have a family of my own, I often think of cooking and baking with grandma now. The sad fact is that I now cook and bake for her, instead of with her. Slow down, time….you’re taking the people we love away from us much too quickly.

A few years ago a friend of my mothers sent me a sourdough starter through the mail. I was terrified that the white powdery substance would be inspected as some chemical war of terror, but it made it safely to my mailbox in just a few short days — from North Carolina to good ol’ Virginia.

Sourdough was a brand new thing to me. I loved eating sourdough, but I never understood the complex science behind it. I’m a fermenting queen now, but back then? No way.

The history of sourdough is simple. People needed an option to preserve and make something on a regular basis. Fermentation was one of the very first ways of preserving food for our ancestors. Yes, it came long before canning.

But with something so simple, I failed. I failed miserably the first time. I even had to ask for more suspicious white powdery mailed substance so that I could start all over again — and then I failed again. Eventually I gave up because I didn’t have the time for this complex science. Recently, however, I discovered it’s not science at all, but an art.

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Looking at Art in a New Way with Online Galleries

In The Same Boat, 24 x 30, Oil.

In The Same Boat, 24 x 30, Oil.

By Nancy Wallace

Technology is always changing; it seems like whatever skill I’ve acquired becomes obsolete by the time I get proficient at it. For example, blogs like this one are replacing websites as the go to place for up to date information.

Galleries are changing too. Artists can now easily take excellent photos of their work, post the images immediately, and even put their work into auctions on sites such as eBay, dailypaintworks.com, and dailypainters.com.

The movement towards selling art online has picked up speed in the last ten years. In 2004, a fellow from Richmond, VA,  Duane Keiser, started posting a new painting every day on eBay with a few words about his process.  His success was contagious, and many other artists joined the “painting a day” challenge, posting on their blogs and sending  their work out for the world to see.

Beach Conversation, 14 x 18, Oil

Beach Conversation, 14 x 18, Oil

A benefit of galleries in cyberspace is that artists are able to keep their prices lower without the burden of steep gallery commissions. Because daily paintings are usually small (under 8 x 10 inches), many collectors will buy more than one painting.

For the buyer, a visit to any of these sites provides an array of work to choose from with easy to use built in filters to narrow the search. Looking for landcapes of a certain area, in a given price range? Click and browse. No obligation and lots of time to think it over.   For collectors, it can be entertaining and enlightening to read the blog post that provides a few sentences of information about making a particular painting. And it’s more personal; visiting an artist’s blog every day reveals who is behind the art.

I recently signed on to the the “painting a day” challenge and created a blog, (they’re free!) to go with it.  Visit my blog and my website.  Browse the online gallery daily at paintworks, and check out Charlottesville artist Paul Charlton.

Zen and the Art of Needlework

By Pam Kamphuis

While organizing a photo essay on the “Lace Ladies” that will appear in the forthcoming spring issue, I found myself musing and pondering the role of arts and crafts in everyday life.

Years ago, I read an article about the return of the popularity of the “Needle Arts” after September 11, 2001. I cannot find it or credit it, but the main points stuck with me. The terrorist attacks shook women to the core. It awakened needs in them that had been buried in womankind for decades, maybe even close to centuries. The need to connect with other women, of past, present, and future as well as the need to produce something tangible and handmade, even to the point of feeling that you are leaving something of yourself on this earth– something to be treasured by future generations. Needle Arts, as implied, pretty much covers anything made with a needle and/or with textiles. So knitting, sewing, crocheting, beading, embroidery, weaving, would all apply. Along with lace-making. Which I will get to.

I am, perhaps, like many women today; I am busy, constantly thinking and planning, constantly moving (even if it’s just at a computer keyboard), and never doing less than 3 things at once. I am aware, of course, that I should do a number of things differently. . . exercising, relaxing more, deep breathing exercises, meditation, etc. But I have such a hard time doing those things… all I can think about is all the things I have to do when I finish my “relaxation”  It’s not terribly relaxing.

But a few years ago, I took up beading-I used the tiny seed beads and did what was called bead weaving. Basically a needle, thread, and picking up a bead after each stitch. It was a very repetitive process, but quite soothing. Once you get going, you develop a rhythm, and soon your breathing matches it and your mind empties a little. In a good way, I mean. Although purists would perhaps not agree, I believe it had the qualities of meditation. Except you were also producing something while you were at it. Which was perfect for people like me who feel they must be productive at all times.

I met Anita Barry, president of the Piedmont Lace Guild, briefly for coffee DSC_0305when I picked up the examples of lace she had to be photographed for an upcoming article, and while we sat, she tatted, which is making lace by knotting thread with a shuttle. She showed me the basic knots she was using, and the importance of keeping the correct tension on certain areas of the thread. So the similarities struck me, as I watched her tat, knotting and shuttling back and forth, the thread working through her fingers steadily and evenly. It is not a simple thing, by any means-I’m sure it takes quite a while to learn. But I couldn’t help thinking as I watched her, as she knotted automatically, subconsciously, while she talked, that I should have taken this up instead of beading. After mastering the basic knots, I could have churned out MILES of this stuff as I sat at baseball and soccer games when the kids were growing up. So small and handy, just a small shuttle and thread. No annoying little beads that roll all over the place!

There are many things you cannot do while working with beads, or lace, or any needle art: watching tv, surfing the internet, answering emails, texting, cooking dinner, etc. As far as I can tell, there are only 2 things you can do while needle-art-ing. DSC_0317You can listen to music, and it gives you the opportunity to really listen, not just having it in the background all day. But the most important thing you can do is: to talk. Really talk to people. The feel of the thread or yarn or fibers or beads sliding through your hands, the soothing, repetitive motion, the calming of the mind, can actually make for some thoughtful and real conversations. Think back to colonial times, with quilting bees and the like. Community, friendships, gossip, real interaction between women, binding them together while accomplishing tasks that needed to be done anyway. We don’t do that any more. Teleconferences have taken over.

But anyway, this post serves as a sort of wayward introduction to our “Art Gallery” coming up in the spring issue. It will be a photo-essay/article showcasing the lace, hand made locally by the Piedmont Lace Guild in Remington. You will be amazed at the difficulty, intricacy, and beauty of these pieces.

Many thanks to Jordan Koepke at www.jordankoepke.com for the print and web photography.

Appleton Campbell Earns 2014 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Appleton Campbell earned the service industry’s coveted “Angie’s List Super Service Award in Heating & Air Conditioning” for the fourth consecutive year. This award reflects Appleton Campbell’s exemplary year of service to the local and regional market place and members of Angie’s List.

Mike Appleton and Scott Wayland

Mike Appleton and Scott Wayland

Mike Appleton, president of Appleton Campbell, said, “We are honored to receive this award. Exceptional service is the cornerstone of Appleton Campbell’s business and what the Appleton Campbell team strives for every day.”

Angie Hicks, the founder of Angie’s List, said, “Only about five percent of the heating and air conditioning companies in the Greater Piedmont and Northern Virginia Region perform consistently well enough to earn our Super Service Award.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2014 winners have met strict eligibility requirements that include an “A” rating overall, a recent grade, and a review period grade. The company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check, and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

For more information about Appleton Campbell, visit their site

 

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