Sunday, June 1, 2014

Art in Asheville: Part Two

The drumming circle we had attended on Friday night in Asheville was a fun prelude to what was to follow: touring the art studios in the city's popular River Arts District on Saturday. The River Arts District, formerly an industrial area, is now home to approximately 180 artists whose studios now occupy what used to be manufacturing plants and industrial warehouses. Many of these artists open their studios to the public on Saturdays so there were plenty of studios to visit but not enough time for us to see them all.  (There's also a twice yearly Studio Stroll, to be held on June 14-15 and November 8-9 this year.)

CURVE Studios

We began our tour at CURVE Studios and Garden on Riverside Drive, where we found beautiful salt fired pottery by Kyle Carpenter, unusual handmade lamps by Pamella O'Connor, and graceful ceramic sculptures by Cassie Ryalls Butcher to name just a few. I was especially drawn to quirky mixed media pieces by L. Balombini and fascinating weavings by Suzanne Gernandt that combined silk and linen with hand painted papers. Suzanne also creates truly lovely scarves, one of which my friend Gail couldn't resist buying.

The Wedge Brewery

From CURVE we walked across the railroad tracks to The Wedge, a complex containing the Wedge Brewing Company and The Wedge Studios. On this day a well-attended Beer Festival was in progress on the parking lot. Ticket holders could wander through the maze of craft beer vendors offering all sorts of unusual brews (chocolate beer, anyone?) We didn't have tickets so we opted to order our libations from The Wedge Brewing Company and enjoy them on their shaded patio. I must say, The Wedge makes a very tasty cider.

The Wedge Studios

From there we headed up the stairs to check out The Wedge Studios on Roberts Street. We wandered in and out of several, admiring paintings, collages, and hand dyed silk and wool accessories. At Broken Road Studio, an abstract landscape by Philip DeAngelo caught my husband's eye.

Now, understand that Hubs is an ardent fan of realism. (He still hasn't forgiven me for gessoing over a painting I had once done of storm clouds looming up over the Kansas prairie. He loved it because it was "so real.")

When I noticed him admiring Philip DeAngelo's moody abstract landscape, I was surprised and secretly delighted. Was Hubs actually becoming fond of abstracts???!! The wistful look on his face told me he really, really liked this piece. In fact, he was almost panting. (Well, not exactly panting, but I can assure you he was in serious Art Lust.) So I did what any good spouse would do. I suggested we buy it. He instantly turned into one happy camper. Which made me happy. I liked it as much as Hubs, so there were smiles all around. As it turned out, the original was already sold, so we did the next best thing. We bought a giclee. Everybody went home happy.

There were so many more studios to visit, but the previous day's drive and late night entertainment had taken their toll on our energy levels. Next time we visit Asheville, we'll have to spend more time in the River Arts District. In fact, I could easily spend a week there. It -- and Asheville itself -- are fun,  funky, and full of amazing art!

©2014 Lynn Edwards

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