For my first weekend with the kids in Asheville, I was in luck! It was the 2nd Saturday of the month -- the day artists at the River Arts district open their doors to visitors for a studio stroll. I was armed with the optimism of a woman hungry to meet the other artists in her community; my two children, however, seemed only hungry for FOOD. Luckily, our first stop, White Duck Taco, was located right next to the lovely studio of encaustic artist, Julia Fosson. So, I was lucky enough to slip in to meet Julia and see her work. She creates beautifully evocative meltings of wax often paired with chairs that seem to glow with personality. It is so special to meet an artist who you admire and to hear her describe her work. I had never considered the imprint of memory left in the chairs we inhabit, let alone the chairs we choose, but the idea has stayed with me.
My next stop was Splurge, in the Wedge studios, where I met the jaw-droppingly talented Robert Nicholas. Truly, I wish I had a huge loft in L.A., so I could hang one of his spectacular lighting sculptures. His work is dynamic, original, playful and it is surrounded by other curated antiques that make visiting Splurge an event to savor. My children were fascinated with a vintage wooden merry-go-round and Robert's giant 1/2 spaceship lighting piece, and I was fascinated by everything. Later, reading Robert's blog, I liked his work even more -- he spoke about the cracks and wear that add character to people and vintage treasures. This is something I often think about when I highlight the imperfections in my own encaustic work with black oil paint. Splurge is a wonderful find.
I also loved the way art and play were intermingled throughout the River Arts Studio Stroll. Everywhere were touches of artists at work - from the creative tacos we ate for lunch to the craft beer in many 'flavors,' to the hair salon -- Ananda West -- where I got Annabelle's hair cut and was offered coffee, tea, water, juice, wine or beer while I waited. What a selection! This was, indeed, a kind of artistic carnival -- a concept very dear to my heart. I certainly look forward to September's first Satruday!