Sunday, December 12, 2010

Donna lets Nature be her muse.

Donna la Pré had her annual Open Studio in Little Washington this weekend. She showcased her magical handmade creations in a lovely, lofty garage-turned-studio space. I brought my mother-in-law Ann to out to visit.

Each figure has its own personality. Donna incorporates vintage materials, wool felting, sewing, embroidery, embellishment, and painting in almost every piece. Each character has a different facial expression: some look content, some wistful, and a few disconcerted. I asked how she gets such tiny detail on the faces. She said, "I wait until the piece is otherwise completely finished. Then I trace the main features with a very fine pen, and go over it with a very, very fine paintbrush for the details." She said her heart races with nervousness at this step, since she's come so far.

These little ones are Elf babies. Each one is unique, grasping a piece of the Garden as their plant starts its new journey into growth.

Donna also had handmade cards for sale. Each one featured a different holiday-themed collage. I thought she did a great job with all her displays, transforming a workspace to invoke an ethereal, otherworldly time and place.

This little guy was my personal favorite. How much do you love his tiny beard and tiny sweater?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving in the ATL

It has been tradition for my family to meet in Atlanta for Thanksgiving for years now. My mom's brother and his family live in the suburb-turned-town of Sandy Springs. So this was the second year in a row that I drove the ten hours down to Georgia to spend a few days with the fam. My husband Drew stayed at the homestead, spreading the last layers of straw mulch and teaching our chickens to use their new ramp to sleep in their new CABIN! He wasn't alone for Thanksgiving, though; he joined his mom and other family members here in Virginia for a nice, quiet meal. Mine? Not so quiet, but that's what's so great when ten family members are sleeping under one roof...

Uncle Rick likes his banana raisins. It looks like they're almost ready.

The queens of the big day, my mom and Aunt Sara. They were marathon casserolatiers.

This year marked my sister Isadora making her first gravy.

'Nuf said.

Group shot.

Another tradition: Puzzlin', the official post-Thanksgiving sport at the Cherry household.

I was able to visit my friend Jocelyn from college while in town. She recently started playing the ukulele, and performed for her sisiter and myself. We were both sniffling, in tears, after her rendition of Famous Blue Raincoat.

On the last night in Atlanta, Uncle Rick dusted off some home films from the Cherrys' childhood. My dad set up his Flip Video on a tripod and recorded the silent films for the sake of living in the digital age. The old machine smelled wonderfully of an old library, and it was amazing seeing how much this younger generation takes after the elder...

My late grandmother, Jeanette, showing off the family car.

My mom in a high chair, being taunted by her brother, Rick. Things haven't changed a bit.

The running joke the entire time was rooted in how annoyed my uncle gets when anyone leaves a water glass unattended. Throughout the day, one by one, my mom put every glass from the cupboard in random places around the house. This one is in the pantry. Another awaits Rick on his bathroom counter. And another he won't find until the next time he drives his car.
I love my family.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Visit to a Local Artist

My husband and I visited the home, studio, and gardens of Donna la Pré this week. She animatedly gave us a tour of everything, from her garage-turned-art studio, around fruit trees to her herbal Cat Garden ("It attracts all sorts of birds and bugs and bees..."), to her self-designed English-country potting shed, all the way to her kitchen for tea. See my blog post about her garden at Immortal Mountain.

When we pulled up to her house in the mountains of Rappahannock County, Virginia, we saw a light on in what appeared to be her garage. As we walked closer, Donna met us outside of the structure, saying she had been working in her studio all day, and asked us if we'd like to see inside. Entering her workspace, we were greeted by the sound of opera music and one of her cats, Beauty (Sassafras was nowhere to be seen).

This is one of Donna's inspiration boards. Her background is in painting, but her studio is filled with soft things of all shapes and sizes. She makes a menagerie of little creatures reminiscent of fairytale characters, such as these floral-frocked rabbits, which she sells on her Open Studio nights. Donna embraces femininity, as vintage bedsheets and tablecloths of various shades of white hang randomly around the studio, ethereally suggesting spacial divisions.

This is inside the potting shed. She designed the building herself, and even helped to lay the unfinished brick floor. I really liked the utilitarian lighting choice.

An example of one of Donna's woodland scenes. How adorable are her little booties?! Just a sample of what to expect for her upcoming Open Studio, December 11 & 12 in Washington, VA. She's also working on a lovely holiday series of velveteen birds. Visit her current garden website here; I'll post a link to her art website as soon as it's up and running!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It took me long enough...

These are two pieces I created a little while ago, but was recently inspired to finally FINISH! Hooray! Oh, it feels so good to have two finished pieces to look at, to touch, to wear if I so desire-- instead of casting cursory glances at a (beautiful in its own way) pile of beads and felt, with rippled, unfinished edges, beckoning me to polish them off.

The following are photos I've taken while on walks through our woods with my husband. These are what have been inspiring me: the seemingly endless grays and browns of the mountain trails, but lo and behold, a neon yellow fungus!

A cluster of turkey tail mushrooms blooms out of a decaying log.

A bumpy fuschia fungus seeps out of the gray.

A family of puffballs inhabits a piece of wood.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New Pieces for The Purple Fern

As promised, here are two of the new pieces I just finished for the Purple Fern...

I possibly took for granted the 5+ years of beading that cultivated my inner perfectionist. I see now where I need to get back into practice a little, craftsmanship-wise, but overall I'm pretty happy with them. I hope they make the next home they go to happy, too. So, onward now! More things to create. Practice makes perfect, after all.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'm Back!

cadyn cherry mosch + andrew speziale = cadyn speziale!

Well, I've been on hiatus for a little while, give or take a couple years. But I'm making (what some might call) art again, and I couldn't be happier. A brief chronological list of some events that took place between my last post and the present:

• Inducted into the natural foods industry while living in Brunswick, GA
• Effectually became temporarily distracted from creating objets de desire
• Got engaged to the love of my life
• Bought a house in the mountains of northern Virginia
• Moved to said house and commenced major renovations
• Welcomed, yet again, with open arms to a local natural foods place of employment
• Together with Andrew, started a homestead permaculture/food forest project, Immortal Mountain
• Got married to my wonderful husband, Andrew (hence the name change)
• Finally decided I had neglected my beading supplies cabinet for long enough, and that it was time once again to pick up my needle and felt.

Whew! So you see, it's not that I'd given up art. Little did I know this intangibility had been hibernating inside of me for two years. And now it seems to be emerging. At first, just a little: a pair of earrings here, a handmade card there. But now this entity is positively bubbling over with potential.

I recently made twelve pairs of earrings to put on display at my mother-in-law's booth at the Strasburg Emporium. And I just finished a trio of embroidered beadwork for the Purple Fern in Winchester, VA. Next on the agenda is to touch base with my first-ever retailer, shopSCAD, in Savannah, then hit some DC boutiques in the Georgetown area. Pics of my new work to come...

I just thought I'd re-introduce myself to the world.