Chic & Green Across the USA: Asheville, NC

Monday, May 11, 2009

Asheville, NC


She's a Lady is by Karen Weihs of All Souls Studio



Water Source 2 is by Cindy Walton



Greeting card by Tracey Johnson



Grove Arcade by Lisa Ringelspaugh Irvine



Tactillo 8 by Susan Finer


Stormy Sky Over Black Balsam by Stuart Roper


Such a lovely piece! Joy is by Molly Courcelle


Blue Light Within by Gayle Ray


A Cold Mountain in the Clouds Giclee Print by John Mac Kah


I Know You Are There is by Constance Humphries


These lovely quiche dishes are among some of the wares from The Potter's Mark, Ltd.



You can find this tile in Dawn Dalto's shop


Today begins Chic & Green Across the USA. Today we're spolighting Asheville, North Carolina. I've spoken with several talented artisans from 1000 Markets and the net and asked them what they like about Asheville. You can find some of their beautiful work above.

Let's "visit" Asheville together!


of All Souls Studio has a shop featuring her paintings on 1000 Markets and a studio right near Biltmore Estate. She was happy to tell us a bit about her work.

Says Weihs, "My working studio is at #1 All Souls Crescent St. in the Historic Biltmore Village of Asheville close to the entrance of the Biltmore Estate. I share it with Gayle Paul and we both paint there in our street-side space across from the J Crew store regularly. We offer our customers and guests to see us and our works in progress while shopping and eating in the village which is a destination for anyone who loves Asheville.

 The village is exploding with new shops and opportunities to see the creative commercial side of the city. the eateries are special and we recommend many there. You park and walk and spend the day exploring the village, we love the energy there and it helps us to feel a part of this creative side in Asheville."


Cindy Walton mentions how the location is what makes Asheville a great place to live, "What I think is the best about Asheville, NC are our mountains.  We are located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Great hiking and porch sitting."


Tracey Johnson is the designer of beautiful greeting cards. I asked her about some thoughts on her city and she was happy to oblige! Tracey tells me that " Living in a world of seasons is my favorite part of living in Asheville.  Every day is new.  Each season distinctly shows itself in the natural world.  I adore it.  Growing up in New Orleans, my experience of the changing seasons was limited to it being humid and hot in the spring and summer and chilly enough in the winter.  I didn't notice the progress from rich green trees to bare, barren beauties.  What a rich outdoor life Asheville is!"

  
You know I love to hear about shopping, and The Grove Arcade sounds fabulous! Says Lisa Ringelspaugh Irvine,  "Asheville's Grove Arcade is a turn of the century shopping jewel . Once inside, you can feel the energy of the 1920's and automatically you know why Asheville  was a landmark destination for the priveledged. Today it is fully restored and home to amazing object d'art, clothing , food  and even music. I never tire of painting it.
 
 It was built in 1929, before the crash, by a man who made his fortune selling a "tonic" for the body.  People dressed in their most elegant clothing, climbed the stairs to go dancing on the roof!  This is one in an ongoing series of paintings celebrating the magic in Asheville, N.C.

 Once inside, you can feel the energy of the 1920's and automatically you know why Asheville was a landmark destination for the priveledged. Today it is fully restored and home to amazing object d'art, clothing , food  and even music." 
 
I received a great shopping recommendation for you from Susan Finer. She sayes that "If you're short on cash, big on recycling and you need some retail therapy, Asheville has some great secondhand clothing stores. My favorites are ENCHANTED FORREST, 235 Merrimon Ave., CLOTHES ENCOUNTERS, 340 Merrimon Ave., and RAGS REBORN ECO CHIC BOUTIQUE, 1-C Walnut St."

All three shops sound fabulous, especially Rags Reborn. I checked out their website and it looks right up my alley!


Asheville's Stuart Roper can be found at Stuart Roper Fine Art on 1000 Markets. He uses the beautiful locale as inspiration for some of his work. He tells us that "Asheville is situated right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is one of the most spectacular scenic areas of the east coast.  I am an artist and landscapes predominate my repertoire, so you can often find me taking advantage of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Asheville boasts many cultural events annually, as well as other unique attractions such as The Biltmore Estate."

Stuart's work of art shown above is actually a painting from the Parkway near Mount Pisgah

Molly Courcelle is a painter with a shop on 1000 Markets. She shared some of her favorite places with Chic & Green

"I am an artist in Asheville’s River District and was asked to tell you a few of my favorite places.  I thought that I would highlight some retail stores that would appeal to an artistic eye, especially because I used to be a shop owner and I know how difficult retail can be (particularly in an economy like this one!)  I love The Gardener’s Cottage, in Biltmore Village, which is an upscale, eclectic little garden and antique shop.  They have gorgeous antiques, tableware, vases, and plants, all in a charming cottage atmosphere.  They feature some of my work and also the work of Bee Sieburg. 

 The Screen Door is a place I send a lot of folks, too…it is a big antique mall devoted to garden antiques, art, and other quirky, cool stuff.  I ALWAYS find something fabulous there.  There are many craft artists that show there, I just don’t know their names.  I bet that they would be happy to tell someone over the phone.  It’s a bit tricky to find, so a phone call isn’t a bad idea anyway."


Unlike some of the talented artists I spoke to, Gayle Ray is not a life-long Asheville resident. She clearly loves it, though: "My husband and I moved to Asheville about four years ago.  What attracted us was that it is such a conscious community set in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.  In moving here I started painting trees and how the light plays through them.  I have also found friends to support my chanting and meditation practice.  There is such a wealth of beauty here.  We live on a mountain and taking a hike each day there is always something new to discover.  Yesterday it was five lady slipper flowers peaking out of the bushes.  I'm sure when you visit Asheville, you'll find it a magical place."

John Mac Kah has his 1000 Markets shop stocked with his lanscape art. He and his wife, Ruthanne, travel across the Southeast and he paints the beauty he sees. He offered some wonderful tips on things to do (and eat!) in Asheville: 

"12 Bones Smokehouse in The River Arts District of Asheville, NC is a casual barbecue restaurant that specializes in slow-smoked, babyback ribs with sauces, sides, and sweet tea. (There's chicken, too!)  www.12bones.com
For lunch only. They close at 4pm. Best bet: visit artist's studios, call in and pick up your ribs and then
drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway overlook, watch the sunset and picnic. check www.riverdistrictartists.com for
studio schedules."

Constance Humphries is an artist and Asheville native. Constance tells me that "Asheville is special for its beauty, its relaxed, accepting, laid-back atmosphere, really good food, music, dance, theater, visual art and mostly for its amazing mix of people. It's a great place to live. And it's a great place to be from - I am a native."

Marty and Eileen Black own The Potter's Mark, Ltd
Marty explained what Asheville mean to him: "Asheville is special for  a multitude of reasons.  To name a few, we have the French Broad River, one of the only rivers that flow from South to North.  It’s also the third oldest river in the world, the first being the Nile, the second (ironically enough) the New River.  Although we have many unique shops, a multitude of fine galleries, some of the best microbreweries in the nation, the most unique attraction is The River Arts District www.riverartsdistrict.com , where over 120 artists and associates are members of a group called the River District Artists www.riverdistrictartists.com  .  It is here where one can spend an hour or a day visiting and purchasing art directly from the artists, in the studios where art is created.  Although there are many other art venues in the world, we have been told that we are among the few that rise above the rest." 

You can find Eileen & Marty's shop in The Cotton Mill Studios, 122 Riverside Drive, Studio A in Asheville.

Dawn Dalto explains why Asheville is such a wonderful place: "Asheville is special to me because of the great sense of community among residents and artists in particular.  It is one of the most sharing places
I have ever lived. We recently moved into a new house and almost
immediately all of our surrounding neighbors came over to introduce
themselves.  We have been invited to sit on front porches, given veggies
from gardens, etc and have only been in the new house for about 6 weeks.
Anywhere else I have lived it has taken 6 months before anyone even looks
at you twice.

This sharing continues with our art community.  I work in and manage a
community clay studio & school.  The minute we have a new member join
everyone introduces themselves, is interested in what the new person is
doing and is willing to help and share advice.  Everyone seems to want
lift each other up and is happy to see someone succeed."


After I spoke with the wonderful talent found on 1000 Markets, I decided to ask my sister in-law, Laura, her feelings on Asheville. She and my brother and their family live a short drive away and know the city quite well. Thank you, Laura, for taking the time to share your recommendations with Chic & Green! I appreciate your help with this one and you'll soon find a box with KZM products in your mailbox :)

Let's see what Laura says about Asheville:

"Asheville is a very vegetarian/vegan friendly place -- so much so that PETA named it most Vegetarian friendly small city in the country.
 There are several food co ops, organic markets, and grocery stores which feature organic and local grown fruits, vegetables, honey, and even meat and dairy.  There are even green mechanics, a green paint store, and green builders in town!


The Laughing Seed  and Rosetta's Kitchen are two of the most popular vegetarian restaurants, but there are many, many restaurants that, in my opinion, are even better and, while not being totally vegetarian, have many vegetarian/vegan options.  The farm-to-table/slow food/local food movement is vigorous in Asheville, largely due to the presence of the Appalachian Sustainability Project.  My favorites are:

Salsas 

Zambra 

Sunny Point Cafe

Early Girl Eatery 

Tupelo Honey 

I'm not sure about
Mela's farm practices, but it is an excellent Indian restaurant, and is also a favorite. 



Downtown 
Asheville is definitely the place to visit -- almost all of the businesses and restaurants there are independents, and there are MANY great restaurants and art galleries all over the city -- I usually check out the Blue Spiral Gallery, which happens to be right next to my favorite movie theater, the Fine Arts Theater. Serious art lovers will enjoy watching artists work in their studios in the River Arts District and Malaprop's Bookstore is wonderful -- they host many author events/readings every week. I've seen several great shows at The Orange Peel, too

If you happen to be on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Folk Art Center features the handmade items of many local artisans, but there are several places in downtown that feature many local artisans, too.  Check out the
Woolworth Walk. "

I've mentioned my niece Matilda here before, and Laura says Matilda has  favorite spots in Asheville as well: 


It sounds like Asheville is a wonderful place to create, to live, and to visit.

If you don't live in the region, I highly recommend stopping by the shops mentioned above from 1000 Markets.

You'll also want to visit the market called Come to Asheville, which features artisans from the city.



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