Last night James and I were watching Sunday Morning (we tape it) in our owner’s quarters at the Carolina Bed & Breakfast in Asheville. They ran a story about the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market in which they showed some interesting metal work done by an artist from Africa. I made the comment that I liked it and James said, “We could commission a piece.” This lead me to a realization about art and more specifically about art at the Carolina B&B. There are people who buy art and there are people who make art a part of their lives, having a vision and seeking out those who can make that vision come true. While most of the art we have brought to our Asheville Inn is original, a number of pieces are also ones which we commissioned an artist to make.
An example of this can be found in a series of small watercolors and pen and ink drawings of buildings and homes, all of which we have lived in at some time, ranging from a beautiful Art Deco apartment building along the banks of the Seine in Paris to a tropical porch from our house in Singapore. It was a tradition for me to find an artist and give James a picture of our “home” in each country in which we lived.
Another example hangs in our dining room, The signed first edition print of cherries (number 1 of 15 ) was a gift to me from James. I had seen a still-life of cherries in Lahaina which I liked but for one reason or another we didn’t buy it and I had regretted it. A year or so later James was in San Francisco when he saw an art gallery displaying a series of still-life fruit prints. There were no cherries however so he sought out the artist and she told him that if she ever did one she would let him know. Well she did a series and gave him the first print.
Here at the Carolina we have made a point of seeking out local artists when we needed something for our bed and breakfast. There is a lovely pen and ink drawing of the inn (to add to the collection of our “homes”) and, of course, the beautiful copper and bronze tree by Meredith Gwynn recently hung on the wall by the outside terrace, and then just last week we brought home our last addition: room door nameplates!
After long hours spent perusing images online of room nameplates it became clear to us that there was nothing out there that was at all interesting or even very attractive. Our beautiful, wide, original 1901 doors needed something special to identify them. We tried a number of place in town and talked to a number of different businesses but nothing seem to work out until the day our daughter Emily came home and gave us the card for The Village Potters. Resident artists, Lori Theriault and Karen DuBois came over to our house and took away their inspiration for a series of ceramic door plates which would be suitable for our Arts and Crafts style inn. They made a series of test plates using the large kilns at the Gallery which also functions as a teaching center. Some of the plates were easy but the Hummingbird took a number of tries to get the color right. We were delighted when they called us to make the trip over to their gallery in the River Arts District to pick up the final plate.
When we entered the Gallery it was clear that we had chosen well. The art on display was beautiful and featured a number of different artists. And yesterday when I was in the Visitor’s Center I saw that work from their gallery is being featured there. It is not only ceramic works which are on display there. Right now there are some wonderful oils of Autumn scenes as well.