As the road winds its way through Middleburg, Virginia to the Salamander Resort & Spa, the trees give way to grassy fields that have long attracted equestrians, wine connoisseurs, and avid golfers to the area. The resort, however, offers something new. Here plush sofas, cozy fireplaces and a carefully curated art collection send the message of freshly added luxury. It can be hard to imagine that a few years ago the property was a quaint farm. Yet when Sheila Johnson first set eyes on the site, she conceived of an alternative use for the space. “I immediately saw the opportunity to build something different—a luxury retreat for the Washington, D.C. area,” she says.Read More
When Patrick O’Connell was growing up in Washington, D.C., his parents would take the family on excursions through central Virginia to the Shenandoah Valley. These were the days before interstate highways, when small towns littered with gas stations and restaurants served as important stopping points for travelers traversing the country. Though Patrick had no way of knowing it at the time, he would later make a tire shop in the small, drive-through town of Washington, Virginia, into his own special corner of the world.Read More
Task: Stephen wanted to send out a unique promo before the holidays that highlighted his attention to detail, and the quality of his food and beverage photography. During a trip to Kentucky's bourbon country last fall, we spotted two-ounce bottles of Four Roses Single Barrel. He quickly conceived of a cocktail kit of sorts that included the bottle of fine bourbon, a small bottle of bitters, and a sugar packet—all of the necessary ingredients for his favorite cocktail, the Old Fashioned.
The promo not only required excellent photography and tasteful design (executed by the talented people at Ideogram Studio), but also some language about the Old Fashioned and bourbon that matched his brand. I wrote a brief history of the Old Fashioned and bourbon for the promo. It was something energetic and to the point, while also carrying a certain informative, masculine elegance.Read More
Task: Crafting a statement no more than 250 words to describe the various facets of restaurant Oxlot 9's design. The copy had to explain how the physical decor, branding, and food all contributed to the overall design of the restaurant.
Copy: Situated among the centuries-old oak trees and cozy cottages of Louisiana’s Northshore, Oxlot 9 has made the historic downtown of Covington a destination for upscale Southern seafood...
Cara Worthley had worked as an elementary school teacher for several years when she started to feel an internal yearning to chart a different course. Perhaps she would enjoy something else more; maybe there was a better option for her. “I wanted a more creative and hands-on outlet,” she explains. So Cara started painting interiors, which soon led to decorative painting and refinishing furniture. When a friend fortuitously introduced her to Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan, Cara knew she had found what she was looking for.
“I literally searched ‘women small business painted furniture,’ and all paths kept leading to Annie Sloan,” Cara recallsRead More
Warmth pours from a larger-than-life fireplace as guests at the Grove Park Inn seek respite from the Asheville, North Carolina, chilly winter. A step inside the Grand Hall offers not only ample heat but also a sense of walking into timeless luxury. There are carefully crafted wood furnishings, classic cocktails at the nearby bar, and, of course, views of the surrounding Appalachian peaks.
Since Edwin Wiley Grove opened the doors in 1913, the Grove Park Inn has beckoned the weary to drink deeply of the restorative relaxation that made this corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains famous. Like so many new arrivals to Asheville in the early 20th century, Grove came to western North Carolina for health reasons, hoping to find a reprieve from chronic bronchitis and persistent hiccups. His recovery was so profound that he set about making his experience available for others. Grove created a place at home in its woodland setting, building the inn from the area’s stone and crafting an experience inside that likewise emphasized the natural and holistic.Read More
Sometimes on the weekends or during a rare quiet evening, a surge of creative energy will stir within me and demand an outlet. It might take me to the kitchen, where I’ll experiment with a new recipe. Or perhaps I’ll pick up my knitting needles or head to the sewing machine and get to work on a project. Those waves of creative inspiration can be unpredictable. Then there are those moments when I deliberately set out to make something and need some help getting the juices flowing. For those instances, I turn to music for a little help.
Perhaps I find a well-written and beautifully performed song especially stirring because I’m a music lover but not much of an actual musician (unless you count children’s choir or those few years of mediocre piano lessons). Watching or listening to a person or group create art with so much emotion and synchronized intricacy plucks at my creative heartstrings. While I can’t imagine emulating that example, listening to good music pushes me to find my own creative outlet.Read More
BLACK SILHOUETTES ON a brightly colored background, faces stylistically painted in overlapping profiles, musicians on wheels, a crab playing cards—such is the multifaceted portfolio of Tazewell Morton. After more than 60 years as a professional artist, he does not describe his career as a particular kind of progression. “I’ve worked in so many different directions,” he says instead. “I just enjoy doing whatever it is I’m doing.”
Tazewell can point to the consistent influence of modernist artists like Picasso, and the graphic quality gleaned from years in advertising. His achievements include a stint at Auburn University’s art department, his alma mater, where he designed a university flag that traveled to the moon aboard Apollo 16 with fellow alumnus and astronaut Ken Mattingly. Tazewell also spent nearly 30 years working with advertising firms in New Orleans, Birmingham, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Chicago, and Boston.Read More
When Kenwyen Eatmon was released from prison last January, he was determined to turn around his life. After serving four years and eight months for attempted murder, though, getting a steady job was no easy task.
While Eatmon trained as an electrician in prison, he couldn’t get so much as an interview for a job using his trade. Even fast-food restaurants turned him away. More than a year passed and regular employment remained outside of Eatmon’s grasp.
With the Bureau of Justice Statistics reporting that 75 percent of former prisoners face re-arrest within five years of their release, Eatmon’s unstable situation put him at especially high risk of recidivism.Read More
LARA PORZAK HAS JUST RETURNED from 10 days in the woods. The fine art photographer traveled from her home near Venice Beach to New Mexico, then to Colorado and, finally, all the way to New Hampshire making tintypes. “I’ll follow anybody anywhere if they’re doing tintypes,” she says, referring to a 19th-century photography style where chemicals produce an image on metal. Says Laura, “It’s one of the messiest things you can do.”
No matter the physical labor or volatile chemicals involved, Lara commits herself to the particular photographic aesthetic you cannot preview on the back of a digital camera. Using old techniques—from the Leonardo pinhole camera to the century-old daguerreotype to the 1960s Diana—she captures raw emotions, even spiritual sensibilities in grainy shades of gray.Read More
MAKING THE VIDEO
While St. Paul & the Broken Bones were making their circuit at local venues, their soulful and robust crooning caught the attention of indie filmmakers Jen West and James Martin of Four X Productions. The pair was interested in applying their background in short film production to a music video and approached the band’s management. With St. Paul’s first single “Call Me” in need of a video, the label gave an enthusiastic go-ahead.
The project had one catch, though. As the first album released by Single Lock Records, the video had a limited budget of $700. By coalescing a community of talented professionals and capable do-it-yourselfers, Jen and James transformed those budgetary constraints into creative capital.Read More
There’s something about returning to the familiar and making it fresh again that gets the creative juices flowing. With school back in session and fall nearly upon us, we couldn’t think of a more appropriate craft renewal project than the paper bag book cover.
While we’re no longer looking for a great way to decorate our lockers, covering books isn’t just for students. A nicely decorated cover can accent a bookshelf or side table. It can also make for creative gift-wrapping if you’re giving a favorite read to a loved one.Read More
A Mediterranean port city tucked among the hills of Spain’s northeastern coastline, Barcelona’s corridors of winding streets speak to more than a millennium of history. Yet, with a lively culinary and bar scene, and displays of modern fashion and politically charged graffiti, the Catalonian capital’s charm comes from the vibrance of constantly juxtaposing the old and new.
My husband Stephen and I arrived in Barcelona on a Saturday night in early August, and were quickly introduced to the rhythms of Spanish life. We rented a room in a flat in the Barri Gòtic neighborhood, near the sea. Having dragged our bags more than a mile along the city’s cobbled streets, and then taken a five-floor walk-up, we were ready for sleep when we reached our room. For the rest of Barcelona, however, the night was just beginning. Our temporary flatmate, an Argentinian student on vacation, politely waited to let us into the apartment before joining half a dozen friends for a night on the town. While we put our explorations off until the morning, we drifted off to the lull of a city very much awake around us.Read More
It is difficult to contain within a single theme or idea the ongoing commitment to service and advocacy of Scott Douglas III. Since first coming to Birmingham in 1976, Douglas has advocated for the rural poor alongside Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and battled environmental injustice with the Sierra Club. After becoming executive director of Greater Birmingham Ministries (GBM) in 1993, he has raised the banner of immigrant rights, advocated to reform the Alabama state constitution, and pushed for the overhaul of public transportation. For Douglas the most consistent element of his work is relational. “It’s about connecting people together,” he says.
Douglas started bridging gaps at a young age — not that forging those relationships came easy. He attributes his earliest lessons is social justice to his mother, who insisted that he give his favorite toy to a poor neighbor boy. “She impressed on us a sense of fairness for everybody,” he says of his mother.Read More
When Kurt and Lisa Mertler began searching for and collecting old windows to build a greenhouse, materials came in fits and starts. Fortunately, some generous friends replaced the windows in their homes and gave the Mertlers the old ones. Then they found some at garage sales. The oldest window came from Kurt’s family farmhouse, built in 1875. With 62 windows in all and a recycled door on each end, people from at least five separate homes have peered through the glass that comprises the Mertlers’ greenhouse. While Lisa first conceived of the greenhouse after finding something similar on Pinterest, Kurt wasn’t sure it would be possible. Gathering the necessary materials was one thing, but having time to build it was another. When Kurt lost his job, however, he used his newfound free time to put his handyman skills to work. In the six weeks he was out of work their backyard became home to the new greenhouse.Read More