Today's featured Holiday Arts Tour sites are House of Flowers & Cake Shoppe and Patton's Downtown. House of Flowers, located at 100 N Vienna, is a delightful place to visit, as it's of course filled with lovely flowers, but also tasty treats! The store bakes cookies, cupcakes and brownies each day. It's a great place to stop after lunch to grab a sweet and a coffee. Patton's Downtown, 126 W Park Ave., is a new storefront with two sides: one for the men and one for the ladies. They are "Southern Lifestyle Outfitters." I've seen cute dresses there, as well as perky little bowties (one of which may make it into the hub's stocking this year.) The store's owner, David Patton, is a friendly, genuine guy who is a big supporter of music in our area.
This is the first time to participate on the Tour for these two shops, and each place is hosting two artists. At House of Flowers, Tour-goers will see ceramics by Casey Parkinson, and paintings by Julie Crews. Casey is an MFA candidate from Louisiana Tech University. She uses porcelain and stoneware clay to create wheel-thrown nonfunctional and functional vessels. She received her BA from Southeastern Louisiana University, concentrating in ceramics, and then completed a one-year apprenticeship with a production potter. Casey says, "This experience exposed me to the business aspect of being an artist, having consignment in various shops, and improved the speed and consistency of my art." At last year's Tour, Casey sold her vessels at Carriage House Art and Sundown Tavern, so be sure to look for her at House of Flowers this year.
Julie Crews is an oil painter whose most recent body of work is small in scale, simple in subject matter, and GORGEOUS. Julie grew up in Asheville, North Carolina and spent many years as a young adult in California. She says her unadorned childhood allowed for a deeper observation of her immediate surroundings, and that she has continued, in adulthood, "to find beauty in the mundane and surprise in the repetitious." She tends to focus on scenes of domestic life, which are the very things that try to take her away from painting --such as mothering four children. Julie exhibited at Rogers Furniture and Gifts last year, so be sure to cross over Park Ave. and see her on Vienna this year.
At Patton's Downtown, the featured artists are Allen Tuten and Geri Taylor. Allen is a fine woodworker, and this is his first year on the Tour. Allen makes very nice "turned" pens and wine stoppers, as well as bird houses and arrowheads. He will be doing a flint-knapping demonstration during the Tour, which is the method by which American Indians created arrowheads. He has an extensive knowledge of American Indians in our region, and can speak with you about that, too.
Geri Taylor is a multidisciplinary artist, delving into theatre, literary arts and visual arts. She is an active volunteer with Ruston Community Theatre, and recently published a book titled The Kitchen Dance, that will be available during the Tour. Geri says it is "a slice of fiction with a serving of mystery, a side order of suspense, a dash of crime with an extra helping of romance for dessert." Geri is known in the area for her Santa Claus Collectibles, which she makes from gourds and cypress knees. She also uses gourds in other ways, decorating them with nontoxic dyes, wax, beads and found objects.
Finally, Patton's will be hosting Cain Budds, classical guitarist, on Friday night of the Tour. Cain is Associate Professor of Music (Guitar) and Head of String Area in the Department of Music at Louisiana Tech University. He performs under a couple of hats in our region, with his band Swinging Richards, as well as his solo classical guitar repertoire. He is a celebrated musician, and I'm thrilled to have him perform for us again this year. (Those of you who attended ARToberfest will recognize Cain from his Brother Cain's brews.) He will be playing from 5-8pm.
For a complete listing of Holiday Arts Tour sites, artists, and events, visit nclarts.org. Holiday Arts Tour is supported in part by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the Shreveport Regional Arts Council.