Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sister City at AVA

This exploration of Icelandic moods still, quiet and spare by Covenant alumna Elizabeth Tubergen opened Friday. Her installation of photography, textiles, video and a wax chandelier are the souvenirs of a place both newly discovered and a homecoming.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Elea Blake

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In a window of the Elea Blake studio at 133 Frazier Avenue are three arm sculptures, fingers elegantly splayed upward. Darin Wright's aesthetics practice is one of many small gestures, nuances that blend art and science to complement one's natural complexion.
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After cleansing her client's face, Wright searches for a foundation match. "Skin tones are different in different places," she explains and complements her well coordinated outfit of soft pinks and beiges. Empathy matters because these ladies will be spending most of an afternoon together.
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"If eyes are the window to your soul, brows are the drapes," Wright continues. Like an energetic painter of canvas, her face is a fierce mask of concentration as the brush stokes are applied. Then, with hands apart, she steps away to gauge their effect. Smiling, bantering, mixing and applying color, her dance continues.
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"We are mixologists creating on skin," she says. The powders are mineral-based and not tested on animals.
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Blending them may follow one of three schemes. The monochromatic results in shading. Analogous colors harmonize in their proximity on a color wheel while complements reach across the wheel to balance each other.
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As time passes, her working surface comes to resemble a painter's palette and like that portrait artist's, the colors are unique, be they applied with a stipple brush or molded into a lipstick. Wright's clientele will leave the studio refreshed and empowered, knowing that they look their best.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Picky Pair




More than word play, these boots represent one half of
{The Picky Pair}, an "exceptional event planning & creative design" team right here in Chattanooga. From gracious interiors to festive ways of populating them, the ladies are on a blogging quest to bring you their finds both chic and unique. Her rain boots are a biker classic updated by Aldo. Grandmother's sapphire necklace is a treasure, indeed.

Bone Appetite

There were no reliable witnesses at the birth of our dog. The adoption papers do cite October 2000 and his happy go lucky ways are consistent with a natal sun in Libra. Just don't let your special friend's anniversary pass without notice. Joan Nash of Bone Appetite on Frazier Avenue has just the commemorative treat, a custom cake worthy of that unconditional love.
"It isn't anything you wouldn't eat yourself," she says of her recipe. Unbleached flour, baking powder, shortening and an egg all look quite familiar. To those wary of sugar rushes, she emphasises that half a cup of honey is all the sweetening required.
In an expert twist new to this honey lover, she first coated the measuring cup with oil for faster pouring and quicker clean-up. Decide for yourselves whether licking the spoon is preferable at home.
While our terrier would gladly partake of cabernet sauvignon and 70% cacao, his kind must savor the delights of carob. Customers tell Nash that her baking is palatable and they might be forgiven a lapse when presented with this array. After all, birthdays come but once a year.
Bone Appetite is located at 103 Frazier Avenue and may be reached at (423) 756-2663.




Friday, February 19, 2010

Girl's Night Out

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The Hunter Museum found a perfect recipe for a Girl's Night Out Thursday by mixing Elea Blake Cosmetics with fashions from Frankie & Julian's. To see more of the fun, please click on the image.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Latté Art

The lattés are lovely at Stone Cup on Frazier Avenue. Robin Meadowcroft modestly cites advice from other barristas, YouTube and plenty of practice in the creation of such foamy art, but her effortless, fluid style makes it look easy. Follow along as she gives this tutorial.
No jet noise here. She dips the wand into whole milk and opens the steam valve just enough for the stretching phase. Small bubbles are the goal as the temperature rises to 145f, a value known by sight and touch. Next comes the swirling of the foam in preparation for pouring.



Gently introducing the foamed milk, she wobbles the pitcher back and forth. This action displaces the initial, rounded pool, which now embraces the resulting zigzag pattern. Still with us? There is one more step.


With a flourish, she reverses direction to finish the pattern symetrically. While most of this resulted from pouring, tipping the cup offers another dimension of control. Her sure touch is born of experience. Like getting to Carnegie Hall, the way lies in practice.


It is a performance to be savored, Stone Cup's Le Rêve espresso roast artfully wed to a silky milk foam. A bit sweet, yes, but it is underpinned by a dense, earthiness. ¡Tango!










Friday, February 12, 2010

LEED Platinum Certification in Chattanooga

Snow falls upon white lace Friday at 2 Northshore. Congratulations to greenspaces for receiving the first LEED Platinum certification in Tennessee. To learn more about Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and what efforts went into this achievement, please follow this link.

Some Wintry Looks




Some of these yarns were rescued from the free bins at a Delaware shop. Others were carded and spun from dog's hair in the Iowa Amana Colonies. Diagonal rib knitting places them throughout the finished hat, worn with pride by its crafty author, whose coordinating scarf was a gift from her father.



Need some bargain boots? Try the Zappo's Outlet in Louisville, Kentucky.



It's all in the finishing touches.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tangerina's


Crafting is a family affair for Nicole Thurman and Deb Prater. “Some people have the kitchen table,” says Thurman. “We have the workshop.” Their River Street storefront and production facility is a few doors down from a cabinetmaker’s shop. While both places attach hardware to cabinet doors, at number 157, the ladies are whimsical folk artists.

Their collaboration was born of necessity, Thurman remembers. “When I moved here I had no furniture, so Aunt Deb and I made the furniture for my apartment.” So happy were they with the window frames repurposed as tabletops that those became Christmas gifts, and the gifting escalated into their retail business, Tangerina’s.

A recent visit to the shop found Thurman busy assembling bride and groom figures from reclaimed metal bits and snippets of many fabrics. “I try to make them glam and the hardware people appreciate it,” she giggles. The happy pair holds hands when latched together. Of course they can be unlatched, but do better together. What a clever way to restore harmony among all couples.


At another work table Prater applied finishing touches of paint and mused aloud. Why not build a model kitchen cabinet from their folk art doors to show customers what might be possible at home. "We could make a whole family tree," replied Thurman.


Harmonious themes are expressed as mottoes. It's no surprise that such a happy place produces hardware lettering for "Live", "Laugh" and "Love". Old tin ceiling tiles are repurposed as tokens of affection.


It's even possible to wear Thurman's craft. First made for her sister, the ear bobs of wire, old keys and glass sparkle with the same lively spirit found in her larger pieces.

The Gifted Eye of Charles Eames





It is estimated that Charles Eames produced one million photographs in his design career. Today the Eames Office in Santa Monica, California has distilled them to 100 representative of his life. That travelling exhibition opened last night at Smart Furniture with a talk given by Eames Demetrios, grandson of Ray and Charles Eames. This fascinating look at what influenced so much of 2oth century industrial design remains in Chattanooga through March 4th.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Eat At Good Dog


Some childhood memories never fade. Susan Paden recalls family vacations with her history teacher mom and Dutch immigrant father, who led the family on ‘brown sign’ tours of historic sites. “We ate cheese and butter sandwiches in the car, but dad would stop for a hotdog.” His favorite toppings of mustard, chili, cheese and onion are commemorated atop ‘The Fred’ from her Good Dog menu. Now in its second year, the Frazier Avenue restaurant has charmed a loyal following.



A former folk art gallerist, Paden composes her topped dogs carefully for both appearance and consistent taste. Gone are the Chicago-style half moon wedges that become an all or nothing bite of tomato. She prefers them diced and sprinkled amid the neon-green, sweet pepper relish that Windy City people call kryptonite. In another nod to her Midwestern roots, Bertman’s Stadium Mustard from Cleveland joins an exotic array of condiments for all to try. There’s even a fritessaus (mayonnaise to you) for the house-cut fries and the caramelized onion relish is made from scratch. Yum.



Lighter styles prevail in a salads menu that pairs avocado with cranberries or red onion with oranges. Don’t tell anyone that the chili is vegan and those who do care may ask for a soy dog instead of meat. What else from a place where the pepper mills dispense ‘dog dust’ and the salt shakers are kitschy collectables?



It was their cheeky, ‘Nice Buns’ slogan screen printed on a variety of thrifted t-shirts that first caught my eye for The Chattanoogan. More creative reuse abounds in décor accents of frame moldings, magazine bits, bottle bottoms and bottle caps. The scullery flooring arrived as the packing crate for kitchen gear. Recycling aluminum, paper and plastic was never more fun than when funneling it through ductwork and into the bins.



Merriam-Webster etymologists tell us that ‘restaurant’ is the present participle of the French verb restaurer to restore. Good Dog is a happy place. Its vibe is infectious and good for you.
"Sit. Stay. Eat."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Button Bouquets at Blue Skies

Called "one of the best boutiques in Chattanooga" by Southern Living, Blue Skies at 30 Frazier Avenue offers an eclectic selection of handcrafted jewelry and gifts. These one-of-a-kind, vintage buttons have been upcycled as flower bouquets by local artist Phlox Icona and are ready for your Valentine.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Coffee Roasting in Bluff View

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Once while crossing the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge, I found the aroma of roasting beans so compelling that it led me to Rembrandt's Coffee House, where Director of Marketing and Sales Michele Kephart would later rendezvous with me for a tour of the operation. "We've had clients ask us to roast during their events here," she said.Lucky are they whose special occasions are perfumed by the sweet, dense depths of a scent like no other, combining notes of caramel, vanilla and chocolate.

In a former glass making studio below the bocce court we are greeted by Chris Anderson, Assistant Food and Beverage Director for Bluff View. When the roasting oven, which resembles a steam locomotive, reaches the required 415 degrees, he pours eighteen pounds of green Mexican beans into the funnel atop the furnace and the temperature promptly drops by half. As it climbs between 280 and 290 degrees, chaff separates from the beans and is blown into a holding tray for later use a garden fertilizer.

The next stage is called 'first crack', because of the rapid popping sounds generated as moisture is released at a temperature between 380 and 390 degrees. In the end, beans will have doubled in volume, but lost sixteen percent of their mass. The resulting fifteen pounds of this particular roast cascade from the chamber in a cloud of smoke and descend into cooling tray. Three arms sweep them round and round while the forced air that once blew away their chaff now bears away the heat.

The roiling, glistening swirl brings a smile to this coffee lover, but Anderson's sharp eye has spotted an errant green bean that somehow never completed the process. While the one might not affect flavor, his pride in a job well done demands its removal, which he does while bagging the lot. Recently roasted beans will continue to emit gasses for two days, so the bags are valved to release them. Optimal serving falls within two to fourteen days hence.