One day it’s Spring, and the next it isn’t!

Nicki's Central West End Guide Urban Gardens

On Tuesday, neighbor Aaron Williams invited me to take pictures of his magnificent four-story magnolia tree in spectacular bloom. He suggested that I ought to hurry as there was rain in the forecast and the blooms might not last. It was 80 degrees and cloudy when I took these photos that afternoon, above and below.

 Nicki's Central West End Guide Urban Gardens

Nicki's Central West End Guide Urban Gardens
And 40 degrees today when I photographed the petals that now carpet the driveway. Alas, Spring sprang a little too soon.

A busy art weekend

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Handmade  Therman Statom Ray Materson Michael Aaron McAllister Mary Engelbreit Karen Kunc Eva Isaksen Duane Reed Gallery Carolyn Miles Atrium Gallery

Last Friday evening Craft Alliance opened a new exhibition at its UCity Gallery, "Storylines: Contemporary Embroidery." Five artists were invited to participate in the show, including an old friend, Michael Aaron McAllister, shown below. The other artists are Deborah Slabeck Baker, Diem Chau, Chris Niver, Cayce Zavaglia, and Ray Materson. If you are interested in art and needlework, this is definitely an exhibition to see.  Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Handmade  Therman Statom Ray Materson Michael Aaron McAllister Mary Engelbreit Karen Kunc Eva Isaksen Duane Reed Gallery Carolyn Miles Atrium Gallery
I was first exposed to Aaron's talent with a needle and embroidery thread when we worked for Mary Engelbreit years ago. During the lunch hour, Aaron would work on his fabulous creations; and, on occasion I would receive one of his cherished stitched invitations to his annual Oscar Night party in Soulard. He often includes a line of humor in his pieces, which depict historical and literary figures. When he isn't "hooping" he works as an Assistant Librarian at the Upper School at MICDS…a job he adores.

Aaron told me on Friday that he was quite honored to be included in "Storylines." One of the other artists in the exhibition, Ray Materson, learned to stitch when he was a prison inmate. He would unravel socks and use the thread to create his miniature works, which are collector's items, and measure a mere 2.5 x 3". The feathered stitches in his fascinating pieces are amazingly tiny.  Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Handmade  Therman Statom Ray Materson Michael Aaron McAllister Mary Engelbreit Karen Kunc Eva Isaksen Duane Reed Gallery Carolyn Miles Atrium Gallery

Two of Aaron's pieces exhibited at Craft Alliance are shown here, one of Coco Chanel and a partial shot of an embroidery of Frank Lloyd Wright. The exhibition runs through May 8.

 

 

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Handmade  Therman Statom Ray Materson Michael Aaron McAllister Mary Engelbreit Karen Kunc Eva Isaksen Duane Reed Gallery Carolyn Miles Atrium Gallery
Also last week, the Sam Fox School at Washington University hosted the 2011 International Printmaking Conference,titled "Equilibrium". More than 1200 printmakers descended on St. Louis, and several galleries in the Central West End held exhibitions featuring printmakers to coincide with the Conference. 

At the Atrium Gallery, 4728 McPherson, internationally-known printmaker Karen Kunc, standing above right, gave a Saturday morning lecture following the Friday night opening of her exhibition, "An Eden."  Carolyn Miles, Atrium Gallery's founder, is shown standing left.  Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Handmade  Therman Statom Ray Materson Michael Aaron McAllister Mary Engelbreit Karen Kunc Eva Isaksen Duane Reed Gallery Carolyn Miles Atrium Gallery

Karen Kunc is a printmaking professor at the University of Nebraska. She explained her printmaking process to an audience that included participants of the Printmaking Conference including a Japanese student from a small college in southern California who fell in love with the CWE. "An Eden" will be on exhibit until May 8.

 

 

 

 

 Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Handmade  Therman Statom Ray Materson Michael Aaron McAllister Mary Engelbreit Karen Kunc Eva Isaksen Duane Reed Gallery Carolyn Miles Atrium Gallery

Another CWE gallery participating in the printmaking conference was the Duane Reed Gallery, located across from Atrium Gallery at 4729 McPherson. The work of Eva Isaksen, a Seattle-based artist who was born in Norway, will be on exhibit until April 23.  Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Handmade  Therman Statom Ray Materson Michael Aaron McAllister Mary Engelbreit Karen Kunc Eva Isaksen Duane Reed Gallery Carolyn Miles Atrium Gallery

 

Isaksen(left) prints, draws, and cuts thin papers and then layers them endlessly to create her art, shown above and in the background to the right. (You'll have to stop by Duane Reed to get a better look.)

 

 

 

 

 

 Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Handmade  Therman Statom Ray Materson Michael Aaron McAllister Mary Engelbreit Karen Kunc Eva Isaksen Duane Reed Gallery Carolyn Miles Atrium Gallery

The back room at Duane Reed houses an exhibition of Therman Statom's glass pieces. Statom is an American Studio Glass artist whose primary medium is sheet glass, which he paints and assembles adding found objects, shown above and below, to stunning effect.  Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Handmade  Therman Statom Ray Materson Michael Aaron McAllister Mary Engelbreit Karen Kunc Eva Isaksen Duane Reed Gallery Carolyn Miles Atrium Gallery
Therman Statom's work will be also be shown at the Duane Reed Gallery until April 23. Finally, the Willam Shearburn Gallery at 4735 McPherson showed an eclectic mix of art including works on paper by Edward Ruscha and Wayne Thiebaud.

 

Governor and First Lady launch 10,000 Garden Challenge at Bowood Farms

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Urban Gardens  University of Missouri Extension Powell Gardens Missouri Botanical Garden Governor Jay Nixon Georganne Nixon Bowood Farms 10 000 Garden Challenge
As part of National Agriculture Week Missouri Governor and First Lady Jay and Georganne Nixon launched a "10,000 Garden Challenge" at Bowood Farms last Friday.  Before speaking to the press, the Governor, in purple tie above, and First Lady toured Bowood's hoop house and vegetable garden. Bowood's John McPheeters (right foreground) and son-in-law Dave Rickard (far left) led the tour along together with Bowood's Horticultural Specialist Ellen Barredo.  Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Urban Gardens  University of Missouri Extension Powell Gardens Missouri Botanical Garden Governor Jay Nixon Georganne Nixon Bowood Farms 10 000 Garden Challenge

 

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Urban Gardens  University of Missouri Extension Powell Gardens Missouri Botanical Garden Governor Jay Nixon Georganne Nixon Bowood Farms 10 000 Garden Challenge

Governor Nixon credited his wife, standing behind Nixon, for spearheading the gardening effort in the State of Missouri. When the charming First Lady spoke she talked about her experience developing a vegetable garden on the grounds of the Governor's Mansion in Jefferson City, and how much she enjoys giving school children a tour.  A former teacher and lawyer, the First Lady believes that by teaching children to garden, even with a plant as simple as a cherry tomato, they'll be hooked for life, especially once they've tasted what they've grown.

The "10,000 Garden Challenge" is an effort to connect gardeners with knowledge about what to plant in Missouri. Whether gardening on a patio or in a large community garden, the website offers gardening advice provided by the Challenge's sponsors, which include the Missouri Botanical Garden, Powell Gardens in Kansas City, and University of Missouri Extension.  Every 1000th registrant will get a $500 gift certificate to the Tractor Supply Company, which I discovered sells more than tractors. As of today there are 535 gardens registered, two of which are in the Central West End.

After the presentation, I understand that The First Lady saw the Governor and his entourage on their way, while she stayed behind to shop at Bowood. Can't blame her for that!