Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Annarella goes BOGO

These are extraordinary days for the small retailer. We are definitely feeling the effects of a slowing economy. In fact we could have told all the talking heads a year ago that this was in the wind. We spend so much time talking and listening to the consumer.And there were hints of a cooling off last holiday season. But who listens to us?

Anyway... Annarella Home is having an unprecedented sale - Buy One item at marked price and Get One of equal or lesser value at 50% off. This makes it a great opportunity for picking up gifts for everyone on your list. Or a great time to save money while stocking up on some of your favorites.

Murval bags - buy one for yourself and get one to give as a gift. These have interior pockets which make them practical as well as being fashionable.

We carry Thymes in the original Gold Leaf scent as well as Lavendar and Kimona Rose.

Cleaning almost becomes a pleasure when using the Caldrea products. All scents are essential oils so people with allergies can enjoy the smell without the tearing and sneezing.

Tea Forte offers the perfect way to say thank you to teachers and co-workers. Plus slip some in a stocking for all the over-worked mothers to relax with.

Don't forget the Lighting of the Square on Friday, November 28 at 6pm. There will be carols sung by choirs, hot chocolate and cookies. We always have a candy cane or tow just waiting for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Love fabrics? Don't miss this.

While I was checking in on the many blogs that I read, I found that Christine at Gen Marie has been cleaning out her garage and posted some of the most gorgeous fabrics for sale. She makes darling girls dresses, so these are left-over mid-weight cottons from some of the best contemporary fabric designers. I've bought a lot that you'll be seeing in my spring dresses and even into next fall, but I left some for the rest of you.

If you love fabrics for quilting or garments, swing by her blog and see if she has something you can't live without. (She who has the most fabric, wins.)

And if I don't get back to this before, Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Artist Interview: Carol Hayman

A year ago I met Carol Hayman when one of my favorite artists, Anna Marie Pavlik, brought her into Annarella. I was immediately taken with her atmospheric photos developed on solar plates. She has a unique way of capturing the solitude of a place and the geometry of her subjects. The viewer is drawn in to her prints by the sense of mystery in the commonplace. Her technique, which she talks about below, brings wonderful contrasts of light and shadow which elevates her work far above the ordinary.
Carol is part of the current exhibit here, called "Small Pleasures & Quiet Moments." These are all small works on paper from 3 women printmakers. On Dec. 5 they will be giving a gallery talk at 6 pm about printmaking, the process and techniques. It promises to be both fun and informative.
Now for Carol's interview. Enjoy.

Carole, tell us a bit about your early years and art.

I come from a long line of women artists, on both sides of my family. My mother's mother, Sophia Dart, did beautiful embroidery. My father's mother, Margaret Hayman, painted watercolors and made quilts. Her grandmother, Angelina Beckwith, painted in oils and watercolors and gave art classes. I have some examples of work from each of them.

I wanted to be an artist from my early teens and took art classes all through high school and college - classes in painting, printmaking, photography, jewelry and weaving. I have a Bachelors of Arts in Studio Art; a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Art History; and a Masters of Art in Anthropology. Now I am a Professor of Anthropology at Austin Community College.

Tell us about your style.

My style is documentary/anthropological. I take lots of photographs, especially when I travel. I like human artifacts, monuments, cultural objects. food and religious items. For colorful things, I make photographic prints of objects like flowers with deeply saturated colors. For some of the more monochromatic photos I make them into intaglio prints. Some pictures are natural tableaux depicted from a perspective that renders the resulting image almost abstract. The history is revealed in multiple layers, with an underlying order and inherent drama exposed in contrast and detail, painterly and sculptural at the same time.

What are you saying in your work?

My work illustrates specific places, both social and personal, public narrative events, and little glimpses of other worlds caught in everyday situations. We can find beauty in the exquisite as well as the mundane. I want the work to draw viewers in to look more deeply, to break a code, or to try and solve a mystery.

Tell us about your technique and the process.

The technique is polymer plate intaglio, also called photo etching, photo-gravure or solar plate.

The intaglio or etching starts out first as a print from a digital camera, then using a photocopier, I copy the print onto a transparency for overhead projectors. The transparency is laid over a polymer plate ane exposed to light. The plate is washed and hardened. When the plate is dry, it is inked, damp paper laid on it, then run through an itaglio press like an etching. This new process of creating solar plates uses non-toxic light and water while combining the centuries old use of the intaglio press.

Turning photographs into fine art prints is a laborious but satisfying printmaking process. The anthroplogical dimension of my subject matter lends itself well to the handmade look of the technique, and the technique is excellent for creating detailed works that draw the viewer in for a closer look.

With prints it is possible to make multiple versions of the same image. I experiment with different colors, mixing browns, greens, or blue with black. I use different wiping techniques to vary the intensity of the color. I usually use BFK Rives paper and Graphic Chemical Faust black. I printed several years at Flatbed Press; now I print at Slugfest. When I am there printing the BBC radio program, The World, is usually on, it fits in well with my subject matter, so I half listen as I go through the repetitive and rhythmic motions of wiping the plate, rolling the press. Thank you, Carol, for walking us through the complex steps of printing. I look forward to the gallery talk on Dec 5 here at Annarella. Understanding your process brings even more appreciation of your images.

The next interview will be with Anna Marie Pavlik who is the second of the woman printmakers in our exhibit.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Special Gifts

Here are some pictures of our special gift items. I just love the reds and greens of the holidays. I just love looking for the perfect gift - large or small - that will make the recipient glow with joy. For me that is one of the parts of Christmas that I love. It's that time when I can show how much I care for someone by giving them something that gives them pleasure; something they might not have given themselves; something that made me think of that person and how much they mean to me.

Small things for the kitchen make great stocking stuffers or teacher's gifts. Or this is a great way to make your own kitchen look festive. I imagine the red prep bowls holding my lemon zest and vanilla for the special sugar cookies. The organza bag is a quick and inexpensive wrap for a bottle of wine or special dipping oil. And imagine a cup of tea from the cheery red teapot. How relaxing after a busy day of wrapping or cooking or shared with a guest.Don't you love this brightly painted stoneware? It is rustic Portuguese. The berry bowls have the colander holes so that they are functional for draining as well as looking so good. The poinsetta dip dish and plate, I can see with guacamole - enhanced with the New Canaan Farms salsa - and homemade taco chips. (Not holiday everywhere, but soooo Texas.) These make great hostess gifts or a bread and butter thank you.An easy way to decorate is with a pinecone mix or a seasonal botanical. Just put in a bowl or tray, maybe around a candle, and you've created the seasonal feeling. We also have small gold dusted pinecones that can be hung on a tree or put in a bowl. A touch of glitter! Now for something a little different. The Debra Shephard jewelry is sold each element singly. For instance the 16" sterling silver ball chain necklace is available for $20 or the large hoops on the left and the small hoops on the right can also be purchased at $18 and $14 respectively. Then you choose the dangle you want. The long "bling string" is Swaroski crystals or pearls $18. There are many different silver charms $10 or single Swaroski crystals $6 for a shorter look. They slip on and off the earrings and chains easily so you can switch out the elements or hang two together on a chain or three on each earring. Lots of versatility for an everchanging look.

And if you're getting tired of red and green. (It seems like I've been fixating on red a lot in the last month of postings.) For holiday dips or fruit breads or nuts these lovely gray porcelain bowls and trays are perfect. Their great organic shapes lend a touch of class to your table or buffet. The soft, subtle grays create a restful place for your eyes among the reds and greens and golds. (The two bowls also look good in a bathroom to hold soap or cotton balls or a candle or a few gold dusted pinecones. A little touch to make a guest bathroom lovely.)

Thanks to Emily for the pictures. Thanks to all of you for listening. Come see us.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ready for the Holidays

Well, we're gussied up here at the store. We've kept our airy, open look but incorporated our new gift items, glitter trees and spots of red everywhere. As promised from a previous post below are some pictures. Hope you enjoy.

Front room. We've kept it simple with some woodland trees, red pillows and throw, and red candles. Uncomplicated and uncluttered but cosy and warm.
Next pictures are of the second room. This room has suffered from a bit of an identity crises this year, but now it's back to being our gift area - full of kitchen items and gadgets, fabulous Murval bags, Caldrea, teapots and teas. A fun room to poke around in to discover the perfect gift. (And at a reasonable price.)

Lastly are pictures of our atrium. This special, serene space holds most of our furniture along with art, throws and some table top decor.Our approach this year is understated. We want to show that it doesn't take a lot of money or time to incorporate a seasonal feel. A runner on a dining table or coffee table is an easy spot of color to add. For some shine fill a bowl with the mercury glass ornaments that we have spotlighted on our big tree. Put some red leaves in a gold glass vase to play with Christmas colors.
Next post will include the rest of my pictures which feature the special items in our front room. My thanks to Emily for taking most of the pictures.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A fun First Friday

Annarella Home was full of art, music, artists and people last Friday. It was a debut for the jazz group, Manhasits Trio, and the crowd loved them Their sound was smooth. The food was good. It was fun to see old friends and meet some new ones.

Below is artist, Carol Hayman standing in front of a few of her photographs

Here is Cathie Kayser (left) in conversation with fellow printmaker, Anna Marie Pavlik (middle). You can see a bit of their work in the background. The interested bystander is Cathie's daughter, Elizabeth. The 3 women artists, Carol, Cathie and Anna Marie, will be giving an informal talk on printmaking and collecting at First Friday in Dec. In the next couple of weeks I'll be posting artists' interviews and pictures of their works.

Below are pictures of some of the people who shared the good times with us.

Thanks to everyone for making yet another First Friday a rousing success. Don't forget Dec. 5th.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Too many projects, not enough time

I can't believe that I haven't blogged since Oct 19. I've missed you all. But I've been trying to complete several projects, and there just isn't enough time. I know many of you can empathize with me.

First I'm almost finished with an online store. What a stretch for my elder brain!!! But I'm determined to have it up and operational by mid-week. When it does go public, I'll send out fireworks in celebration. The store will have some of our most popular items. It has been fun picking them out and photographing them. My huge thanks to Lauryl for the pics.

Tomorrow is November First Friday. Traditionally that is our kick-off of the holiday season here at Annarella. It has been frantic here as Pamela, Emily and Mindy have done a major redo of our floor - moving furniture into different rooms. Then they had to get all the new merchandise out. More about what's come in on a later post. Finally everything has to be decorated for the holidays. I'm in awe at hopw much they have accomplished in this week. Wait til you see how pretty we look. Pictures will be next week.

I did my first trunk show with the dresses from Hugs From Mimi. It was a great success. So whenever I wasn't on the computer these last weeks, I was at my sewing machine. What fun it has all been. This Saturday I'll be at Second Saturday Market Days with more dresses and stuff from Annarella, like the Lux candles, Victoria Miller necklaces and more. I'm sharing space with MAry Louise Poquette who has wonderful hand knit scarves and bead jewelry. Come by to see the goodies.

We have a new art show starting First Friday - Small Pleasures & Quiet Moments. These small works on paper are from Carol Hayman, photographer; Cathie Kayser, printmaker; and Anna Marie Pavlik, printmaker. Artist reception is from 6-8pm. In the next weeks I'll be posting interviews by all 3 ladies. They are very accomplished and extremely interesting. (This is another" more to come" post.)

I can see I have much to catch up on. But for now I hope to see you all this weekend. (I'm posting now without proofing. An apology for all the typos and mistakes, I'm sure I have made!)