Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Architectural Map-Drawings to Date: December 2013

Last Bits of Christmas: FREDERICK, Maryland

On a very cold and windy December 31, 2013 -
- Frederick's East 4th Street revealed Christmas dressings still mostly pristine on stately rowhouses.
The colors of Christmas and the colors of historic rowhouses complemented -
Red doors were inadvertently festive, as well as scalloped window shades.
A single red velvet bow askew made a sea green door a holiday portal.
Even a gated narrow passage between buildings which punctuates Frederick's streetscapes comes alive with a Christmas planter.

Celery is a perfect backdrop to delicate piney wreaths - 
- and brass bells watched over by a brass eagle on this blue double door, which must shine at night when those string lights turn on.
On Market Street, the shop windows are shifting from Christmas the the New Year, and we caught the wreaths on the front door of VOLT restaurant just as they were being taken down, at the end of their holiday lives.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Last-minute LOCAL Holiday Pop Up Shop: STAUNTON, Virginia

A balmy day in Staunton Virginia. December 21!  the doors of the old Historic Staunton Building are wide open for the first time in...years! Peter Aaslestad's studio is transformed into a Holiday Pop-Up Shop featuring many of Peter's famous Staunton photographs as well as architectural map-drawings by me, Kirsten Sparenborg / Turn-of-the-Centuries.
A sandwich board invites folks to come on down to the shop, by the train station, from Beverley Street.
Come in...
We mixed black and white photographs and ink and watercolor drawings on the gallery walls. Architecture, in subject and approach, is a strong underlying connection in the work.
This was the first time I've framed my Staunton drawings. It was nice to see a body of Virginia drawings - Virginia Tech, UVA, Front Royal and, of course, Staunton - all together.
Peter's curiosity xylophone served as a nice display for his photographs. 
Help yourself to "Swig" sugar cookies with sour cream frosting or ginger cookies with orange buttercream frosting or fresh, homemade gingerbread.  I gift-wrap, too!
The sun set on the longest night of the year and the shop glowed blue...
---while the gallery inside glowed warm and inviting.
It invited some of the most interesting and community-minded folks in town - including a new family here just a week, embarking upon a fixer-upper, armed with training and energy and a fantastic zest for life.
Prints and Postcards!  
Night fell and the crowd grew in this intimate space, still room for friendly dogs.
What a wonderful way to meet people and participate in the Local Economy!
The Holiday Pop-Up Shop was a Success!
THANK YOU to all the wonderful folks who stopped in - keep in touch,

HELD OVER to Monday, December 23 10am - 2pm. Come by!
Peter Aaslestad Studio.  120 South Augusta Street, by the Depot.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

LTD 7: Cozy/Breezy Vintage in STAUNTON Virginia

For Those who Call the "Queen City" Home...
There's a great shop in Staunton called LTD 7 - on North Augusta.
Owner Lynne Breeden and her friendly crew know how to find and foster local artisans and put together a shabby-chic showroom which blends all good things - and smells nice, too!
My Staunton Prints and postcards have a nice little nook against the brick wall in the middle of the shop.
Lynne's breezy/cozy vintage style attracted us one night while out for a run. We stepped inside and I felt transported to Savannah Georgia, circa 2007. Lynne was friendly as a southern belle, too, and instantly gracious.
You can learn how to make things at LTD 7!  Like rosemary wreaths -
And don't forget to get yourself a SweetNanaCakes cupcake!
You got to love a place where the banjo feels at home, 

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Hometown Holiday in Staunton's Shop Windows

what's going on at Black Swan Books & Music?
It's time for the annual Downtown Staunton Holiday Window Reveal!  Here are some of my favorites from Schmid's Printery, LTD 7, Pufferbellies and made;
More from LTD 7's Hometown Holiday Windows. Huge Photos of Staunton's holiday traditions.
Jamie and Michaelann of Black Swan Books & Music took Staunton back in time, sort of -
Beverley Street in sketches (Turn-of-the-Centuries) and books (Black Swan), with...
...a trolley! Courtesy of Chip Clarke, building owner at 1 E. Beverley. - And snow!  And lots of people!  And a few cats in windows. Michaelann's painting (gouaching) really brought the drawing to life!  I love it.
It was fun to see folks' curiosity and admiration, both at the window and inside the shop.

I loved Jamie's idea to build the Beverley streetscape out of sketches and books. Streetscapes like Staunton's Beverley resemble a shelf of beautiful books, a variety in design, topic, and age. I suppose it sent us back in time, too, working in paper and foamcore and glue - almost up until the final critique! Architecture School flashback...
You have to laugh at our solution to the rigors of building T.J. Collin's former office (the Marquis building, the Gentlemen's Cigar shop) true to its curvaceous form. Instead, the turret is being mounted by tiny construction workers and a window washer while a business man rounds the corner on the sidewalk with the giant umbrella that currently hangs out from the edge of the corner turret.
Go see them for yourself. Shop Downtown Staunton!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

STAUNTON Prints & Postcards for sale in Staunton: Black Swan Books & Music

I have great news! My STAUNTON Prints & Postcards are sold at Black Swan Books & Music on Beverley Street in downtown Staunton Virginia.
But first - let me tell you about this unique shop...
*you'll want to Click Larger*
Proprietor James Cooke and his family opened up shop in Staunton about a year ago in this beautifully renovated store. This shop is an extension of Black Swan Books, owned by Jamie's parents, in Richmond since 1997.
It's Black Swan Books & RECORDS. Just to be clear.  A great collection of used records!  
And, beyond, a galley art gallery with monoprints by local artist Piper Groves. 
I'm a fan of the Architecture & Historic Preservation sections, as well as the 'Virginiana' section. A Childrens' nook in the back hosts Storytime.
*Click Larger*
I love the hardwood floors, pressed tile ceiling and the clean shelves - especially the new Cowgill-esque free-standing stacks on the left. And the light...!
The glassy shopfront sits on the corner of Beverley and Augusta, nexus of the city of Staunton. 1 East Beverley Street
A rotating selection of beautifully printed and illustrated books flash their covers in the front window.  I had to lean into the frame, just to give you a sense of scale....
All this glass makes for dynamic natural lighting in the shop as the sun shifts.
I first stopped into Black Swan three weeks ago at the bidding of a friend from architecture school - like us, Jamie Cooke studied at the College of Architecture & Urban Studies, Virginia Tech. Although I'd noticed the shop and meant to stop in, my timing was off a few times. I needed a particular book on Staunton as I was just finishing my second Staunton drawing, the Archi-Topo Map, and needed to check the names of the hills I'd labelled. Instead of obtaining what I came for, I found a whole host of other wonderful surprises. In addition to the fun of connecting with another VT architect and talking about the architectural social scene in Staunton, I discovered the PERFECT BOOK SHOP. 
In my experience, there are two extremes in bookstores: glossy, overstocked chain bookstores and shabby, also overstocked, used bookstores where it's hard to find a path through the books sometimes. Black Swan is neither. It is clean and spare, for a book shop. Yet cozy and inviting. Owner Jamie Cooke also plays DJ, selecting records that build the right aura for browsing, reading and conversation. The combination of books and records, and now art prints & illustrations - and the experience of touching them, discovering them, talking about them with real people in real time and place, recalls the best things about a brick and mortar shop. The intellectual, social AND tactile experience!  
I found some treasures in my browsing and anxiously brought my husband back to show him the next day. These were not books I'd heard of nor were they on a bestseller list. They seemed to me artifacts, surprises. There were handwritten notes in some; these books have lives and come to the shop and the buyer with a history of their own. This is the kind of shop you want to stop into regularly, not expecting to find the precise book you need at the moment, but, instead, expecting to find a pleasant surprise and a stimulating experience. Serendipity.
And so, I felt this was the right place for my prints and postcards and am grateful Jamie agreed. Even the colors - greens and oranges - match! I hope other architecture nerds and people who love Staunton will find them at Black Swan, and I hope to meet such folks.
I hope to have new drawings of East Beverley (this block) in January.