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.

Architecture + Topography = ARCH-TOPO Drawing; Staunton VA

Staunton Virginia is city of hills! My passion of late has been trying to identify them by name from afar, approaching town. I think I've nailed it down - but please contact me of you find an error!
I'll call this an ARCHI-TOPO Map as it combines [my favorite subjects] Architecture and Maps! 
This topographical map shows the city core, nestled among the hills, its main roads and railroad connecting the tidy metropolis of western Virginia to points north, south, east and west. Staunton's smorgasbord of architectural styles is featured in the border of the map-drawing, including the 10 block of West Beverley Street and a variety of houses found in Newtown.
Gypsy Hill was part of the 975-acre Spring Farm in the 19th century.  Reservoir Hill hosts a ball field today and the substructures of an large water reservoir for town water.
Gospel Hill hosted religious meetings and revivals when it was the rural edge of town before the late 1800s. Now Gospel Hill is covered with many of the largest homes in town.
Mary Gray and Betsy Bell, the largest hills surrounding the city on the east, reflect the legend of two girls who ran away together to escape the plague in Ireland, built themselves a shack in the woods but eventually succumbed to death when a lover of one brought a plague-infected handkerchief as a gift. So tragic...
Montgomery Hall, like Spring Farm / Gypsy Hill, was a large farm or plantation in the 1800s. It's also a city park, today, including the original manor house.
Postcards, too! The topographical map with city blocks on front, the flags marking the various Staunton hills along the back, bottom.
Find them in MY etsy SHOP
and at Black Swan Books on Beverley Street.