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.

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