An Unplanned Night of Poetry

My five week hiatus from law firm life has ended and I have finally settled into my new job. I’ve made it through the first few weeks, and so far life is wonderful. I am working approximately 30-40 hours a week less than at my old firm, and I have filled that extra time with seeing my friends and actually taking care of myself. Oddly enough, all the free time for long hikes, trivia nights, dinners, and hot yoga sessions have put doing new things (or at least writing about them) on the back burner.

On one of my nights out, my friend Katie, who I hadn’t seen since law school, and I headed out to catch up over a drink. At the bar we started to chat with a gentleman named Adam seated next to us. We went through the general getting to know you topics: where are you from, what are you doing in town, how do you feel about the first few weeks of the Trump administration, etc.

We learned that he was in town for a poetry reading as part of Nashville’s First Saturday art crawl. I told him that going to a poetry reading was on my list of New Things to do, and we promptly invited ourselves along.

j-joseph-kane

The reading was held at Sauvage Galerie, a bizarre little gallery in a residential neighborhood in South Nashville. The room was tiny, and the art consisted of mixed medium design, which I am pretty certain was just trash glued to wood and I think one piece was just part of a mop. Ron Swanson would not approve. I respect what the artist was going for, but I was not hip enough to get it.

robyn-leigh-lear

The three poets for the evening were J. Joseph Kane, Robyn Leigh Lear, and Adam Day. Poetry has never really been my thing. I love novels, biographies, and Buzzfeed articles about which dog best matches my personality (Great Dane, ironically). That said, I enjoyed the varied expression of the three different poets and I got a lot more out of it than I would just reading words on a page. I would totally go to another reading in the future . . . but I still don’t see myself ever reading poetry for fun.

adam-day

I promise more interesting and exciting posts are heading your way. First I just have to get used to actually having a life again first. More adventures are to come!

Learning Calligraphy

I have always had terrible handwriting. It is so bad that often even I can’t read it and it prompted someone to once ask, “didn’t anyone teach you to write like a girl?” Given that, I didn’t really expect calligraphy to be my calling, but total lack of skill has never stopped me.

Calligraphy Pen

Calligraphy requires a special pen called an “oblique.” Oblique calligraphy pens are used because they have a protruding flange (the gold piece sticking out on the side) that forces your nib to write at the correct 45-degree angle. A nib, which is inserted at the end of the oblique, is the part of the pen that actually touches the ink to the paper. Every few letters you have to dip the nib in an ink well. It really made me feel for Thomas Jefferson but also made me think that I don’t have enough feathered quills in my life.

Photo by Karen Watson

Photo by Karen Watson

I took a class with Molly Margaret, the owner of Esque Script Calligraphy at Paper and Ink Arts. We had four hours of instruction in which she took the time to demonstrate and let us practice the basic technique and strokes as well as each lowercase and capital letter. It was an incredibly intricate and time consuming process which I found I don’t really have the patience or attention span for.

52 Things 52 Weeks Calligraphy

However, it was an interesting class and I always enjoy exploring a new skill. Molly was kind enough to write out the name of the blog for me since her writing looks significantly better than my initial attempts at calligraphy. Unfortunately, in my rush to run  off to Sunday brunch I smudged the ink before it fully dried. Oops!

Basket Weaving

If you are itching for something new and crafty to do, I highly recommend a basket weaving class. In just a few hours you can create something completely unique.

Finished Basket

I went to Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary for my class with basket weaver Janet Lanier. Owl’s Hill is an 160-acre nature and animal preserve in Brentwood, Tennessee. I didn’t have time to explore the property, but I did see a beautiful deer grazing right outside of the window as I made my basket. It was a very peaceful afternoon.

Basket Weaving Materials

We started out with a wooden handle and the spokes that would make the frame of the basket.

Basket Weaving Base

The base of the basket was formed by interweaving the wooden spokes.

Basket Weaving Foundation

Once the base was formed, round reed was woven through the spokes to secure the frame. The wooden reed had to be kept wet to make it flexible and easy to manipulate without breaking.

Basket Weaving Layers

I decided to add in a little color to the basket, so every few rows I added maroon reed and seagrass. Seagrass is actually a grass that is hand twisted into cord.

Basket Weaving

The alternating over-under weaving process was repeated until I reached the desired height. Or, more accurately, I ran out of time and had to make it to a hair appointment.

Basket Weaving Bottom

Eventually the shorter spokes at the bottom were trimmed and tucked into the weave to finish the bottom of the basket.

Basket Weaving Top

The top of the basket was finished with half round weed lining the rim and smaller reed was wrapped through the open holes in the basket. To get it a little extra flair, I added some of the maroon seagrass to the top.

Completed Basket

Voilà! A completed wine basket! It took a few hours and a little hard work, but I am pretty happy with the final product. Plus, I am now ready for life on the prairie. I can’t wait to return to Owl’s Hill for another class or for when I have some time to explore.

Art Crawl & The Sunsphere

Art Crawl
The first Friday of every month the art galleries in Knoxville open their doors for what is aptly named, “First Friday.” In addition to the exhibits, the galleries have delicious food and drinks, and even the occasional band. It’s a great way to see a wide variety of artwork because every gallery offers something different. I met up with my friends Leigh, Qun, and Eric and hit the streets. Since everyone comes out for First Friday, you are sure to see someone you know. We eventually ran into our friends Kathryn and Darren. Poor Darren, he was the only non-lawyer (or non-future lawyer) among us. Here is a small sample of the artwork we saw:

Coral Grace TurnerRabbit, Wool needlepoint and cotton velvet at The Emporium Center.

Coral Grace Turner Rabbit

Megan Hensley, Twisted Element, Metal at Downtown Gallery.

Twisted Element Megan Hensley

Samantha Briegel, Glacé Chic, Ceramic at Gallery 1010.

Samantha Briegal Ceramics

Mike NaneyBerry Cold, Canvas wrap at URBhana.

Mike Naney Berry Cold

There was even awesome art on the streets…

Street Art

It was a beautiful night, so everyone was out enjoying the spring weather. We came across hula hoopers and a drum circle in Krutch Park, which continued to grow in size as we stood and watched. They seemed to play forever, prompting Eric to inquire whether they got union breaks.

Drum Circle

The highlight of the evening was seeing the Lovearch in Krutch Park. Lovearch was sculpted by Andy Denton, a friend of mine from high school. After years of seeing photos of his art online, it was really exciting to see his work in person. Well, for the first time since our teens. Andy describes the statue as being like a love poem. “These two figures are each others’ grounding in life. They are flung upside down by the world but they stand on each other.” Lovearch isn’t just beautiful, it also is an award winner. It won 3rd place in the Dogwood Arts Festival. Go Andy! So proud!

Lovearch Andy Denton
A few weeks ago, I actually walked by as the sculpture was being installed. Yet, somehow I didn’t notice Andy standing just a few feet away. Why? Because I was either in a rush or had my nose buried in my phone, not paying attention to the world around me. Lesson learned.

The Sunsphere
We Simpsons Sunspheredecided to end the evening at The Sunsphere. The Sunsphere was built in 1982 for the World’s Fair and has a bar and observation deck. For a long time The Sunsphere was empty, or, according according to a 1996 episode of The Simpsons, housed a warehouse of wigs. People still talk about the Fair like it was yesterday. I wasn’t around then, so I only know of The Sunsphere as the shiny thing that distracts me as I am driving. The windows are coated in 24-karat gold dust . . . what girl wouldn’t that distract!

Sunsphere at Night

We went up to the Icon Ultra Lounge on the 5th floor, where we were met by our friend David, yet another lawyer. The circular room is a little disorienting at first. The windows are slanted and run floor-to-ceiling, giving a 360-degree view of the lights of the city. We sat overlooking the fountains of World’s Fair Park; it was absolutely beautiful. While the music was loud, it was a relaxed atmosphere, perfect if you are looking for something different for a night out with friends.

After the evening was over it was time to head back to my car. My friends offered to escort me, but I insisted going it alone. It was a beautiful 60-degree evening, perfect for a quiet mile-long walk across town. Before you think I am crazy for wandering the streets alone at 2AM, you are more likely to see artwork in the alleys of Knoxville than get mugged in one. However, as soon as we parted ways I noticed that my iPhone battery died. My first thought: “great, this is how horror movies start.” Of course, the walk back was uneventful and I was greeted only with friendly Knoxvillians saying “hello.” And as you can tell from the blog post, I am still alive.

Painting Class

I have absolutely no artistic ability. None. I can’t draw, paint, make things out of clay, etc. Despite my innate lack of talent, I’ve always wanted to try a sip and paint class where everyone creates the same image. I’ve been waiting to do this until I had a free week where they featured something I thought I could draw. I invited my gal pal Leigh to come with me. This was our discussion on the topic on how to spend our Friday night:

Me: I’ve been waiting for one of the easier looking paintings.
Leigh: I’ve been looking for an excuse to drink wine.

And so our night was planned. For week 10 of my 52 Things we went to a painting class at Spirited Art. We were some of the first people there so we made sure to get a prime spot right up front to watch the instructor. There were about 50 people there, all lined up on long tables full of easels. A lot of people, like us, brought bottles of wine. The ladies behind us practically had a full meal of cheeses and delicious looking desserts. We will be better prepared next time.

TreesThe women in front of us asked if they could upgrade to a larger canvas. I decided to jump on the bandwagon and upgrade too. This would turn out to be a mistake as it would take me longer to finish each step of the painting. We collected our art supplies: paint, (black, white, gold, and red), brushes, mixing plates, and a cup of water, and settled down to begin. We were cautioned, more than once, not to drink the paint water—apparently it happens.

We painted in stages. The first step was to mix the white and gold paint to form the wispy background of the painting. This was a little time consuming because I had more space to fill on my canvas than most of the others. Next, we mixed the black and gold paint to create the trees. We started with the trunks and added more and more twigs and branches. Our painting was titled “Spring Breeze” so our last step was to add our blossoms. We swirled and dotted the red and white paint to create multiple shades and sizes of flowers for our trees.

Painting

I’ll admit, I spent most of the time painting absolutely hating what I was creating (see my lack of talent discussion above), but after adding the red and pink flowers and filling up the canvas a bit more, I finally started to like it.

This is me with my happy little tress. I think Bob Ross would be proud. Not terrible for a first effort.

FinishedPainting

When I was cleaning up I noticed this message on the wall. I couldn’t agree more.

LoveNewThings
Extra New Things
I’ve decided to try out a new section of the blog. Each week I attempt to do a few Extra New Things that don’t get mentioned in my posts. Just little things to give me new experiences. Whether it’s a new restaurant or a new food or just something outside of my comfort zone, I try to add something new to my week. From now on I’ll occasionally mention them here, mainly to try to encourage myself to try to introduce something new to my life every day instead of just once a week.

Timmermans StrawberryFor example, around Week 5 I had my very first beer. Yes, you read that right, the first one ever. I’ve never liked the taste of it. After my Krav Maga class I went to Union Jack’s with a friend. Since they only sold beer it was either try out something new and hope I didn’t hate it or go thirsty. Usually my instinct would be to stick to my routine of “I don’t drink beer” and just have some water while we hung out. But because of my list I decided to suck it up and try one out.

The bartender was quite nice and suggested that I try a strawberry flavored lambic beer by Timmerman’s. I know what you are thinking . . . that’s not a real beer. I kind of feel the same way. But it says beer, it’s from Belgium, and the Belgians know a lot more about beer than I do, so I’ll take their word for it. It was quite delicious and did taste a bit like strawberries. I actually drank the entire bottle (which is significantly more than the one sip I was willing to give any other beer that came before it). So, my opinion has changed. I no longer hate beer. I just hate all beers except one.

Now that I’ve told you that story I’ll end this ridiculously long post here and try to start the Extra New Things next week.

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