The Beautiful Bees

June 12th, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized

Mother Nature presented us with a wondrous event during the past few days. 

We were privileged to witness the return of the honey bees. Their queen took up residence in a random arborvitae (thuja) shrub in our work parking lot. The resulting attendance of her protectors, thousands of drone and worker bees, produced an amazing four foot long colony. 

We watched with admiration when the beekeeper arrived and proceeded to calmy and smoothly move the colony to a more advantageous location. Here are a few peeks of the group:


The colony




Up close: can you see the transparent wings?

Tulip Time

May 4th, 2013 Posted in Floral Design, Garden design, West Side

We’ve been blessed with many new tulip varieties this spring. Because we forgot to plant a few bags of bulbs last fall, we planted the bulbs into outdoor pots in January. They still bloomed!

Yes, these really are tulips! They remind us of roses or peonies with their fullness…


Tiny rock tulips


Check out this unusual color combo- deep red and white.


Even more unusual are the blooms as you look down into them.


More colorful tulip blooms

We won’t discuss all of the bulbs that were eaten by the deer…!

The Agrarian Collective

April 25th, 2013 Posted in Artisan made goods, Garden design


Have you ever wondered what to do with all of your extra tomatoes or beans at the end of summer? Been tempted to can the veggies and sauces but were afraid of botulism? Would you love to try making the pie dough from scratch, but have no one to teach you?   

We recently discovered a fabulous new company that holds real promise for re-discovering those lost skills in the kitchen and garden: The Agrarian Collective. This start-up company founded by Kelli Hanley Potts is booking classes now that are to be taught by local farmers, chefs and artisans at various locations around Northern Ohio.

Visit her website,, and get in on the fun!



di·aph·a·nous: Antonia Reiner 

April 11th, 2013 Posted in Art, Galleries/Museums/Exhibits, Gordon Square Arts District, Photography

di·aph·a·nous   [dahy-af-uh-nuhs] 


1.  very sheer and light; almost completely transparent or translucent.

 What do ghosts and silk have in common? More than you would think… both are diaphanous, resilient, strong. And they have captured the imagination of a Cleveland artist who has chosen to focus on the subjects via two different methods. 

Meet Antonia Reiner. With an Italian mother and American father, she spent the first half of her life in Rome, speaking fluent English and Italian. After completing her schooling there, she moved to England where she obtained a degree in modern languages and started translating art history books for such companies as Taschen, Yale University Press and Philadelphia Museum of Art. As her exposure to the arts increased over the years, she began to take classes in various mediums, leading her to the discovery of fibre arts. Reiner divulged “I tend to use silk because it possesses an emotional dimension, in its fragility and translucency, that suits my own mode of expression.”

When her husband, David Franklin, became the ninth director of the Cleveland Museum of Art a few years ago, they moved to Cleveland from Canada with their two sons. She had her first Cleveland exhibition, Love Letters, in May 2012 at the 1point618 gallery. The explorations of silk resulted in ethereal panels of silk organza, adorned with lustrous glass beads, swirls of paint and accented with the power of words. The effects were stunning, inviting exploration and contemplation.


We recently talked with Antonia:

-How did you get involved in textile art? Where do you start when you are looking at a piece of fabric… or are you weaving it as you go?

I am not a weaver, I suppose you could say I work on the surface of existing fabric, although I rework it in many ways, by layering it, teasing it, sewing it together or tearing it… I am quite restless with it, really. But silk lends itself to this kind of abuse and takes it well. The effects can be stunning. As for the creative process, for me it usually begins with a broad concept – like mythology, for example, or poetry -, then it narrows down to a particular story, and then I start exploring the colours and textures of the fabric as I go along. I tend to use silk because it possesses an emotional dimension, in its fragility and translucency, that suits my own mode of expression.

-Where do you do your work? 

I work in my studio at home. I love the luxury of having a view right over Southerly Park, and the light that comes through the windows in a particular way in the late afternoon. It is an inspiring environment. And I get to blast music full volume when I work! That’s an essential part of the process for me.

-Six words that best describe you…

It depends! I am notorious for my mood swings… However, I will try and give you those that are acceptable, as it were. Loving, hedonistic, loyal, determined, impulsive, temperamental. Actually, let’s just say ‘adorable’ and make it easier on everyone.

-What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

My beautiful boys, Thomas and Roman. Though I am not sure they would like to think of themselves as my achievement! They are their own, of course.

 -You indicated a new direction, into photography? How did the progression start? 

It started with shadows. Shadows have always held a great fascination for me. More recently, I happened to watch the shadows cast by a great chandelier in our house, at sunset, and I found it so irresistibly beautiful that I started taking some photographs as they moved with the sun. That chandelier must have witnessed many events and interesting interactions, and I think that if there are ghosts of any sort in our house, they must be having fun! From then on I became more aware of the shadows that the summer sun projected on various surfaces, and I became almost obsessed with capturing them in photographs. It seemed incredibly suited to my thought process, to capture the transient beauty of something that is an echo of the past soon will be transformed into something else or will have vanished altogether. Photography – like fibre –  is an excellent medium to engage with light, translucency and a certain sense of the extraordinary.

Ms. Reiner’s new exhibition, Ghosts, is not what you may think. Yes, ghosts, but ghosts in the form of shimmering reflections, shadows seen for a moment and changing just as quickly. Photography with a fascination of fleeting beauty.

1point618 gallery hosts Ghostsfrom April 14 to June 19, 2013 in their new Project Space, located in the beautiful, intimate lower gallery. Be sure to visit Antonia Reiner Fibre Art + Installations for more information and lovely photos of Antonia’s work.



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Gobble Gobble- Oops, wrong season

March 31st, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized

As seen last week in Olmsted Falls, the wild turkeys seem to feel pretty comfortable in the ‘burbs!

We see deer daily, foxes occasionally, but never saw wild turkeys before. 

Arguably my favorite artist, Marcia Myers

March 5th, 2013 Posted in Art


Padua, 2002          fresco on linen

Speaking of The Last Days of Pompeii at the Cleveland Museum of Art… 

When you see something for the first time and it speaks to your soul, you don’t forget it. I’ll never forget the first time that I saw a painting by an artist I had never heard of before. Was this painting a Rothko? It had such depth and character, but it wasn’t quite his work. The colors were so vivid, the patina unmistakable. How was that achieved? Who was this artist? Luckily, Google came to the rescue and I discovered Marcia Myers. I soon owned the Hudson Hills Press publication named Marcia Myers Twenty Years: Paintings and Works on Paper 1982-2002 by Dr. Renee H. Shea. It is one gorgeous, oversized book that I refer to often.


Frammento Del Muro I, 1996
fresco on linen


Marcia Myers was best known as a fresco artist who painted abstract canvases that reflected her love of Pompeii, the frescoes of the Renaissance and contemporary abstract paintings. She loved to experiment and developed a layered technique of combining unorthodox mediums with the traditional to produce the textured frescoes.


Myers’ own photo of Pompeii

After completing her MFA in painting at George Washington University and a Fulbright scholarship,  Marcia began teaching Art History at the Madeira School in Virginia. She later credited her academic training, especially classes on materials and methods, with giving her the confidence to push the limits with the mediums that she experimented with when creating her frescoes.

Villa dei Misteri V, 1996
fresco on linen

Marcia Myers was deeply influenced by the ancient ruins in Pompeii and Herculaneum, making over thirty visits to study the frescoed walls. She strived to capture the incredibly rich colors and amazing textures, beginning with works on paper and later moving to large linen canvas.
Myers began painting with oils and pigments, layering thin layers of oil glazes and creating textures with paper and fabric. Works done by abstract painters, such as Mark Rothko and William Turner, were her early inspirations. Myers continued to develop and refine her technique, using the raw, historical pigments favored by the Renaissance artists.  

Memory III
fresco on linen

Myers started to paint in series, working on two or three canvases at one time, moving back and forth between them. These abstract diptychs and triptychs showed off her rich colors: burnished red-oranges, creamy whites, mustard yellows and cool turquoises and blues. 

Marcia Myers in her studio


Her working powder pigment collection

Instead of layering the powder pigments into fresh plaster as in the frescoes of Pompeii and the Renaissance, she produced her frescoes by layering the pigments and marble dust on to clear varnishes and glazes, thus displaying a thoroughly modern take on the ancient medium. Using the powder pigments allowed her to make the most of each pigment’s properties. While the ochres created a more opaque surface, the reds were more transparent. Lapis lazuli pigment stayed suspended in the medium, thus shimmering in light.

Frammento Del Muro I, 1996
fresco on linen


Frammento Del Muro LIX, 1998
fresco on linen


Scavi CXXVI, 1999
fresco on linen

Marcia Myers’ chipped and scraped surfaces continue to draw me in to contemplate and admire. The works of Ms. Myers could easily have been included in The Last Days of Pompeii exhibit, wouldn’t you agree?

Italian Walls     Ventana XVII
Mixed Media on Paper

Marcia Myers died an untimely death in 2008.
Her works are still available at the  Gail Severn Gallery in Ketchum, Idaho.

Marcia Myers: Twenty Years
Paintings & Works on Paper 1982–2002





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A Beauty With Books: Cleveland Public Library

February 25th, 2013 Posted in Architecture, Art, Downtown

One of our favorite buildings ever proudly resides at 325 Superior Ave., N.E. in the heart of Cleveland’s downtown. You would be amazed at how many life-long Clevelanders, much less recently moved-to-the-CLE residents, have never been inside the main branch of the Cleveland Public Library. Besides its architectural elegance, it is also a fabulous library with a rich, deep collection of books and resources for us to investigate.

The 1925 building is on the left, the 1997 Louis Stokes Wing is on the right.

“The Cleveland Public Library first opened as a “Public School Library” for the Cleveland Board of Education in 1869. It was the first large public library to allow people to select their own books directly from its bookshelves.”*

The Cleveland Public Library’s main branch was begun in 1923 and opened in 1925. Cleveland’s City Beautiful movement conceived The Group Plan of 1903, when the city was attempting to design the downtown in an orderly way. An early example of urban planning, the plan designed a group of six buildings (CPL, Federal Building, Cuyahoga County Courthouse, Cleveland City Hall, Public Auditorium, Board of Education Building) to be built with similar design features and classical architectural motifs. 

The Library’s second building, the Louis Stokes Wing, was completed in 1997. The Eastman Reading Garden stands between the two buildings and is open in the warmer weather months, spring through fall.

Exquisite window details

The interior of the building is full of beautiful details at every turn. The Botticino marble, the carved wood, the leaded glass windows, the plaster moldings, the painted ceilings- all are there for the viewing. Overall, the library is maintained well. The Library’s Fine Art Department is one of the best in the nation. We have never gone there and not found what we needed, however obscure. And if they don’t have it, they’ll find it for you. Their archives are to-die-for.

Main entrance ceiling
The murals in the main entrance and the main hall (below) were all painted on large pieces of canvas that were fastened overhead, rather than the murals being painted directly on the ceiling.


A walk through our main library yielded this treasure trove of architectural features. 

Main Hall ceiling


Amazing ceiling!


Gorgeous door and window in the main floor’s Brett Hall.


Brett Hall ceiling

 The mural was created in 1934 as one of the Public Works of Art Projects, part of Roosevelt’s New Deal.

“Early Transportation” (Cleveland’s Waterfront about 1835), 1934
Donald Duer Bayard               oil on canvas


Enjoy the building’s stunning details…





Cleveland Public Library
325 Superior Ave., N.E.
Cleveland, OH 44114

(216) 623-2800

2, *

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Let It Snow!

February 18th, 2013 Posted in Photography

Usually you either love it or hate it.

If you live in Cleveland, you are frequently encountered by it.

There is one thing you cannot deny, though. It is beautiful.


The winter of 2013 has been perfect for appreciating individual snowflakes.

We believe it is due to the very cold temps.

We’ll take the cold!


That being said, bring it on, Spring! 



Vaughn Wascovich: Bridging Cleveland

January 30th, 2013 Posted in Art, Galleries/Museums/Exhibits, Photography

Sounds pretty straightforward, but with Vaughn Wascovich, what you see may not necessarily be what you get. Yes, he is a noted photographer, but the impact of his art results from breaking the rules or, as he describes it, “controlled chaos,” rather than doing things strictly by the book.

Vaughn Wascovich with his hand-created pin-hole camera

The Youngstown area native has returned to Cleveland in a big way- opening not one, but two galleries in the space of a few weeks. On January 11, 2013, Wascovich opened the Cleveland Print Room‘ Gallery with his Welcome to Hard Times photos of the seemingly stark northeast Texas landscape. Using his large format pin-hole cameras, he maneuvers the images in the darkroom to produce his signature spots and specks that add their own remarks to the scenes at hand.

 On February 1, 2013, Wascovich’s works will open the Transformer Station (the new museum in town) with Bridging Cleveland, an expressionistic display of Cleveland’s bridges at the request of Fred and Laura Bidwell, the founders of the Transformer Station located in Ohio City. The Bidwells have partnered with the Cleveland Museum of Art in an unusual arrangement: the Bidwells will curate and exhibit works of art from their own photographic art collection for six months of the year and the Cleveland Museum of Art will offer exhibitions of contemporary art for the remaining six months. 

We recently spoke with Vaughn as he divulged his secrets:

The pinhole camera in place, ready to shoot.

-For those of us who are not photography literate, can you tell us what you shoot with? What do you do during the developing and printing stages?

I shoot with a box with a small hole in it. Actually, it’s fourteen boxes with holes in them. I use traditional wet-darkroom paper as my negative, one negative to a camera. The negatives are 8×20”, and fit in the box on a curve so that the hole is sort of in the center of a circle. The cameras vary some so I can place the horizon in different places on the negative. My exposure on a sunny day is about four minutes, give or take… I can only estimate my composition. Once the image is exposed, I go to the darkroom and process it.  What I try to do with my work is find the small cracks in the rules… so in the darkroom I try and do everything wrong.

 -Why do you not include people in your photos? Might you change your mind in the future?

I’ve always had a hard time photographing people, and rarely do, even with my digital cameras. I like to imply people in my photographs, but not just one, not a specific person, but rather people. When I photograph these bridges, I think of the history of people involved in them, the people that made them, that used them and traveled over them and what their lives might have been like. To imagine Cleveland when it was dark with smoke from the mills, or when on a sunny Saturday, people would take the trolley to see the Indians play.

-What is pinhole photography and how do you use it in your work?

I like it because much of the process is out of my control. Unlike digital, where you see what you get right away, with pinhole it’s a mystery, and by processing the way I do, the composition isn’t entirely resolved until I’ve finished processing the negative. I’m looking for that controlled chaos- knowing and understanding the process, but allowing plenty of room for accident and serendipity.

Site selection in progress

-Are there any color photos or just black and white in “Bridging Cleveland”?

 It’s all b&w, though I have started working on a color separation camera, one that will give me three different b&w negatives, and produce a color image.

I have several projects in various stages. I’m not finished shooting pinholes in East Texas and Louisiana. I recently drove through the Mississippi Delta and fell in love with that landscape, and I’m exploring new-to-me photographic processes; color separation pinhole, magnifying glass cameras, tintype.

-What is your next project focus? Do you choose the subjects or do they choose you?

I’m very interested in the larger environmental issues, hopefully this winter I’ll be back in the coalfields of Kentucky and West Virginia. And where I live, I’m finding myself surrounded by the tar sands pipeline. I’m not really sure what or how to address that one yet, but it sort of comes knocking at my door.


“Bridging Cleveland” will be on display at the new Transformer Station from February 1 through May 4, 2013.

For more information about the Transformer Station and its creation,view our interview with Fred Bidwell in July, 2012 as its construction began in earnest. 

Transformer Station final rendering



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Peeking in at the Kokoon Arts Club

January 25th, 2013 Posted in Antiques and Vintage, Art, Downtown, Painting/Decorative Arts


Clevelanders today would be more than a little surprised at a Cleveland legend that began in August, 1911, the Kokoon Arts Club (originally spelled with a K). From the looks of the actual photos and reports, conservative Clevelanders certainly learned how to throw wildly popular parties at their annual Bal-Masques. One absolute requirement to attend the Bals was an original costume. That meant in 1925, eighteen hundred people attended… with eighteen hundred unique costumes. Impressive.

The Western Reserve Historical Society is holding their “Somewhere in Time” fourth annual fundraising event this year to honor  the memory of the Kokoon Arts Club’s 100th anniversary of their first Bal-Masque. Let’s take a closer look at the Kokoon Arts Club…

Quite the crowd in 1919!

 Modeled after the Kit Kat Club in New York City, the Kokoon Arts Club was founded principally by two lithographers who moved to Cleveland to join  the city’s pre-eminent printing company, Otis Lithograph. At the time, Cleveland was the country’s premier center of commercial printing, producing theater and movie posters and billboards that were quickly sent out with ease to the rest of the country because of the city’s central location. Carl Moellmann and William Sommer were the leaders among the founding members. The group was founded with the goals of providing a site for artists to gather and draw models in the nude as well as to promote modern art. As the Cleveland Museum of Art did not open until 1916, the group was one of the only outlets for artists interested in the modern movement to come together and learn from each other.

1,800 attended this1925 Bal-Masque at the Masonic Temple

The first Bal-Masque was held in 1913 as a fundraising costume ball. The Bals continued their annual Cleveland presence, growing each year in size until they filled Cleveland’s largest ballrooms. Between 1913 and 1938, only one Bal was cancelled- in 1923. Kokoon Club members produced the posters, tickets and Bal decorations, with a contest held yearly to determine the winning poster. Their works are an amazing collection of modernist art which today command impressive prices. 

Here are a few of these gorgeous, colorful posters:

1917 Bal-Masque poster by William Sommer  

1924 Bal-Masque poster by Joseph Jicha

1926 Bal-Masque poster by Joseph Jicha

1927 Golden Bal poster by Joseph Jicha

1928 Bal des Arts poster by Joseph Jicha

1929 Bal Dynamique poster by Rolf Stoll

1930 Bal Bizarre poster by Rolf Stoll

1931 Bal Papillon poster by James Harley Minter

If you want to learn more about the Kokoon Arts Club, we highly recommend Out of the Kokoon by Henry Adams, professor of American art at Case Western Reserve University, and Lawrence Waldman, the retired psychologist and noted art and history buff. Many posters can be seen at 78th Street Studios and the Kokoon Arts Gallery, owned by William Scheele. They recently produced a video on the Kokoon Arts Club.


Thank you to Out of the Kokoon, the Cleveland Public Library and the Kent State University Special Collections and Archives.

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