Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Rotary Trail

New walking/bike trail in downtown Birmingham connects Railroad Park and Sloss Furnaces!
I had the pleasure of showing the Magic City to two dear friends from Los Angeles. Kathy and Dan Watson were coming through town from a big Rotary convention in Atlanta. Kathy shared this additional information that I'm happy to add to this post.

"In 1986 Rotary International was instrumental in beginning the push to eradicate Polio. Since then, other organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and individuals have followed suit and 2016 there were only 40 cases in the world, and it is confined to 3 countries in the world. This year, to date, there have been only 5 cases reported. Rotary is an awesome organization!"

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Waking Up Is Hard To Do

I was in Homewood yesterday and stopped by Sweet Peas Garden Shop on Linden. Their shop kitty was sound asleep, but my camera click woke him up!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday Church Series - The Cross

This reflection from a stained glass window in the small chapel located at the Saint Bernard Abbey cemetery in Cullman, AL.

Today I join James' Weekend Reflections HERE. Please have a look at the photographs posted from around the world!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Color Wall

What an unexpected delight. I was driving east on First Avenue North and spotted these great graphics. I turned around, and shot this out of my car window!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Where Artists Create - Back Porch Shadows

From time to time we will revisit some of our artist's studios. Today we're visiting the back porch of Kevin Irwin's wonderful studio, built in 1880. It's very small, but offers a view of downtown Birmingham. Happy vines have wound their way up to the second floor and promise a green carpet for the table and two chairs. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Learning From The Best

If you're from Birmingham, the name Frank Stitt is a household name. Frank Stitt owns 4 of the best restaurants in Birmingham and has been a James Beard Award finalist for 9 consecutive years. It all started when he opened the world class Highland Bar and Grill in 1982. Since then, he and wife Pardis have added Bottega Cafe, Bottega and Chez Fonfon.  I will always contend that the reason these four restaurants have maintained the level of excellence over the years is that every night, Frank and Pardis are visible in each and every one.

Last week I took California friends to Chez Fonfon. As we waited for a table at the bar, I snapped this shot as Frank spent a few minutes in the kitchen, then some time with a waitress. If you're even in Birmingham, try one, try them all. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Father's Day... a day late

Yesterday  I was honored to photograph two baptisms at my church. This family is very special to me and photographing the two cousins was a treat.  After the service we gathered for lunch to celebrate the two precious babes who were baptized together with friends and family gathered around. I loved this shot of new dad Stewart, sporting not a boutonniere but sweet baby Felix's bottle!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Where Artists Create - Cleo, Art Dog

As I've shared, I"ve been photographing artist Kevin Irwin in her studio for many years. No studio visit is complete without a few shots of sweet Cleo. Like the rest of us, Cleo has gotten older and enjoys longer naps on her studio bed. Kevin woke her up for a quick shoot. I love this photo of the two of them together.  I"m including a few more of older photos that I love.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Where Artists Create - The Studio

Now that you have met Kevin Irwin and gotten to know and appreciate her many artistic talents, I suppose you might want to see where all this wonderfulness is created! Kevin's studio is in an charming old building overlooking downtown Birmingham built in 1880. It started as a saloon and rooming house ( house of ill repute?), and later was a soda bottling plant in the 1920s, then a candy company and later the office for Perfection Laundry. The painted BAMCO ( Birmingham Auto and Machine Company) signage on the outside is still visible. Kevin's eclectic but very organized studio takes up the entire second floor while her husband Paul's Irwin Brothers Remodling occupies the ground floor. As a photographer, it's one huge photo op. The exposed brick and original wood floors, along with windows commanding some nice views of Sloss Furnaces and downtown Birmingham make for an eclectic space for Kevin to work and exhibit her art.

What is the inspiration for your work?  "My heart.  What hurts me and what heals me.  What inspires me and what makes me rage.  But what is most important is what makes me laugh and inspires me to appreciate the joy and humour in life.  HOPE,  always. " 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Where Artists Create - Glass Beads

Today we explore artist Kevin Irwin's beautiful hand sculpted glass bead work. For a photographer, the array of colorful glass rods, all artistically arranged by glorious colors is enough, but watching her light the fire and begin the intricate work of making her magical beads is challenging but fascinating. When this process is done, she begins creating her unique bracelets and necklaces.

If you work in more than one medium, which one is your favorite?  "I love glass work,  but my body could no longer do much of it… so I would say the clay work because I still get to use glass( glazes)."

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Where Artitsts Create - Working With Clay

It's really hard to say what artist Kevin Irwin is "known for". If I had to narrow it down, I'd probably say her whimsical ceramic sculptures. Whether it's a sleeping dragon, an alligator with Noah's ark on his back or those rascally squirrels that terrorized the Wiregrass Museum of Art in Dothan, Kevin's menagerie is loved and collected by many adoring followers. Of course she can't leave it at that. Nope. She crafts lovely plates, planters, and even the tiniest of clay beads to add to her amazing jewelry. You'll have to wait for that.

How would you describe your work?  "My story in clay.  A love note to myself,  A healing potion for myself and those that have my work.  A love note to all that share my journey .  It is a language that some can understand."

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Where Artists Create - Meet Kevin Irwin

Meet my multi talented friend Kevin Irwin. We have been neighbors and friends for about l8 years. I've photographed her in her creative space many times and will share a few older photos along with the ones I captured yesterday.

To say Kevin is multi talented is a bit of an understatement. In this one studio she creates whimsical ceramic sculptures, pottery, glass beads, tin and glass jewelry, watercolors and mixes of those mediums.  She's an entire series alone!

Come back tomorrow as we continue this creative journey!
What is the inspiration for your work?  My heart.  What hurts me and what heals me.  What inspires me and what makes me rage.  But what is most important is what makes me laugh and inspires me to appreciate the joy and humour in life.  HOPE,  always.  

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

New Studio, New Artist!

Today I visited another artist in her studio. This is a teaser! Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Where Artists Create - The Webb Fam

Sarah Soule Webb is not only a very talented artist, but she's also a nutritionist, church and community volunteer, and a guitar playing wife and mom to James 4, and Paul 2. Here she is with husband Andy and the boys.

Art dog Betsy, is the family lab, named after Sarah's best friend.

James sings along using makeshift microphone with Mom accompanying on the guitar. Good times on the Webb front porch.

James' fabulous abstract is featured in the studio.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Where Artists Create - Studio Abstracts

 Sarah's Easel 

Sarah's Floor

This is the third post in my WHERE ARTIST CREATE Series featuring Birmingham artist, Sarah Soule Webb. Come back tomorrow for more!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Where Artists Create - The Studio

Where Artists Create is a new photo series featuring Birmingham area artists in their creative spaces. 

Today we return to the studio of Sarah Soule Webb

Tell me about your creative space"My studio is an old sleeping porch on the back of our 100 year old home. It has amazing light and I can make a mess and leave it! "

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Where Artists Create - Sarah Soule Webb

Sarah and art dog, Betsy

I"m excited to announce a new photographic series, Where Artists Create.  From time to time, I plan to feature artists and artisans in the Birmingham area who will share their creative spaces and their thoughts on the way they make their art and a lot more.

I start my series with a sweet friend, neighbor and very talented painter, Sarah Soule Webb. Sarah grew up in Pensacola FL but has strong Birmingham roots. She lives in my Forest Park neighborhood with husband Andy and two precious, and very photogenic boys, James and Paul.

For the next few days, I'll share photos of Sarah's work and where she makes her art.

What is the inspiration for your work?  "I love the way light filters through trees or bounces off of water. Now that I paint several days a week, I notice it everywhere. In puddles, dappled sunlight on the lawn, beautiful shapes of shadows created by plants or people. Im inspired by symmetry and repetition in architecture. Sometimes when Im looking at a building or a horizon I imagine invisible lines all converging to a focal point to create perspective. "

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Magic City Woodworks - Work In Progress

One day soon, this beautiful chunk of wood will be transformed into a beautiful table or bench. Magic City Woodworks changes lives as well.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Magic City Woodworks - Working Hands

I will admit to having an affection for hands, hands at work especially. At Magic City Woodworks, sanding is painstaking work requiring patience, requiring frequent stops to feel the wood's surface.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Magic City Woodworks - Wise Words

Hanging from above their workspace at Magic City Woodworks,  is this simple sign. It speaks volumes. I think it applies to all of us. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Magic City Woodworks - Meet the Guys

While I was there, we took photos for their resum├ęs. They were a great group to photograph!

Magic City Woodworks - Measure Twice, Cut Once

Over the 9 years since I began my photography and blogging career, I have had more incredible encounters that I can even count. I've been blessed to meet interesting, creative, committed people all over this city who are making our community a better place. Last Tuesday was no exception.

This past week, I invited my self to Magic City Woodworks. I was intrigued with the old factory building I saw on Facebook, but I wasn't prepared for what else I discovered. MCW is a non profit organization that gives unemployed young men an opportunity to learn the craft of woodworking and go on to find employment here in Birmingham. Their website says this:

Magic City Woodworks exists to help young men bridge the intimidating gap between unemployment and meaningful employment. Following our Christian faith, we use a three-pronged approach, “Train, Equip and Invest.” to make a difference in the lives of these men. We train the apprentices of Magic City Woodworks with the skills needed to obtain a meaningful career and to teach future generations within their community. We equip each apprentice with basic knowledge of money management, resume building and job interview skills, and we invest in our apprentices to leave the program with the character to be successful not just at work, but in life.

The five men in the current program were welcoming, introducing themselves and shaking my hand.  This is yet another example of good people doing good things in Birmingham. For the next few days, I'll take you there as well!