We are nearing the end of our blog-tour of artists for this year’s Holiday Arts Tour. It has been a blast preparing these posts each day, as I’m making a mental shopping list for friends and family (with a little bit of personal shopping thrown in, of course.)
Today’s first stop is at Townsend House Gifts, 410 North Bonner. This “Queen Anne” house is one of the oldest buildings in Ruston and is on the National Register of Historic Places. My kids know the Townsend House as the Pumpkin Patch, because the owner, Kim Birch, holds an annual fundraiser for DART with what seems like thousands of pumpkins….tall, small, bumpy and large. Inside, however, Townsend House Gifts is full of fun kitchen gadgets, tableware, food gifts, china, candles and so much more. I didn’t live here back when I was engaged, but I hear it’s THE place to go for one’s wedding registry.
This year the shop is hosting two jewelry makers for the Tour: Laura Glen and Michele McGehee.
Laura Glen makes wire-wrapped jewelry with exotic gems. Forms in nature inspire her work, such as tendrils on vines, curves of clouds, and curls of rushing water around rocks in a stream. Laura Glen travels with her wildlife artist husband and finds inspiration on these adventures. She also travels for festivals and arts events around the region. I first saw Laura Glen’s work at Holiday Arts Tour a few years ago, and immediately bought a pair of earrings for my mom. You see, my mom is an earring lady: never leaves the house without a pair, has an amazing selection, and is selective. Well, she had nothing like Laura Glen’s earrings–and of course she loves them. Laura Glen does great work, and people come to the Tour each year looking for her. SO LAURA GLEN FANS OUT THERE: she’s going to be at Townsend House Gifts again this year!!
Michele McGehee is new to the Tour this year, and she’s an excellent addition. I first saw her work at Acorn Creek Antiques and was struck by the delicate and classic quality of her jewelry. Michele has been collecting timepieces since she was a child, when she would save all her money to buy watches. Well now she’s using those vintage and antique watches to make “new” accessories, disassembling and reassembling the pieces into earrings, necklaces and more. You’ll find keys, gears, faces, arms, etc., used in clever ways; it seems nothing goes unused from these watch bodies. The quality of materials is excellent, as is the craftsmanship. This is jewelry that can be passed along to your children.
Now, Townsend House Gifts is not on the “walking path” of the Tour. Yes, you can definitely walk there, but it’s “over and up” a couple of blocks. Do not let this deter you from making this stop on the Tour! These two jewelry artists make beautiful things, and the Townsend House itself is worth a visit if you haven’t been in a while. So either walk on over, or drive a couple blocks, as it’s not a place to miss.
The second stop for today is at the Percussive Arts Institute of Ruston (PAIR). PAIR seeks to bridge the gap between popular and academic music, and advance the percussive arts by:
- Providing free and low cost percussion instruction to children;
- Supplementing the training of music students at all ages and levels of experience;
- Enriching the skill set of music education professionals; and
- Fostering percussive arts appreciation in the community.
James and Sarah Waller (of Crescent City Coffee fame) are working on this brand-new nonprofit, which is located at 101 West Alabama, right across the street from our office in the Dixie Center for the Arts. They offer a variety of services for the community, for musicians as well as children interested in music. NCLAC has partnered with the MFA program at Louisiana Tech, specifically with 3rd year candidate Matthew Knopps, on a collaborative sculpture project for PAIR for Holiday Arts Tour. A group of college students, organized by Knopps, worked together on a sculpture installation focusing on principles of design such as rhythm, variety and repetition. Students of PAIR will be assisting with the installation of the project. Matthew has worked with NCLAC on our Summer Arts Camps as both a teacher and volunteer, and the passionate young artist has a keen interest in community work. His personal work involves repurposing old materials to make something completely new, and tinkering and experimenting play a large role in his process. Be sure to take a peek at this unique sculpture installation.
Also, PAIR will be participating with our Community Variety Show that’s closing out Holiday Arts Tour weekend: Sunday, 4:30pm at the Dixie Center for the Arts.
Be sure to mark your calendars for November 21-24. The complete HAT schedule is here.
Holiday Arts Tour is supported in part by a grant from Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the Shreveport Regional Arts Council.