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THOM

Volume 2 | issue 1 Spring/Summer 2014


Volume 2 | Issue 1 Spring/Summer 2014

Editor & Publisher Michele Arwood

CREATIVE Director Haile McCollum

Assistant Editor Stephanie Ellis

Features Editor Bunny Byrne

Designer Trey Veal

Photographers Jay Bowman Gabriel Hanway Katie McTigue Abby Mims Daniel Shippey Carrie Viohl

Writers Bunny Byrne Nikki Igbo Todd Spear Jennifer Westfield

Copy Editor Nikki Igbo

thomasvillearts.org 600 E. Washington Street Thomasville, GA 229.226.0588

Cover Photo by Madison Booth Bottles courtesy of Charlie Whitney Collection


contents Spring/Summer 2014 CONNECTORS

4 Connecting the dots Cheri Harden Leavy and Whitney Wise Long of the Southern Coterie MUSIC MAKER

10 Lovett a–z Royce Lovett MUSE

16 Contemporary Nostalgia Julie Guyot MAKER

20 Junkyard Genius Melissa Rigsby MAKER IN THE MAKING

24 Master Jett Jett Kiminas 27 THOM’s guide FOODIES

78 Organic by Nature Orchard Pond TRAILBLAZER

84 Big Thinker Lyle Williams EXPLORERS

90 The Cult of Cuisine Scott and Rhonda Foster PLACEMAKERS

96 The New City of Southern Sounds Moultrie, Georgia ARTIST

100 True Colors Cindy Inman ARTIST

102 Man About The Universe Kenneth Bridger

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Featured Artists


Letter From the Editor

By far, the most intriguing thing about our fine

If you are discovering THOM for the first time, we

city is the deep connection between its people.

welcome you to our pages and invite you to get

There’s just one degree of separation in our part

to know our community of thinkers, visionaries,

of the world: that special connection is the secret

muses, artists and creative entrepreneurs who are

ingredient that makes Thomasville great!

shaping our city and the Red Hills region.

This season we proudly roll out our second

This season, we are proud to partner with our

issue of THOM to connect you to a new crop of

friends at Sweet Grass Dairy. If you are a member

fascinating creatives. Each one gives a nod to their

of the Center and received a complimentary issue

heritage and has stirred in us a desire to know

in your mailbox, be sure to flip to the back cover

more people just like them. They are all people

where you’ll find a special invitation to a private

who have successfully woven their roots into their

party, courtesy of our favorite cheese maker! There

life and work.

are only 50 spots so be sure to visit us online to reserve yours. (Not a member? You can become

You’ll meet an organic farmer and her team of

one online. It’s great being at the Center of it all!)

WWOOFers who are combining their appreciation for the land with a simple promise to grow good

If you enjoy experiencing our community through

food; two visionary women who are making

the eyes of THOM, please take every opportunity

a notable imprint on our Southern life by

to support the 40+ partners who have made it

doing what comes naturally; a talented mixed

possible. We hope you enjoy this issue and look

media artist who layers memories and vintage

forward to meeting you here again in the Fall.

ephemera to create stories on clay; a handsome musician who is madly in love with his family and his guitar; a young man with a gift for paper masterpieces; a homegrown boy who grew up to bring a big vision to the local music scene; and two award winning artists who color our world with their talent and spirit.


Connectors

5


Connectors

Y’ALL KNOW HOW IT IS: you walk into Grassroots

As Thomasvillians, we know a thing or two about

or Relish and it takes you 20 minutes to get to the

strong women entrepreneurs. From Kate Hanna

counter because you know everyone in the place.

Ireland (who employed hundreds during the

That’s one of the things we love about our corner

Depression) to local retailer Melissa Rigsby (owner

of the world. Small towns are connective by nature

of Relics) to restaurateur Lee Saussy (owner of

and you can get an introduction to just about

Moonspin), we’ve got our own bumper crop of

anyone you’d like.

business women. Some of our movers and shakers are attending and speaking at the Summits, and there are

Now imagine Thomasville’s brand of helpful,

collaborations in the works. As Whitney says, “Very

connective community…online.

much like what y’all are doing in Thomasville; where creative minds gather, creativity flourishes.”

Enter: The Southern Coterie. Cheri Harden Leavy and Whitney Wise Long are the tenders and curators

Cheri and Whitney are like the bird dogs of this whole

of this Southern-centric collection of collaborators.

collaborative love-fest. They constantly point to who

Cheri has been in the news and magazine industry

you need to meet, who needs to meet you and who

for years, and currently owns two publications,

they just think is fab. From these pointers, great

Bulldawg Illustrated and Guide2Athens. Whitney has

things are happening. Libbie Summers, a food stylist

been a writer, scout and stylist for some of the

in Savannah, and Holly Phillips, an interior designer in

best magazines in the South. Together, they have

Charlotte, collaborate through a blog, Salted and Styled.

created a forum for lovers of our common geography

And our own Schermer Pecans, owned by local Putt

that has caught fire and smelted into a hotbed of

Wetherbee, was involved in the Athens Summit and

entrepreneurial activity. And its make-up is

now collaborates with Lee Epting Catering on some

mostly women.

out-of-this-world pralines.

The Southern C, as they call it, is an active online

Says Cheri, “I will admit our attendees and network

forum, but the real fun starts at their Summits,

members are 91% ladies but we have some cool

held a few times a year in cities such as Nashville,

menfolk! Putt fits right in and we adore him. Leapfrog

Athens and Charleston. The Summits are chock

PR Company works with Schermer Pecans and The

full of sessions on marketing and branding, and

Southern Coterie, so principal Libba Osborne brought

the backbone of the events is the meeting and

him in the fold to sponsor one of our breaks.”

greeting. Says Cheri, “The Summit events have given entrepreneurs in the South a place to share

She continues, “Everyone fell in love when Putt

successes and failures, and to learn and grow from

attended the Summit in Athens and shared his pecans

them together. It is a community that builds you up

and his family-owned business story. Lee Epting,

and collaborates for continued success. The energy

an extraordinary Athens event planner, caterer and

is electric!” Co-conspirator Whitney agrees, “The

character, made pralines with Schermer’s Elliott

camaraderie and genuine support is off the charts.

pecans in a huge copper kettle that night at our

At the Summits, there is this sense that we are all in

Cocktails & Conversation event with Southern Living’s

this thing together.”

Executive Food Editor, Hunter Lewis.

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Connectors

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Connectors

Just like the ventures that blossom from their cultivation within the Coterie, the Coterie itself is a work in progress. Cheri says, “We want to continue to foster and showcase Southern creatives, entrepreneurs, bloggers and brands. What is Southern is not staid and is always evolving, and we will too.” There were three Summits last year, and 2014’s first Summit will take place in Charleston, April 30 - May 2. You can register at either the event website, or head over to Southern C’s website to rifle through gobs of good stuff. From interior design to art to food, all the best that Southern creators have to offer is there. Whether it’s in Thomasville or at a Southern C Summit, get out and shake some hands and connect So, is it true that all the Southern C ventures start

some dots. It really is all about who you know, in the

with a C? Cheri says, “Our blog post topics do lean

best way. The Thomasville way.

toward “C”, such as cuisine, cocktails, characters, couture, collegiate, creatives, celebrations, cinema,

THE SOUTHERN COTERIE

conservation, compilations, community and more.”

thesouthernc.com

She goes on to explain, “Our Summit buzz words

THE SOUTHERN C SUMMIT

are connect, collaborate, create. We feel like the

thesoutherncsummit.com

educational sessions and opportunities to showcase these Southern creatives’ products are invaluable.”

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Written by

Royce Lovett is on the verge of something big. Look at him and you know it. Listen to his

Nikki Igbo

music and you’re as sure as a sailor staring up at Orion’s Belt. The guy is a star. If you

Photographed by

haven’t yet heard of Royce, it won’t be long before you’re giving friends the skinny on this

Daniel Shippey

Tallahassee music wonder.

A lte r n ate R ea lity Somewhere there’s a Royce Lovett who plays wide receiver for the Denver Broncos and enjoys being featherweight champion of the world with in-home barber services and constant references to himself in the third person. In this universe, he’s close to becoming the next big singer/songwriter.

Buns, Hamburger For some, Saturday night in Tallahassee could mean partying or late-night studio sessions. For Royce, it is time spent with his wife and son, parents, an uncle, his brother and five nephews. The menu includes fire pit s’mores and homemade burgers, which is why Royce stops at a second grocery store after forgetting the sesame seed and whole wheat varieties.

C h r i sti a n Vi cto ry F e llows h i p A KA R e sto rati o n Li f e F e llows h i p Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, Katy Perry and Royce know all about that praise service feeling. Good folks in their Sunday best. Shoes shined. Stockings swish-swishing down the aisle to a favorite pew. All swaying and clapping in unison. A joyful noise still echoing in the rafters as the minister requests everyone bow their head in prayer. Why would anyone want that feeling to stop? That feeling of singing from the depth of your soul.

D r uth e r s Royce’s mom, a spectacular praise leader at church, wanted her youngest son to attend college. She did as all parents do; she warned her dreamy-eyed offspring to have a Plan B. But having a backup strategy never made sense to Royce.

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Music Maker

E m pathy

H e p h z i ba h (A KA H a n n a)

Most future fans may never know that Royce is the

A man who finds a wife finds a good thing. There

type of guy who expresses grief at the sight of a run-

aren’t many women who’d support her husband

over kitty in the road.

quitting school and work to pursue music. Hanna believes in Royce, and he keeps the lights on.

F rA N CO P H O N I C A friend who signed to a French label recommended

I n s p i rati o n

that Royce visit France, and Royce’s wife happened

Gospel. Soul. Hip Hop. R & B. Songs about victory,

to win a study abroad scholarship there. Royce

happiness, love, kindness, goodness, mercy. Marvin

scheduled six gigs remotely only to have each one

Gaye. Michael Jackson. Soup the Chemist. Family.

canceled within days of his landing. He was playing on

Friends. The determination to be a good man.

the streets when a local bar owner approached him. Royce only knows English. Imagining him in France

Jacta n c e

trying to schedule a gig with a cell phone translator is

Typically, anyone in pursuit of a music career can’t

comic gold. Perhaps a higher power intervened in this

wait to schedule an appearance on MTV Cribs. Royce’s

chance meeting which led to three months of paid

dream is to use his success to provide free music

gigs throughout Northern France.

lessons to youth.

G u ita r

K i s m et

After listening to Lauryn Hill’s MTV Unplugged No.

There’s never been a what-if-I-fail question in Royce’s

2.0 album, Royce had to play this instrument. Once

mind. Only the resolve to be the musician he’s fated

he learned, and served as a strummer for his mom’s

to be.

praise and worship team, he couldn’t imagine singing without it.

12


13


Music Maker

Lyr i cs to Li ve By

S o n -s h i n e

Royce thought he’d become a hardcore gospel rapper,

Nothing motivates like a toddler named Levi who

but he got tired of all the preaching. He wanted to

looks like you and the love of your life.

make music he could get dressed to, roast s’mores to, drive to Winn Dixie to get hamburger buns to.

Ta lla h as s e e Though Royce wants to live in other regions of the

M i rac le

world, there’s only one place that will ever be home.

Sometimes life’s journeys develop from the impossible and stem from the implausible. In Royce’s case, if you

U n i c ity

have the chance, ask him about the sty on his eye at a

Today’s top forty are odes to tomfoolery and

youth rally in Tampa.

debauchery. Royce’s music is a return to the simple, yet important things. Maybe it’s a sign of things to

N o M o r e Ga m e s

come.

At what age does a man become serious about being a better person? When does he move toward positivity

Vi g o r

and away from negativity? When does he stop

The key to achieving a goal is to keep at it, and do so

listening to secular music and watch only movies with

with alacrity. Again, google Royce Lovett.

G or PG ratings? For Royce, it was 15.

W i n , Fo r th e Obsession

Because Royce won Downtown Tallahassee Music

Music is Royce’s hopeless romance. He’s an idealist,

Festival’s Battle of the Bands competition, he was the

but he’s not the kind of dreamer who relies upon

opening act for their 2014 New Year’s Eve event. Local

wishing wells. Google Royce Lovett and you’d think

boys still know how to make good.

he had a manager, agent and publicist in his corner. Actually, he’s a one-man show.

X- Facto r “They” say that all celebrities possess a certain je ne

Produce

sais quoi. When did belief in one’s self become such a

Thomasville was once synonymous with road trips

rare commodity?

with grandpa to procure and sell fruit and vegetables. Today, Royce visits the town to gig at The Submarine,

YO LO

play music with TCA’s Hananel Mavity and offer music

Maybe Royce belongs to a generation that is unafraid

mentorship to young artists.

of risk. He somehow understands the flicker that is life. And this is a good thing. This willingness to ignore

Q u e stua ry

fear and pursue happiness.

Some musicians are in it for checks with lots of zeroes. Although Royce wants to live a comfortable

Zo eti c

life, he’s not that person. Music is as necessary to him

We all need and depend on those souls with a

as water to trout.

constant song in their hearts. What would the human condition be without music and its makers?

R e co r d La b e l The 25-year-old has traveled to France on several occasions. He got held in customs once because security couldn’t believe he’d scheduled so many

ROYCE LOVETT

international gigs without a recording contract.

roycelovett.com

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Written by Jennifer Westfield Photographed by Abby Mims

ON JULIE GUYOT’S LIVING room wall, the Blue Willow china decals are recognizable from across the room. Julie has adhered them, along with neon text, to a larger platter and other things I can’t yet make out. I realize that I haven’t seen china like this since my grandmother was heaping it with more meatballs than a little girl’s belly could ever hold. It gives me an inexplicable pang. I don’t know if it’s because my grandmother is gone, or the little girl is gone, or both. When I move closer to Julie’s art piece, there is another decal of a woman whose face has been cut out and moved far to the left. Thank God. Deconstruction is something of my world, not my grandmother’s, and that pulls me out of my reverie. I read the phrase at the bottom of the platter: “Put a pillow under her.” This smacks me like one of the times my grandmother decided to decorate my face with a handprint for I’ll-never-remember-what. Welcome to Julie Guyot’s aesthetic, where everything is a visual crossroads of generations that exist like two sisters of the same age but from separate eras. These sisters play together, but are prone to eyeing one another up and down and calling each other out. Contemporary/Nostalgia is how Julie described her aesthetic to me before I experienced her work, and having done so, I imagine that these paradoxical terms are the names of the sisters. They occupy a little house in Julie’s subconscious. Their complex interactions become the products of Julie’s hands and kiln. Julie manually forms all of her pieces, fires them and then, “I just pull images in,” she says, “until it feels right.” She layers so many images that she may fire a piece anywhere from four to seven times. The average piece of pottery is fired twice. She sits holding an oversized mug, the size of which makes her hands appear very delicate. This creation of hers is made of red clay, decked with a snowy glaze and emblazoned with fierce decals. She sports a wavy blonde bob, a polka-dotted cardigan and a welcoming frankness.

17


Maker

She’s just been named Thomasville Center for the

fill in with color. Of course, I only knew him as an old

Arts’ first artist-in-residence and, after ten minutes

man. I remember looking at that picture, and thinking

with her, I want to sign up for one her workshops.

he was just gorgeous. I also remember looking from

Not just because the mug in her hand is something

that picture to him as this older man and trying to

I’d like to steal and stick in my own cupboard, but

piece those things together.”

also because it amazes me that her creative decisions seem to be executed without conscious deliberation.

Television and cinematic reconstructions of the

Perhaps those decisions are the product of a feeling

past are often embellished with a kind of grit, or

elicited by This American Life podcasts or the Neko

muted color scheme, the kind of aesthetic elements

Case songs she plays in her workspace.

Julie likes. As a result of those – and because films, photographs and other relics of bygone eras are not in

Julie’s work has one foot firmly planted in the

full-color, high definition – imagining my grandparents

American Midwest circa 1940, and a fixation on the

at my age is difficult and well, terrifying.

fragmented remnants of existence during that period. She claims her work was significantly influenced by

Julie openly employs the same adjectives concerning

a single banker’s box of miscellaneous papers and

her art process and admits that she’s guided largely

photographs she was given after her grandmother’s

to, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” One of the things

death. Conversely, she is equally fascinated with the

she conveys when she teaches ceramic art is that

idea of contemporary, which moves endlessly forward,

people shouldn’t feel as if the clay in front of them

stamping life in invisible ink.

is their lone shot at a masterpiece. She admits that she’ll make three trips to the trashcan before she feels

Julie attributes additional influence to a single

satisfied with what she’s working on.

photograph of her uncle as a young World War II pilot. “When we would go visit my grandparents,” she says,

In her work, the blacks and whites of older media are

“there was always this photo album with a black and

juxtaposed against bold 1980s neon and pop-fonts. “If

white headshot of my uncle in his pilot’s cap and

they made glazes in neon colors,” she says, “I’d be all

goggles that someone had actually taken the time to

over it.” Her handmade functional pieces employ pinks

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Muse

and blues, decals from the ‘30s and ‘40s and ceramic embellishments that look almost cloth-like. In her studio space, there is a small saucer for sale, glazed in bright blue, with decals comprised of rubber date stamps from the 1930s and an alien, yet oddly familiar cursive handwriting perhaps from a ledger page or registry, but Julie has made it hard to tell. The writing on the saucer, regardless of its functional purpose, begs for the entire contextual reality that once surrounded it. There’s a life behind this longhand that I’d like to pluck from the past and know. At the same time, I entertain the idea that, in the end, something like this dish of Julie Guyot’s may very well outlive me, and come to serve as a relic for those who seek to pluck me out of the past when I’m gone. JULIE GUYOT STUDIO Thomasville Center for the Arts Building 209 209 W. Remington Avenue Thomasville, GA julieguyot.com

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MAKER

Written by Jennifer Westfield

ONE OF THE FINEST pleasures in interviewing artists is being invited to their homes, rather than their stores or studios, to meet. Imagine me leaping around like

Photographed by

a little girl when I was given the home address of Melissa Rigsby, the owner of

Daniel Shippey

Relics. When I first walked into the store a couple of years ago, I immediately thought that whoever owned this antique shop must have the coolest home ever. When you’re Melissa Rigsby, what do you do with a pair of antlers and a tree limb? You turn them into a window treatment, with the upturned antlers cradling each end of the limb. What do you do with Victorian-era wooden porch brackets and columns? Transform them into a headboard and four-poster bed, and bedeck it with posh bedding. What do you do with two old pairs of red shutters? You make them the medicine cabinet doors that frame your bathroom mirrors, which incidentally now look like windows. On Melissa and Fondren Rigsby’s sprawling place in the country, repurposed relics, rust and unfinished lumber mix to perfection with sleek metal hardware, modern embellishments and charming southern accents. High ceilings provide an airy grandeur that accentuates the coziness of the home’s nooks and lofts. Somewhere between rustic-chic and Outlaw Country (Melissa’s preferred XM Satellite Radio station) is the term that best describes the Rigsbys’ inner sanctum and the matchless aesthetic that draws people to Relics. Before I set foot in the Rigsbys’ living room, I’d have never believed in a million years that a vacated hornet’s nest would make a charming decorative accent.

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MAKER

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MAKER

The hornet’s nest and the stuffed bobcat accompany

singular influence and seeks to imitate no particular

flowered upholstery and are within a stone’s throw of

era or decorative trend. She doesn’t have time

a chandelier made of deer antlers draped with smilax

to read, imitate or look for inspiration, not when she’s

and dangling crystals. It all works so unbelievably well

got lamps to wire, wares to salvage and the task

that I don’t know where to begin with my interview

of getting lemon trees to take to the soil in her yard.

questions.

She admits that her mind is in half a dozen places at once, which makes her frequent stops to laugh all the

In 1994, Melissa was told that she’d be wise to

more endearing.

occupy a vacant building she owned in downtown Thomasville. She’d just finished a twenty-plus year stint as a restaurant owner but said, “okay, fine.” She threw a handful of antiques in the building and sold them for a few hours a week. A decade later, she’s riding back into town in a twenty-six foot truck packed full of salvaged antiques, which she picks up from as far away as Texas and Ohio. Now the

Melissa maintains stables, a vegetable garden and

shop stays full of her artfully restored and

a chicken coop. She’s personally planted every tree,

repurposed wares.

of innumerable varieties, on her property – many of which are labeled for the Christmases she and her

Because Relics lies on Highway 84, the store sees a ton

children planted them in lieu of pulling an overpriced

of out-of-town traffic. Melissa laughs when she tells

fir from a lot to stick in the living room. It’s not that

me how buyers sometimes take an item right back to

she’s averse to having a tree in her living room. (She’s

the state where she found it. I laugh because it takes

got an old pine totem there that nearly touches the

Melissa traveling across the country to exercise the

ceiling, complete with an early 1900s catface slash

eye that plucks out what many people never really

pattern and collection bucket for pine resin.) It’s just

saw until Melissa put her hands on it.

that she likes to do things her own way.

Melissa has turned a horse trough into a coffee

Of all she does, the seeking, salvaging and selling are

table, potato sacks into wall art and an old-world fire

secondary. What comes first is the labor required to

extinguisher into a lamp base. I’d have mistaken her

transform the item she’s found into the finished work

luggage for décor had some of the suitcases not been

she usually envisions the moment her eye lands on

left with airline tags. When I ask why not a pool in

it at a dealer show or jutting out of a junk heap. She

the backyard, rather than the enormous man-made

sometimes relies upon her husband’s technical skills

sinkhole filled with emerald-colored water and koi

to help her with carpentry and projects that require

fish, Melissa stops for half a second, laughs, and

advanced electrical wiring. “I about drive Fondren nuts

says, “Well now, that just wouldn’t look right.” The

I think,” she laughs. “He’ll come out there when I’m

million-dollar question is what’s behind how she

working on something, and say, ‘You can’t do that!’

decides right down to the minutest detail what looks

And I’ll say just watch me!” I ask Melissa if he’s ever

right. Everywhere I look is a perfectly executed

been right on that front. She sits back and thinks for a

visual smorgasbord.

moment, smiles, and says, “No, I guess he never has.”

Melissa’s talents are all intuition and execution with minimal analysis, like a girl who mastered the

Relics

piano simply by sitting down and playing without

138 S. Madison Street

ever bothering with sheet music or obsessing over

Thomasville, GA

Rachmaninoff. Melissa never studied interior design,

relicsthomasville.com

rarely reads magazines on the subject, claims no 23


Written by

From underneath a mass of brown hair, a pair of hands works determinately –

Jennifer Westfield

creasing, folding, unfolding. As he labors, Jett Kiminas speaks thoughtfully about

Photographed by

the origami masters he prefers. “Satoshi Kamiya,” he says, after manipulating his

Abby Mims

origami paper for a stretch of silence. “You should definitely check out his work.” Spread around the table where he’s in the middle of creating a paper parrot, are all of the things related to Jett’s many fascinations – an upright bass, acoustic guitar, bins and boxes filled with his origami creations and a dictionary the width of four phone books – he left his saxophone at home. Jett is 11, attends Scholars Academy, and has a lexicon more diverse than that of most adults. A first prize trophy for the district-wide spelling bee is among the things he’s brought with him. He won by correctly spelling “herculean”, which is awfully funny, because while some kids might approach playing an instrument like a herculean task, Jett taught himself to play several, and writes his own songs. The former toddler with a two-string is now reaching nearly above his head to move his fingers up and down the neck of the upright bass, where he’s marked positions with multi-colored sticker strips. Like Jett’s hands, his brain is always going, but in a way where you get the impression that not a single thought is wasted. Even when he’s bored he says he’s thinking of inventions. A Rube Goldberg apparatus, for instance, to get something out of the fridge without having to do anything but turn a crank from the living room to drop a bowling ball onto a see-saw and so on, until the sandwich

24


Maker in the Making

is catapulted into his hand where he’s playing

a tiny paper bird pop from inside, all from a single

Assassin’s Creed 4 in front of the television.

8-by-80-inch piece of rectangular paper, no cuts, no tape. Creating the clock is a 200-step process that

Jett is a perfect blend of gregarious and gifted. He’s

takes a minimum of six hours, and that’s if you’re

real smart, but he’s also a real kid. He listens to Led

Robert Lang.

Zeppelin and reads Harry Potter. He’s an origami purist, insisting that creations be made from a single

Jett is most proud of a dragon he made, on which

sheet of paper, but says if he could go anywhere it

he spent five hours fashioning the torso alone.

would be Paris so he could skateboard around the

Each of the torso’s scales had to be folded out of

city’s architecture. One minute he’s explaining to me

the one single sheet and consists of several folds in

the difference between an “E” note on the saxophone

itself – the three-dimensional dragon is covered in

versus the guitar, and the next he’s deriding the

dozens of them. Jett shows me a six-headed crane

family’s territorial donkey, Sonic.

he folded while on a drive up north. “I was so bored

You may think that being limited to a single sheet

I thought I was gonna die,” he says, rolling his eyes

of origami paper would mean all cranes and paper

and smiling. As it turned out, the highest number of

airplanes, but you’d be wrong. Jett works from

heads an origami crane ever had before Jett Kiminas

instructional books by origami artists with step-by-

came along was four, but he’s in no apparent rush to

step directions on how to fold, for instance, Robert

claim his place in the book of world records. Jett may

Lang’s 12-by-6-inch Black Forest Cuckoo Clock. The

dedicate inordinate amounts of time and labor to his

clock is embellished with eight paper leaves on each

creations for someone his age, but he’s definitely not

side and a pendulum which can be pulled to make

folding under pressure.

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Local chefs serving up homegrown eats with a modern twist. Around-the-way artisans showcasing their soulful wares. Music lovers of all ages shimmying to swingin’ rhythms. Come April 26, these will be the tastes, sights and sounds of Due South. In its third year, this festival dedicated to our shared Southern heritage promises to deliver plenty of fodder for feel-good memories. General Admission tickets are $10. The VIP party starts at 6p.m.; tickets are $125. MADE IN THE SOUTH As part of Due South, Thomasville Center for the Arts is bringing the “The Southern Makers Market” to downtown Thomasville. Join your friends and neighbors to have a gander at locally crafted jellies, jams, hand-tooled leather, pottery, jewelry and all manner of sweet Southern-produced goods. The Makers Market will be open festival day from noon to 5 p.m. DANCIN’ IN THE DAYLIGHT…AND MOONLIGHT And since the entire day will be fit for cuttin’ loose in the streets, Due South is delivering an amazing line-up of family-friendly musicians proud to call our Southern environs home. Plenty of eats and drinks will be on hand as the Fried Turkeys, Two Foot Level, Midnight Rain and Soul Gravy play back-to-back from noon to 5:30 p.m. Shoes and Laces will kick off the evening set at 6:30 p.m. Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys will headline at 8:30 p.m. DUE SOUTH Thomasville Center for the Arts Building 209 209 W. Remington Avenue Thomasville, GA thomasvillearts.org | facebook/duesouth.tca 26


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Foodies

AS I’M GUIDED THROUGH rows of carrots, head

decision to provide wholesome sustainable produce

farmer Tom Heerema rolls by on a tractor, tilling

beyond what she grew for her family, but also a

up rich earth behind him. The air fills with a moist,

concurrent large-scale food movement that began

earthy musk. He throws us a thumbs-up, and

to pull consumers away from fast food and

gleefully yells, “Soil!”

industrial agriculture.

In the beginning, all farming was organic. There were

Mary is a Thomasville native and landscape architect

no chemical fertilizers, ammonia-based fillers or

by trade, who comes from a line of restaurateurs.

synthetic hormones that could make chickens grow

She admits all of that has overlapped into her

oversized breasts. At Orchard Pond Organics, it’s hard

farming endeavors, though most of what has been

to accompany Mary Phipps through her verdant rows

accomplished on the farm, she says, has been by

of leafy vegetables and happy farm hands and not

trial and error. People shouldn’t mistake holistic

wonder how the care and sensibility with which she

growing methods for the idea that organic farming

runs her farm has been so utterly lost in agriculture’s

is somehow easier than the conventional variety. If

industrialization over the last half-century.

you’re going to run an organic farm and communitysupported agriculture (CSA) operation, you need more

The story of Orchard Pond Organics begins with a

than seeds, knowledge of soil and irrigation, tillers,

young mother who planted a single row of organic

wheelbarrows and seasoned farmers. Mary says it’s

vegetables after the birth of her first daughter. What

a constant process of learning what works and what

propelled Mary’s farming operation was not only a

doesn’t that keeps her on the farm nearly every day. CSA operations like Orchard Pond’s, with its 150 or so members, have been around for more than two decades. They follow a shared-risk economic model, where the farm accepts payment at the beginning of a growing season, then harvests and provides meat and crop shares to its members on a weekly basis. It’s a much more intimate operation that provides über-fresh eats, minimizes environmental impact and puts consumers face-to-face with the people who actually grow their food. Orchard Pond’s CSA members pick up their shares directly from the farm in northeast Tallahassee, at the Lake Ella Growers Market on Wednesdays, Market Square Farmers Market on Saturdays or at Tallahassee’s Whole Foods on Mondays. Shares are available for pick up in Thomasville at George & Louie’s restaurant on Mondays. The farm has a burgeoning tupelo honey operation where a year’s worth of honey, about 50 drums, is harvested in two weeks every May – the supply now rarely lasts through the year because of demand. Honey, plus homemade granola, pesto and beef jerky from their certified organic kitchen can be ordered through their website. In addition to their CSA’s fruit,

80


Foodies

vegetable and beef shares, coffee shares are available

Along the east-side of the farm’s 15 acres of produce

through a partnership with Thomasville’s Grassroots

lies a row of family garden plots which Mary rents by

Coffee, as are shares of 100% whole grain bread

the month; the farm provides the soil to get growers

through Tallahassee’s Three Sons Bakery.

started along with the water. There is currently a waiting list for plot rentals, but the farm always

The farm runs on a staff of five. In the fields are

welcomes volunteers to help with larger harvests.

members of Worldwide Opportunities on Organic

Orchard Pond also offers a subsidized share program

Farms, USA (WWOOF), an organization which places

for qualifying applicants, based on the belief that

volunteers on farms across the country. In exchange

access to wholesome foods shouldn’t be limited by

for labor, volunteers receive room, board and the

income brackets.

hands-on organic farming experience they’re after. Orchard Pond takes in volunteers from all over the

A lot of what Mary and other organic operations

country, and is currently hosting four WWOOFers, as

do involves educating people about the realities of

they’re called, who reside in a house on the property

local sustainable farming. For the average consumer,

called the WWOOF Den.

there are no seasonal limitations in produce sections

81


real cost of food, or why they can’t get kale in July or sweet corn year-round. It’s especially difficult for people to understand why a sweet potato might be more expensive than a fast-food cheeseburger, and sadly, why they should choose the former over the latter. Unprecedented rates of obesity and cases of early-onset diabetes were two of many revelations at the center of the mid-2000s food movement. Advocates tied the decline of public health to big agriculture’s shift to industrial farming in order to meet the demands of fast food companies, particularly the demand for beef. Orchard Pond’s lot of five-hundred cattle is grass fed, and cows are slaughtered three at a time. The farm at large food retailers because vegetables can be

uses rotational grazing on a few thousand acres of

imported from wherever they’re in season, no

land, where the cows, who are natural foragers, eat

matter how far away. It’s often said that the average

the grass while simultaneously fertilizing a particular

American meal travels anywhere from 1,000-1,500

field. Cows are then moved to subsequent fields in a

“food miles” before landing on the dinner table. When

cycle that allows the grass time to replenish while the

I first heard that statistic, I got out a map and drew a

cattle continuously feed. No antibiotics or chemical

thousand-mile radius around the Red Hills region with

fertilizers are necessary, and the health benefits of

a compass. There had to be hundreds of farms within

grass-fed beef are astronomical.

the far reaches of that circle, yet the majority of what was in my crisper drawer was from South American

Mary remembers how she made a phone call to

countries. Why? Because I didn’t know any better.

Cypress Restaurant in Tallahassee to see if they’d like to buy (they did), but as for most of the others, she

Despite the large-scale growth of CSA operations and

says, they called her. “Everyone wants local stuff right

the organic industry – the Organic Trade Association

now,” she says. Where before the farm catered to the

reports that annual organic food and beverage sales

industry, the industry is now catering to the farm.

went from $1 billion to nearly $27 billion between 1990 and 2010 – the fact remains that few people know there may be a CSA farm five miles up the road. Just like I had no idea that Orchard Pond was a sevenminute drive from my house. Advertising is not in the budget for small farming operations, so by-andlarge they thrive on word-of-mouth advertising. CSA members help by bringing in friends and family, and neighboring farms promote each other by often working together. If one farm runs short of a particular crop needed to complete a CSA share, a neighboring farm will provide it. Operations like Orchard Pond eliminate the middleman, but even so, most organics are costlier than their conventionally-grown counterparts. It is difficult, Mary says, to make people understand the 82


Foodies

Mary has an impressive list of fine-dining establishments that buy from her, including Tallahassee’s Cool Beanz, a culinary landmark for nearly 20 years. Executive Chef Nathan Knight says that, though the restaurant has bought from local farms since day one, he’s certainly noticed a major increase in the demand for organics, and in the number of new local farms over the last five years. Cool Beanz buys locally, he says, “Because it’s good for the community, and because when it comes to taste and freshness, there’s no comparison.” In the beginning, there were one or two local farms where they would buy. Now they buy from up to five at once. “I think the demand has gone up,” he says, “because people are more conscious. They want to buy from companies who aren’t going to put pesticides or hormones in their food.” Local soil. It’s a good thing. Orchard Pond Organics

orchardpondorganics.com

83


Trailblazer

“YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE a long-term plan,” says Lyle

Antibalas; and far-out funk luminary, Bootsy Collins.

Williams. “Not just that you want to make a lot of

Over the course of the weekend, more than 50 acts

money.” He adds, “And do your homework.”

took to the stage, keeping the music flowing nearly nonstop during the festival.

Lyle, a Thomasville native and current New Orleans resident, is the creative force behind a pack of North

“I remember being a teenager and my dad gave me

Florida music festivals. The largest of these events is

the Led Zeppelin box set and two Cat Stevens records,”

the Bear Creek Music and Art Festival, which is now

says Lyle. “For some reason, that stands out as ‘the

entering its seventh year.

moment’ music started to sink in for me. Music has been a part of my life ever since.”

Each November, upwards of 8,000 music fans assemble in a campground situated along the banks

Lyle’s father, the late Tommy Williams, was a larger

of the tea-colored Suwannee River, surrounded by

than life figure. A prolific philanthropist, the senior

towering cypress trees all buttressed and draped in

Williams achieved a legacy of good works and was

spanish moss, at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music

beloved by many. It’s fascinating to see Lyle forging

Park, in the otherwise quiet North Florida town of Live

his own legacy of connection with people. “Music

Oak. Over the course of the weekend, festival-goers

can change the world in such a good way,” says Lyle.

are treated to a smattering of musical acts pooled

“There has always been a therapeutic value to music,

from the tasteful undercurrent of modern jazz, funk

ever since the first person picked up a stick and used

and R&B artists. The list of musicians that appeared

it to make a sound.”

at the most recent Bear Creek festival, held this past November, included notables like platinum-selling

In 2006, just after graduating from the University of

hip hop band, the Roots; innovative afrobeat group,

Tennessee, the idea of staging a music festival struck

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PHOTOS: DINO PERRUCCI

PHOTO: jeffrey dupuis

Trailblazer

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88


Trailblazer

Lyle as he was standing in the audience at the Wanee

vendors, along with many other headaches. For

Festival, also held in Live Oak. He partnered with a

instance, there is a real Bear Creek, near the originally

friend, Paul Levine, to create what would come to be

planned site of the festival, but Gadsden County

known as Bear Creek. Lyle and Paul founded a live

wouldn’t issue a permit for the event. “We were

event production company, Big IV Productions, which

crushed, but I knew the Spirit of the Suwannee Music

has gone on to launch numerous festivals, all held at

Park was there,” says Lyle. “Six weeks out, we moved

the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park.

the festival to Live Oak.”

Lyle’s musical horizons have expanded greatly since

Lyle has clearly done his homework when it comes

his early introduction to Zeppelin and Stevens, as

to live event production. All of Big IV’s festivals skip

illustrated by the eclectic range of music he helps

over mainstream pop acts, favoring instead what

bring to the stage. He tells me that, in addition to

Lyle calls “real music” – real musicians playing real

being his first festival venture, Bear Creek is the

instruments, for real fans, with real improvisations

most popular. Big IV is also responsible for two

and, occasionally, real mistakes. Lyle tells me that

other popular festivals held annually at the Spirit

fans – as well as bands – come from all over the

of the Suwannee Music Park: Suwannee Springfest

world to attend the festivals. The festivals’ successes,

and the Purple Hatter’s Ball. All of these events

he adds, are a testament to the changing dynamics

attract thousands of fans, and they do so by billing

of the music industry. Even as illegal peer-to-peer

some of the best live acts on the road today, while

downloading continues to make a substantial dent in

generally avoiding the costly big-name anchor acts

recorded music sales, live music gains popularity, with

that dominate other festivals. This is a formula that

many artists declaring that live performance is the

reflects Lyle’s own musical taste and has proven

only way to make money in music these days.

successful for Big IV. So, what’s next for Lyle Williams? He’s still a part It hasn’t always been clear sailing, though. I’ve always

of Big IV, handling the organization of the Florida

had the utmost appreciation for anyone who could

festivals online and over the phone from his new

succeed in an undertaking on the scale of a music

home in New Orleans. He tells me that he’s immersed

festival. See, I’m someone who is interested in the big

in promoting some smaller shows in his new city, even

ideas – those daunting challenges that only the most

as he plans the next Suwannee Springfest.

ardent, most vigorous and most inspired souls among us can make happen. As you might imagine, putting

Lyle Williams proves that, sometimes, it pays

a major music and arts festival together is hard

to think big.

work. Festival organizing comes with the logistical nightmares of scheduling bands, recruiting staff,

BIG IV PRODUCTIONS

obtaining permits, selling tickets and incorporating

bigivproductions.com

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90


Explorers

Written by Bunny Byrne Photographed by Carrie Viohl

“REMEMBER THAT GREAT HAGGIS we had at that little breakfast spot?” says Rhonda Foster to husband Scott. If haggis is a little out of your normal routine, you’re not alone. For the Fosters, food is an adventure that borders on obsession. They travel the world in search of indigenous foods, the latest techniques, the classics and the experimental. And the menu at their restaurant, Liam’s (named for their son) reflects their palate. “We cook what we like to eat,” says Rhonda. They both have decades of experience in the restaurant industry and say they started traveling for one reason only: to eat. When I meet them one morning at their restaurant, Rhonda offers me hot tea and a jar of artisan honey. I am not one bit embarrassed to heap a spoonful of that pricey bee sugar in my tea (and that’s a mini-commentary on the Fosters, there’s not a lot of pretense with them). I don’t need a polite spoonful. She gave me the good stuff – not to look at, but to eat. Though I’ve known the Fosters for roughly four years, we feel like family. And that word “family” is a recurrent theme in our interview. When you walk into the Fosters’ home through the back door, as friends and family do, you’re immediately faced with a striking wall of art. It’s hung floor to ceiling, Victorian style, with folk art the Fosters have acquired over the years. It’s like spoons or stamps for other collectors, but they’re not stamp people. They’re these big, bold personalities that wrap around the outside of two of the warmest hearts you’ll ever meet. Their home is homey, with a hearth in the middle and ivy covering the front porch columns. We scroll through photos on an iPad: Scotland, Canada and a place it 91


Explorers

takes a Snow Cat to reach. There’s no new car in their

Their last big trip of 2013 was to Scotland, where

driveway, no McMansion. Their priority is spending

they’d also been in 2012. “I don’t know how it

time with family, and the way they do that is through

happens,” says Rhonda, “but it seems like every time I

travel and dining. “Travel feeds the fire, it makes me

book a hotel or a restaurant, that place ends up being

feel ignited,” Rhonda says.

on the Food Network or Travel Channel.” But when I ask her how she finds these places, it’s clear that she

“Our first trip was to visit my family in the U.P.,” says

does the same kind of research as magazine scouts.

Scott, meaning the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. “It’s

It starts with an idea of a place or experience, and

not a food destination, but it’s authentic.” They were

Rhonda digs deep into the Internet, hopping from

living in South Florida and Rhonda had never been

major travel site to the smallest of blogs, to find the

to Michigan. Authenticity, something the two of them

most out-of-the-way destinations. She looks for the

sniff out like trained hounds, is a ribbon running

chefs who are still hands-on in the kitchen, who are

through all of their travels and takes them to places

still passionate. She finds the purveyors and suppliers.

you might not see on the cover of Travel + Leisure. Though Rhonda will tell you, “I find more great food

“Down the road from The Three Chimneys (a

in travel magazines than in food magazines.” Scott

restaurant and inn) was this old Scottish guy who

agrees. “We stopped taking industry magazines years

harvests oysters,” Scott explains. “He sells wholesale,

ago,” he says.

but to make a little extra money, he smokes some of

92


93


Explorers

them and sells them at his shop.” Scott’s a big guy who cuts an imposing figure, but when you see him this worked up about food, his eyes are childlike. “He’d smoked them in peat moss, harvested from the bogs, right there,” he says with wonder. On this trip, they also met a local chef and had something of a “jam session” talking about food long into the night. They traveled to the Isle of Skye, fished for supper and pulled fresh vegetables from the house garden. “Those kinds of experiences are something I’d love to share,” says Rhonda. “Our customers are like our family, and a big part of our travel is our family. We want to give Liam these amazing experiences. He understands that not everyone his age gets to do these things.” Nor, I might add, do many adults. In fact, in January of this year, they embarked on a trip to Quebec City, so that Liam could eat at his favorite restaurant for his birthday, Le Lapin Sauté. Their home’s kitchen and adjoined living room have walls of books, many of them recipe and travel books. Much more useful than postcards, I’d say. This is the room where they have their annual Christmas party for staff and customers. The place is jammed wall-towall with guests – an entire roasted pig sits on their dining table, contentedly smiling in the fray. The Fosters have some grand plans in the works, though those plans aren’t yet public. Let’s just say we’ll all be happy if those plans happen. And they’re toying with the idea of leading food tours, so if you’d love to let a travel-and-food-obsessed couple haul you around the globe, drop them a line and let them know. The next big trip they take may be the one you’re meant to be on.

LIAM’S RESTAURANT 113 E. Jackson Street Thomasville, GA liamsthomasville.com 94


95


96


Written by

It paints the air like magnolia blossoms in July. Tantalizes like grits, chicken apple sausage

Nikki Igbo

and buttered biscuits just after sunrise. Intrigues like the fickle call of a Brown Thrasher.

Photographed by

Delights like the smiling salutation of a longtime neighbor. Each weekend in Moultrie, it

Carrie Viohl

takes front and center stage after an age of cameos on front porches and choir stands. A community rejoices.

On a Friday in Moultrie IT’S 7:00 P.M. BEANS & STRINGS is buzzing like worker bees after a dressing down from the queen. People ranging in age from elementary to AARP begin to fill the café seats around the stage. Near the center of this music school with a coffee shop in the front, musicians lounge in adjacent sofas catching up on the word around town. As one local says, Moultrie folks love all things Moultrie. And there is evidence of that love in the air. Something like a broad-smile-with-an-inhale appreciation of what’s happening around town. The Gilbert Girls take the stage. The mother-daughter-daughter team sings their way through covers of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and Vince Gill’s “What You Don’t Say”. Some fans nod their heads to the rhythm. Others sip their coffee with head cocked to the side. Each pays close attention to the fair-haired ladies. The ladies, in turn, happily display all they’ve learned in a special Beans & Strings program that teaches aspiring bands the ins and outs of stage performance. Beans & Strings owner Eric Foster says his outfit is simply answering a community call. As far back as anyone can remember, there’s always been a strong tie with music in Moultrie. Country, soul and rock music is a constant. Many sing in their church’s choir. You really can’t walk a block in town without running into someone who plays the guitar. Most folks learned to play from an uncle, a cousin, a family friend. Those same folks either played at home or searched outside of town for a spot to play to an audience. Until 2009, there was no such place. Since that time, several businesses have opened downtown due to a steady stream of entrepreneurs who have returned home from sojourns abroad. Many of those and existing businesses have also become live music venues. The Square, Blue Sky Bar & Grill, Beans & Strings, Heritage Embroidery, Lazarus Department Store. With each new weekend, the opportunities to hear good local music grow and grow.

BEANS & STRINGS 19 1st Street SE Moultrie, GA beansandstrings.com 97


Placemakers

Around 8:00 p.m., there is no such thing as a bad

clean as a cat with OCD. Fried green tomatoes and

seat at The Square. However, the best seats in the

white wine. The gentle serenade of poetry set to

young thing of a restaurant are in front. These special

guitar strums.

spots face Moultrie’s famous courthouse, a building as beautiful as a Rembrandt. To accompany this

Music lives in Moultrie but it’s hard to understand

view, owner Carrie Viohl suggests starting out with

the precise reason why. Dr. James Huffman, a fellow

the roasted tomato bisque. She will continue to gush

diner and half of musical duo Red Clay Raven, says

about everything else on the menu because – as

it’s because of Moultrie’s geography. The town is a

all diners witness from the pan-fried quail to the

crossroads for Georgian folk and Floridian blues. Gary

pumpkin pie bread pudding and ice cream – it’s

DiBenedetto, another diner and owner of a local full

all good.

service recording studio, says Moultrie has always provided an environment for creativity. The pace of

To finish satisfying the senses, Daniel Parrish plays

living is easy, laid back, calm. Matt Eakin, yet another

acoustic guitar on a small stage next to the hosts’

diner and member of country band Highway 55,

desk. Daniel doesn’t look like the director of Moultrie’s

simply smiles big and nods. He really likes the bread

Planning and Community Development Department.

pudding and the good company. If music does indeed

He resembles a cross between a Sunset Beach surfer

live in Moultrie, it seems to have dinner at The Square.

and a Quaker. He meanders through songs from his album entitled Mione Road with head thrown back and

THE SQUARE

eyes closed. The scene is almost too perfect. A packed

25 1st Street SE

restaurant sitting on a town square with streets as a

Moultrie, GA

98


Placemakers

Just before 10:00 p.m., Michael Little is a bouncing

and background vocals himself. However, the patrons

lottery machine ball of energy. He’s managed to

actually provide the background. Their arms thrown

borrow Fireball’s mic, speaker and amplifier and he’s

about each other’s shoulders, beer bottles raised in

just about done with setup. Fireball, a guy who looks

the air. They sound good. They sound as if they’ve

nothing like his nickname, is the owner of Blue

been singing with each other for a long time. Soprano

Sky Grill. Blue Sky Grill is where Michael is about

and tenors combined. Voices lifting and falling to

to rock the mic, the house and anything else that

complement each other.

needs rocking. When you sit back and take this in, you know you’re For any visiting city dweller, this restaurant/bar may

seeing the beginning of great things to come. It’s like

seem odd. The ceiling is painted with a blue sky and

watching the Hollywood sign being resurrected onto

cotton clouds. The bathrooms are ridiculously clean

Mount Lee. Or the final slat of the boardwalk being

and smell faintly of lilac. None of the patrons notice

placed in Atlantic City. A flame of an idea has caught

or complain when the Norcross vs. Lowndes game

in Moultrie. Music is the fuel. Community is the key.

ends and an orchestral concert begins on the big

Local talent is excited. Fans are supportive. The town’s

screen. There’s a family sitting at one of the booths

future as a live music destination – something like

with two baby seats perched on the table. One baby is

New Orleans with less public intoxication and more

asleep while the other is giggling.

primary schoolers – is being shaped.

Michael launches from a cover of Poison’s “Every

BLUE SKY GRILL

Rose Has Its Thorn” to Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No

125 1st Street SE

Sunshine” to Oasis’ “Wonderwall”. It seems as if

Moultrie, GA

Michael is miraculously performing both the lead

blueskygrill.com 99


Artist

Written by

CINDY INMAN IS ODD. Not catch-the-coodies-if-you-sit-next-to-her odd, but

Nikki Igbo

ocean-breeze-dancing-through-the-Mojave odd. She’s unexpected and refreshing.

Photographed by Katie McTigue

As the winner of Flaunt 2013’s Best in Show, I imagined her as a goddess of arts who always painted with a mystic metaphor in mind. Cindy has a couple of giant portraits of lemons against an unapologetically bright background of red and bluish-green hanging in her kitchen. The lemons don’t have anything to do with capturing the essence of sunshine or challenging the notion of quantum physics as it relates to the power of cosmic pancakes. She painted the lemons because she likes bright colors, saw the lemons and wanted to paint them. Refreshing. Cindy has painted since the age of 12. As a teenager in Texas, she won first place in an arts show when she created a portrait of an older gentlemen using a motley mix of bright hues instead of the usual natural tones. What kept her from winning Best in Show was one judge’s disbelief that anyone so young could capture wrinkles so well. She only remembers the story because her father loves to retell it. Cindy really doesn’t think about art show wins and losses; she simply enjoys the process of painting. Being able to make a comfortable living out of art is the cream cheese frosting on the cake. As I sat with her at her kitchen table, she kept staring at a painting of sunflowers hanging next to her back door. Now and again, she commented on how it was unfinished. The background could be deeper and more vibrant, the petals of the flowers brighter and more pronounced. I looked at the same painting and I saw something I had neither the patience nor the will to create – a gorgeous largerthan-life interpretation of flowers that seemed to vibrate against a dream of a landscape. Cindy felt that she could improve the painting, perhaps consult Dick (her über-talented, classically-trained artist of a husband) to get it right. I got the sense that she felt that way about most of her work, though she is particularly proud of an alligator she has hanging in a back hallway. She joked about the need to make a living and how holding onto her artwork didn’t get the bills paid. But, she also said it was better for her to get her paintings out into the world because the longer she kept a painting, the more she felt as if the work was

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This is why Cindy is looking forward to her fall show as a part of Thomasville Center for the Arts’ Flaunt: Pop It Up! She wants whatever she does to be new and different from what she’s done before. Perhaps she’ll try a new technique. She asked me to remind her of the show’s date just to make sure she had enough time to create something special and described herself as impulsive in the next breath. She gave the sunflowers another glance and offered me another cup of coffee and a donut hole before apologizing about sniffing the milk to see if it was still fresh. Another glance at the sunflowers. I watched her move back over to the kitchen table and sit down with a little shrug and a half smile and that’s when it struck me. I’d like to be the artist I see in Cindy: down-toearth yet every bit as dazzling as a rainbow — a prism through which all of life’s bright colors truly shine. CINDY INMAN STUDIO

Thomasville Center for the Arts unfinished. She made it sound as if Dick possessed

Building 209

all of the talent when it came to painting portraits of

209 W. Remington Avenue

people. Then she pulled out a small album of prints of

Thomasville, GA

children’s portraits she’d done and I was bowled over – her work is outstanding! Page after page of carefullyrendered youth stared back at me as precious as prayers. Again she commented on how she could improve a detail here or there and then I began to really see her. Cindy is the type of artist who genuinely loves what she does and wants to create awesome work every time she touches a brush to paint. She’s unaware that she’s in search of a talent she already possesses. Her gift is innate, something that exists simply because she exists. I’m pretty sure she’s been told that throughout her life, but that’s the thing with talented people. They never get to the point where they think they can’t be hit in the butt with a red apple. They keep honing their skills, daring to push themselves and get uncomfortable. 101


Written by

DANCING ABOUT ARCHITECTURE. This is the expression I employ to describe the

Jennifer Westfield

impossibility of using one artistic discipline to exemplify another. Kenneth Bridger

Photographed by Jay Bowman

showed me the perfect shape formed by two overlapping musical octaves. He explained that the measurements within octaves form Fibonacci spirals which are dictated by the ancient mathematical ratio that gives living cells, shells, flowers, fruits and certain works of art spatial congruity and aesthetic pleasure. Kenneth conveyed the beauty of music without making a sound. He danced about architecture. A shaman once told Kenneth that his name, Bridger, was apropos because of what he brings together in his art: a limitless knowledge of religions, indigenous cultures, mathematics, music and technical skill. He works in enamel, metals, encaustics, glass, wood, stone and deconstructed objects – handsaws, electronics, oxcarts, pocket watches, pianos – to create massive mixed media installations, jewelry and the relatively new medium of sound art. Kenneth once played with a few giant metal rims from an old oxcart in Puglia, Italy. He rolled two rims into each other until they became entwined and perfectly crossed. He added a third rim, which made the object appear spherical, and strung it with sections of piano wire. When wind blew through the finished product, it created a deep resonating sound that pleased an Italian factory owner so much that he fetched himself a crane to position it atop his house. What really takes my head off about Kenneth – aside from the flying squirrel he

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keeps in his pocket – is that he didn’t set foot in an art school until 2009, though he’s trekked 30 countries, can chisel rock, mold metal, carve wood and traverse disciplines like a down-and-dirty DaVinci. When he did so, it wasn’t as a student. When he wanted to make a totem piece out of a hunk of granite, he picked up a hammer and a chisel and just did it in his spare time. Kenneth worked full time in advertising in Milan for two decades before recently coming home to Albany to care for his ailing parents. Kenneth believes, to quote the mystic poet Rumi, “As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears.” Earlier this year, he decided to enter a competition in Atlanta for kinetic art installations. He didn’t know anything about kinetic art. He said, “I remember someone asking me ‘How can you make kinetic art when you’ve never done it before.’” Kenneth approached the competition like everything else and won. SkyFish stands at one of the entrances to Piedmont Park. It is a school of wooden fish, on tenfoot metal poles, that moves like weathervanes. When the air stills, the fish spin to a stop and land pointed every which way, which is representative of each person’s individual journey. When the wind kicks up, the fish all swim in the same direction and represents humanity’s collective journey. If you lie down beneath the installation when the wind is blowing, the fish swim in a vast, azure sea of sky. Kenneth radiates conviction when he speaks of his experiences as if each life, death, excursion, skill and component for his artistic creations were brought into his realm of existence by destiny. When you understand his artistic philosophy, experience his work or ever find yourself in his presence, you may think there isn’t anything on earth that he couldn’t turn into a profoundly meaningful something. You certainly won’t be able to resist petting the squirrel he’ll produce from his pocket. He named this tiny creature Guru, the Sanskrit word for spiritual teacher. NoMadic Creations kennethbridger.com

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FEATURED Artists

Jay Bowman is an artist and

Daniel Shippey has owned and

creative director from Atlanta

operated a photography studio

scheduled to finish his MFA

in Tifton since 2009. He received

in photography from SCAD

his BFA in Mass Media from

this spring. He specializes in

Valdosta State University. He has

photographing people and depicting a fashionable version of life as it is lived.

traveled the nation driving tour vehicles for bands and documenting concerts through photography and video. danielshippey.com

Bunny Byrne bikes downtown with her Chiuahua in a milk crate,

Having a long-standing desire

and is a frequent lecturer on the

to become a professional

connoisseurship of macarons and

photographer, Abby Caroline Mims

the fine art of lunching. She holds

obtained a degree in Commercial

a journalism degree from UGA,

Photography in 2006. Abby has a

founded The Thomasville Townie newspaper and has

love for photographing architecture

a zero tolerance policy toward the Oxford comma.

and interiors as well as a passion for portraiture of

bunnybyrne.com

children and families. abbycaroline.com Nikki Igbo is a freelance writer,

Jennifer Westfield holds degrees

editor, political scientist and avid

in creative writing from Florida

crocheter. Recently, the SCAD

State and The Center for Writers

grad student learned that she

at the University of Southern

loves whipping egg whites to

Mississippi. She has a pirate heart,

peaks. When not giggling with her

and frequently tromps across the

husband, she enjoys jogging and interpreting her dog’s

Panhandle in search of scarlet sunsets and feel-better

facial expressions. nikigbo.com

beverages. She writes earnestly awaiting the reunion of Sleater-Kinney and George R. R. Martin’s next novel.

Katie McTigue is a freelance

jenniferwestfield.com

photographer and amateur designer/artist/musician. She plans

Trey is a recent graduate of the BFA

to get her MFA in Visual Arts once

Graphic Design program at SCAD.

she’s finished up her undergrad in

He is now a Design Consultant with

“something useful”. You can make

the Worldwide Licensing Team at

her extremely happy by hiring her to do something

Coca-Cola Global Design. When not

creative. kmctigue.com

at Coke, he offers freelance design services. treyveal.com

Todd Spear is a blogger and journalist. He’s helped media

TO BECOME A FEATURED ARTIST

outlets and brands alike connect

Illustrators, Photographers and Writers Please Contact

with their audiences. He’s a regular

Thomasville Center for the Arts

contributor to Anthill Online,

229-226-0588

the Quote Roller Blog and Naluda

sellis@thomasvillearts.org

Magazine among many other sites. toddspear.net

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Profile for Thomasville Center for the Arts

THOM Issue 2 - Spring 2014  

THOM Issue 2 - Spring 2014  

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