WALTER Magazine - November 2021

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The Art & Soul of Raleigh

NOVEMBER 2021

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DEPARTMENTS

Volume X, Issue 3 NOVEMBER 2021

OUR TOWN 27

MUSIC: N.C. Sessions R.E.M.’s early days in the area

30

LOCALS: Bearing Witness Michelle Lanier’s calling

33

VAULT: Uncovering Osteotheke A garden find with a secret past

37

GIVERS: Collective Impact The Women’s Giving Network celebrates 15 years

48

SIMPLE LIFE: Time & Remembrance A bee sparks memories

50

NOTED: The Poster at the Pig Friendship in Old Raleigh

IN EVERY ISSUE

27

41

CREATORS: Rising Star A workshop for the “fire arts”

45

EXPLORE: Hikes with History Six paths that offer a new perspective on our surroundings

On the cover: Eva Shockey, photography by Brynn Gross

10 | WALTER

14

Editor’s Letter

18

Contributors

19

Your Feedback

23

Datebook

89

The Whirl

94

Extras

96

End Note

Mallory Cash (STARWORKS); Chris Bilheimer (R.E.M.)

41


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FEATURES

53

Quarantine Haircut by Steve Cushman illustration by Angela Lombardi

54

Natural Balance In her home and at the table, Eva Shockey melds indoors and out by Ayn-Monique Klahre photography by Brynn Gross

64

74 12 | WALTER

The Feel of Fall In celebration of the season’s colors in and around Raleigh by Ayn-Monique Klahre photography by Kate Medley

74

The Beauty of Change Painter Damian Stamer combines realism and abstraction by Courtney Napier photography by Taylor McDonald

80

Old-World Wine European-style grapes thrive in North Carolina by Finn Cohen photography by Mark Wagoner

Mark Wagoner (VINEYARD); Taylor McDonald (DAMIAN STAMER)

80


A NOV EL PL ACE

CH A P TER 12

One Swell Holiday But of course. The annual holiday card photo shoot had turned into a circus. How many tries would it take before all eyes were wide open, smiles were bright and nature behaved? The challenge had become the best part of it all. Now this, this was family bonding at its merriest.

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ORIENTAL RUGS

EDITOR’S LETTER

Left: Someone just got caught sampling the mashed potatoes! Right: On set with Eva Shockey’s dog, Crockett. Check out her home on page 54.

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ast year, we had a mostly virtual Thanksgiving. The day before the big feast, we scheduled a Google Meet for my mom to “help” my daughters make pie. It was actually quite sweet, but I hadn’t really thought through the perils of two elementary-schoolers with fistfulls of flour so close to my MacBook. (It was okay.) Over the course of Thanksgiving day, we FaceTimed with all the parents and siblings. My folks up in Virginia ate their meal early with my sister and her family, on account of our baby nephew’s nap schedule. We “joined” them from our living room, in our pjs, and watched them on the TV. (We may have spent a few minutes looking at the underside of a bowl of mashed potatoes, when they forgot about us.) Later in the day, we caught my in-laws and my husband’s two sisters and their families in Florida and New York, getting passed around on speakerphone amid the clinking of wine glasses, a barking dog, and chatter of our nieces and nephews. These calls were just about as fruitful as a sit-down conversation with everyone at the table — but much quicker. For our family of four, we cooked enough for 12, filling the empty spaces at the table with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and collards. We used our wedding china and the crystal, with multiple plates, forks, and glasses at each place setting. While my husband roasted the turkey to perfection and fussed over the greens, I went for a nice little jog and picked greenery from the garden for a centerpiece. The girls and I made medals out of craft foam and pipe cleaners, then headed to the park for a simulation Turkey Trot with another family. The kids raced each other dozens of times and everyone earned their lopsided stars. They certainly worked up an appetite! We came home, showered, and dressed in our finest. We stacked books for a group selfie and played classical music. We ate well, and even had a real conversation with our young ladies. No spills, no broken plates or stemmed glasses. It was extremely civilized. One might even say… boring. I look forward to a little more chaos this year: a long discussion about what time we should eat, squeezing folding chairs up to the table, charring the turkey, and maybe spilling some wine. For me, that’s Thanksgiving: messy, warm, and perfectly imperfect.

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EDITORIAL

PUBLISHING

VOLUME X, ISSUE 3

Editor

Publisher

NOVEMBER 2021

AYN-MONIQUE KLAHRE

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CONTRIBUTORS

JOE MILLER / W R I TE R

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Joe Miller is an outdoors writer who decided 10 years ago that instead of just telling people where to explore, it might be fun to actually take them. He’s been doing so ever since, through his GetHiking! and GetBackpacking! guide services. He’s written six guidebooks, including 100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina and Backpacking North Carolina. “Nothing excites me more in the woods than stumbling across a bit of long-forgotten human history and pondering the story behind it.”

COURTNEY NAPIER / WR I T ER Courtney Napier is a writer, journalist, gatherer, and anti-racism coach from Raleigh. She has written for national outlets like NewsOne and The Appeal, as well as regional and local publications such as Scalawag Magazine, The Carolinian, and INDY Week. She is also the founder of Black Oak Society, a collective of Black creatives in the greater Raleigh area. Their flagship publication, BOS Magazine, is a literary magazine focused on giving Black Raleigh her flowers now. “Getting to know Damian and witnessing his joie de vivre was truly inspiring. Not only is he a talented artist, but he is also a modest, curious human being who cares deeply about the world.”

MARK WAGONER / P HOTO G R A P HE R Mark Wagoner was forbidden entry into his older brothers’ darkroom at age 6 — that seems to have locked his interest in for life! After attending the Photography School at Randolph Community College, he has spent the past 44 years working as a magazine and advertising photographer. He has shot over 100 magazine covers, 11 books, and worked in 25 countries around the world. When not creating photographs, Wagoner can be found practicing the timpani or drums. “I was very excited about the Yadkin Valley wine story. It had been some years since I shot in that area. It was amazing the growth that has taken place. Also the quality of the wine being produced is fantastic.”

KATE MEDLEY / P HOTOGR A PH ER Kate Medley is a photojournalist and filmmaker in the American South. A native of Mississippi, her work explores themes at the intersection of culture and social justice. Her work regularly appears in publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR. She lives in Durham. “When I was photographing this piece, we had just learned that we were expecting our second child. It was a great opportunity to escape into the woods, put one foot in front of the other, and dream about all the unknowns of our next chapter.”

Courtesy contributors; Trey Earnest of Forged Visuals (NAPIER)

PROVIDING PREMIER DENTISTRY IN RALEIGH FOR GENERATIONS


FEEDBACK We love to hear from you! Tag us when you’re out and about — or cozied up at home with WALTER. Y’all sure love Rod… “We’ve always known how fortunate we were when RBA came to the Canes as a player, but the impact he’s already had for the game of hockey and the organization will be eclipsed by what’s to come!” — @Tlzzo, via Twitter

THE TRADITION RETURNS!

To Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts and DPAC

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“Phenomenal article on Rod and Raleigh’s growth as a hockey town. #LetsGoCanes!” — Wendi, via Twitter “Wonderful article of a wonderful man who changed this area into a hockey town! I am proud to be a Caniac!” — Susan Bohnsack “What an outstanding article about Coach Brind’Amour and his love of his family, Raleigh, and hockey!” — @ellen.ibrakeforchocolate, via Instagram

This zombie was pleased to be featured in the October issue. “The article was great — only downside is that we now feel pressure to match or exceed prior years’ decoration!” — Laura Krabill

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OUR TOWN From exquisite art to our city’s signature parade, November is full of culture of all stripes.

courtesy CAM

by ADDIE LADNER and KARA ADAMS

NOTED

CAM CONNECTIONS Nov. 14 | 5 p.m.

“I feel both lucky and privileged to be able to form a relationship with the artists I work with every day,” says Eric Gaard of Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum. “But I thought, how could I create the kind of connection I feel with our artists, for our community?” That’s how CAM Connections was born: one part experiential art, another part dinner, drinks, and good conversation, it’s an opportunity for museum supporters and

fans to interact directly with artists and get a private tour of their work. November’s event will be a special one: photographer Mikael Owunna will discuss his new work and host a 30-minute screening of the film Obi Mbu (The Primordial House): An Igbo Creation Myth, which he co-directed with Dr. Marques Redd. It touches on African mythology and the links between myths, the universe, and spirituality. John Upsal, the owner of

SPREAD Catering, will serve a curated menu inspired by Owunna’s Nigerian and Swedish heritage. “The first Connections dinner we did was so successful and we can't wait for this one,” says Gaard. “It’s a different conversation, getting to hear the artists talk about their work in a personal way, a much deeper and free way, over a meal.” From $300; 409 W. Martin Street; camraleigh.org

The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 23


DATEBOOK

CHARLOTTE RUSSELL X HARTWELL All Month | See website for times Charlotte Russell, the gallerist at Charlotte Russell Contemporary, has curated a group exhibition featuring North Carolina artists King Nobuyoshi Godwin, Abie Harris, Mar Hester, Jen Matthews, and Jean Gray Mohs at Hartwell, a newly opened space for creatives in downtown Raleigh. “Showcasing these artists together is a great depiction of how vibrant and diverse our local art scene is,” says Russell. Throughout the month, Russell will host the exhibitors at Hartwell for a chance to hear the artists discuss their work. “This is the first in a series of rotating art exhibits I’ll be hosting at Hartwell and I’m pretty excited for this new space,” Russell says. Free; 620 W. South Street; charlotterussellcontemporary.com

MINDFUL MUSEUM: YOGA IN THE GALLERIES Nov. 3 | 6 - 7 p.m. It’s one thing to do yoga outside with the sound of the wind and birds — it’s something else to do it within view of incredible Impressionist, contemporary, or Italian works inside the galleries of the North Carolina Museum of Art. Experience just that during a vinyasa-style class suitable for all skill levels led by local instructors Andrea Rice, Angela Griffin, and Angie Funderbunk. Bring a yoga mat and dress comfortably. Ages 16 and up. $14; 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org

24 | WALTER

Nov. 5 | 6 - 9 p.m. Enjoy a crisp fall evening under the stars right in downtown’s Moore Square for the last outdoor movie showing of the season, The Greatest Showman. Sing along with stars Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, and Zendaya to hits like “This is Me” and “Tightrope.” Come early for on-theme pre-show entertainment, including a stilt walker from Imagine Circus, a juggler, and carnival games. Square Burger will be open and there will be popcorn, beer, and wine on site for purchase. Free; 200 S. Blount Street; downtownraleigh.org

BEN FOLDS Nov. 6 | 8 p.m. North Carolina native, singer, songwriter, producer, and pianist Ben Folds is touring the United States for the first time since the pandemic, after finding himself stuck in Australia since February 2020, when international travel shut down. Hear songs from his albums So There and Songs for Silverman in both solo piano and orchestral renditions at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in what

EXQUISITE CREATURES

All month | See website for times Experience the beauty of wildlife at Christopher Marley’s exhibit Exquisite Creatures. Using a collection of reclaimed organisms and elements as his medium — including preserved insects, fish, and birds — Marley showcases the incredible diversity of the natural world and bridges the gap between science and art. Check out his exhibit and corresponding gift store goodies all month long at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Free for members, $10 for nonmembers; 11 W. Jones Street; naturalsciences.org

he’s calling his “In Actual Person Live For Real Tour.” From $29.50; 2 E. South Street; dukeenergycenterraleigh.com

HANDMADE HANUKKAH MARKET Nov. 14 | 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Celebrate Hanukkah early by supporting Jewish artisans at Temple Beth Or’s annual Handmade Market, which will offer goods for sale ranging from pastries to woodwork, pottery, and jewelry. Vendors will include Daniel Art and Yarn, which will be selling crocheted kippahs and purses, as well as pressed flower bookmarks, note cards, and gift sets from Susan’s Garden Flower Art and Prints. Free; 5315 Creedmoor Road; tboraleigh.org

FIDELIO Nov. 14 | 2 p.m. Experience Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, as sung by members of the North Carolina Opera. The score recounts the true story of Leonore, a woman who disguised herself as a man to free her husband from prison during the French Revolution. Led by Conductor Arthur Fagen, this performance will keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire twoand-a-half hour runtime. From $21; 2 E. South Street; ncopera.org

NOTED

courtesy North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

CINEMA IN THE SQUARE


“INTERESTING STUFF” FOR YOUR HOME & COLLECTIONS

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Courtesy Koka Booth Amphitheatre (LANTERN); Bryan Regan (PARADE)

CHINESE LANTERN FESTIVAL Nov. 19 - Jan. 2022 | See Website Toward the end of the month, Koka Booth Amphitheatre will be illuminated by majestic lanterns hand-made by Chinese artists. “It will be a true celebration when we gather to enjoy this event once again,” said William Lewis, Town of Cary cultural arts manager. “The wondrous beauty and strong cultural elements of the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival make a magnificent tradition.” The celebration lasts seven weeks and can be experienced a few different ways, including through a Twilight ticket to watch the lanterns come to life as the sky darkens, or through the VIP (or “Very Important Panda”) tour, which dives deeper into the history of lantern festivals in China and the village where these are made. $25; 8003 Regency Parkway, Cary; boothamphitheatre.com

RALEIGH CHRISTMAS PARADE Nov. 20 | 9:30 a.m. Presented by Shop Local Raleigh, the always-early Raleigh Christmas Parade is back this year for inperson viewing. Join the festivities and witness super-sized balloons, marching bands, twirlers, themed floats, and Santa Claus himself make their way down Hillsborough Street for this mile-long holiday celebration. The parade will also be live-streamed on ABC-11. Free; begins on Hillsborough Street; shoplocalraleigh.org

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DATEBOOK

All month | See website for times

A FAMILY HOLIDAY CONCERT Nov. 26 | 1 & 4 p.m. Join the North Carolina Symphony and conductor Michelle Di Russo for an hour-long holiday performance as part of their Young People’s Concert Series. It will feature music from winter favorites such as The Polar Express and Babes in Toyland — plus other seasonal sing-alongs. $27; 2 E. South Street; ncsymphony.org

Enjoy a thought-provoking stroll through The Grove, Harvey Hill, and other parts of Dix NOTED Park with downtown as your backdrop for world-renowned Mexican artist Jorge Marín’s traveling exhibition, Wings of the City. This collection of nine bronze sculptures depicts feathered figures mid-flight and posed for takeoff, as well as acrobatic depictions and a set of standalone wings framing a view of Raleigh. The art is accompanied by dialogue that includes the Mexican Indigenous language Purépecha. Free; 1030 Richardson Drive; dixpark.org/wings

Creating spaces that bring people together. RALEIGH, NC • 919.852.0570• DESIGNLINESSIGNATURE.COM

Courtesy NC Symphony (WINTER SCENE); courtesy Dix Park (WINGS)

WINGS OF THE CITY


MUSIC

Chris Bilheimer

R.E.M. band members, from left to right: guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, drummer Bill Berry, singer Michael Stipe.

N.C. SESSIONS R.E.M.’s early days in the Old North State by DAVID MENCONI

R

.E.M. was one of the most heralded American bands of the late-20th century. Hailing from Athens, Georgia, they had number-one albums through the 1990s, won a few Grammy Awards, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility (2007). Yet for all that commercial success, the R.E.M. song that is archived in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry of “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” records is one they recorded in a garage in nearby WinstonSalem, 40 years ago. “Radio Free Europe” was the very first single R.E.M. ever released, way back in 1981 on Hib-Tone Records, a small independent label. The group would reprise that song two years later

in a new version as the first track on their full-length debut album Murmur. But the recording that’s in the registry is the rougher, rawer, and much, much faster 1981 version, which was reissued this past summer in honor of its 40-year anniversary. “The version I prefer is the imaginary one between the two, faster like the old version but with the posher high-fi sound of Murmur,” says Mitch Easter, who recorded both. “That faster version and punky spirit is definitely what they were like back then. It’s a true garage record with a teenage vibe that I will forever like.” That garage was at Easter’s parents’ house in Winston-Salem, where he ran the aptly named Drive-In Recording for about 20 years. R.E.M. was his breakthrough client. He oversaw their earliest recordings at the Drive-In, and then co-produced

The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 27


MUSIC

Cold Air. Dark Night.

Enjoy The Ride

greatoutdoorprovision.com Raleigh • Chapel Hill

their first two albums, 1983’s Murmur and 1984’s Reckoning, at Reflection Studios in Charlotte with Don Dixon. That’s a fitting indicator of just how present R.E.M. was in North Carolina during the early 1980s, because the Old North State was their home away from home. R.E.M. played its firstever out-of-town show in July 1980 at The Station in Carrboro, although that came about due to happenstance. Jefferson Holt, an aspiring young music impresario in Chapel Hill, booked shows at The Station and had two other well-known Athens acts, Pylon and Method Actors, cancel on him. On the recommendation of a friend, he booked R.E.M., a group he’d never heard. They were an instant hit, and Holt went on to be their manager for 15 years. The following March, Lynn Blakey saw R.E.M. for the first time at a tiny burger/pizza joint in Greensboro called Friday’s. Blakey was a freshman at University of North CarolinaGreensboro, and an interesting-looking band flyer drew her in. She cashed a bad check at the pastry shop next door to pay the $3 cover for herself and her roommate to see R.E.M., and it was a life-changing experience. “It was a weeknight and there were maybe 20 people there,” Blakey says. “But they were amazing from the first song they played, Buddy Holly’s ‘Rave On.’ They had this whole kinetic kind of vibe that just exploded, and everybody was dancing. I’d been moved by bands before, but there was something very from-the-ground-up about them that I could really relate to. I was blown away. I was not yet a musician at that point and they were a big reason why I ended up playing music myself.” Blakey went on to a long career that continues to this day,

Courtesy of the R.E.M. archives

R.E.M. during the “Radio Free Europe” era.


Courtesy of the R.E.M. archives

singing alongside Whiskeytown singer Caitlin Cary in Tres Chicas, and also, for a time, in Easter’s band Let’s Active. She saw R.E.M. countless more times, especially early on when they came back to North Carolina every couple of months. As for Easter, his R.E.M. bona fides set him up as an in-demand producer, first at the Drive-In and then at the roomier confines of Fidelitorium Recordings, the Kernersville studio he has owned and operated since 2000. His gold records for the R.E.M. albums hang on an upstairs wall there. There has been much hoopla this year over the “Radio Free Europe” anniversary, with people revisiting R.E.M.’s old days. Easter found a lot of the attention amusing, given that no one involved in “Radio Free Europe” 40 years ago had any idea just how significant it would prove to be. “It’s funny about that being seen as a massive historical moment and document, when it was just a quickie weekend session that studios like ours did,” he says. “Young bands would save their money from shows to record so they’d have a tape to play for clubs and get more bookings. In the back of their minds was probably the idea to put out a record, but the immediate goal was a demo. We just bashed it out — like you do.”

From top left: Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry.

Find Your Perfect Bike Here

greatoutdoorprovision.com Photo Credit: GOPC Staff Kate Rice

Raleigh • Chapel Hill


LOCALS

bearing WITNESS Michelle Lanier brings a unique perspective to North Carolina history by ILINA EWEN photography by SAMANTHA EVERETTE

F

rom verdant forests to pristine shores along the Carolina coast, nature — equal parts playground, classroom, and inspiration — has shaped Michelle Lanier into who she is today. What has the land witnessed? A folklorist, documentarian, writer, and teacher, as well as the director of

30 | WALTER

the North Carolina Division of State Historic Sites, Lanier has asked herself this question dozens of times. “When we pause and reflect on what happened in a place, it leads to other questions: what stories have been untold or under-told?” she says. For Lanier, the land and its people exist as an intricate and everchanging series of connections and webs.

Lanier grew up in South Carolina, and spent part of her childhood on Hilton Head Island among Gullah traditions. “As a young child, I’d spend my days looking out on landscapes and waterways, seeing snakes, alligators, horseshoe crabs, and jellyfish; climbing trees and watching birds fly,” she says. “I felt the land somehow mirrored me.” She considered


her grandmother’s home in Columbia, a brick Georgian on a block lined with stately magnolia trees, to be her oasis. “These trees stood watch as our ancestors journeyed to and through the South,” she says. “They are our kin.” Lanier was raised in a multi-generational household, one where she learned from her elders and aunties alike. She hails from a long line of educated family; her mother earned a PhD at a time when few women, especially women of color, were doing so. Her mother also gifted her a love of books and made young Lanier feel affirmed and empowered, ensuring she knew “that there were examples of bravery and brilliance and beauty that ran counter to many of the stereotypes I saw in pop culture or heard about in my school.” Lanier lost her mother to suicide when she was just 10 years old, shaping her outlook on memory, traditions, and community. It was also around this time that she had her first sense of being part of the African diaspora. “I’d hear about ‘family across the sea’ and stand on the shores of Daufuskie Island, wondering if there was someone related to me looking back,” Lanier says. “It was a clarion call in my heart — I remember thinking, I need to remember this, and I need to do something about it.” She graduated from Spelman College and completed graduate studies in folklore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And that awakening inspired extensive genealogical research on her own family, finding connections across the state — reaching back to the 1700s, from the coastal plain to the sandhills and northern Piedmont — and into South Carolina. “Afro Carolina is my chosen moniker for my cultural

background, and for me, that means both place and people,” says Lanier. She explored the idea in a recent article in Southern Cultures magazine, where, through a concept she calls “womanist cartography,” she explores how gender shapes Southern women of color’s experience with the world. “Every story my grandmother shared was a map and a monument,” she writes, as she examines routes of migration, geographical areas women occupy, and how traditions are passed down, to ask the question, How do we remap certain spaces to center the memories? Lanier has taught for 20 years at the Duke Center for Documentary Studies, including courses in oral histories and the popular Intro to Documentary Studies class. One former student, Mela-

“I’d spend my days looking out on landscapes and waterways, seeing snakes, alligators, horseshoe crabs, and jellyfish; climbing trees and watching birds fly. I felt the land somehow mirrored me.” — Michelle Lanier

nie Allen, co-director of The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice, says Lanier helped propel her to a career in storytelling and documenting ancestral roots. “She showed me the power of documentary studies, and I was inspired by her ethos as witness to work to amplify stories of our ancestors while preserving dignity of the people,” says Allen. Lanier is a filmmaker and producer of films like Mossville, which is about environmental justice within a Louisiana town. Fellow filmmaker and North Carolina State University assistant teaching professor Natalie Bullock Brown has known Lanier for close to a decade. She sees her as an inspiration for bringing unapologetic authenticity, wisdom, and power to each project. “She treats land like it’s sacred because it is,” says Brown. “Michelle understands how our stories shape us — you have to know who you are and what your purpose is.” In 2018, Lanier was chosen to lead the Division of State Historic Sites. Along with a team of historians, archivists, and volunteers, she makes places come alive, not just through markers and plaques, but with immersive storytelling, programming, and events. She’s the The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 31


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first Black woman in this role, one that requires her to be both introspective and globally minded as she considers how to reach people and draw out their own stories: “How can I connect my calling — being a keeper of memory for myself and my communities — to the people I welcome into these spaces?” she asks. Her tenure comes at a time when society is grappling with how to earnestly and honestly frame narratives around historic sites, particularly ones with Indigenous and Confederate-era significance. One example is Historic Stagville in Durham County: owned by the Bennehan-Cameron family, this was one of the largest plantations in the South, and the slave quarters and family home still stand. Today, visitors learn about the experiences of the hundreds of enslaved workers who labored here — not just a glorified version of the life of the land owner. She believes this painful past is worth confronting. “I see it as a kind of pilgrimage to pay my respects at spaces of human bondage,” says Lanier. “It is a powerful act because I stand on that soil free and self-determined and autonomous. I appreciate the opportunity to be silent, to grieve, to be reflective.” A lover of primary resources, Lanier

spends hours poring through Southern historical collections among the trove of resources at UNC and the Duke University Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library. She also takes inspiration from women like UNC geography professor Danielle Purifoy and Brooklyn-based painter Torkwase Dyson, who each express historic narratives through storytelling, art, and placemaking. “These women inspired me to be thinking about the ways in which I’m digging into concepts around memory and land and space,” Lanier says, citing their focus on the spaces we occupy, environmental justice, and how we navigate both natural and manufactured spaces. “Michelle is a cultural and experiential omnivore,” says documentary artist and Duke colleague Courtney Reid-Eaton. “She has a path with many lanes, and she loves her people and wants us to love ourselves.” Throughout every facet of her work, Lanier has found that learning about where one comes from can shape how we interact with the world around us today. “It’s powerful to look at how our cultural identities, land, and ancestry can all dance together,” says Lanier. “It creates a new portal of understanding.”


Courtesy the North Carolina Museum of Art

VAULT

The osteotheke on display at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

uncovering OSTEOTHEKE

A “place for bones” finds its final home at the NCMA by HAMPTON WILLIAMS HOFER

I

In 1950, Karl E. Prickett bought a marble garden planter on a trip to New York City and brought it home to adorn his garden in Greensboro. He and his wife, Lynn, lived on a block named “Croup Hill” — the family’s patriarch had invented Vicks VapoRub, and his success provided grand homes for his descendants — and there, the planter held geraniums and other flora for four decades before anyone learned its original purpose. In 1988, when the Pricketts had both passed away, their

nephew Carl Carlson and his wife, Anne, who worked in the antiques business, were called in to help divvy up the furniture. Anne headed over to the Pricketts’ house with a yellow legal pad. “As I looked around, a stone piece caught my eye,” she remembers. “It was very old and had figures carved on the bottom and it was filled with tulips. I thought, Well, this is the most interesting thing I’ve ever seen.” Anne mentioned the planter to a friend who worked at the Greensboro Historical Museum; they suggested that the marble The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 33


VAULT

The osteotheke, when it was discovered by Anne Carlson.

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box might be a child’s coffin, at which point the Carlsons decided to donate it. Museum workers arrived in white gloves with a crane and a padded truck to take the piece to Raleigh. It turns out the planter was an ancient Roman osteotheke — literally, a “place for bones” in Greek — dating back to the second half of the second century. The ornately carved and incredibly preserved coffin is now on display at the North Carolina Museum of Art. “It illustrates one of the different ways people treated the body of the deceased in ancient times, and what traditions are associated with these funerary rituals,” says Dr. Caroline Rocheleau, the NCMA’s director of research and curator of ancient art. Until the middle of the second century, the primary mortuary practice for all social classes in Rome had been cremation, before burial of the whole body became the custom. Bodies would be left in a tomb until only bones remained, at which point the bones were stored in an osteotheke. The one on display at the NCMA likely held the ashes or bones of the people whose likenesses are carved into its marble siding. On one long side of the box, a couple stands, flanked by seated figures in idealized poses reminiscent of philosophers or muses. These sculptural representations indicate the educated status of the deceased. The opposite side of the box shows a procession of playful cupids, linked by a garland, with one cherub dressed as the hero Hercules, wielding a club and lion skin. The artist of the osteotheke, like the occupants, remains unknown.

Courtesy the North Carolina Museum of Art

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“Upon discovering that the bone box was once a planter in someone’s garden, people realize that antiquities often have an ‘afterlife’ in the modern world.” — Dr. Caroline Rocheleau Linda Roundhill was a visiting contractor at the NCMA lab when the osteotheke arrived 33 years ago. The conservation process included cleaning off all signs of garden life — dirt, stains, and algae — with special cleaning solutions. A consolidant was used to stabilize vulnerable areas of the stone, and tinted fills added where necessary. The biggest obstacle, Roundhill says, was a large drainage hole that had been drilled through the relief carving. “Trying to make this glaring defect less noticeable without performing a full restoration took a great deal of discussion, as well as trial and error,” says Roundhill. “In the end, we opted to plug it to hide the unattractive interior lining and help the hole ‘blend in’ better. I was never 100% satisfied with that solution, but we do what we can within the restraints of time, resources, and ethics.” The line between ethical preservation and inappropriate creative alterations is a narrow one, Roundhill says: “The bone box was not ‘restored’ but conserved to help it resemble what it was meant to look like without falsifying anything or rewriting its history.” The osteotheke’s legacy sheds light on the rituals of the past — but also on the ways in which ancient objects are reused differently from their intended purposes. Ancient artifacts often endure mis- and reinterpretation over time: for example, the NCMA’s Egyptian bust of the goddess Sekhmet, a granite statue from 1390, was used for years as a garden bench. And sometimes, their later journeys can be as fascinating as their origins. “Upon discovering that the bone box was once a planter in someone’s garden, people realize that antiquities often have an ‘afterlife’ in the modern world,” Rocheleau says. Museums can benefit when regular people see antiques with fresh eyes and reconsider their original purpose. So discovered the Carlsons at a luncheon honoring them for donating the osteotheke. “Carl leaned over to me and whispered, I don’t understand all of this. What did we do?” Anne recalls. The couple hadn’t realized its value at the time. But their instinct and curiosity are what gave the osteotheke its next life as a tool for education and exploration. With this centuries-old art restored and now safeguarded against future decay, the NCMA can offer the public a captivating glimpse into customs of antiquity.


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Courtsey of Women's Giving Network

GIVERS

collective IMPACT Women’s Giving Network of Wake County celebrates 15 years by CATHERINE CURRIN

W

hat started with four women sitting around a kitchen table has turned into an immense influence across our community. Teena Anderson, Beth Briggs, Elizabeth Fentress, and Noel Lichtin founded the Women’s Giving Network of Wake County 15

years ago as an informal way for friends to get together to make a difference. The organization has since awarded $1.5 million in grants to dozens of local nonprofits that support women and children, including programs that support women recovering from addiction, ones that aid families experiencing homelessness, and educational

support for students. The giving circle of 100 women is now a formal program of the North Carolina Community Foundation, which members join with an annual contribution. Current WGN president Amy Pirozzolo became part of the network in 2014, when she relocated to Raleigh from Ohio. “I knew I wanted

The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 37


GIVERS

We like to socialize. Follow along and don’t miss a thing.

to give back locally, but had no idea where to start,” she says. The likeminded women at WGN gave her the confidence that her money would go to the right place. “I felt good about putting my money into something like that,” she says. Membership fees are pooled together to create significant grants each year, which are then awarded to recipients after a vetting process. WGN’s former president, Hayden Constance, has been on the grants committee for eight years. “The way that the grants committee goes about doing due diligence and narrowing down applicants gives members a lot of confidence in their impact,” she says. “Every member has input.” WGN holds education events throughout the year for members to learn more about grantees and their missions. Constance feels that these education events set the network apart, because members can see the impact of their donations firsthand. Junior membership chair Brittany Con— Hayden stance also found that WGN allowed her to meet people when she first moved to Raleigh. “WGN was a great way to get connected and understand the landscape for nonprofits in the area,” she says. “For me, it has also been an opportunity to have informal mentoring and female leaders to look up to in the community.” Organizations funded by the network vary from established nonprofits to those just starting out. “We are always looking for new organizations to fund, and we even offer seed grants for newer programs,” says Pirozzolo. For example, the network recently funded a group home for Bloom Here, a nonprofit supporting women recover-

ing from addiction, homelessness, or human trafficking. 2020 grants totaled $123,000 awarded to Haven House, Alliance Medical Ministry, Communities in Schools Wake County, and Families Together. These awards can provide support towards launching a new program or sometimes expanding on an existing program within the nonprofit. WGN will announce this year’s grant reConstance cipients at its annual Impact Luncheon on Nov. 4, and cofounders Briggs and Lichtin will speak at the event. Studies often show that women give more charitable donations than men, and WGN tries to harness that instinct. “It affects generations,” Constance says. “It’s not just the people who receive the grant and their clients — if that client becomes successful, it could change their trajectory and impact our whole community.” Pirozzolo likes to describe it to the group with three ‘I’ words: “To provide insight and inspiration with the hopes that our collective efforts can drive greater impact than we could’ve done alone.”

“The way that the grants committee goes about doing due diligence and narrowing down applicants gives members a lot of confidence in their impact. Every member has input.”

@WalterMagazine waltermagazine.com


MEMBERS VISIT FREE!

October 23, 2021–January 23, 2022

Become a member today! ncartmuseum.org/members From the streets of Paris to North Carolina—immerse yourself in Mucha’s influential art nouveau style in this exhibition featuring sumptuous late 19th-century posters, illustrations, and rarely seen sculptures, photographs, and self-portraits. As a Museum member, your visit is free and comes with special discounts in the Museum’s stores and cafés. In Raleigh support for this exhibition is made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions. Research for this exhibition was made possible by Ann and Jim Goodnight/The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fund for Curatorial and Conservation Research and Travel. Alphonse Mucha, Daydream (Rêverie) (large detail), 1897, color lithograph, 28 УШМ × 21 СШИ in., Mucha Trust Collection, © 2021 Mucha Trust

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CREATORS

Nancy Gottovi, executive director of STARworks

rising STAR A unique workshop for the “fire arts” in the middle of North Carolina by WILEY CASH photography by MALLORY CASH

T

he town of Star is the artistic center of North Carolina. I mean that — literally — in that Star is the geographic center of the state. And I also mean it figuratively, as the town is home to STARworks, where artists from around the world have been working in fire arts like glass blowing and ceramics since 2005. “ We love to set stuff on fire around

here,” says STARworks executive director Nancy Gottovi, who, in a single decade, led the transformation of an abandoned hosiery mill into a destination for artists from around the globe. In 1993, a nonprofit called Central Park NC formed when leaders from six Central Carolina rural counties came together with a common vision of creating a sustainable economy. The group formed an initiative to focus on art as

a way to capitalize on the natural and cultural assets of the rural spaces located between the urban centers of Charlotte and the Research Triangle. That was when Gottovi began asking herself questions about what a working artist truly requires. “They need to have a really good space to work with good equipment,” Gottovi says. “They also need a community of other artists to feed off of. And they The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 41


CREATORS

Artistans at work within the STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise.

need a way to make a living.” In 2005, Gottovi and Central Park NC found a space — nearly 200,000 square feet of space, to be exact — when they accepted the donation of a former hosiery mill in Star that had been abandoned in 2001, leaving more than 1,000 local residents unemployed. Enter STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise. In the early days, the organization was grossly understaffed and overwhelmed by the nearly four acres of aging factory it had inherited. Gottovi soon realized that in order for the fledgling organization to survive, the building itself had to start generating income. “Our biggest asset is this amazing space,” she says. “We needed to get the best artists we could find and then set them loose in the building.” The artists Gottovi invited set about creating glass pumpkins as one of the first ventures to raise capital to sustain the organization. Suffice it to say that it worked, and that Gottovi proudly 42 | WALTER

witnessed the former factory evolve into an artistic and cultural center where artists gathered and forged both creations and community. Now, over a decade later, glassblowers at STAR-

The organization offers paid internships to glass artists, who earn hundreds of hours of experience in a field that is often cost-prohibitive to those just starting out, who might not be able to afford their own studios and equipment. works regularly create and sell as many as 3,000 glass pumpkins each fall. And each holiday season, they make and sell

thousands of Christmas ornaments. The economic model at STARworks could be described as self-sustaining. The organization offers paid internships to glass artists, who earn hundreds of hours of experience in a field that is often cost-prohibitive to those just starting out, who might not be able to afford their own studios and equipment. In turn, the interns work to create the pumpkins and ornaments that are sold each year while also having the time, space, and materials to pursue their own projects. The interns also gain valuable experience as mentees while working side-by-side with professional artists from around the world who come to STARworks as residency recipients and visiting artists. An onsite gallery provides space to showcase and sell individual artists’ work. While interns and established artists come from around the world, visitors are just as likely to discover a group of local students dabbling in glassblowing and ceramics, what Gottovi refers to as


the “fire arts.” Some of the students who continually benefit from their experiences at STARworks are the young men from nearby Eckerd Connects, a juvenile justice program for teenagers. Gottovi continually finds the young men from Eckerd to be the most interesting and curious young people she has encountered in her years at STARworks. As Gottovi sees it, working with fire and glass is a little dangerous, but these young people are comfortable navigating a certain amount of pressure in their lives. Glassblowing is an opportunity to practice working as a team and relying on other people as they create a piece of art, and several have returned to STARworks as formal apprentices. STARworks is not just creating space for artists. It is also sourcing the medium from which art is made. Recognizing the region’s long history of both brick-making in central North Carolina and pot-

tery in nearby areas such as Sea Grove, Gottovi saw an opportunity to take advantage of the organic materials surrounding them. While spending time in Japan after graduate school, Gottovi met a Japanese potter who had a degree in ceramic material engineering, and years later she invited him to come to Star to start a clay business. He took her up on the invitation, and now STARworks is selling some of the best clay in North America and is one of the only manufacturers creating potter’s clay from indigenous sources. The program is both a financial and educational boon. While selling clay to potters and sculptors all around the world, interns at STARworks have the opportunity to learn about the process of finding, digging, and making quality clay, which Gottovi compares to “eating artisan baked bread if you’ve only ever eaten white.” One of the most consistent challenges that STARworks has faced is where to

house its artists. “Housing is the biggest concern in a town of only 800 people,” Gottovi says. But, just as she has done since the early days in the abandoned mill, Gottovi is finding solutions. The organization takes out year-long leases for artists in rental homes in the area, and an old boiler building on the property is being considered for future renovation for onsite housing. One cannot help but think about Gottovi’s early consideration of what artists need: space, community, support. Whether in the studio, in its artisans, in the town, or in the earth itself, all the ingredients are here — and STARworks is right in the middle of it all. Wiley Cash is the Alumni Author-in-Residence at the University of North CarolinaAsheville. His new novel, When Ghosts Come Home, is available wherever books are sold. Mallory Cash is an editorial and portrait photographer.



EXPLORE

Addie Ladner (GREAT BEND, GIRL ON PATH); Joe Miller (HORTON, CARVERS CREEK)

Clockwise from top left: Horton Green Nature Preserve; town of Glencoe; two spots in Carvers Creek State Park

HIKES WITH HISTORY Six paths to explore that take you back in time by JOE MILLER

Y

ou’re hiking a new trail and you begin noticing subtle curiosities: a depression maybe 4 feet deep, 8 feet long; a stand of brilliant yellow daffodils amid the brown of late winter; a pyramid of stones, seemingly

gathered intentionally — but why? The sylvan oasis you’re wandering today was likely once a thriving community. That depression? A root cellar, where food was kept cool. Those daffodils helped brighten a homestead, a sign that spring was nigh. And those rocks were painstak-

ingly gathered by a family decades ago, as a new field was being cleared. History is everywhere along North Carolina’s trails; you just need to know what to look for. Here are six nearby trails that invite a deeper dive into what our area was like as far back as the 1700s. The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 45


EXPLORE

GREAT BEND PARK Haw River Trail, Glencoe For more than a century, the Haw River was the backbone of North Carolina’s textile industry, at one time supporting dozens of mills that used its water to power their operations and take away their waste. You’ll find two of these old mills along a mile-long stretch of the Haw River Trail (aka the Mountainsto-Sea Trail) at Glencoe. From Great Bend Park, pick up the trail and take a moment to scout the Haw from atop an old lock that once helped funnel water to the Glencoe Mill. Continue hiking downstream into Glencoe, where you’ll pass buildings that once housed the mill and are now in the process of a resurgence with new businesses moving into the revitalized structures. The trail buddies up to the Haw at the Glencoe Paddle Access, paralleling a millrace (a channel for water that would power the mill) for three-quarters of a mile before depositing you at the Carolina Mill. While many old mills are finding new life as offices, retail outlets, and residences, the Carolina Mill, with its broken windows and vacant interior, is a ghostly reminder of its past. Time 46 | WALTER

your visit right and you can learn all about the area’s textile history at the nearby Textile Heritage Museum. Start at 350 Greenwood Drive, Burlington; 3.6 miles out-and-back; for hours and more info, visit thehaw.org GEORGE AND JULIA BRUMLEY FAMILY NATURE PRESERVE (NORTH) Cemetery Connector, Stony Creek Bluff, and Dairy Farm Trails, Chapel Hill Many Piedmont trails are on longabandoned farmland, where trees have resumed their rightful places and signs of an agricultural past are becoming harder to find. A giant white oak amid smaller trees likely signifying a homestead, the remains of a stone foundation, ripples in the land where tobacco once grew — these subtle signs are apparent only to those who’ve studied such things. Then you have Brumley North, where just a few steps in you find an ancient cemetery, a sure sign of human habitation. Take the Cemetery Connector Trail to the Stony Creek Bluff Trail, go left, cross its namesake creek, and you’ll come to one of three farm ponds on the northern portion of the preserve.

UMSTEAD STATE PARK Company Mill Trail, Raleigh This is one where not-so-old-timers can adopt an authoritative voice and say, “I remember when the dam went all the way across Crabtree Creek. In fact, we used to walk across the top.” Which is true — and even more adventurous than it sounds. Time was (still in the old-timer’s voice), this was not only a mill where farmers brought their grain to be ground, but the social hotspot of the region. Dances and other events were held at the mill, which was, in the 1800s, an outpost from distant downtown Raleigh — by horse and wagon standards. Built in 1810 and originally called the Page Mill, the mill flourished for about a century. But the Page family eventually moved, and the surrounding farmland, which had been worked to depletion, was purchased by the Federal government and eventually became Umstead State Park. The dam, which harnessed Crabtree Creek, remained pretty much intact, and was the main way to cross Crabtree (about a mile down the trail), until Hurricane Fran in 1996, when floodwaters overcame the structure. Today, you can still see remains of the dam wall on the south bank of Crabtree, as well as a millstone just off the trail on the north bank. To learn more of its history, check out Stories in Stone by Tom Weber. Start at 2100 N. Harrison Ave., Cary; 2 miles out-and-back; for hours and more info, visit ncparks.gov

Joe Miller

The Dairy Farm Trail takes you to a second pond and an impressive grain silo and livestock shed, both of which date back to the early 1900s, when they were part of the Strayhorn family farm (which was previously part of the Bennehan-Cameron Plantation). Before that, the land was home to the Eno, Lumbee, and Shakori people. Start at 3620 Old State Highway 10, Chapel Hill; 1.4 miles (as described); for hours and more info, visit triangleland.org

George and Julia Brumley Family Nature Preserve


Joe Miller

ENO RIVER STATE PARK Pump Station Trail, Durham Hiked in winter, you get a sense that something’s coming shortly after heading down the trail: about 30 yards to your left, a 3-foot-high rock wall starts paralleling the trail. That wall quickly leads to a sizable dam, now breached, that once impounded six million gallons of water on Nancy Rhodes Creek. Keep an eye on the creek below the dam and within a hundred yards or so lie the remains of the pump station that once supplied water to Durham. The foundation of the pump station remains largely intact in the form of exposed brick walls rising 10 to 15 feet, providing an outline of the facility that opened in the 1880s. Less easy to spot is the 100-foot-long dam that once blocked the Eno, just below Nancy Rhodes Creek. Watch the kids: enough of the Pump Station’s skeleton remains that young ones will be tempted to try to figure out how the operation worked. Start at 4023 Rivermont Road, Durham; 0.6 miles out-and-back; for hours and more info, visit enoriver.org HORTON GROVE NATURE PRESERVE, Sowell and Jordan Trails, Bahama Today, the 708-acre Horton Grove Nature Preserve is the largest public preserve in the Triangle Land Conservancy’s portfolio. In a past life, it was part of the 30,000-acre BennehanCameron plantation, once home to more than 900 enslaved people. The preserve’s past is reflected in its eight trails, each named for a Black person or family who lived on the plantation. From the trailhead at the Great Barn on the preserve’s south end, the Sowell Trail explores an old farm pond as well as tobacco fields, longsince given over to pines and hardwoods. It honors Amy Sowell, who was born on the plantation in the 1850s and served as a midwife and community leader for most of her nearly 100 years. If a mile isn’t enough, pick up the Jordan Trail behind the Great Barn.

Eno River State Park

Named for Abner Jordan, who shared his story of life on a plantation with the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, the trail begins in a pine stand and winds up in a rolling hardwood forest after three-quarters of a mile. Here, either return the way you came, or, if the spirit (and your legs) are willing, take the Walker Trail to link with five other trails. Leave time to explore the original slave dwellings near the Great Barn, as well as nearby Historic Stagville, a historic site detailing the areas past. Visit historicsites.nc.gov to learn more about the history of the area and the people for whom the paths are named. Start at 7360 Jock Road, Bahama (park opposite the Great Barn on Jock Road); 1 mile, with options for more; for hours and more info, visit triangleland.org. CARVERS CREEK STATE PARK Rockefeller Loop, Spring Lake When you think of Wall Street financiers getting away for the weekend, you think of them heading off to New York’s Hamptons, maybe the Berkshires — not the Sandhills of North Carolina. Yet in the middle of the 20th

century, that’s where banker James Stillman Rockefeller, of the Standard Oil Rockefellers, elected to retreat: to the 1,400-acre spread he called Long Valley Farm. Rockefeller relaxed by working on the farm and swimming in the millpond behind the family’s comparatively modest (just 6,000 square feet) farmhouse. It’s easy to understand Rockefeller’s affinity for the area along the 2-mile trail that bears his name. From the park office, the trail explores a longleaf pine forest and a farm field as it makes its way to the house, millpond, and outbuildings, which are in the process of being restored. (With plans to eventually be turned into a multi-use educational and community center.) Tack on the three-quarter-mile Cypress Point Loop Trail for an up-close view of the house and millpond, which supports a healthy grove of cypress trees. Rockefeller preferred to visit in cooler weather, for good reason: the Sandhills exposure makes for an enjoyable hike on a cold, sunny winter’s day. Start at 2505 Long Valley Road, Spring Lake; 2 miles, with options for more; for hours and more info, visit ncparks.gov. The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 47


SIMPLE LIFE

As the honeybee takes its final drink, bittersweet memories arrive and depart

by JIM DODSON

I

’ve been thinking about time lately. How quickly it comes. How quickly it passes. Like this year, for example, rapidly drawing to close. November is a month of remembrance. We begin by celebrating Hallowmas, the Feast of All Saints known and unknown. In the middle of the “Because bees feed on the nectar month we’ll remember veterans for their of flowers, and fundamentally sacrifice and wind up November by giving on sunlight, they are agents of for the abuntransmutation, making something thanks dance of the Earth from nothing, mystical creatures and ties that bind. good news this that are able to foresee the future.” The holiday season is that — Adele Nozedar families may finally be able to gather in person to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, though collective reflection upon the millions worldwide who are no longer with us this year reminds us of 48 | WALTER

life’s precious brevity. Speaking of such, the other afternoon, cheered by the sudden arrival of autumn light and a breath of welcome coolness, I noticed a small honeybee having a drink of water from an old bird bath I’ve kept filled on account of our lingering summer. Recently, I placed a circle of small stones at the water’s edge to prevent thirsty bees from falling in and drowning. Until my wife informed me that drowning is a genuine threat to the invaluable life of bees, I never gave passing thought to how a simple drink of water could be so perilous. In ancient times, bees were considered symbols of order and immortality. The wax they produce found its way into candles used in religious ceremonies, their honey sweetened and preserved food. Coins from the fifth century featured images of bees, held to be among nature’s most magical creatures. Modern science, in fact, confirms what ancient observers believed about bees —

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Time & Remembrance


Christmas in Peachtree Bluff Save the dates for

that they have a mysterious yet highly refined way of communicating with each other that enables them to find the hidden nectar of flowers and construct honeycombs from thousands of symmetrically perfect hexagons, mathematical structures reminiscent of the six-pointed stars that form the Flower of Life. “Because bees feed on the nectar of flowers,” writes symbologist Adele Nozedar, “and fundamentally on sunlight, they are agents of transmutation, making something from nothing, mystical creatures that are able to foresee the future.” This belief, she adds, may explain why beekeepers since the late Middle Ages have followed the tradition of speaking to their honeybee hives, conveying news of the household, particularly of births and deaths, and the broader life of the community. Between us, I lost track of time watching this lone honeybee pause to refresh. Either five minutes or the better part of an hour drifted by. The bee was in no hurry and neither was I, both taking our own sweet time as the clock of another year winds down, though his days are ten thousand times shorter than mine, a bittersweet reminder to get on with things that need to be done. As I watched him hop from stone to stone, I wondered where he might be headed and how much time he has left to fulfill his purpose. A male honeybee lives anywhere from one month to seven weeks, on average, and suddenly it was autumn. I felt a stab of sadness for my thirsty friend, but he rose into the air, hovered for a moment, then flew away. My impression was that he knew exactly where he was headed and why he is here. Isn’t that the greatest lesson of being alive? Remembrance often comes with bittersweet memory. Still sitting where the honeybee left me, I randomly opened an old leather journal — ironically embossed with the Celtic Flower of Life, purchased years ago in a Dublin book shop — where I keep a record of travels, eccentric thoughts, favorite quotes, overheard comments, mildly blue jokes, and

notes on my garden, only to be stopped by a line I wrote two days before Thanksgiving last year. For the first time ever, due to COVID distancing, none of our grown children could make it home for the holiday. That was disappointing enough — a moment we expected to eventually come in time as their busy lives expanded — but the unexpected loss of our sweet and lovable golden retriever, Ajax, a gift to my wife for our 10th anniversary, was a devastating blow. Due to a swift malady that came out of nowhere overnight and left us no choice but to humanely put him down, a kind veterinarian came to the house to administer relief as he lay calmly on his favorite couch, gazing out the window at the yard where he loved to romp with the kids. He was such a big kid himself, I called him “Junior.” After I carried Junior’s body out to the doctor’s car, I sat at the top of my office steps by the garage and watched the beautiful light of a perfect autumn afternoon leave the world as peacefully as my friend Ajax had just done. The mighty white oaks around us had shed most of their leaves by then, though a few last ones filtered to earth in the golden light. I heard children’s voices just yards away, playing tag, squeals of terrified delight. Junior would have loved that. I looked up and saw a redtailed hawk cruising over the treetops, tilting to the west as if turning toward home. I wondered what he saw from 200 feet closer to heaven. Perhaps an old dude sitting at the top of his steps, grieving for his friend who brought such joy into the world.

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It’s probably about time I let my grief for Junior go. The light in the eye grown dim, wrote Walt Whitman, shall duly flame again. Though I doubt that will happen just yet. Jim Dodson is a New York Times bestselling author. He lives in Greensboro.

PHOTO BY DYLAN RAY


The Poster at the PIG The hunt for a long-forgotten advertisement celebrates the joy of friendship by MATTHEW BUSCH

R

aleigh was a smaller place when I was a kid. My best friend Jon Anderson and I grew up in Five Points, with the freedom to explore on our bikes. We blazed through the streets and left our signatures in the wet concrete of freshly paved sidewalks. We could get away with just about anything. Our parents trusted us — and they trusted the town, too. But even with the power to go wherever we wanted, we somehow always found ourselves at the Piggly Wiggly. Back in those days, the entrance to the grocery store had a “magic” black rubber mat that would trigger the automatic door to spring open and ding, testing the manager’s patience with every chime. The checkout clerk’s name was Pete, an old man with a red nose, tinted glasses, and grey combover. He’d stand in the

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corner of the store, by the kiosk that hid the safe, resting his chin on a broom. He never smiled, perpetually carrying a look of non-amusement — perhaps thinking about how to deal with us kids. Then there was Richard Walker, the kindest employee at the store. Richard knew almost every customer, including how they preferred their groceries bagged and when they celebrated their birthdays. He was so famous that The News & Observer called him “the Bigwig at the Pigwig” in a spotlight on his 20 years of service as the store was closing. I distinctly remember Richard taking groceries to the car for the elderly woman with blue hair who taught music down the street. Just inside the front door, to the left, were freezer bins with sliding glass tops, chock-full of ice cream. And above those bins was a poster of an advertisement

with a captivating, old-fashioned photo of our Piggly Wiggly. It had an ominous blue sky and a pool of yellow light that fell from a streetlamp onto the brickwork and wet pavement, giving you the sense that a fall storm had just passed. I would stop and stare at that poster, incredulous that it featured the very store I was standing in. Fast-forward about 25 years. Jon and I are still best friends and still in Raleigh. About two years ago, we sat down for a meal at NOFO @ The Pig, decades after the space had been sold and butchered into a low-budget mini mart, stripped from its classic Piggly Wiggly aesthetics. In those years, I stopped going — I couldn’t handle seeing the space like that. But then Jean Martin came along with her NOFO concept. Her vision of renovating the space reincorporated many of the things we had loved about

Courtesy of The State Archives of the North Carolina, N&O Collection (HISTORICAL IMAGES); Matthew Busch (CURRENT PHOTO)

NOTED


the grocery store. From the back of the restaurant, I glanced around, taking in the renovation, remembering where things used to be and noticing where some of the original Piggly Wiggly elements, like its old freezers, had been cleverly placed. Out of the corner of my eye, a large photo hung on the wall. It felt familiar, but I couldn’t place it. After thinking about it for some time, I called Jean to ask her about it. She explained that a neighbor had given her the framed photo when she opened NOFO. This neighbor, who had worked for the Durham-based ad agency McKinney-Silver (presently McKinney), had actually helped create that photo as part of the advertisement I used to look at in the 1990s. Remington Rifles, which was (and still is) headquartered in Madison, hired the agency to create the Thanksgiving advertisement. They dolled up our Piggly Wiggly to look nostalgic for the photo, placing hand-painted signs in the windows, leaning a classic bike against the brick, and parking an old-fashioned car at the curb. With that ad printed and distributed across the United States, our very own Piggly Wiggly had achieved secret celebrity status. (Despite not exactly being complimentary: the firearms maker urged readers to “leave the grocery shopping to the other guys” while they, presumably, caught their own meal themselves.) I had to find the ad. I called, emailed, and messaged all the companies involved, including the Remington Arms Museum in New York state. But I kept hitting dead ends; few sources were responding to my requests, and those that did respond didn’t have any more information for me. I began losing hope. I vented my frustrations to another longtime friend, Ben McLawhorn, over dinner one night. Ben has lived in Raleigh for 40-plus years, and we share a love for all things OId Raleigh. The next morning I had a text from Ben: he’d found the poster for sale on eBay. The seller lived in Pennsylvania and had

been cleaning out an old gun shop after its owner had passed. He’d found this poster in the trash. I bought it immediately. A week later, the poster was delivered in a cardboard tube. As I unrolled it, I noticed how vibrant the colors were, how pristine the paper was. This poster had been tucked away in some closet or a drawer for 30 years. I didn’t expect the poster to transport me back to my youth, but it did. Would we have believed it, when we were riding our bikes down to the Piggly Wiggly, that today Jon would have a law office on the sidewalk just across the street — the same place where we’d carved our names into the wet pavement? Or that we’d manage to stay the closest of friends all these decades later? We were brothers in sports, best man in each other’s weddings; we’ve mourned together the loss of family and, recently, another dear friend, Frank Jolly IV. Just before Christmas, I dropped by Jon’s office toward the end of the day with the poster, framed and wrapped, in my hands. He had just locked up the door and was heading to his car. And when he opened the package, he had the same expression of excitement that I did when I saw the poster again. In these days full of work and family, it reminded us of a time when friendships were easy and hours seemed abundant. This Thanksgiving, I offer gratitude to dear friends, and to Raleigh, too — the small but growing city that has fostered these relationships.

Above: the advertisement. Below: Matthew Busch and Jon Anderson.

Matthew Busch is a father, teacher, and photographer. He enjoys contributing posts to oldraleigh.com, and cherishes his wife, Julia, and 1-year-old daughter Emerson. The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 51


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Quarantine Haircut by STEVE CUSHMAN

I’ve had hundreds of haircuts over the years but never one as intimate as the one Julie gave me yesterday, mid-quarantine, and my hair standing up and out of control and when she could take it no more she said sit down, Bozo. I happily complied, always eager for her touch. She stood over me cutting, clipping, and buzzing and I could feel her legs on mine, her forearm brushing my ears. But it wasn’t the physical touch as much as the proximity, breathing the same air like we used to do back when the sight of each other would result in clothes flying through the air, naked bodies moving together in rhythm, but this was a haircut, scissors, a misused beard trimmer, a memory of what was once there. When she asked why I was crying, I said Some hair must have irritated my eyes, and she didn’t press, only wiped it away, said you’re a fool and she was right once again. illustration by ANGELA LOMBARDI

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In her home and at the table, Eva Shockey invites the outdoors

NATURAL

BALANCE by AYN-MONIQUE KLAHRE photography by BRYNN GROSS

E

va Shockey has a reputation as an outdoorswoman — but it’s inside her home where she’s able to merge all the elements of her life. Shockey first hit the public eye as the daughter of Jim Shockey, a renowned big-game hunter and television personality. She took her platform and ran with it, as an on-air host herself (including of the Facebook Watch series “Eva Shockey’s Outdoor 101”), author of the the memoir Taking Aim, and, most recently, curator of her own marketplace for home and fashion accessories, Eva & Co, which launched in August. In each of her ventures, Shockey emphasizes that hunting and the outdoors are part of a balanced life, one where family, food, and comfort intertwine. And it explains why this Vancouver Island, Canada, native chose to make North Carolina her home in 2016. She was already familiar with the area from the time her husband, Tim Brent, spent playing for the Carolina Hurricanes. “We loved the Southern charm and that the people here are extremely friendly and generally active and outdoorsy,” she says. “We have such easy access to outdoor adventures either at the beach or in the mountains — it’s a beautiful place to call home.”

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EARTH TONES One highlight of the great room is the grand fireplace. Shockey and Brent worked with Stone Center of Carolina to design its natural stacked-stone facade. The 9-footwide mantel is a reclaimed wood piece that they found through Appalachian Antique Hardwoods. “My biggest goal was to make the indoor areas feel similar to being outdoors,” says Shockey. “I wanted everything bright and open with lots of windows and views of the beautiful trees and nature.”


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Here, she and Brent are raising their daughter Leni Bow, son Boone, and pups Piper and Crockett. “I’d describe it as beautiful chaos,” she laughs. “It’s always extremely busy but also full of love and family time.” They custom-built their Apex space to capture that intersection of indoors and outdoors. “My family always says that nature is our cathedral — it’s where we feel closest to God, where we can take a breath and relax and connect with what’s important,” Shockey says. Down a gravel path, the trees open onto a gracious, farmhouse-inspired home. In the woods on their property, there’s plenty of space to practice with a bow or walk with the kids. “It’s peaceful, it’s safe, and my kids can run outside and explore and get dirty and use their imagination without being under a roof 56 | WALTER

or in front of a screen,” says Shockey. Inside the home, the ode to nature continues with soaring ceilings and bright, open spaces for living and entertaining. “We used elements like the reclaimed 200-year-old beams, oak floors, and the natural stacked-stone fireplace to bring the outdoors in,” says Shockey. “My biggest goal was to make the indoor areas feel similar to being outdoors.” The crisp white palette serves this purpose, too, she says: “We kept the color scheme natural and neutral because the true beauty is the trees and wildlife outside the windows.” The star of the home may be the wall of windows with a 21-foot vault that one encounters just through the front door. “We wanted to be able to see to the very tops of the trees while we’re in the living room,” says Shockey. The shelves

are full of family photos, potted plants, and decorative items collected over time. The wide-open spaces are offset by lots of storage (including a dedicated playroom and a generous pantry with a second refrigerator) that work for the busy day-to-day of parenting, cooking, and keeping up with work. “I struggle to find a good balance between family and work and everything else, but my number one priority is being a good mama,” says Shockey. “I know I’ll miss this time when the kids are older, so I try not to wish it away and just embrace the crazy.” Throughout the home, there are nods to the sporting life: from antler sheds arranged within a decorative bowl atop a table to the impressive moose skull showcased above the fireplace — one that Brent hunted in the Yukon with Shock-


ROOM WITH A VIEW The 21-foot-high ceiling is designed to showcase the woods on their property. “We kept the color scheme natural and neutral because the true beauty is the trees and wildlife outside the windows,” says Shockey. She worked with her aunt, Cindy Shockey, a designer for Simply Amish, to choose many of the furnishings. Opposite page: Shockey and her dog Piper at the front door.

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KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL Shockey designed the open-plan kitchen — it looks out onto a dining and bar area, as well as the great room — to be a space for easy hosting. She typically serves up meals buffet-style, so the 10-by5-foot island is broad enough to hold a variety of dishes and seat four comfortably at the same time (though most days, two of the seats are rigged up with boosters for Leni Bow and Boone). The reclaimed barn wood around the vent home is from Appalachian Antique Hardwoods, and the pendant lights are from Circa Lighting. Opposite page: Shockey preps the meal with daughter Leni Bow and son Boone. Much of her dishware and serving pieces are white or white-washed, including solid maple charcuterie boards from her own Eva & Co. private label series. Her Elk Jalapeño Poppers (bottom left) are a go-to appetizer (find the recipe on page 62).

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“My family always says that nature is our cathedral — it’s where we feel closest to God, where we can take a breath and relax and connect with what’s important.” — Eva Shockey ey’s dad as his guide. “It was the biggest moose my dad has ever seen,” she says. “It always makes my dad slightly jealous when he comes over and sees it in person.” Speaking of, they ate “every piece” of meat that came off it, she says: “Moose steak, moose burgers, moose meatballs, moose everything!” Wild-caught game seamlessly finds its 60 | WALTER

way onto the table — for holidays, entertaining with friends, or everyday dinner. “The nice thing about North Carolina is that hunting is such a common activity — everyone I’ve met respects the fieldto-table lifestyle,” says Shockey. “I’m often asked if I can give folks some wild game to try.” She counts herself lucky to have made some female friends who shared

her passion right away. “I moved here when I was six months pregnant and knew no one, aside from my husband, and the first two girls I met here both happened to also be pregnant and both loved to hunt and shoot,” she says. “I felt like God was telling me that I had finally found my home base.” Since Shockey and Brent are both Canadians (he grew up outside of Toronto), American Thanksgiving is a newer holiday to them — but one they embrace for its emphasis on eating well, gathering with family, and putting down roots in their adopted home state. “My mom created so many incredible memories for me and my family around the holidays, I love being the one to create those for my kids now,” she says. “We’re forging our own traditions and memories.”


NEW TRADITIONS Shockey and Brent love to entertain friends and family, and since moving to Raleigh in 2016 and starting their family, they’re working to create their own traditions. At the table, Shockey layers natural elements in neutral tones, much as she does in the rest of her house, including pieces from her Eva & Co. collection, like the whitewashed placemats and linen napkins. Opposite page: Rather than roasting it in the oven, Shockey cooks her turkey on her Traeger grill outside, which yields a nice golden crust on the skin and frees up the oven for other dishes. Shockey, Brent, Boone, Leni Bow, and Crockett the dog get ready to carve up a turkey at their dining table.

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HERB-ROASTED TURKEY Shockey roasts her turkey low and slow on the grill — a good option if your oven is already occupied with pies, stuffing, or a casserole. 8 tablespoons butter (softened) + 3 tablespoons butter, melted 2 tablespoons chopped herbs, such as parsley, sage, rosemary, and marjoram ¼ teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 (12- to 14-pound) turkey, fresh or thawed Poultry seasoning blend (like Traeger Pork & Poultry Rub) 2 cups chicken or turkey broth DIRECTIONS In a small mixing bowl, combine the 8 tablespoons of softened butter, mixed herbs, salt, and black pepper and beat until fluffy with a wooden spoon. (This can be made ahead; cover and refrigerate, but bring to room temperature before using.) Remove any giblets from the turkey cavity (save them for gravy, if desired). Rinse the turkey, inside and out, under cold water. Dry with paper towels. Place the turkey on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Tuck the wings behind the back, and tie the legs together with butcher’s string. Pour the chicken broth in the bottom of the roasting pan. Using your fingers or the handle of a wooden spoon, gently push some of the herbed butter underneath the turkey skin onto the breast halves, being careful not to tear the skin. Massage the skin to evenly distribute the herbed butter. Rub the outside of the turkey with the melted butter and sprinkle with seasoning. Preheat grill to 325˚F. Put the roasting pan with the turkey directly on the grill grate. Roast the turkey for 3 hours, or until a meat thermometer shows an internal temperature of 165˚F. When the turkey is done, carefully transfer it to a cutting board and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Use the drippings that have accumulated in the bottom of the roasting pan to make gravy, if desired. Carve the turkey and serve.

ELK JALAPEÑO POPPERS Shockey makes these poppers with elk steaks, but beef steaks are a substitute if you don’t have elk on hand. “The honey is optional, but I love how the sweetness balances the heat of the jalapeño,” she says.

DIRECTIONS Mix the lime juice, Worcestershire, and soy sauce together in a large bowl or large resealable bag. Add steak, cover and let sit for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Preheat grill or oven to 350˚F.

4 elk steaks 1 cup Worcestershire sauce 1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

Remove the steak from the marinade and thinly slice into bite-sized pieces so they are approximately the same width and length as the jalapeños.

1 cup soy sauce

Cut the jalapeños in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and center membrane, then set aside.

20 medium-sized jalapeño peppers

Cut the bacon in half crosswise. Set aside.

10 slices bacon

Spoon cream cheese equally into all jalapeño halves.

12 ounces herb and garlic-flavored cream cheese (room temperature)

Lay one slice of marinated elk on top of each jalapeño. Wrap each jalapeño popper with one piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick if needed.

Honey, for serving (optional)

Place on grill or oven, cut-side up, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until elk is cooked and jalapeños are tender and lightly charred. Drizzle honey on poppers to serve, if desired.

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AUTUMN GLORY A red maple glows along Lake Raleigh one brilliant fall day.

In celebration of the season’s colors around Raleigh

The feel of

FALL by AYN-MONIQUE KLAHRE photography by KATE MEDLEY

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“I

am not a nature photographer, only because I find it incredibly difficult,” says Kate Medley. “To me, there’s nothing that can top the experience of seeing a scene in person.” Medley typically captures images for newspapers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. But when WALTER asked her to spend a few days walking around the Triangle looking for fall leaves, it was, she says, the perfect antidote to the more serious fare she’d been photographing. “It was such a nice reprieve to go into the community simply to find beauty in it,” she says. In the Triangle, autumn leaves are in their full spectrum of crimsons, ochres, and umbers by early 66 | WALTER

November. “Some trees, like tulip poplars and black gum, change early,” says naturalist Melissa Dowland, coordinator of teacher education at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. “The last ones are oaks and then American beech — their leaves turn a nice light tan and then hang on through winter.” For this project, Medley worked to find new vantage points for nature’s spectacle: “I try to get a different perspective on a scene you may already be familiar with — to climb up a hill, to step off the trail.” And in doing so, she herself gained perspective. “I was struck by how fortunate we are to live in an urban environment that has so much gorgeous wilderness right within the city,” she says. “Even in a well-used park, there’s still plenty of room for everyone to roam and find their own space.”


GOLDEN HOUR Squirrels are busy hoarding nuts as they prepare to hunker down for winter. “They have an uncanny ability to find them, but usually miss a few — that’s why squirrels are so good at helping seeds spread,” says Dowland. Opposite page: American beech trees shine along a path in Ayr Mount, in Hillsborough.

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COLOR SHOW Open edges of the woods — like the bank of Lake Johnson here, or the side of the road — are often where you’ll find the brightest colors. “There’s more diversity of species, and some of the more vibrant changers, like maples and sweet gum, prefer the additional light along the edge,” says Dowland.

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INTO THE MIST Early morning at Historic Yates Mill County Park, where a blanket of mist hovers over the surface of the pond. As the temperature cools overnight, the water stays warm, which leads to condensation when the air hits the dew point.

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SUNNY DAYS In Pullen Park, an orange-hued bald cypress stands tall. “It’s a popular tree for landscaping, and unlike most conifers, it’s deciduous — it drops its needles in the fall,” says Dowland. Maples, with their brilliant orange leaves, are an “iconic” fall tree, she says. Opposite: A clear morning on Lake Raleigh, near North Carolina State University.

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“How fortunate we are to live in an urban environment that has so much gorgeous wilderness right within the city.” — Kate Medley

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Painter Damian Stamer combines realism and abstraction in his evolving work

THE BEAUTY OF

CHANGE D by COURTNEY NAPIER photography by TAYLOR MCDONALD

amian Stamer was born and raised in northern Durham County, right near a century-old Italianate-style brick building that once contained a prison camp, then a sanitorium for tuberculosis patients, and finally the WTVD Television Corporation (affectionately known around here as just “Channel 11”). Now on the National Historic Registry, this complicated structure is just the sort of thing that bemuses Stamer — and led him to explore its meaning through his paintings. Stamer was introduced to the world of art in the 1990s as a student at Riverside High School. Artist Helen Griffin, Riverside’s art teacher, taught with a contagious passion that transferred to Stamer. “It’s the first time I ever wanted to stay after school to work on projects,” he says. “The piece that I really remember impacting me was the famous Robert Rauschenberg piece with the JFK lithograph. A notion of realist ‘popular’ photographic imagery with his beautiful abstract marks was, to me, a poetic combination. I think I’ve been interested in that dynamic between abstraction and realism and combining them ever since.” Even as a teenager, he showed potential

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for being an artist professionally, according to his former teacher. “Early on Damian understood the work commitment and risk taking required in art making,” says Griffin. “Some people do the bare minimum, but the minimum was never an option for him.” After graduating from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts high school program in Winston-Salem in 2001, art became both a form of self-expression and a form of self-exploration for Stamer. He traveled to Germany for a study abroad program at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, then went on to study fine art in Arizona and Hungary, before moving to New York City, where he split his time 76 | WALTER

with North Carolina, working toward a master in fine arts at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, before settling back here in 2018. It was in New York City, among the frenetic yet isolating energy of the city, that Stamer began to reflect deeply on his roots. “Coming home for the holidays, I started taking pictures of the weathered buildings around town,” he says. The distance allowed him to see his home with more appreciative and curious eyes. He began to imagine the stories within the walls and beneath the vines of decaying structures. When he returned to the city, he began painting pictures of the scenes he captured. This study of the magic of time upon environments and buildings

became a common thread through Stamer’s work. “Damian’s ability as a painter is profound in multiple ways,” says Dr. Jen Sudul Edwards, chief curator and curator of contemporary art at The Mint Museum in Charlotte. “His skill with paint and his confounding treatment of the surface brings a complexity and curiosity to the works, and his haunting subject matter — these abandoned spaces, hovels where nature assumes and consumes spaces once attended to by humans — compounds that disruption, all the while luring you in deeper because they are such stunningly beautiful, complicated compositions.” In a 2016 profile on PBS NC’s show My Home, NC, Stamer shares pieces from his


Scenes from inside Damian Stamer’s studio near Hillsborough, which is connected to the house where he grew up. This has been his full-time workspace since 2018.

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Altered Land exhibition, a collection heavily influenced by his memories of the green and aging spaces in and around Hillsborough, near where he grew up. There’s a scene in which he and his twin brother, Dylan, drive to a nearby barn, which resembles a towering triangular bush with the overgrowth of vines that have swallowed the structure. “What’s so exciting about this place,” Stamer muses to his brother, “is that there is a whole unknown world inside. It’s like a treasure chest or a time capsule.” Stamer’s latest exhibit, and then it wasn’t, which will open at SOCO Gallery in Charlotte this month, is also a time capsule of sorts. Created over the course of the last year — against a background of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Movement for Black Lives following the murder of George Floyd, and the pregnancy of his wife with their first child — the collection explores the destructive and transformative nature of time. “The big changes that happened in 2020 made me reflect on the Buddhist principle of impermanence and equanimity in change,” Stamer says. “There’s a fear of change, but there’s also a beauty and potentiality in it.” He explored the idea that sometimes the dismantling or degrading of old structures and realities can be good — even if it’s challenging and uncomfortable. “While I love his work for all of these art historical reasons, it has a particular poignancy in the South, where history remains present, a site to reckon and reconcile,” says Sudul Edwards. “Even if we didn’t build the original structure, it is ours to tend.” Stamer’s studio, which he completed in 2016, is connected to the home where he grew up, nestled in lush woodlands. Here, soaring windows along the north-facing wall erase any sense of containment and frame the tall oaks outside. The other three walls are filled with his pictures on hanging canvas, windows into his artistic world. Near the entrance, the door to the storage room is a collage of postcards and small prints by artists who inspired him, including Robert Rauschenberg, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Neo Rauch, and Cy Twombly.

For and then it wasn’t, Stamer pushed himself to a new level of vulnerability through more abstract expression than ever before, offering paintings that are markedly more vibrant and nonrepresentational than his former works. Horry County 25, which Stamer started in 2018 and finished last year, shows what appears to be a darkly painted interior room in the center of the panel. Then, in a visceral shift, Stamer adds beautiful and bold markings with a panoply of rich warm hues, textures, and shapes. The result is a powerful interplay of the fixed and the fluid. “This is a little more open,” he says. “I’m playing around with opening up again to this negative space, with the concept of things coming together and then dissolving. And this kind of beauty in that impermanence.” “I thought to myself, this is the time to just be bold,” says Stamer. “I’ve tightened up some of the realism, but I’ve focused on pushing myself to that anxious, uneasy place beyond normal.” That process consists of Stamer revisiting paintings over months and years with new mindsets and states of being, and translating these fresh perspectives onto the canvas. In the end, the pieces are more like novels, showing layers of stories and emotional experiences that even Stamer will never fully understand. But he has surrendered to that mystery, which leaves space for the viewer to connect and seek out their own experiences and stories in his work. “Damian constantly amazes us for his ability to challenge himself and dive deeper into the manipulation of paint and form,” says Chandra Johnson,

founder and owner of SOCO Gallery in Charlotte. “In his new exhibition, he’s pushing the boundaries of abstraction in his work even further. The paint and marks seem to explode from the canvas into the viewer’s physical space.” In the midst of all the global and personal change, Stamer maintains a grounded and content demeanor that, he says, is the product of his spiritual practice, therapy, a loving family, and a supportive artist community. “I feel very lucky to have a wife who wants to go on this journey with me,” he shared. “She is able to go to places and talk about things in such an understanding way.” He also speaks of the “wonderful community of artists” here that have encouraged him throughout his career, including celebrated Durham-based painter Beverly McIver and Larry Wheeler, the former director of the North Carolina Museum of Art. “When I was director of NCMA, Damian politely persisted that I come to see his paintings. When I finally did, it stopped me in my tracks,” Wheeler says. “Damian’s work, mature and beautifully articulated, communicated an uncanny spiritually of place. I was moved to immediately call the curators at NCMA and insist that the museum buy what I considered the best one. And I continue to find joy in Damian’s growing success — and a broader appreciation of his work.” Stamer is a man full of gratitude — for his family and home — but also for his professional achievement, he says: “Success, in a way, is just being able to paint every day, make your work, put it out there, and then try to let go.”

“The big changes that happened in 2020 made me reflect on the Buddhist principle of impermanence and equanimity in change. There’s a fear of change, but there’s also a beauty and potentiality in it.” — Damian Stamer

The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 79


Old-World

WINE In North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley, European-style grapes thrive

by FINN COHEN photography by MARK WAGONER

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Grapes at Raffaldini Vineyards in Ronda, North Carolina.

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Opposite page, top images: Harvesting grapes at Elkin Creek Vineyard. Bottom: Harvesting grapes at Raffaldini Vineyards.

Y

ou wouldn’t notice it from the highway, but a little over two hours west of Raleigh, the soil is something special. And it’s not just the soil: it’s the slope of the land — lush, verdant hills at the foot of the Appalachians — and the quality of the air, still slightly humid but more temperate than most counties to the east. Even the way the sun hits is different. You’ve entered North Carolina’s wine country. The Yadkin Valley, which for oenophiles is centered around the town of Elkin, is one of 258 American Viticultural Areas in the United States (for context: California has 142 AVAs, and only 25 other states have them). The area’s status as an AVA — meaning that the climate and terrain have been certified by the U.S. government for their wine-making properties — became official in 2003. There are currently more than 50 wineries operating in the region. And they produce a much different grape than the super-sweet muscadines found in much of eastern North Carolina. “The Yadkin Valley is a direct analog of old-world Europe, dropped right here into North Carolina,” says Louis Jero-

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slow, one of the owners and operators of Elkin Creek Vineyard. The specific combination of latitude (on the same line as Monterey County in California), humidity (similar to Bordeaux, France), and red clay (akin to Tuscany, Italy) creates ideal conditions for European varieties of wine. “These vines don’t know they’re in North Carolina,” he says. “Their feet are in Italy, and they think they’re growing in France.” Jeroslow and his wife, Carrie, first laid eyes on their vineyard as guests: in 2008, their friends Jennifer and Nick White got married at Elkin Creek, and the Jeroslows were an integral part of the ceremony. They quickly became friends with the owner, Mark Greene; Louis had been dabbling in winemaking, so there was a mutual interest. A year later, Greene contacted them and wanted to sell; he knew they’d be interested since they’d all hit it off so well. The Whites and the Jeroslows didn’t have a business background in wine — all four of them were working for the Blue Man Group in Las Vegas — but everyone was ready for a change. “We had been in the arts for a really long time, and we all wanted to come back east,” says Carrie, who had worked for Blue Man Group in New York City in the 1990s. “Our visions were very much based on this place; it had everything that we really loved.” There are 4 acres of grapes on the

Elkin Creek property, and they produce about 1,200 cases a year. In their cozy tasting room, they offer brick-oven pizzas every weekend to go with their wine list. Highlights by the glass include the Viognier, a light white crafted in the Rhone style, and their take on Cabernet Sauvignon, a rich nod to France. Their “Adequate Red” is a deceptively named blend of Merlot and Syrah, recommended by the bottle with a winter meal. Math and logistics prevent a Yadkin Valley wine from being widely available to consumers around the state, so it’s hard to get a taste of these grapes without making the trip. Unlike craft beer, which uses ingredients that can be bought online, fermented relatively quickly, canned, and shipped, wine-making is a laborious process that can be affected drastically by numerous factors during a growing season: hurricanes, late-spring frosts, pests, and drought. Once the grapes are picked, crushed, and put in a tank, they need ample time to be turned into wine. If there’s only a few people involved in the process, then it’s a lot harder to drive around the state looking for distributors if you’re also running a tasting room and a grape farm. “If you’ve bought a million dollars’ worth of stemmers and crushing pans and tanks and oak barrels and everything else, you’re going to maybe sell a guy like me a few cases here and there,


The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 00


This page, clockwise from top: The Tuscan-style tasting room at Raffaldini; grapes within the vineyard; Elkin Creek. Opposite page, clockwise from top: Outside of the tasting room at Midnight Magdalena Vineyards; wine barrels at Raffaldini; grapes at Elkin Creek Vineyard; Raffaldini Vineyards.

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The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 85


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Top image: Inside the tasting room at Elkin Creek Vineyard. Bottom images: Wine bar The Wisdom Table in downtown Elkin, which specializes in North Carolina wines.

“These vines don’t know they’re in North Carolina.Their feet are in Italy, and they think they’re growing in France.” — Louis Jeroslow

but you can’t afford a giant wholesale,” says Jeremy Stamps, a co-owner of The Wisdom Table, a comprehensive wine bar located in an old Belk’s department store in downtown Elkin. “Most brewers are buying hops from Oregon and Washington, barley from the Dakotas — industrial-grade ingredients. They can produce beer on scale and send it to anybody and it’ll still be good.” “It’s a pretty steep learning curve,” says Jim Zimmer, who with his wife, Tauny, owns Midnight Magdalena Vineyards several miles outside of Elkin. They quit their jobs in the energy industry and moved from Atlanta after buying 40 acres of land in 2010, opening the vineyard in 2012. Today, they’ve got 6 acres of vines planted, producing jammy reds (the 2018 Malbec is a standout) and crisp whites (try the Riesling). When they landed in the area, it was still relatively under the radar, which allowed them to adjust to the rigor of the growing process. While Jim got his hands into the soil, Tauny learned her craft through the viticulture program at Surry Community College in Dobson. “It gives you a lot of guidance of how you can start up a vineyard and start up the overall business, even to the point of teaching you the winemaking techniques that you would need, or the grapes that you’re growing,” Jim says. “She would come back from school, we would talk about it.”

Jeremy Stamps and his wife, Krystle, moved to Elkin in 2017 from Orlando, where they both worked at Disney World (there seems to be a bit of a theme with entertainment and wine here). They’d fallen in love with the area when they got married there, but on visit after visit they saw a need for a gathering spot since many wineries stop offering tastings at 5 or 6 p.m. Now, The Wisdom Table sells wines by the bottle — about half of the shop’s stock is from North Carolina — and Jeremy serves as ambassador for the region, offering carefully curated flights that combine Old-World, New-World, and Yadkin-world wines. Even when he’s pouring a glass of a deep red, he’s offering a story about it — like Grassy Creek’s 2017 “To the Max” blend, named for the winemaker’s late dog, who saved his owner’s life by blocking him from going out in the vineyard one day before a lightning storm. Or McRitchie Winery & Ciderworks’ 2014 “Ring of Fire,” a dazzling Italian red that benefited from that year’s lack of hurricanes, rain, and early frost. Or the Vermentino Superiore, a luscious white from Raffaldini Vineyards, one of the region’s most scenic vineyards — there’s a Tuscan-style villa situated over rolling hills, where they grow the grapes that produce some of the region’s most powerful reds. (The Montepulciano Riserva, an earthy red, would pass as an Italian import at a

blind taste test.) The elephant in the room for winemakers around the world is climate change; as certain areas known for production get hotter and less accommodating for growing, regions less known for their grapes will inevitably get more attention. The Yadkin Valley stands to gain from this shift, which, according to Louis Jeroslow, would be a bit of a full circle for the whole state. “Somewhat lost in history is that winemaking in North Carolina goes all the way back to the colonies — this was the wine region of the United States before the western expansion, up until Prohibition,” he says. “You have oldworld Europe dropped right here in the foothills, and we’re starting to finally, slowly, see more attention among the public, among the consumers.” “It feels very much like Sonoma in the 1960s, when the locals just didn’t get it, and people had not really heard about it: Why are you growing grapes, isn’t this where you guys grow almonds and citrus?” he says. “People could say the same thing here: Why are you growing grapes? Isn’t this where people grow corn and tobacco and soybeans?” But sitting on Midnight Magdalena’s porch looking into the Blue Ridge Mountains with a glass of their Malbec, or wandering through the sun-dappled vines at Raffaldini between sips of the Riserva, the answer is clear.

The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 89


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Wednesday, December 1 Union Station | 6:00 PM Join WALTER for our exclusive holiday shopping event! Peruse over 20+ local vendors that you have met in the pages of our magazine. Ticket includes heavy hor d’oeuvres and libations.

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THE WHIRL

Cheetie Kumar, Elena Asburn, Kristen Hess, Ayn-Monique Klahre, and Courtney Napier at WALTER’s WINnovation summit.

WALTER’s roundup of gatherings, celebrations, fundraisers, and more around Raleigh.

90 WINnovation 91 Hinson Wu Trunk Show 91 Songs for a New World Opening Night Party 92 Sola Hot Mini 5K 93 Lenovo Passport Fair 93 Summerfest

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The Art & Soul of Raleigh | 89


Morgan Gustafson

WALTER EVENTS

WINnovation 2021

O

n September 17, WALTER hosted its seventh annual WINnovation summit, which celebrates female innovation, diversity, and the entrepreneurial spirit. This year, we were happy to be back in person at The Umstead Hotel & Spa, as well as live-streaming to a virtual audience. The evening kicked off with guests attending workshops on professional and personal development led by Mary HemphillJoseph and Julia Wench of The Authenticity Guide and Brooke Markevicius of Allobee. Guests then enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and drinks on the terrace outside before sitting down for a threecourse gourmet dinner while hearing local women leaders' powerful and vulnerable speeches. Kristen Hess of HH Architecture spoke on taking risks and learning to trust in others, 90 | WALTER

Cheetie Kumar of Garland opened up about embracing the unknown as a restaurant owner in today’s climate, Broughton High School principal Elena Asburn inspired us to be more accepting and encouraging of working women, and Courtney Napier invited us all to consider our role in our shared story. The panel discussion that closed the event was passionate and inspiring, and guests were left full of delicious food and empowering ideas. Guests enjoyed the candid discussions and left the evening feeling inspired in all facets of their lives. Thank you to our virtual presenting partner Bank of America, supporting sponsor Diamonds Direct, and workshop sponsors Specialists in Plastic Surgery and Design Lines Signature for making the event possible. To learn more about the evening, visit waltermagazine.com.


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BEACH HOLIDAYS

courtesy Kannon's

HINSON WU TRUNK SHOW In September, Kannon’s women’s clothing store hosted fashion designer Hinson Wu for a trunk show of his eponymous label. The event featured a presentation of the New York City-based designer’s newest collection, known for its signature button-down shirts.

Boo Jefferson, Hinson Wu, Mary-Kannon Jefferson, Joe Ann Wright

SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD OPENING NIGHT On July 27, North Carolina Theatre hosted an intimate party to celebrate the opening night of Songs for a New World, a musical about facing new circumstances and discovering how to navigate through evolving situations to create a new world. The full cast and understudies toasted this in-person performance.

CELEBRATE WITH US

Adam Jacobs, Krystina Alabado, Melvin Gray Jr., Christine Sherrill, Kate McMillian, Kyle Taylor Parker

Stay three nights and leave the rest to us! Enjoy a spectacular Thanksgiving meal at EAST, a harbor cruise, a special enhancement delivered to you before the Flotilla viewing, breakfast in bed on Friday & Saturday, and Sunday Jazz Brunch.

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THE WHIRL SOLA HOT MINI 5K Sola Coffee Café’s 8th annual Sola Hot Mini 5K took place on September 18. The race had over 860 participants that raised over $150,000 alongside Team Drea to support the Duke ALS Clinic, ALS TDI, Project ALS, and NC ALS Association NC chapter in the fight to defeat ALS.

Jenn Hall (SOLA HOT MINI 5K)

Don Luther, Ben Luther, John Luther, Jeanne Luther, Colin Leonard, Sally Leonard, Mara Luther

INVITES YOU TO SUPPORT OUR LOCAL SHOPS & RESTAURANTS. Whisk | Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Enrigo Italian Bistro | StretchLab | TASU Asian Bistro Triangle Wine Co. | Color Me Mine | Chicken Salad Chick vomFASS | L.A. Bikini i 5N[Q @a\[R :N``NTR N[Q 3NPVNY Level Red Boxing | Taziki’s Mediterranean Café BodyLase | Green4Life | Famous Toastery Gonza Tacos Y Tequila | CorePower Yoga i @UNXR @UNPX

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Rafael Fulton Fernandes (LENOVO TOP PHOTO), Bryan Ramirez (LENOVO, BOTTOM PHOTOS); Courtesy NC Symphony (SYMPHONY)

LENOVO PASSPORT FAIR On September 25, Lenovo’s Hispanics of Lenovo Association volunteers teamed up with ISLA, a nonprofit that promotes bilingualism and global citizenship of Hispanic children through cultural immersion programs, for an interactive Passport Fair to learn about Latin American countries at St. Thomas More School in Chapel Hill. Rossemary Pacchioli

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Rafael Fulton Fernandes and guests

Romy Milla Paz

SUMMERFEST In June and July, the North Carolina Symphony returned to Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary for UNC Health Summerfest, with audiences of all ages sharing live music from Beethoven to John Williams.

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5 SOUTH CAROLINA CITIES WORTH CROSSING STATE LINES FOR Close enough for a spontaneous weekend trip, these South Carolina’s cities and towns offer a fun contrast to Raleigh.

30 FALL TREATS, MEALS, AND DRINKS TO SAVOR THIS SEASON Fall is in the air and pumpkin is on the menu! Here are some delicious autumnal flavors our local cafes, bars, and restaurants have on their menus right now.

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After a challenging year of temporary closings & limited service due to the pandemic + a kitchen fire, we wanted to congratulate @strochraleigh on reopening tomorrow!

Beginning October 23, the North Carolina Museum of History welcomes you to a glorious exhibition featuring original costumes worn by the stars of Downton AbbeyTM. Museum members receive free tickets for their first visit to this beautiful exhibition!

T TICKETS ARE ON S SALE NOW at n ncmuseumofhistoryshop. ccom/tickets or by sscanning this QR code.

The exhibition is developed and distributed by Exhibits Development Group in cooperation with Cosprrop Ltd., London, England. The exhibition is not endorsed by, spo onsored by, licensed by, associated with, or otherwise affiliaated with the television series Downton Abbey™, NBC Univerrsal International, Carnival Film and Television Limited or their representatives.



END NOTE

Joy, Found! An interview with the creator of Found This Art by ELEANOR SPICER RICE

F

or the last three years, a radical has been operating in Raleigh, delivering secret messages in unlikely places, each with a mysterious symbol printed on the back, a hat-topped face with a mischievous smile. These missives show up in the form of tiny, original watercolor paintings, left for others to find and keep: a mushroom in a coffee shop, a dolphin in a museum… But what do they mean? To the artist behind Found This Art, they offer a moment of joy, delivered to strangers around the world he’ll never meet. He prefers to remain anonymous, but we tracked him down to learn why he’s on this special mission. You’ve left art in nearly 20 countries, but rarely see someone find it! What do you hope will happen? A woman who worked at a hotel in Portugal once found a little seashell piece, done in soft reds and pinks. She wrote to me and told me that her mother used to call her “concha,” which means shell. This brought her joy. At its core, this is a project that I hope will cause people to pause and reflect, to feel thankful because they were in the right place at the

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right time. This translates directly to happiness, and perhaps will also help people pay it forward, even in small ways. How is a small painting able to have an impact? It can be a difficult world for so many, but art is an antidote. It’s about being human and appreciating what it means to be connected. If someone finds a piece, perhaps it changes their framing just a bit and has a positive effect in their world. Big things come from small ripples. Why do you keep your identity a secret? I don’t want to influence any part of this project with me as a real, three-dimensional person. It’s not about me; it’s about everyone else and the art. You and I will connect through the art that you hold in your hands, and that connection doesn’t require a name to be special. Keep an eye out for Found This Art pieces in Raleigh this month! If you find one, share it on Instagram and tag @foundthisart and @waltermagazine, or report it to foundthisart.com.


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