For Earlysville potter Suzanne Crane, it’s all about the local. Crane is a former English teacher who learned her craft (and discovered her talent) by taking pottery classes at PVCC. Now she’s traded grading papers for creating handmade, botanical-inspired ceramic pieces that are rooted (pun intended) in local materials and plants.
Dan Zimmerman clued us in to a creepy-fun site.
With builder husband Matthew Crane, Suzanne has steered her small operation in the direction of architectural pieces, creating handmade tile backsplashes, sinks and murals. She describes the bizarre experience of peddling her tile samples from a 10′x10′ booth next to acres of mammoth big-name brands at the national trade shows that she and her husband attend, but stresses, “Competing is not the issue here. What we’re trying to do is catch a special group of people who want something very, very different.”
For Suzanne, what’s different about her tiles is their local origin and the fact that “each sink is unique as a fingerprint”—mainly because she presses a different leaf or vine into the wet clay of every piece she makes. Sometimes it’s even a bit of plant life from a client’s own garden—local times two.
To get your own piece of Earlysville art, you can make the drive over to Mud Dauber Pottery, Suzanne’s studio and gallery, or check out samples of her work at www.suzannecrane.com.—Lee Vanderwerff
Who: Dan Zimmerman, partner in local design/build firm Alloy Workshop
What’s on his browser: 99rooms.com
What it is: An oddly absorbing series of animated photos from East German industrial buildings, where sounds of footsteps and dripping water lend a haunting air. It’s interactive, too: Find and click the object that allows you into the next room.
Leaves of grass: Suzanne Crane’s botanical tiles give a bathroom some pedigree.
Why he likes it: “I feel like through collage each of the rooms are being added to—not unlike a renovation. Some of the [animations] are obvious and jump out, and others you have to look for. I don’t necessarily get practical ideas for projects here, but conceptually, it serves as inspiration.”
So autumn has left you with piles of leaves adorning your gutters, and you’re realizing that your neighbors don’t buy your excuse that all those leaves are just leftover holiday decorations. Cleaning out your gutters takes an afternoon, a sturdy ladder and a healthy dose of caution.
Leaf out! Cleaning gutters takes more guts than skill.
Most maintenance experts recommend cleaning your gutters twice a year. Start by placing a gutter scoop (what, you don’t have one of those? A garden trowel is an easy substitute) and a rag in a bucket with a handle that you can take to the top of the ladder. Start cleaning out the area by the downspout, where most debris usually gets stuck. Work your way down the gutter, scooping out leaves and dirt into your bucket (hello, compost pile).
Dried patches of dirt can be loosened up by wetting them with a garden hose. When you’re done, give your gutters a final clean by spraying them all down with your hose. Finally, if your downspouts are clogged, try blasting water pressure through the pipe from the bottom up. If your gutters are damaged, or if you have a house taller than one story, it’s probably smart to call a professional to handle the job.—L.V.
Got a nest to feather? You’ve also got a lively scene of local home and garden shops to stay on top of, which is why we’ll now be bringing you regular updates on the retail scene. Here’s the latest news:
A couple of established Downtown spots have improved their digs so as to better furnish yours: Quince now peddles its accessories and furniture from a large space across Garrett Street from its former location—a cavernous storefront that once housed Home. In turn, Quince’s old spot was taken by the fashion arm of Posh, letting that purveyor of hand-picked antiques devote its entire original spot—in the Downtown Design Center, just over the railroad tracks—to home items.
All kinds of unexpected things are behind glass at Partridge & Grace Designs.
Meanwhile, Partridge & Grace Designs, tucked away since April on Third Street NE, sells a whole variety of things in frames—tiny silver spoons, antique maps, botanical prints—and offers framing and art consultation services. We were intrigued by a shelf made from a salvaged railroad tie from colonial-era India, and also by a framed 1945 Fortune magazine cover. Why don’t they make them like that anymore?—Erika Howsare
Writing about sales makes us feel weird; it’s so hard not to sound like a screaming radio voiceover when you wield phrases like “dining room furniture, 20 percent off!” Sometimes, even going to a sale makes us feel weird, as though we were falling for a carnival barker’s invitation to step right up and lose our shirts. But there’s no denying that January can be a great month to save money on new stuff, as stores purge before spring. If you’re not too burned out after last month’s march down the gift gauntlet, let us gently inform you of a few local bargains.—E.H.
—Beddie-buys. Bedroom furniture on sale at Kane Furniture, along with dining room furniture, artwork and accessories.
—Seasonal steals. Holiday stuff for a song at La Bastide in the Townside Shopping Center. Next Christmas, you’ll be able to say, “I got that half off! Now have some full-strength egg nog.”
—Cheap sleeps. Moyanne in Lynchburg will have a trunk show on next year’s lines of Bella Notte bedding, January 25 and 26; they tell us this is one of the only chances to get these high-end linens on sale.
"The home place is full of ordinary objects. We know them through use; we do not attend to them as we do to works of art. They are almost a part of ourselves, too close to be seen. Contemplate them and what happens?"—Yi-Fu Tuan, Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience