Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Once I Had A Gallery In Paoli

Isaac Denison (also known as Karen Blixen), wrote in "Out of Africa"; "Once, I had a farm in Africa". I had a Gallery in Wisconsin - I also had a farm, but I'll talk about that later. I mentioned the gallery yesterday, and became nostalgic for, I've pulled out the photos, and decided to give us both a tour of yesteryear.

I shot so many Civil War reinactments, and I also became familiar with hand-colored-black-and-white photography, that I learned the technique, and opened a gallery in an 1853 Schoolhouse, in a little town, called Paoli, in Wisconsin.

I couldn't afford to rent, let alone fill the entire space, so I convinced my friend Debbie to open Cottage Gardens, and brought in two other shops. She now owns the schoolhouse, and it is known as the Paoli Schoolhouse Shops. Here is the link to her . (for some reason, if it doesn't come up..."Google her"..shoot)
My space was small, but people referred to it as, "the little jewelbox", and it was chock-full of photographs, handmade vinegars, gifts, floorcloths, jewelry, etc. My life has been one, big ETC..
If you double-click on the image, you can see the photographs clearly. That was when I was using my Nikon 35mm, and the images were crisp. I took the photographs, developed them in my darkroom, printed the images, sepia-toned them, then, hand-painted them with special oil paints. I did all my own matting and framing. That was back when I had energy!
To get to my gallery in the back, one had to pass through "Cottage Gardens" (Now, Debbie owns the entire schoolhouse, and it is so different...but, wonderful. You must visit her on-line.
I did her merchandising for her, and many of the wreaths and florals. We shared much of the space during the holiday season.
These are my "Widow's Weeds, the grieving attire of a Civil War Widow on a dress form in the corner. Sometimes, I would "suit up", but I had worn them so much when I was doing reinacting, they are pretty much retired. I do still have them.
We did have wonderful holidays in the School House; with a giant tree (16ft ceilings), which only fell over once, and nothing was broken! A true miracle.

Whoops, twice posted...oh well

I have sold all my photographs of those days except this one, entitled "Grace", I just can't part with her. I also made the hat box and the dried florals

When I lived in North Carolina, I contributed photos to a book, entitled, "Out on The Porch", which I believe is still in publication.
This darling bunny is resting under a topiary I created...She's made of panty hose..really.

The first photograph in this line of photos was perchased by the actor, Tom Beringer (Platoon), and given to his wife. I still haven't washed the spot on my cheek, where he kissed me! Again, if you double-click, you can see some of the details (if you wish, that is)

I sold a great deal of my herbal vinegars, and the pansys on the labels were from my garden...Also, more of the hand-painted glass.

This was my beloved garden....I loved it so, and hope that, one day, to have another. However, here in Texas, I think I have to rethink my methods.An antique carriage seat holds two of my pillows, along with one of the hats I would "dress" and sell. If the cherry fabric looks familiar, it's because I just made the last of it into "shoe sachets"...I never throw anything that might be used later away, which can be a problem...
So, that was my life for four years...I then became too busy as a designer to make the photos, and all that went in the gallery. It lives on fondly in my heart.