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Posted by on Jan 27, 2017 | 1 comment

Studio Tour: Painter Remy Lavelle

Studio Tour: Painter Remy Lavelle

You are bound to meet Remy if you’re in town and find yourself in UpCycle Creative Reuse Center (CRC) in Alexandria, where she is store manager. Remy is a recent graduate of the Corcoran School of Art & Design. When she invited us out to her studio for a tour, we were eager to see her finished work and works-in-progress. Remy mainly works in oils and acrylics, but also mixed media to add texture and to accentuate the deeper meaning in her work. “I try to recreate a memory that will fade in time,” she says. “This is an attempt to document my own memories with respect to the memories of objects that came before me. Through the simple act of stitching, knotting, and applying paint, I attempt to weave these materials together in a way that respects them and the time we share together.” Since graduating, Remy’s work has evolved to a more sculptural surface. She’s working on new work in her studio that is more layered, constructed...

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Posted by on May 16, 2016 | 1 comment

Studio Tour: Luis Fernández de Córdoba Guitars

Studio Tour: Luis Fernández de Córdoba Guitars

What does it mean to be a true artisan? Spend some time with Luis Fernández de Córdoba and you will understand. Luis is a skilled luthier, or stringed instrument maker, who handcrafts classical and flamenco guitars in the tradition of the great European master luthiers in his workshop in Alexandria. To Luis, making a guitar isn’t just about creating something functional, or even something visually stunning, it’s about creating something that inspires people, both the musician and the listener. Growing up in Panama, Luis was drawn to the alternative lifestyle of the artisans he’d see selling their crafts in the market. He came to the United States and started experimenting with building guitars. As a bass player, it seemed like a natural route to take. Soon, he realized that he had a skill for this type of work. He went to a school in Arizona, received his guitar-making certificate and then started an apprenticeship. He’s met fellow luthiers from across the world, constantly studies new techniques to perfect his...

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Posted by on Feb 20, 2015 | 1 comment

Studio Tour: A Shared Woodworking Space at the Birchmere

Studio Tour: A Shared Woodworking Space at the Birchmere

As we all know, space is at a premium in Del Ray, which makes the high-ceilinged warehouse at the Birchmere, a coop shared by several woodworkers, all the more exceptional. To get there, you almost need a treasure map — enter the parking lot for the legendary Birchmere concert hall, drive all the way around the back where ticket-goers line up for shows, keep going until you see a bright yellow door, with a sign above for Kiwi Custom Carpentry. Campbell Wood and Nicole Wood, shown here, are the owners of Kiwi Custom Cabinetry, as well as the entire coop, which they opened in 2013. I met one of the artists, Lisa Sikes, for a tour of the workspace. Lisa runs Heart & Hammer Furniture Co, specializing in locally sourced and reclaimed wood. Stacked in a corner of her workspace, I saw several pieces of reclaimed wood she’s using for upcoming projects. In the corner opposite her, Campbell runs Kiwi Custom Cabinetry. He says that starting this coop has “kept his shop...

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Posted by on Sep 5, 2014 | 1 comment

Studio Tour: Carbon Industrial Design

Studio Tour: Carbon Industrial Design

I had the pleasure of touring Carbon Industrial Design recently, surveying every inch of this fascinating warehouse, woodworking, and welding industrial design studio on N. Fayette Street, near Rt. 1. just east of Del Ray. I wanted to stay and tinker. Which is what the owners do every single day with the their huge collection of salvaged machinery, inventory, and artifacts from the earliest factories in the U.S. – paper mills in Massachusetts, tobacco farms in the South, schools in Philly, even old bowling alleys. They use the materials to restore and fashion one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture, decor, and art. The nondescript view from the back entrance belies the vast museum collection awaiting inside – an orderly, immense, curated collection of treasures. The Carbon Industrial Design team are Glen, Jim (shown in the photo below), and Mike. Raul and Will are the lead welders. Will does mostly onsite fabrication, and Raul oversees all work in the studio. Ovidio is the lead carpenter. The front of the space is retail, where...

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Posted by on Jul 23, 2014 | 0 comments

Paul’s Hand Carved English Rocking Horses

Paul’s Hand Carved English Rocking Horses

I first noticed the remarkable wooden rocking horses in Paul and Sheri’s house when I previewed their home for the Del Ray House & Garden Tour. Paul let Nadja sit on one as he told me about their venerable history. He shared his passion for building and carving the horses by hand, a skill he learned growing up in England with his father who, he says, “made everything,” including wooden toys for Paul and his siblings. The other day, Paul showed Katie and me three of his English rocking horses, one in a state of repair, which he is in the process of restoring. The horse belonged to his grandchildren, but had suffered damage in a house fire. He’ll strip, sand, and repaint the horse and then donate “him” to charity. Pulling out some of his reference books, Paul told us a bit about the history of rocking horses, how in the 1600s, the children of knights used them to learn how to ride horses and practice jousting on...

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