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Posted by on Jun 3, 2014 | 1 comment

An Artist’s Journey from Del Ray to the West Indies

An Artist’s Journey from Del Ray to the West Indies

We featured Sarah (Coffin) D’Alessandro on DIY Del Ray as an artist (potter, illustrator), student of arts management and all around DIYer running The Empty House Studio (TEHS) art space in Del Ray in 2013. When we discovered that Sarah had moved to the West Indies with her husband Andy as he finishes med school, we started reading her blog, The Study and The Studio, where she writes beautifully about her adventures and artistic endeavors. This is one of Sarah’s first of, we hope, many guest blogs from Dominica to Del Ray in which she shares how she creates art on whatever canvas she can find, including rocks, seeds and shells. This is where I live post The Empty House Studio (TEHS), in the tropical lands of the West Indies, on the nature island of Dominica (pronounced “dom-i-NEE-ka”). It’s exotic, vibrant and very difficult at times. The shapes, textures and colors are shocking to a native Virginian like me. I am enthralled with the visuals even after five months...

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Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 | 0 comments

Happening Upon the Richmond Arts & Cultural District

Happening Upon the Richmond Arts & Cultural District

What started out as an errand to Richmond turned into a serendipitous discovery of the up and coming Richmond Arts & Cultural District in the Jackson Ward neighborhood. Last week, I met my sister-in-law in Richmond to pick up my oldest daughter who had been visiting relatives in Raleigh over the past week. We met at a restaurant a friend recommended on Foushee and Broad Street called Tarrant’s Cafe. What I didn’t expect was that our location would be in the heart of the Richmond Arts & Cultural District, an area officially designated as such by the City Council in 2012. The entire district spans 80 blocks. While waiting for my Raleigh family to arrive at the end of my daughter’s stay with them, I strolled around 4 or 5 blocks in the Jackson Ward area, taking photograph after photograph of storefronts and street art in the colorful, historically rich area. Everywhere you turn, there seems to be another quirky, fun, huge mural painted with total abandon and obvious artistic...

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Posted by on Jan 30, 2014 | 5 comments

DIY at the Alpaca Farm

DIY at the Alpaca Farm

Today we welcome Del Ray resident Jen Wills to the blog. Jen’s trip to an alpaca farm is full of DIY inspiration — raising alpacas, spinning yarn, and making beautiful textiles. There are lots of Alpaca farms in Virginia. In fact, one of them, the Heartline Alpaca Farm, is only an hour from Del Ray, an easy and fun field trip for the whole family. Recently, my family visited an alpaca farm in Brandon, Vermont called Maple View Farm. The farm is not just a place to raise animals, it’s also a mill where owners Ed and Debbie Bratton make wool from start to finish and sell beautiful knitted scarves, hats and blankets. We met Ed and Debbie in the barn where the alpacas are housed. Some alpacas came up to us, others watched from a distance. Some didn’t bother to even come inside for a look. During the tour, I learned a bit about alpacas. They are like cats in that they are curious, but only approach on their...

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Posted by on Nov 19, 2013 | 0 comments

Finding Del Ray Charm in the Heart of Charlottesville

Finding Del Ray Charm in the Heart of Charlottesville

There’s no doubt Charlottesville, VA, is a popular place to visit — wineries, presidential history, the UVA campus, a laid-back lifestyle and bustling arts scene — what’s not to love? I’ve passed through Charlottesville a few times, but never stayed for a substantial amount of time. This past weekend, I finally got to spend some time soaking in that c-ville charm visiting old college friends Patty and Mike. Patty and Mike live in the Belmont area, an up and coming neighborhood similar to Del Ray. There are lots of homes of various shapes, sizes and styles — and when you find out the prices, you’ll want to move right in. I also love how there are quirky stores, street art and small markets interspersed throughout the neighborhood. The Farm — a grocery, cafe and coffee shop — adds convenience as well as character. Belmont is an easy 15-min walk to the downtown area, through the warehouse district and across the train tracks. And of course seeing real-life trains brought...

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