Art at the Park(way)

Mountains travel mountains music tourism Appalachian Blue Ridge Parkway
I’m still scattered this morning, awash in things undone yesterday in preparation for Thursday’s morning-to-midnight busy-ness.

Looking back over Wednesday’s Parkway excursion, the thumbnail of this unworked image popped out, and though I should have been taking care of book keeping and contacts updates from the community college last night, I got lost in Photoshop instead..and finding you a link to the image that tells that this is not just another pretty place along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I actually stopped here to see if I could get a shot of a perfectly symmetrically split pine tree growing in the pasture off-image to the left. It obviously split when young, and both halves of this mature tree are growing at about a 30 degree angle, forming a dark V against the woods and sky behind. But there wasn’t enough light for that image after all. But lo and behold, there was Donna and Rick’s place begging to be photographed.

At about milepost 155 is the home and pottery studio of two of Floyd County’s top-tier potters, Donna Polseno and Rick Hensley. To drive past, you’d never know what art lies inside this unassuming and bucolic farmhouse setting. Take a look at a piece from a 2005 issue of Ceramics Monthly with images of their work, and a nice review of their methods and its meaning.

This is just one example of Floyd County’s decentralized arts and crafts, which I think is a wonderful idea–at least for the potential customers. Not only do you get to see and purchase high quality, locally produced art, but you get to traverse some delightful countryside getting there. And there’s always plenty of free parking–except during the 16 Hands Tour, coming up in May.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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