Brian Fireman solo show opens 7/5

One of the most acclaimed and accomplished artists I represented at Chivaree, Brian Fireman, is having a solo exhibition in the Highlands-Cashiers area this summer.  The show will take place in the Atrium gallery of the Bascom Center for the Visual Arts July 2- August 27.  Brian is hosting a reception on July 5 at 3 pm.  There will be a number of stunning pieces on display and for sale, including a complete dining set, different chairs, console tables and wall shelves.

Brian has introduced a number of new designs this year, including the Lark console, Jessamine rocking chair, and Cumberland cabinet.  The magazine Wood Planet Korea recently featured Brian Fireman Design furniture.  Read the full article here.

BrianFiremanDesign_Cumberland cabinet
Cumberland Cabinet

You can see Brian’s work this summer in these additional western NC shows:

•    “Grovewood Rocks,” a group show at Grovewood Gallery at the Grove Park Inn, Asheville, May 13 – August 29th.

•    The WNC Design Exhibit at the Transylvania Community Arts Council (TCArts) Gallery (349 S. Caldwell St., Brevard, NC), August 26 – Sept. 16.  More information here.

Brian Fireman Design is currently available at two prestigious locations in NYC, Atelier Courbet in Soho and the DesignLush showroom in the 200 Lexington design center.

Fan Modine
Sanctuary Dining Set

Brian Fireman Bio:

Brian Fireman is an architect and designer specializing in handcrafted contemporary furniture.  As a graduate architecture student at Virginia Tech, he became intrigued with tectonics, where the forces generating a particular structure are revealed through construction and materials.  His work in furniture unites this design approach with the hands-on craft of woodworking and joinery. He has created a unique line of furniture by allowing the qualities and beauty of his favorite material, wood, to shape his designs.  Each piece balances practicality and structure with sensual and formal qualities. Brian writes: “Designs are inspired from many sources, from walks in the woods to overseas travels, but mostly from the wood itself…  Wood is quite a sensual material, and it is my hope that the work reflects my passion, awe, and respect for these great trees.”

Brian’s work has been exhibited nationally and published in numerous magazines. He works from his studio in Tryon, NC.

BrianFireman headshot
Brian Fireman in his studio



On our way from Atlanta back to Highlands, Gil and I stopped to visit Al Garnto at his studio/home/sculpture garden in Blairsville, GA.  Al is a North Georgia mountain guy, born and bred, and he is also an alumnus of the Atlanta College of Art (now part of SCAD).  I was first introduced to him at Steve Slotin’s FolkFest by a fellow art collector, John Denton.  His specialty is outdoor sculpture, but he also does beautiful work in collage, incorporating architectural remnants from old buildings and found objects from the buildings’ environs.  They are meditations on place and memory in the rural South.

A collage of the Union County (GA) Courthouse, incorporating tile discarded when the building was renovated.
another collage--Al says this one is about his dyslexia.

Al has small versions of some of his outdoor kinetic sculptures in his yard, but the biggest display of them can be found at Meeks park, just a couple miles from his house in Blairsville.  Here’s my favorite one, Country Calder.  It’s all made of reclaimed materials like barn wood and rusted sheet metal.

Al and Gil standing in front of "Country Calder," with Al's highly decorated studio in the background

He uses mostly recycled materials in his sculptures.  His latest project involves salvaging bicycles from anywhere he can find them and creating sculptures out of them.  Some of them are inspired by taxidermy:

Some are just inspired by bicycles:

More indoor sculptures:

All the plaques in the background here are probably from Al’s illustrious athletic past.  He is a former tennis pro, and he ran track at the intercollegiate level.  His studio is full of trophies.  I think he also may have been a competitive swimmer?  He and Gil were talking about swimming a lot.  How I ended up surrounded by jocks like this, I will never know.

Al Garnto sculpture Zen Piece
"This is just a Zen piece. The owner can rearrange the rocks any way he likes

I wanted to buy this little one off of him, but he wouldn’t part with it:

Al Garnto small sculpture

He did let me buy this one, to which my mom instantly took a liking, having no idea who made it or where it came from.  She just walked over to it, picked it up and said “What’s this?”  I told her Al Garnto made it and she held onto it. “It’s intriguing.”  That is always a good sign.

Here’s another little gem in his studio, a mock-up for one of his large outdoor pieces:

There.  I have maxed out on blogging.  I have about one hour before my patience for uploading photos runs out.  I am hoping to get two of Al’s big outdoor kinetic sculptures, including Country Calder, installed outside my gallery in Cashiers.  Al’s advice on dealing with the authorities on this issue: “It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.”

Tommye McClure Scanlin: Dahlonega, GA


A teeny tiny handwoven Appalachian landscape.  I love these little miniatures!  I will be selling them at my gallery.

Here is one of Tommye’s larger looms with a work in progress:


It’s a “stream of consciousness” piece.  The first row of squares was done entirely without a pattern or cartoon.  The second row was done based on a loose drawing that Tommye rotated as she went along.  “I started doing this after I had an impalement on my hand and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to weave again” using her usual techniques.  Wait, an impalement?  Like she impaled her hand?  Yes.  On what?  The 1″ wide metal bar on the side of this loom:


Yes, THAT metal bar went completely through her hand.  The loom fell apart, collapsed, and the bar went through her hand and pinned her to the floor.  Panicked phone calls to husband and 911 followed.  Luckily, the hand healed and there was no damage to nerves or major tendons.  Jeez!  Now she is thinking of using the rows of squares she has completed as a border, and weaving a landscape from this cartoon.  The piece will be made entirely of scraps, as the first two rows have been.  The basket of scraps is pictured here with the proposed cartoon.


I love Tommye’s drawings/cartoons almost as much as her weavings, and I might be offering those for sale, too.  Her pastels remind me of Bonnard, the way she uses crazy, unexpected colors, but in a naturalistic way.