Saturday, November 07, 2009

Out and About in Nashville

After some prompting from my mother this morning, I put down the books, took a day off from my studies, and set out for some "me time" in Nashville. My mom is always encouraging me to look into different events in the community and join the festivities wherever they may be. Her past recommendations include The Great Nashville Duck Race, the Live on the Green free concerts in the park series, and a plethora of other delightfully random events. Usually I'm exhausted by the end of the week and busy myself trying to catch up on sleep and inevitable projects that pop up during the semester. But today I was up for an adventure, and The Intergalactic Bead Show turned out to be just what I needed.


I wasn't quite sure what to expect at an "intergalactic" bead show......alien charms? flying saucer-shaped earrings? Whatever it was going to be, how could I not be intrigued? I grabbed my camera and jumped in the car.

At first it seemed like the standard, run of the mill jewelry exhibition. Cheap imported beads, a few specialty kiosks, heaps and heaps of 50% off bins. The first several vendors I talked to didn't own or manage the products on the table they were manning, didn't know where the beads came from, and a few didn't even know what a crimping bead was (i.e. they obviously had never made a piece of jewelry in their life).



But every now and then, I would come upon something unique, like the father and son duo from Georgia who started out as car mechanics and now create beautiful jewelry, incorporating metal auto parts into their work. I lingered at their table for a while, listening to their story and admiring their art.


After selecting a pendant made from the inner workings of a watch and some matching earrings, I was a bit nervous about assembling my purchase. I don't really see myself as artistically inclined, and it seems like no matter what I make, I always wish I had done it differently when it's all finished. That's okay when you're buying a three-dollar string of beads, but when you specifically select a piece you like and invest some money in it, the stakes get higher.




Lucky for me, Master Jeweler Mike had the tools to make my necklace right then and there, and even did it for free. I love it!
If you like what you see, visit their website at www.alluviumdesign.com.
The pictures on the site don't do the work justice, but they give an idea of the pieces you can order. Each one is one of a kind! :)






Here's another kiosk I liked. These are real leaves dipped in 24k gold, copper, silver, etc.
The copper ones were my favorite!



I met another really nice couple who were selling some beautiful handmade glass beads and got to talking with them about their daughter's work with the Peace Corps in Bolivia and other travels. I love meeting people who are interested and excited about life. This chance meeting was such a great reminder to me that I never need to go far to learn something new or meet someone with a fresh perspective. Sometimes when I'm back in the States I switch out of my "every day brings new and exciting discoveries" mode and into a "no time to explore, must study, must work, must pay bills and get a good job to pay off my student loans" mode. There's really no reason why I can't incorporate both into my daily routine, and re-realizing this brings a smile to my face every time.

I need to go out and explore Nashville like I explored Brussels. Here's what made the difference in my approach to moving to these two cities: In Brussels, I knew I only had a year to do all the things I wanted. I'll admit, during the last few weeks I tried to cram in something like 27 museums that I hadn't quite made it through, but you can be sure that every weekend I spent in Belgium was spent enjoying the country's rich cultural traditions and beautiful landscapes with my host family and friends. On the other hand, my stay in Nashville does not yet have a definitive finish line. I'm counting on staying here till my degree is completed (and probably not much longer), but that still seems so far off. I don't feel pressed to do anything "while I still have the chance" yet. (Although this blog is starting to get me thinking in that direction: there are a ton of historical landmarks I want to visit.)

On my way back to my car, after exiting the Intergalactic Bead Show (p.s.- there was nothing out of the ordinary about this bead show, apparently the company is called "Intergalactic Beads." I'm a little disappointed that I didn't get to meet anybody who was abducted by aliens, like I did in Roswell, but hey, we can't all be abducted.) I passed the entrance to an antique arts and crafts fair. There was no entrance fee, so why not? I cringed as I walked into a room filled to the brim with Christmas decorations. Iiiicccckkk. Can you not wait AT LEAST till after Thanksgiving? It's a sunny 80 degrees outside, for crying out loud! But I restrained myself and went in search of something non-Christmas-y. Not to buy, just to photograph.
(I found out this morning that I have a macro setting on the sweet camera my grandparents sent me, so I've been playing around with that all day.)

One of the first things I ran into was a stand in which all the products consisted of some form of antique silverware. Forks, knives and spoons had been turned into brooches, candle holders, napkin rings, pendants, business card holders, sculptures, and a whole host of whimsical items. I couldn't help but giggle at these decorative plate stands.

Wait a second, isn't the fork supposed to go on top of the plate?



Another creative lady, originally the proud owner of an antique button shop, creatively found a way to reconfigure her product and cater to the demand of the market.
Antique buttons out. Recycled button creations in.





I really liked this old chair, it looked well-worn and comfortable. Too bad it had such a hefty price tag. For what they were asking, I could buy the materials for a brand new chair and hire someone to custom build it for me too.


Okay, I had to throw in one Christmas-y thing. Here it is: the "paper chain."
Although surprise surprise...this one isn't made out of paper. I honestly don't know what kind of metal it was and don't want to embarrass myself trying to identify it, so I will just say that it's made out of a metal that rusts.
When brushed white and decorated with little snowman faces, it's so cute even I would display it in my home...and that's saying something. I think my affinity for paper chains goes back to my childhood. My mom would let us make paper chains at every occasion. Counting down to our birthdays, decorating a fort we just built, sending secret messages to friends, learning Bible verses...all of these activities were enriched by the incorporation of a paper chain :)



That's all for the high points of my art-browsing today. I started to head back to Franklin (where I'm dogsitting for the weekend) at around 3:30, just as the sun was starting to go down. (So early! I am not a fan of Daylight Savings Time.)

I smiled in my car all the way home. Tennessee is absolutely gorgeous in the fall, and I think that today was the most beautiful day Nashville has seen since I moved here a year ago.
This tree was just sitting by the side of the road, waiting for me to come along and snap a photo.
I couldn't let him down. Isn't he gorgeous!



Here's a leaf...just look at that macro magic!


And this is truly random, but I've been creeped out by this place too many times to not mention it, since I drove by on my way home. This is a church called Remnant Fellowship, and it has the creepiest fortress - blockade - castle wall thing I've ever seen. It seems more like a castle to keep things in and keep things out rather than a welcoming church. And "remnant"? That's what you get when the main part of something is gone. I see God as the main part, and I sure don't want to be left behind after he comes.

I've never visited this church (yep, too scared) so I don't want to pass judgment on their teaching...I just want to say that their architecture creeps me out! The End.



All in all, it was a wonderful day of new discoveries and made me feel a tad bit more creative. And by creative, I mean that I picked out my very own jewelry that I didn't even make. It's a big step.



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