Weekend Events for the Artists of the Gallery and Upcoming Wildflower Events

Patrick will be at this prestigious show Friday, Sat., and Sun. Mar. 15-17 in Atlanta: https://craftcouncil.org/shows/acc/american-craft-show-atlanta
Carol and Johnny Kimmons will be at the Plant Natives Symposium Saturday, Mar. 16, at the University Center, UTC, 2nd floor,
https://tnvalleywildones.org/plantnatives-2019/ where Carol will be showing her new tumblers, just out of the kiln, with the earliest wildflowers now blooming impressed on them. If I have time I’ll post pics of these (as soon as I get them out of the kiln) on the Liquidambar Gallery at SVI Facebook page.
The Gallery will be open Sunday, Mar. 17, closed Saturday Mar. 16.

Our first Spring Wildflower Hike is coming up soon, March 30! Make your plans now. Already blooming: Bloodroot, toothwort, spurred violets, sedges, hepatica, and more. every day. Maples are almost finished, buds bursting on the trees. The woods along the trails are thick with Little Brown Jug (wild ginger) and Cranefly Orchid leaves. Come out to the Gallery Sunday and Carol will give you a short hike and preview of what’s there now and what’s to come!


Gallery and Trails Open Mar 9-10-Wildflowers Along Trail

Yes, despite the cold spell, the wildflowers are beginning to appear. Come and see them–even if you have to wear a raincoat and boots! Carol will be glad to give you an introduction to these fabulous native ephemerals on a short walk along the creek. Ephemeral means they don’t last long–so come check the earliest ones out. The Gallery will be open with plenty of lovely art.

However, we will be closed next Saturday, March 16, as Carol and Johnny will be at the Plant Natives Symposium at the UTC student center https://tnvalleywildones.org/, talking to people about Sequatchie Valley Institute, our Spring Wildflower Hikes, and the Gallery, as well as selling art with native plant themes.

Come Quick! It’s Not Raining or Snowing Today!

Yes, we are open this weekend. You will need to park at the road and walk across the roaring Hick’s Creek on our lovely bridge to get to the Gallery and the Trails which are all available. Currently cleaning up the Arboretum Trail from the winter leaves but it is still ok. We will soon have the map of the Arboretum Trail up on the Sequatchie Valley Institute website http://SVIonline.org along with the current Maps of the Kodai Trail and Hemlock Grove Trail. If you walk slowly, you will discover the earliest native wildflowers peeking out of the leaves with their blooms just opening.

The Gallery continues to have fabulous art, both functional and decorative, for purchase. You’ll find the mysterious and unique work by Patrick Ironwood, including his astonishing kaleidoscopes, functional pottery as well as botanical wall hangings and bird feeders by Carol Kimmons, and Appalachia-inspired paintings by Michelle Kimmons. Wildflower Hikes are coming up soon, on March 30, April 6 and 13. More information on this is upcoming. Watch the Sequatchie Valley Institute Facebook page for updated information on times, etc. Carol will be show her pottery based on our native plants at the Plant Natives 2019 Symposium at the University Center, UTC on March 16.

http://tnvalleywildones.org/plantnatives-2019/Friday & Saturday, March 15 & 16, 2019
University Center, University of Chattanooga

The Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones presents its eighth annual Plant Natives 2019! weekend of activities.  The theme for the weekend of events is “Partnering with Nature.”

The free Native Plant Marketplace & Expo on Saturday offers the opportunity to purchase native plants from four different regional nurseries.  Other interesting vendors and related organizations will also be present at the Expo.

Gallery and Trails Open Today and Sunday, Jan. 5-6.

We are open for the new year most weekends, from 11-4 Central Time. This is the time to enjoy the creek and the forests without the little biters and poison ivy! Our art selection is excellent, so plan to make the beautiful drive over the mountain to this exquisite rural valley and find peace in our quiet woodlands.

Gallery closed this weekend, Dec. 29-30. Trails and Gallery reopen Jan. 5-6.

The mysterious art of Patrick Ironwood will be on full display when we reopen, and the trails are now clear of leaves. We expect good weather and the creek will be running nicely.

Patrick at work in his studio. Come visit him and learn how he makes his kaleidoscopes and sculptures.

Open till Christmas!

But call/contact us for times before coming out. We are here today and will probably be around all weekend, when we expect better weather, with sunshine on Saturday. With all this rain, the creek will be running strongly along the Hemlock Grove Trail.

Patrick Ironwood will be at North Point Mall in Alpharetta, Georgia, this Friday-Sunday, so visit him there to experience his eerie and spectacular art.
You will find the perfect gift for that special person.

Christmas Market at Lower Level
North Point Mall
Fri, Dec 21 – Sun, Dec 23: 8am – 8pm
Come out for a weekend of shopping, food and great Christmas fun. Visit with unique artists with great gift ideas.

Are You Ready for Christmas?

If you missed the Holiday Reception, Liquidambar Gallery will be open off and on till Christmas, along with the trails. Message Carol Kimmons or Patrick Ironwood to find out specific times. We’d love to see you! 

Last Away Show of the Year for Carol Kimmons this Weekend, Dec. 8-9 and the Gallery Holiday Opening Reception December 15.

The weather outside is frightful, but all you brave art-lovin’ fiends come on out to the once a year Holiday Tour in the Sewanee/Monteagle area! TNCraftS_StudioTour_2018_PROOF As Carol’s studio is too far away for the tour, she will be exhibiting at the cozy American Legion Hall in downtown Sewanee, just across the street from The Blue Chair and Shenanigans (both great restaurants), along with 6 other excellent artists.  And you can enjoy touring the adjoining University of the South campus, with its beautiful cathedral modeled after the Notre Dame in Paris and classic architecture with structures built from native stone.

You may also wish to attend Sewanee’s 59th annual Festival of Lessons and Carols which will be celebrated at three services in All Saints’ Chapel, two on Dec. 8 (4 p.m. and 7 p.m.), and one on Dec. 9 (4 p.m.). All tickets have been reserved. However, walk-up tickets may be available on the day of the service at Convocation Hall. For full details, visit the Lessons and Carols website/.  

Upcoming Events

Sewanee, TN

A tour of artists’ studios, galleries and holiday open houses
DATES: Saturday, December 8, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (Member Reception 5:30 pm)
Sunday, December 9, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Please note these dates which coordinate with the 2018 Festival of Lessons and Carols in Sewanee.

Carol has just this minute opened her Kiln with her new and unique bird feeders and vases.  We will put pictures on here asap–watch for them.  She also has some new mugs with rather controversial recent political quotes…no more said!  You’ll just have to see them.  These will be at Sewanee tomorrow, Dec. 8, and here at home on Dec. 15, when we will be celebrating our annual Holiday Reception. Holiday Reception Poster R2.jpgPlease join us for fun and great art!

Michelle, Patrick, Johnny and Carol will be here to share their creativity with you, and the trails will be open for hiking, or just wandering alongside the babbling creek and clambering over the limestone rocks.  There is so much to see in our forests in the winter, with the golden birch leaves still clinging to the trees and the forest floor dappled with Little Brown Jug ( also known as Wild Ginger due to its lovely scent), purple orchid leaves gathering solar energy for their blooms next July, Christmas Ferns and Ebony Spleenwort, Ground Pine (a mysterious plant dating back millions of years to the first of the chlorophyll-laden land plants), Green Brier (with leaves and berries to sustain the deer, wintering birds, and turkeys), Crossvine climbing the trees awaiting golden blooms in early spring (ask us why it’s called crossvine), Hepatica hidden in limestone crevices, and our evergreens, including Redcedar, whose berries flavor gin, Shortleaf, White,  and Virginia pines, and Hemlocks (not yet stricken with the dreaded Adelgid).  You may want to gather some of the tiny hemlock cones, which make lovely Holiday decoration.  Don’t know these plants yet?  Try out our Pipsissewa Arboretum Trail, with over 100 plants identified!

Don’t wanna walk?  Well, our warm inviting gallery library will be replete with our own homemade wines, Sequatchie Cove Cheeses, Johnny’s famous fudge, and Carol’s steaming hot spiced muscadine apple cider.  It’s all free and fun for all.

Gallery closed until end of October. Stay tuned to learn about our ongoing events!

This weekend, Oct. 12-14,  Patrick will be in Nashville, at the Tennessee Craft Fall Fair. 

On October 20-21, Carol will be at the 2018 Ketner’s Mill Country Arts Fair, the 41st annual event .

On October 19-21, Patrick will be at the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands at downtown Asheville’s U.S. Cellular Center. Filling both the concourse and arena levels of the venue, makers exhibit a variety of craft ranging from contemporary to traditional in works of clay, wood, metal, glass, fiber, natural materials, paper, leather, mixed media, and jewelry.

71stANNIVERSARY  |  JULY 20 – 22  OCTOBER 19 – 21, 2018

Friday through Saturday, 10:00 to 6:00pm + Sunday, 10:00 to 5:00pm
US Cellular Center, 87 Haywood Street | Downtown Asheville, NC
General Admission, $8.00 and Children under 12 free.




Cross the creek to find original art, made right here by the creek, all at the Winter Gallery and studios located in the magical heart of the Sequatchie Valley, featuring NEW WORK by Carol Kimmons, Patrick Ironwood, and Michelle Kimmons.

 Enjoy a visual feast of art  featuring ceramics, flameworked glass, metal ornaments and sculptures, kaleidoscopes, and paintings, all unique gift ideas.  Watch our artists painting, working glass, and making pottery. Sample local mead, hot spiced cider, and Sequatchie Cove cheeses as you relax in the Gallery library with SVI’s favorite books on the good life–a cozy place to chat with the artists.  Kids welcome!

 While you are here, hike on our marked nature trails and Arboretum, through 350 acres protected by the Land Trust of Tennessee. Dress for adventure!

SVI is located at 1233 Cartwright Loop, Whitwell, TN, off Hwy 28 between Dunlap and Whitwell, just 45 minutes from Chattanooga.

 https://liquidambarsvi.wordpress.com; svionline.org

Facebook.com:  liquidambargallery.SVI; Sequatchie Valley Institute

For more Info, contact: 423-949-5922; Carolkimmons@gmail.com

Proceeds from the Gallery help support the educational programs of SVI, a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization promoting education and research in sustainable green living, ecology, and art.


Gallery and Trails Open Sat-Sunday Sept. 22-23.

Yes, it will finally be cooling down this weekend, as fall arrives.  Fall art and craft fairs are coming up, and we will be closed on several upcoming weekends, beginning Oct. 6-7 with Carol at the John C. Campbell Fall Festival, near Murphy, NC.  So come check out the art before the shows.  There are ripe muscadines to try out up at the end of the trail, too.  Try out our easy well-marked nature trails!

Gallery and Trails Open This Weekend!

Patrick and Carol will be in their studios at the Gallery producing new works this weekend.  Temperatures will be a bit lower, so it will be good hiking.  There are lots of muscadines ripening at the Moonshadow vineyard, so plan to do some picking and snacking on the trail.  All books will be 50% off.  We have books on natural building, including cob, cooking, fermentation processes, and gardening for children.

Come Enjoy the Green, Green Forest before the leaves begin to fall! Open this Weekend, 10-5 CDT.

We have new art from Patrick, Carol, and Michelle, so come see us, and hike our easy nature trails and Arboretum.  Patrick is away  August 30 – September 3  at the 32nd Annual Dragon Con, Dragon Con and next weekend at Yellow Daisy 50th annual Yellow Daisy Festival September 6-9, 2018 Yellow Daisy Festival voted one of the top arts & crafts shows in the nation by Sunshine Artist Magazine, a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event, and winner of multiple awards by the Southeast Festival and Events Association.

However, if you can’t make it to Atlanta, Patrick still has plenty of his astonishing art work, handmade glass jewelry, and kaleidoscopes in the Gallery.  Carol will be headed out to shows in October, so come by and get a first chance at her new work, including beer mugs with hops vine imprints.

Dr. Ashley has had an excellent health column in the Chattanooga Times Free Press for several years and is now leaving us.  We wanted to share his final comments on his hope for a healthier society.  Look for the full article in the August 31st edition.

*A healthy society should have open spaces for its people to hike, walk, saunter, or just sit reading a book or taking time to watch the sunset.

*A healthy society has compassion for its individual members and a reverence to the Earth that harbors them.

Here at SVI, we hold these truths to be self-evident and endeavor to provide a place for everyone to be a part of a healthy and peaceful life.  Come hike or, if you prefer AC, just sit in our Gallery library and relax or play the old piano!  Home-grown herbal tea is always a possibility.









Gallery, Studios, and Trails Open this Weekend, August 18-19, 10-5pm CDT

Rain is falling, so the creek may be flowing again this weekend!  We have just begun to reorganize the Pipsissewa Arboretum Trail, as a few trees have died, a few new ones established, and Nyssa Hunt, MS UTC, is working with us to put the map of the trail on the web.  The other trails are already mapped and available on our website, SVIonline.org.  Wear a raincoat and be ready to hike, or just plan to enjoy the Gallery and the rain on the roof.  I’ll be preparing for another firing, and Patrick will soon be back from his trip out West, and there are Asian pears to put up and share if you come by!

In two weeks, Patrick will be headed for Dragon Con and the Yellow Daisy Fair in Atlanta, and Carol’s fall craft shows begin in October, so plan to visit the Gallery while it is open and full of new work.

Gallery and Nature Trails Open this Weekend, August 4-5, 10-5!

Come see us and check out the Gallery with lots of new mugs, including Carol’s special 12 oz beer mugs with impressions of the hops vines growing outside the Gallery!  Patrick’s kaleidoscopes and sculptures can keep you engrossed and astonished.  Michelle’s watercolors will make your dark corners alight with joys.  The giant hemlocks along the quiet Hemlock Grove Trail can bring you peace and “forest bathing”, the best solution for the week’s stresses over work and politics.  And the kids need to get outside as they begin to cope with a new school year.  See you soon!!

Trails and Gallery Open July 28-29–Shiitake Mushrooms available!

Yes, we do have Shiitake mushrooms!  A huge flush on our oak logs just appeared after last week’s rain. They are $9/lb, Saturday only.IMG_4830

Carol just opened the kiln with a lovely firingIMG_0018 — lots of beer mugs with hops vine impressions, pendants, fairy dishes, and more! IMG_0025 Patrick has Kaleidoscopes and his stunning metal art displayed, along with Michelle’s watercolors.  Temps will be cooler and the trails are lovely now with the trees growing madly.  Hemlock Grove Trail is lovely as our stately hemlocks are still healthy.  We will be open from 10-5 Saturday and Sunday.

Gallery and Trails Open July 7-8.

We will be open for visitors from 10-5 this weekend, so come on out!  i hope to get a firing in soon.  Patrick has some amazing new work also.  Everyone welcome!

Gallery and Trails Open June 30-July 1, 10-5 Central Time

Yes, we are open again!  Patrick now has a permanent exhibit in the Gallery with his amazing Nature of Reaction work.  We also have new watercolors by Michelle, and lots of my lovely nature-based pottery.  There may even be a bottle of muscadine wine or  iced herbal tea available.  The creek is flowing beautifully, so the kids can wade or swim-be prepared for wet feet.  Of course, you can cross the footbridge if you want to stay dry.  The forest is as green as it will ever be, lovely, dark and deep.  Sourwoods are blooming along with the upcoming summer wildflowers along the trails and hickory nuts are falling. There will be a number of branches down after this stormy week. Let us know if you want to take the Arboretum Trail, as it is a bit overgrown in places-we will be clearing it soon.

After our lovely refreshing Florida beach trip, I will finally be getting back into my studio, and hope to finish glazing the spring mugs.  Lots of hops beer mugs will be coming out of the kiln next week, if you wish to reserve one.  They go fast.

Patrick will be leaving for the Southern Highlands Crafts Fair in Asheville July 20 Southern Highlands Craft Fair and after that for Colorado, where he will be presenting at several shows.  More info for our Western folks on those shows next week.

We hope to see you before then. Don’t worry, we’ll have the AC turned on so you can relax in the library.

From Carol, your friendly neighborhood potter.

Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands
71th A N N I V E R S A R Y   |  J U L Y   20 – 22  &  O C T O B E R   19 – 21,  2018
Friday through Saturday, 10:00 to 6:00 pm + Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00pm
US Cellular Center, 87 Haywood Street | Downtown Asheville, NC


Gallery Closed June 8-10 for Annual Food for Life Conference!

June Dates for Gallery and Trails

June 8-10:  20th Annual Food for Life Conference at SVI.  Gallery and trails open only to conference participants.  Come and join us! You can register online at SVIonline.org today!  Or contact us at 423 949 5922/4598/  education@svionline.org.FFL Flyer 2018 Albertus Bold - current

For the full schedule, download ffl schedule 2018 2

June 16-17, and June 22:  Staff holiday.  SVI, Gallery, and Trails closed.  Sorry about that!

June 23, June 30, July 1:  Gallery and Trails reopen with sunburned but rested artists, full of renewed re-created ideas and projects.

If you just have to visit us on another time, call or email to arrange a time in advance.  Call 423 949 5922; email education@svionline.org.

Gallery and Trails open May 26-28 for Memorial Day shopping, 10-5 each day

Also  free okra seedlings ready for transplanting!  We just planted way too many in flats, and have lots left.  Lots of art, too, and the creek is still running.  The beautiful Indian Pinks are now blooming in the woods.

Indian pink

So come on by.  Don’t forget-Food for Life  is coming up June 8-10.  The complete schedule will be on Facebook early next week.  We have a remarkable lineup of speakers and workshop leaders this year, and the event caters to families with a great program for the kids.  Rustic camping and fabulous meals cooked in the outdoor kitchen are included in the fees and we have Dark Sky visibility of our heavenly neighbors.

Gallery closed Saturday, May 19th, and open Sunday, May 20, 10-5pm Central time

Feel free to come out and hike our trails, picnic, play in the creek, and check out the gallery Sunday.  Patrick is at the Renaissance Fair in Franklin, Tennessee,all weekends through Memorial Day, but the Gallery will be open on most weekends.  Check out the website here, facebook, or call us at 423 949 5922/4598 for details on when we are open.


And don’t forget that Food for Life is coming up June 8-10!

Gallery and Trails Open This Weekend, May 5-6

Yes, we are open!  Come between showers Saturday or make it Sunday, with lovely weather predicted.  The creek is still running so bring your suit if you crave some water sports! Unfortunately, Patrick’s work won’t be on show as he is at the Renaissance Fair near Nashville this month.  But fortunately, you can see his work there! For more information, go to  Renaissance Fair

At the fair last year!

Lots of pottery available, and new watercolors by Michelle.  So come on by!  lag 1 to blog7A588090-7EF3-4651-9427-F73C8A9C5669

April Showers bring the flowers…so come to the Spring Wildflower Hike and bring your raincoat!

The woods are beautiful, filled with clouds of white dogwood blooms, pink redbuds, and every possible shade of green and yellow.  All the spring flowers are now blooming, including buckeyes, mayapples, rue anemone, blue phlox, several species of trillium and violets, pawpaws, giant chickweed, phacelia, and more!  These spring ephemerals will soon be gone until next year, so this will be your last chance to admire their beauty.  The creek is bubbling, with crystal clear waters bouncing over the stones.  We WILL have the Hike, and hopefully the rain will hold off till evening.

The gallery will be open from 10-5 Saturday and Sunday, and will be warm and dry!  You are always welcome to look over our excellent book selection in addition to the fascinating art of Patrick, Carol, and Michelle.  The Wildflower Hike will be our last SVI event until Food for Life on June 8-10, but the gallery will be open each weekend from 10-5 with hiking and picnicking available for all.  It’s a great place for kids.  Our home school group loves to hike the trails.

Wine in the Woods, the SVI Fundraiser, is Saturday, April 7! The Gallery will be open Saturday and Sunday 10-5.


Wine in the Woods Flyer current

The Sequatchie Valley Institute

Cordially invites you to Wine in the Woods

April 7, 2018

Tours 3:00 pm (CDT) Tasting 5:00-11:00

Explthe magic and novelty of life while tasting experimental wines, meads, elixirs, and other oddities from our cellar, cave, and apothecary.

Take a guided tour on land protected by the Land Trust of TN through our permaculture landscape, hand-crafted solar structures, and Pipsissewa Arboretum Trail. Then, settle into a relaxed evening of delicious and exotic specialties, including non-alcoholic naturally-flavored carbonated drinks, house-made with fresh spring water.  Be entertained by live music with Nexus and a visually stunning light display by Tree Dimensional.

Bring a tent, flashlight, and bedding and enjoy a night under the stars. You may wish to bring your own favorite party food to share. Children are welcome!

The tax-deductible minimum donation for Wine in the Woods is $25/person and $40/family.

You may also visit the Liquidambar Art Gallery, where you will discover pottery, paintings, glass work, and sculptures created by local artists.

Sequatchie Valley Institute is located at 1233 Cartwright Loop Whitwell, TN 37397, between Dunlap and Whitwell just 45 minutes from Chattanooga.

Contact us via landline: (423) 949-5922/4598 Cell: (770) 241-3958 or (404) 406 1246  We’re on Facebook!

SVI is a 501c3 non-profit educational organization promoting education and research in sustainable green living and forest ecology, with nature trails, a 100-plant arboretum, a retreat center, tours for kids and adults, and Liquidambar Art Gallery featuring local artists.

This is your chance to see the new display of Patrick’s Future Archaeology sculptures and kaleidoscopes



before he leaves for the spring art shows. Carol has plenty of beautiful mugs as well as plates, bowls, and bottles available.




We now have a new selection of Michelle’s place-based watercolors.



Wildflowers are blooming all around the parking area, if you don’t want to hike!  And don’t forget–the second wildflower hike is April 14, if you missed this one.S W H flyer 2018 current




Gallery and Trails Open by Appointment only this weekend, Feb. 3-4

We will be around, but may not be at the Gallery all day this weekend, so please give us a call before you come (or after you arrive).  We will meet you!  Call us at 423 949 5922/ cell 678 982 2445.

Gallery and Trails Open Saturday-Sunday January 20-21.

Yes, we are open again, from 11-4pm Central Time Sat. and Sun.  If you missed the Holiday Reception, come and see our new exhibits.  Patrick has lots of amazing sculptures and kaleidoscopes to help you make it through what seems an endless cold winter.  Carol has many mugs, dishes, and wall tiles still 9B3C00E3-B3D9-423E-B1A1-B08FEF641415available, but they won’t last long, so come check them out!  Michelle’s paintings bring nature to your walls on these dim and gray days.

The trails are clear of leaves and easy to follow.  The weather will be beautiful this weekend and the woods provide distant views never seen in summer, as well as running creeks and babbling brooks.

Along the trail.

More cold weather may come soon, so cure your cabin fever and bring the kids and your boots for tree hugging and forest healing!

Liquidambar Art Gallery at SVI Holiday Opening Reception December 23, 11am to 7pm CST. Everyone Welcome!



Holiday Opening Reception      Sat. Dec. 23, 11-7 CST  

Cross the creek to experience the Gallery and studios located in the magical heart of the Sequatchie Valley, featuring NEW WORK by Carol Kimmons, Patrick Ironwood, Asha Ironwood, and Michelle Kimmons.

 Enjoy a visual feast of art made here in our studios featuring ceramics, flameworked glass, metal ornaments and sculptures, kaleidoscopes, and paintings, all unique gift ideas.  Watch our artists painting, working glass, and making pottery. Sample local mead, hot spiced cider, and Sequatchie Cove cheeses as you relax in the Gallery library with SVI’s favorite books on the good life–a cozy place to chat with the artists.  Kids welcome!

 While you are here, hike on our marked nature trails and Arboretum, through 350 acres protected by the Land Trust of Tennessee. Dress for adventure! Weather permitting, there will be a Solstice Bonfire afterwards.

SVI is located at 1233 Cartwright Loop, Whitwell, TN, off Hwy 28 between Dunlap and Whitwell, just 45 minutes from Chattanooga.


https://liquidambarsvi.wordpress.com; svionline.org

Facebook.com:  liquidambargallery.SVI; Sequatchie Valley Institute

For more Info, contact: 423-949-5922; Carolkimmons@gmail.com

Proceeds from the Gallery help support the educational programs of Sequatchie Valley Institute, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization promoting education and research in sustainable living, ecology, and art.





Gallery closed sept. 23-24. last open dates for Fall Sept. 30-Oct. 1.

Total Eclipse.  Hurricane.  Hurricane.  Earthquake. What next?  Wine in the Woods! The annual FUNd raiser for Sequatchie Valley Institute, on November 11.  Put it on your calendar.  Music, Art, Wine, Mead, Beer and Bliss.  Don’t miss it. Watch Facebook Sequatchie Valley Institute and this website for more information.

Other upcoming dates for our artists are listed below.










Liquidambar Annual Holiday Reception and Solstice Celebration

December 23, 2017



  • TN Craft Southeast Exhibition  

    Oct. 6-25  at Chattanooga Workspace 302 W 6th Street

October 6, 2017 5:30-8:30 pm  Reception at Chattanooga Workspace 302 W 6th Street including hors d’oeuvres and wine.


October 7, 2017 — October 8, 2017

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Adults $5; Ages 12 – 17, $3; under 12, free.

Golden fall sunlight and brightly colored leaves provide a scenic backdrop for the John C. Campbell Folk School‘s Fall Festival. This treasured annual celebration of Appalachian culture, held on the Folk School’s Brasstown, North Carolina campus, heralds its 43rd anniversary in October.

Visit over 240 fine craft exhibitors tucked along the school’s winding wooded paths. Watch more than 40 artisans demonstrate traditional and contemporary crafts. Fill your ears with bluegrass, gospel, folk, and Celtic music on both days. Tap your toes to clogging, Morris, and Garland dance performances.  Children will enjoy the pony rides, petting the alpacas, and visiting the animals at the Humane Society’s pet adoption booth.



  • Ketner’s Mill Country Arts Fair


Saturday, October 21, 2017 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT

Sunday, October 22, 2017 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EDT


Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 at Sequatchie Valley Institute


  •  Foothills Craft Guild Annual Show


Nov. 17-19, 2017



  • Tennessee Craft – South Holiday Tour


A tour of artists’ studios, galleries and holiday open houses

DATES: Saturday, December 2, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm Sunday, December 3, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm


  • Liquidambar Annual Holiday Reception and Solstice Celebration


At Sequatchie Valley Institute

1233 Cartwright Loop, Whitwell, TN 37397

December 23, 2017



New Work from the Eclipse Firing!

The kiln reached 2175 degrees at the same time we were watching the eclipse!  And the mugs, dishes, tiles, mud daubers, leaf dishes, and more truly eclipsed previous firings.  I’m increasing my supply for the fall craft fairs–don’t forget, the Gallery will be closed from October 2 until December, when we will have the super yearly Gallery Reception and Solstice Event, on December 23, complete with wine, mead, and Sequatchie Cove Creamery cheeses.

In the meantime, come and check out our new work.  i will try to get some photos up on the web tomorrow.  Right now, Johnny is finishing up the beautiful cherry wood backings for some very lovely tiles.  He will be working tomorrow also, and i will be making yet more mugs.

Patrick is back and will be here to tell you all about how he makes the kaleidoscopes and electroformed sculptures, but he will be leaving next week for Dragon Con in Atlanta.

We will be open at 10 am Saturday and Sunday, for the Gallery and the Nature Trails, but on Saturday we will be closing early, about 3 pm, to attend the Southern Brewers Festival in Chattanooga.  We will again be open till 5 on Sunday.

Southern Brewers Festival    http://www.southernbrewersfestival.com/

Trails and Gallery open this weekend and for the eclipse.

I’ll be firing the kiln this week, so should have even more pottery out next week, some very pretty bloodroot dishes and more hops beer mugs.  They sell fast!  if you want to avoid the eclipse crowds you are welcome to visit.  The native grasses glade, a short hike along the Hemlock Grove Trail, will be a good place to observe the eclipse.  The gallery will be open before and after the eclipse, but not during!  We will be out watching it.

Open today!

You may not see another beautiful cool and clear day like this for a month, so come to the gallery and take an easy nature hike with the kids.  Kaleidoscopes and mugs are here now, along with Michelle’s watercolors and more.

Try Forest Bathing to Reduce your Stress and Improve your Health

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Forest Bathing: A Retreat To Nature Can Boost Immunity And Mood0:006:50

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Shots - Health News





Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of our evolutionary history was spent in natural environments. Our bodies are simply adapted to being in nature. But today we are spending most of our lives indoors – you know it – tethered to our devices. Well, now a practice that started in Japan that’s aimed at reconnecting us with nature is beginning to take off here in the U.S. It is known as forest bathing. As NPR’s Allison Aubrey reports, there’s growing evidence its benefits may be just what the doctor ordered.

ALLISON AUBREY, BYLINE: It turns out there’s actually a certified forest bathing guide right here in Washington, D.C. Her name is Melanie Choukas-Bradley. I met up with her on a lush jungley (ph) island in the Potomac River.

MELANIE CHOUKAS-BRADLEY: I’m totally in love with this island.

AUBREY: It’s just a footbridge away from the busyness and noise of the nation’s capital.

CHOUKAS-BRADLEY: This is our challenge here. We’re right under the Reagan National flight path.

AUBREY: As we step on the trail, everything on this island is green and blooming.

CHOUKAS-BRADLEY: So this is the place where we’re really going to begin our forest bathing.

AUBREY: Along the narrow trail, we pass under a canopy of pawpaws, then black walnut trees. And we get a little shower of ripe mulberries.

CHOUKAS-BRADLEY: Aren’t they beautiful just looking up at the black against the green and the red?

AUBREY: Now, given the term forest bathing, I thought we might be taking a dip in the water, so I’ve packed my swimsuit. But it turns out my interpretation was way too literal.


AUBREY: Melanie gathers us in a circle and invites us to immerse ourselves in what she calls the pleasures of presence.

CHOUKAS-BRADLEY: If you’d like to close your eyes and just breathe this wonderful cool air, just breathe. Just breathe.

AUBREY: So now I’m beginning to get it. Forest bathing is sort of like a cross between a hike and a meditation class, except there’s no destination. The aim here is to slow down and immerse yourself in the forest, tune into its sights, its smells, its textures.

CHOUKAS-BRADLEY: And when you feel ready, open your eyes and imagine you’re seeing the world for the very first time.

AUBREY: Suddenly the green looks a lot greener, and I start to see things I hadn’t noticed before – the flutter of birds, the ripple of the water, the swaying of the trees.

CHOUKAS-BRADLEY: I can hear some summer insects and a bird up in a tree nearby.

AUBREY: As we walk on, Melanie stops us at a bush. I would have just passed by.

CHOUKAS-BRADLEY: If you want to just come scratch this twig of this spice bush and smell it, it’s very yummy.

AUBREY: To me, it smells like cinnamon or bay leaf. It’s warm and earthy.

CHOUKAS-BRADLEY: Isn’t that nice?



AUBREY: There’s a whole world of fragrance in the forest. Think of the smell of pine and cedar trees.

CHOUKAS-BRADLEY: There’s been a lot of research about the healthy volatile compounds that trees release and how good they are for our own health.

AUBREY: Now I should point out that when my editors asked me to do a story about forest bathing, I did a little eye roll. It sounded so hokey to me. But it’s turned out to be a pretty powerful experience, and I wanted to know if it’s really doing something good for my health.

PHILIP BARR: As a matter of fact, medical researchers in Japan have specifically studied forest bathing and demonstrated several benefits to our health.

AUBREY: That’s Philip Barr. He’s the lead physician at the integrative medicine center at Duke University. He reviewed the studies for us, and he says they document a range of effects.

BARR: From lowering blood pressure and heart rate, lowering stress hormones, raising immunity and in general allowing the whole body to be in a more relaxed, healing state.

AUBREY: Barr says he thinks a lot of his patients could benefit from forest bathing, especially people dealing with a lot of stress.

BARR: Absolutely forest bathing could be considered a form of medicine.

AUBREY: And as I just discovered, the National Park Service has already rolled out its park prescription program. The aim is to help health care providers get their patients out into nature.

GREENE: Allison Aubrey’s voice there. She was reporting. And she is fresh off her forest bathing experience in our studios. Hey, Allison.

AUBREY: (Laughter) Oh, still feeling so relaxed. Hey there, David.

GREENE: Still feeling mellow. You sound mellow. Am I allowed to be depressed that someone has to fill out a…

AUBREY: (Laughter).

GREENE: …Prescription to go out into nature? I mean is that where we’ve come?

AUBREY: I hear you, David. I think Henry David Thoreau might be turning over in his grave (laughter), right?

GREENE: Yeah, I’d say so.

AUBREY: I think it’s this idea that a retreat to nature gives us stillness and calm. It’s age old. We all already know it, right? I think that, as you mentioned in the introduction to the story, we are tethered to our devices. I mean many of us are just so disconnected from the natural world that I think we may need help or a little nudge just to learn how to hang out. I think that’s the point of having a guide in forest bathing. It might be why it’s taking off. You know, just like you have a yoga teacher to do yoga, a guide in the forest can help people slow down enough to really immerse themselves in the natural environment.

GREENE: So but let’s be clear here, Allison. I could actually get forest bathing on my health care plan potentially.

AUBREY: Well, not yet, but the founders of this movement hope that that’s coming. I mean if you think about the toll of stress in our lives – one recent study estimated that workplace stress is linked to about $150 billion in health care costs a year. So if something as simple as being in nature is a good antidote to stress, health care providers might want to think about this.

GREENE: No disrespect to forest bathers, but couldn’t I just go take a walk?

AUBREY: (Laughter) Good question. I mean I think any kind of exercise can help with stress relief. It’s very well-documented. But the Japanese scientists studied this in a really clever way I think. What they did is they had people walk in an urban area in Tokyo for a few hours. And then a week later, they had them walk in the forest. Now, both of these walks required the same amount of physical activity, but what they found is that the forest environment led to more significant drops in stress hormones and blood pressure. And so that kind of gives you a sense of the scope.

GREENE: What else – you did mention I mean speaking about the difference between city and forest – there are these compounds that the trees give off that can really be good for us.

AUBREY: Yeah, you know, it sounds a little wacky, but trees have these essential oils that give off fragrances – so, you know, those cedar and pine smells. And they also have all these other compounds that they release into the air. And when we breathe them in, it turns out there may be some benefit to us as well. I’d say it’s still pretty speculative. But one of the Japanese studies found that just breathing in this forest air compared to what they called blank air actually led to a small decrease in blood pressure on its own.

GREENE: Blank air being like what we’re breathing in right now in an office you’re saying.

AUBREY: That’s what I’m assuming, sort of…


AUBREY: …Blank air, office air.

GREENE: Well, sad that we’re both breathing blank air…

AUBREY: (Laughter).

GREENE: …Today. We should get out and do some forest bathing.

AUBREY: Here’s to breathing more forest air and less blank air.

GREENE: There you go. NPR’s Allison Aubrey. Thanks, Allison.

AUBREY: Thanks, David.

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Gallery and Trails Open July 22-23

Yes, we are open!  With all this rain, the forest is green and summer flowers are blooming.  Our tomatoes, 3 sisters garden, and pollination garden are doing well.  Lots of new mugs, now, with a good selection of the hops beer mugs and small tumblers with impressions of spring flowers.  Patrick is at the Southern Highlands Guild show in Asheville, NC, this weekend, but we still have a selection of his kaleidoscopes and pendants in the gallery.  Michelle’s lovely watercolors and oil paintings are waiting to find new homes, so come and see what we have.

Walk the trails, bring the kids.  I’ve been doing physical therapy for improving balance, and I find that the trails are the perfect way to practice.  The best exercise must be a lovely walk on our forest trails.  And, you can learn about the forest, the ecology, and even the history of our mountainside along the way.

Gallery Closed this Weekend, July 15-16

Sorry, we are enjoying the beach in Florida! We will return next weekend, so come see us and enjoy the trails. Lots of new mugs and Patrick’s new work will be on view in the Gallery.

Nature of Reaction is back in the Gallery!

Patrick’s amazing art has returned from the Renaissance to the Gallery,  with lots of new sculptural pieces.  And it’s National Trails Day Saturday!  Come and see Patrick’s art and Carol’s new functional pottery then take a beautiful hike along our nature trails.  See you here!

Hot from the Kiln !

Mugs aplenty, with springtime leaves and flowers, and a set of hops vine beer mugs ready to drink great beer from!IMG_4327  The creek and all the streams are again running and the forest is out of control!  A giant white oak went down during the storm last night, but didn’t fall across the road.  What a beauty, and so sad to see it on the ground.  However, Johnny is checking out the board feet….

Come check out the new items today, the 21st, as we are open till 5 pm.  Bring a jacket if you plan to hike.  See you!

Gallery, Nature Trails, and Arboretum Open May 6-7!

The creek is flowing deep and fast, so you may have to walk across our bridge.  Hemlock Grove Trail follows the creek and is spectacular now.  Carol’s new work is going in the kiln today–we’ll soon see what comes out!  So come on out, 10-5 Central Time.  Don’t leave the kids inside-bring them out to see the green, green forest!

Come celebrate the first day of April on our trails! Spring Wildflower Hike Saturday, April 8. Spring 2017 SVI Schedule.

The woods are glowing with the tiny green leaves of springtime and the weather is perfect.  Hick’s Creek is flowing, and it’s now possible for the kids to wade or perhaps even brave the clear, cold water for a dip! This is the finest time of year to hike the trails, so come on out and see what’s in the Gallery now.  No April Fools there!

Our last Spring Wildflower Hikes will be  Saturday, April 8.

See below for the details.

Come out and enjoy springtime in the beautiful Sequatchie Valley. We are only 45 minutes from Chattanooga by car, but an infinite distance in peace and quiet with the opportunity to enjoy the natural world, hike on trails in a pristine forest, and experience a sustainable lifestyle. Plan to visit Liquidambar Art Gallery at SVI to shop for exquisite handmade art and crafts produced by staff and regional artists. All sales help benefit SVI non-profit educational programs.  All times are CT, 1 hour behind Chattanooga time.  Watch our Facebook pages and websites for added events!

Each Weekend – Liquidambar Art Gallery, Nature Trails, and Arboretum open 10 am-5 pm CT

The gallery and the studios will be open Spring through Fall 10 am-5 pm CT Sat. and Sun with special events, including snacks and teas, hikes, workshops, and other outdoor activities. Open other days by appt. See Liquidambarsvi.wordpress.com for details.

Saturday, Apr. 8 – Spring Wildflower Hikes.

Hiking begins at 1 PM Central time.  Please arrive by 12:30. For a tour of the solar hand-crafted homes and gardens arrive at 11 am.  All ages welcome, no pets please. The hikes will be accompanied by naturalists, foresters, and bio-enthusiasts familiar with the geography, ecology and biology of the area. There will be 2 hikes each day, one a moderate 2 hr hike, the other a 4-hour rugged mountain trail hike.

Donation of $8-$20 requested.

Saturday, Apr. 22-23—Earth Day and National Environmental Education Week            

We’ll be open for hiking and other outdoor activities for all, with special emphasis on kids.  Homeschoolers welcome!

Friday, April 28-Sunday April 30 – Food for Life Conference

The 19th Annual gathering for skills-building around permaculture, organic gardening, food preservation, methods of cooking and diet choices, discovering native medicinal and edible plants, and health and nutrition. We will also focus on the social and ecological implications of agriculture, including factory farming and local small-scale agriculture.  Kids’ sessions will emphasize health, food, and outdoor adventure. Sliding scale of $100-$200 includes all meals and rustic camping.

Saturday, June 3 – National Trails Day

SVI will host guided hikes and trail maintenance on National Trails Day® which brings together outdoor enthusiasts across the country to promote healthy living, protect green spaces, and reinforce the importance of trails in our community.   This event is for all ages, and will bring kids into contact with the wonders of our forest and mountain.  Learn more at www.nationaltrailsday.org.

Workshops and programs at the Sequatchie Valley Institute are intentionally affordable using a scale based on income.  For more information, contact SVI, 1233 Cartwright Loop, Whitwell, TN 37397; 423-949-5922/4598; email education@svionline.org.



https://www.facebook.com/Sequatchie Valley Institute




 The Sequatchie Valley Institute is a a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization  promoting education and research in sustainable green living, ecology, and art.  We offer opportunities to experience and learn about living in harmony with nature by providing:

  • tours for kids, scouts, and adults: permaculture gardens, forest trails and solar hand-crafted homes
  • workshops and programs emphasizing healthy natural and sustainable living                  
  • education, research, and art programming
  • three hundred acres of forest with trails, protected forever by the Land Trust for Tennessee
  • a tree-top retreat center available for meetings, weddings, and other events
  • Liquidambar Art Gallery presenting fine art by local artists, hiking and picnicking


Michelle’s Art—

Patrick’s amazing kaleidoscopes and glass.

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Check out Carol’s bird feeders, mugs, and dishes.  The bird feeders (filled with sunflower seed) attract an amazing variety of songbirds that will hang around all summer, helping control the summer pests in your lawn and garden, as they change their diet from seeds to bugs in order to have the energy needed to lay eggs and raise their young ‘uns.

The pottery mugs and dishes are all food safe, dishwashable, and microwaveable and are decorated with impressions of our local plants and flowers.  Each is unique and the name of the plant is marked on every piece.

Autumn Fields on Cherry Wood

IMG_3642So come on out and visit!  We always love to meet new people and renew acquaintance with old friends.  We’ll be at the Gallery from 11 am to 4 pm on weekends.  You are free to come out for hiking on the trails then also–no charge!  and we provide walking poles and guides.  The guides are also available on our website.   If you would like to visit another time, just give us a call or email and we will see what we can arrange.

Groups, both children and adults, are welcome.  We can arrange in advance for a guided tour on the trails and through our gardens, greenhouse, and solar-powered houses if you would like.   Fees are $8/person for the 3-hour tour.


  • SPRING WILDFLOWER HIKES  March 25 and April 8.
  • FOOD FOR LIFE  April 28-30.ffl 2015 fairy hikeimageffl 2015 fairy 4



Happy Solstice!

P1020506There will be lovely winter weather this week, and NO TRAFFIC here! Take a lovely drive across the ridge to the peaceful Sequatchie Valley. Shop at the gallery, hike the trails, and get in the Christmas spirit without the stress!

Holiday Opening Reception

Liquidambar Art Gallery

Holiday Opening Reception

at Sequatchie Valley Institute

where Nature and Art Converge

Sat. Dec. 17, 11-7 CST


Cross the creek to experience the Gallery and studios located in the magical heart of the Sequatchie Valley, featuring NEW WORK by Carol Kimmons, Patrick Ironwood, and Michelle Kimmons.

Michelle Kimmons, Artist

Enjoy a visual feast of art made here in our studios featuring ceramics, flameworked glass and metal ornaments and sculptures, kaleidoscopes, and paintings, all unique gift ideas.  Watch our artists painting, working glass, and making pottery. Sample local mead, hot spiced cider, and Sequatchie Cove cheeses as you relax in the Gallery library with SVI’s favorite books on the good life–a cozy place to chat with the artists.  Kids welcome!




Liquidamber Gallery 011
Patrick Ironwood, on the right, demonstrates his Kaleidoscopes.

Liquidamber Gallery 001
Carol Kimmons, potter, offers cheese and mead to our visitors.

While you are here, hike on our marked nature trails and Arboretum,, through 350 acres protected by the Land Trust of Tennessee. Dress for adventure! There will be a Solstice Bonfire afterwards.

Johnny, woodworker, invites   you to join him on Hemlock Grove Trail, which follows the creek and then travels gently up the mountain.

We will also be open for sales and hiking Dec. 18-24, 12-4 pm CST. 

SVI is located at 1233 Cartwright Loop, Whitwell, TN, off Hwy 28 between Dunlap and Whitwell, just 45 minutes from Chattanooga.



Facebook.com:  liquidambargallery.SVI; Sequatchie Valley Institute

For more Info, contact: 423-949-5922; Carolkimmons@gmail.com

Proceeds from the Gallery help support the educational programs of SVI.

SVI is a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization promoting

education and research in sustainable green living, ecology, and art.


Wine and Spirits in the Woods, Saturday Nov. 12 at Moonshadow.


Come and enjoy our annual Sequatchie Vallley Institute fundraising event!


The weather is going to be much cooler on Saturday, so be sure to dress warmly as the event will begin outside. Wear outdoor shoes and bring a headlamp or flashlight! Oh, and we will have a shuttle available for people who don’t want to walk up the trails. We suggest you arrive before dark for maximum enjoyment. Signed, Mom

The Gallery will not open until Dec. 10, but plan to see wonderful new work by Carol and Patrick in Knoxville at the—


November 18 – 20, 2016
Jacob Building, Chilhowee Park; Knoxville, Tennessee


Contact us for discounted tickets!

Ketners’s Mill Fall Craft Show. Last Chance till Foothills Guild Fine Craft Show Nov. 18-20 in Knoxville!

What a great show yesterday  and great people!  Come out today.

Ketner’s Mill Country Arts Fair

WHEN:  Saturday, October 15, 2016 –  9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT
Sunday, October 16, 2016 –  10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EDT.


Last Weekend Open, Sept. 24-25! Closed Oct. 1-26 for Shows.


Last chance to visit the gallery till fall.  We have lots of new items on display, but they will be packed up next week.  See our Fall schedule below.

The weather is lovely for hiking the trails now.  Fewer bugs, too!  If you haven’t tried out our new Pipsissewa Arboretum Trail, this will be the last time till next spring that you can see the leaves for identification.  You will then have to learn to id the plants by bark and shape!  That’s also a good way to learn and there are no bugs in the winter, so be sure to visit then also.

There are lots of reasons to walk in the woods.  Don’t take your phone, and learn to hear the silence.  Walking in the woods quietly and slowly has been shown to lower stress and blood pressure, and improve general well-being.  On the other hand, if you have kids, they can get the same results by yelling as loudly as they wish!

Here is an excerpt from an article on the Japanese style of “Forest Bathing”.

forest bathing

“In Japan, it’s called “shinrin-yoku,” which translates as forest bathing. It’s the practice of immersing yourself in nature to improve your well-being.

Participants wander into the woods for a slow, mindful walk to contemplate nature with all the senses. It’s not a hike, because you don’t go far or fast.

“We walked through the woods and were just able to absorb what was surrounding us: the beauty of nature, the beauty of the world, from the smallest details, the pebbles under your feet or the branches and the bark on the trees, to how the air felt and listening to the sounds around us,” said Rona London, who participated in a forest bathing experience at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York. “It was absolutely wonderful.”

 The benefits of shinrin-yoku were formally recognized in the early 1980s by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. While it might seem obvious that a walk in the woods is good for you, there’s also research on the physiological effects showing that it can lower blood pressure, heart rates and stress hormones.”




John C. Campbell Folk School


October 1, 2016 — October 2, 2016


Carol Kimmons and Patrick Ironwood will both be showing here.

Golden fall sunlight and brightly colored leaves provide a scenic backdrop for the John C. Campbell Folk School‘s Fall Festival. This treasured annual celebration of Appalachian culture, held on the Folk School’s Brasstown, North Carolina campus, heralds its 42nd anniversary in October.
Visit over 240 fine craft exhibitors tucked along the school’s winding wooded paths. Watch more than 40 artisans demonstrate traditional and contemporary crafts. Fill your ears with bluegrass, gospel, folk, and Celtic music on both days. Tap your toes to clogging, Morris, and Garland dance performances throughout the weekend.

Oktoberfest is coming!

37th Annual Nashville Oktoberfest

Dates: October 7, 8 & 9


Celebrate the traditions of Munich Oktoberfest for 3 days in the heart of Music City!  Oktoberfest is Nashville’s oldest-running festival & has been an annual tradition since 1980.
It’s not just a beer festival! Oktoberfest has something for EVERYONE:  delicious German food from 25+ restaurants & vendors, GREAT beer from both local & German breweries, tons kids & family events, over 150 Arts & Crafts vendors, German music stages, Wiener Dog races, the 2nd largest 5K run in Tennessee – and so much more!
Join 200,000 German fans in 2016 for the greatest Oktoberfest that Nashville has ever seen!

Ketner’s Mill Country Arts Fair

WHEN:  Saturday, October 15, 2016 –  9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT
Sunday, October 16, 2016 –  10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EDT.




Foothills Craft Guild Annual Fine Craft Show 
3rd weekend in November

November 18 – 20, 2016
Jacob Building, Chilhowee Park; Knoxville, Tennessee


Patrick Ironwood and Carol Kimmons will both be showing.

Gallery and Trails Open this Weekend, August 13-14 with New Art!

So come on out!  If it’s too hot for hiking, it’s air conditioned in the gallery.  Come by and hang out in the Gallery library.  Check out our unique book selection, or try your hand at playing the piano!  We can  provide you with some iced drinks made with mint and herbs from the garden.  Our self-guided nature trails are on the web, or you can pick up the guides at the gallery.  We have bamboo hiking poles available as loaners, or you can take your favorite home with you for a $5 donation to SVI.

Dogwood on Cherry 17×7″

Our newest tiles were begun this spring, using the beautiful blooms of the dogwoods and other spring flowers.  Since the period of dogwood blooming is so short, we eventually had to drive up Daus Mountain to find trees that still had flowers.  This involved:  wading through roadside trash across barbed wire; balancing on the edge of a ravine in dense thorny blackberries and using a pole pruner; encountering very healthy poison ivy and dodging snakes; and washing off seed ticks on our return.  But as you can see, it was a successful trip.   This was an unusual trip, as most of the plants on the tiles come from our own forest, fields, and gardens.  There are plenty of plants to find here, with 300 acres of forest, permaculture gardens, and the seasonal high tunnel greenhouse, all protected by the Land Trust for Tennessee through a conservation easement.  Each morning I walk along our miles of trails, collecting the most perfect plants and flowers as they appear each season.


Wild Grape on Wild Cherry 8×4″

So why has it taken so long to complete the tiles?  Here is why!  I first roll out the clay and determine the spacing and design of the plants.  In the case of the dogwoods, each bloom is carefully selected and placed.  I then press the center of the bloom into the clay, and next turn the bloom over to impress the petals (note to botanists:  I know they aren’t really petals, but bracts).  The leaves and stems are carefully added and pressed in.  The tile is dried a couple of days between pieces of wall board we collect from building dumpsters.  Then I remove some of the thicker stems to prevent cracking and touch up any stray marks, turn the tiles, and paint the edges with Bravo floor wax to slow drying and cracking.  Back to the wall board.  The tiles are all stacked and covered with plastic for about 2-3 weeks.  When they reach leather hard (not dry, but stiff) I check them again.

Wild Yam on Wild Cherry Wood 18×7″


At this time I may cut the larger tiles into sections.  This prevents warping and cracks in the larger and more complex pieces during firing.  The cutting process takes several days–I choose the most artistic place for the cut, then begin the cut one day, and complete the cut in several sessions after more drying.  Finally, I uncover the tiles and allow the drying to complete under fans and ac.  I remove some of the plant parts from the clay and leave some to burn out in the kiln.  Once they are completely dry, we place them in the kiln (Johnny’s job), on top of creek sand to allow for movement and prevent cracking.  Each tile is placed separately. The kiln is pre-heated then slow fired up to about 1800 degrees, then slow cooled. This takes about 24 hours.  Tiles are removed when cool and scrubbed to remove the ashes of the remaining plant material (J’s job).  I make a mixture of various natural mineral oxides, mainly iron and copper, with water and fine clays and paint this onto the tiles.  I wipe off the excess with sponges and cloths, leaving the oxides to emphasize the patterns of the plants. This is a LOT harder than it sounds! I end up spending some late nights listening to Hoopla detective stories to finish this.

Once I am happy with the stains, the tiles are ready to go back in the kiln.  The kiln (electric for this kind of work) is slowly heated to about 2200 degrees and then slow cooled, and opened when the temp reaches about 100 degrees.  This takes about 24 hours from start to finish.  We open the kiln to see if Santa has brought toys or coal…….Occasionally we have a crack or warping that means we can’t use the tile–very sad.

Dogwood Blooms on Wild Cherry Wood  12 x 7″

Wild Grape on Wild Cherry wood 24 x 4″

Next, we are ready to mount the tiles.  Johnny looks them over, then goes to the sawmill to find artistic and unique wood that suits each tile. All the wood comes from dead or fallen trees on our land.  The gallery furniture is made from a tulip poplar that fell on one of our houses!  In the case of the spring dogwood tiles, Johnny found a gorgeous piece of old wild cherry that came from a huge dead tree up near our bluffs. The center of the log provided beautiful wood for making into furniture, and the intricate patterns of the outside slabs were perfect for the dogwoods!  Johnny cuts the boards at the sawmill, planes them in the shop, and carefully selects the best piece for each individual tile.  He lays out the pattern and cuts out the piece.  He then finishes each piece using a sander and carving tools.  Next he glues on each tile in the exact position he has designed.  He makes hangers from copper wire and screws them onto the back, balancing the tile perfectly. He finishes the wood by rubbing in 2 coats of Danish Oil, from Highlands Hardware in Atlanta.  I print off labels for each tile, describing the plant and, often, its importance.  Johnny uses decoupage glue to attach the labels.  As the final touch, he labels the type of wood using a drawing pen.

Dogwood on Wild Cherry wood 15 x 7″









Now the tile is ready to be displayed!  So come and see the final result–and take one home to add a part of nature to your walls!

Dogwood Blossoms on Wild Cherry Wood 19 x 7″

Wild Grape on Wild Cherry Wood 9 x 4″

Gallery and Trails Open Today and Sunday, August 6-7

The rain has brought some relief from the heat, and the forest is still cool in the mornings, so come out and try the trails.  We are going to be preparing for the Fall Season Craft Shows this month so new items will be coming from the kiln.  Michelle has some of her newest work on display also.

Gallery and Trails Open July 2 and 3.

Come and try out the new Pipsissewa Arboretum Trail!  Patrick has lots of beautiful new kaleidoscopes ready to go and dogwood decorated pottery is on the shelves.  Bring a picnic for a pre 4th party!2014-11-13 17.08.40.jpg2014-11-13 17.04.56.jpgoptical.jpg

It’s Food for Life Time Again! June 24-26

The gallery and trails will be closed to the public June 25-26 during this event.  Come join us at Food for LIfe!

FFL 2016 poster

18th Annual

Food for Life Conference

At Sequatchie Valley Institute

Near Dunlap, TN

June 24-26, 2016

 Join us for a family friendly festival about healthy food a short drive from Chattanooga, TN.  As an act of community, perched on the canyon walls of the ancient Cumberland Plateau, we will connect and open to the flow of energy that we all call food.  Most workshops will take place outdoors amid forest and gardens.  Rustic camping included!

Workshops include:

The Art of Fermentation.  Be a part of the fermentation revival! Learn to ferment healthful foods like sauerkraut, kefir, & kim chi at home.

Plant walks discovering uses of our local plants.

Health and Nutrition:  Joel Kimmons PhD, CDC    Nutritionist

Permaculture gardening & edible landscaping.

An outdoor kids’ program including adventurous eating, composting, hikes, games, theater, and more.

 Mushroom Cultivation, including shiitakes, winecaps, and more!

Food Preservation:  Canning, freezing, and drying

Cooking with wood:  Dutch ovens, wood cook stoves, and outdoor clay ovens.

Organic grain farming.

Butchering your own healthy meat.

Kitchen skills and cooking basics

Brewing—sodas, meads, wine and liqueurs

Tours of our hand-built solar homes, with emphasis on sustainable living.

Theater, live music, and delicious local food!

The program is intentionally affordable with an income-based sliding scale for the three-day event of $100-$200.  Saturday only:  $40-$100. Children under 9 yrs free, 10-16 yrs $10-$40/day. Prices include lovingly prepared nutritious meals, admission to workshops and children’s programs, and rustic camping. SVI members receive a 10% discount. We are a non-profit 501 (c) (3) educational organization, and proceeds help cover the costs of this and future educational event.  Work trade is available.  Please contact us for details ASAP.  Local nutritious and ethically sound food trade or donations are encouraged.

You may register online at www.svionline.org; call 423-949-5922/4598; or email Patrick@svionline.org. SVI is located between Dunlap and Whitwell, 1233 Cartwright Loop, Whitwell, TN 37397;

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Find a Mug for Father’s Day!

Or a fabulous kaleidoscope!  Yes, the kaleidoscopes are back!  Along with all of Patrick’s amazing jewelry and sculpture.  Carol has new bird feeders, plates, and mugs decorated from this spring’s lovely dogwood flowers.  We have new paintings by Michelle, also.  We will be open this weekend, but are a bit disorganized, as we are busy preparing for Food for Life, which begins Friday, June 24. The gallery and trails will be open only for Food for Life participants June 25-26, but we’ll be back to normal hours July 2-3.   Remember, you can always call if you wish to come another time.

Gallery and Trails Open Feb. 16-17, 11-4pm Central Time

Carol and Johnny are back from their adventures in warm and beautiful Puerto Rico, an ready to dive back into art, trails, building, gardening, and general sustainable living! So come out and see us before the Great Floods next week keep us all inside. The creek is flowing beautifully and the gallery is full of fabulous art, from functional pottery to kaleidoscopes, books on sustainable living, and paintings. We will be open all weekends through spring. Watch for the dates for the spring wildflower hikes, our next major event. Tentative dates will be March 30 and April 13.