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.
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.
Forest Bathing: A Retreat To Nature Can Boost Immunity And Mood0:006:50
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.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
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…
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…
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.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.
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.
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.
Mugs aplenty, with springtime leaves and flowers, and a set of hops vine beer mugs ready to drink great beer from! 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!
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.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
Patrick’s amazing kaleidoscopes and glass.
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.
So 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.
UPCOMING EVENTS AT SEQUATCHIE VALLEY INSTITUTE
- SPRING WILDFLOWER HIKES March 25 and April 8.
- FOOD FOR LIFE April 28-30.
Enjoy the early spring as you hike our easy nature trails and search for that special gift in our gallery!
There 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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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—
FOOTHILLS CRAFT GUILD ANNUAL FINE CRAFT SHOW
November 18 – 20, 2016
Jacob Building, Chilhowee Park; Knoxville, Tennessee
Contact us for discounted tickets!
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 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”.
“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.”
FALL SHOWS FOR CAROL KIMMONS
John C. Campbell Folk School
FOLK SCHOOL FALL FESTIVAL
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
The gallery and trails will be closed to the public June 25-26 during this event. Come join us at Food for LIfe!
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!
➢ 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.
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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.
Find a great mug for Father’s Day and come out and try out our new Pipsissewa Trail.
Sequatchie Valley Institute and Liquidambar Art Gallery are celebrating American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® Saturday and Sunday, June 4-5, http://www.nationaltrailsday.org/ , from 9-6 Central. Across the US there are tons of free activities such as hiking, canoeing, bicycling, trail building or clean-ups, horseback riding, kayaking, and bird watching. Lots of events will take place in Southeast Tennessee. Don’t miss this kick-off for a summer of adventure for your family. Learn a new skill, discover a new trail, and get your kids and friends into the outdoors! Remember to submit your photos afterward for a chance to win sweet gear.
See http://www.nationaltrailsday.org/ for details and places to go! WE think one of the best places is right here in the beautiful Sequatchie Valley, just 45 minutes from Chattanooga.
Celebrate the opening of our self-guided GIS mapped nature trails at Sequatchie Valley Institute, located on 350 acres of forest protected forever by the Land Trust of Tennessee. SVI, a non-profit educational organization, is a living laboratory with hand-crafted homes and structures solar-powered and built of native and recycled materials, a greenhouse, gardens, orchards, and vineyards.
Maps and photos of the trails are available through this link. , provided by the UTC SIM Center.
Kodai Trail and Hemlock Grove Trail are easy-to-moderate nature trails beginning at the Valley bottom and gradually climbing up to the SVI Center. Trails traverse the typical habitats of the Southern Appalachian Bioregion with many examples of native flora and fauna, from the Sequatchie Valley floor half-way up the escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau to just below the bluffs, about 300 ft in elevation gain. Over 40 signs along the trails provide information on plants, ecology, history, and geology and are GIS accessible by a link or with a provided interpretive booklet. The round trip will take 1-2 hours allowing time for observation of nature. At Moonshadow at the end of each trail you may use the picnic tables, compost toilets, and unfiltered spring water.
Our newest trail, Pipsissewa Arboretum Trail, is an easy circular trail beginning at Moonshadow. Over 100 native and non-native trees, vines, and woody shrubs are identified and described along this trail.
There will also be a guided tour each day from 11 to 1 pm Central Time. The tour will include a hike on Pipsissewa Arboretum Trail and visits to Moonshadow, the sustainably built home of Carol and Johnny Kimmons, emphasizing the architecture design, the solar electricity, use of sustainable materials, fireplaces, and passive solar heating and cooling. Other structures on the tour are hand-crafted of clay and straw (cob), logs and lumber from pine beetle killed trees (Barking Beetle Retreat Center), earth-filled bags (Superadobe) and tires (Earthship design). Along the way you will visit the permaculture edible landscape, season extension high tunnel greenhouse, and a vineyard, all integrated into the forest ecosystem.
The Liquidambar Art Gallery will be open both days with art for sale created by SVI staff and local artists. Proceeds from the Gallery help support SVI educational programs. Art includes nature-based pottery, flame-worked glass, kaleidoscopes, metal sculpture, wood crafts, and paintings. Refreshments will be available at the Gallery.
Children are welcome on all trips and should have no problem managing the trails. You may wish to bring a lunch and drinks for a picnic along the way. No pets, please. Donations accepted for SVI, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization promoting education and research in sustainable green living, ecology, and art at http://svionline.org/; https://www.facebook.com/SequatchieValleyInstitute. You may donate online or during the event. For info on the gallery, see: Liquidambarsvi.wordpress.com;https://www.facebook.com/liquidambargallery.SVI/
American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® is a nationally recognized trail awareness program that occurs annually on the first Saturday of June and inspires the public to discover, learn about, and celebrate trails while participating in outdoor activities, clinics, and trail stewardship projects. National Trails Day® is a registered trademark of American Hiking Society.
We’ll be firing the last of the Arboretum Trail signs this weekend (over 80 stops planned)–and some fine new items should be coming out of the kiln on Sunday. Stop by and check it out. Our new trail app Sequatchie Valley Institute Self-Guided Forest Nature Trails is now available. It is beautiful! Thanks to Nyssa, Charlie, and Alastair at the UTC SIM Center. Try it out!
Dont forget the Trail Opening Celebration June 4-5! National Trails Day!
Come learn how to grow your own Shiitake Mushrooms and enjoy the last of the lovely cool weather! If you don’t want to make your own logs, we will have some ready for you to take home. They’ll start producing in about 9 months. Carol still has mugs, dishes, and bird feeders decorated with dogwood blossoms, but they are the last of the season. Open today, Sunday, till 5, closed next weekend, May 21-22.
The trails and Gallery will be open Sat. and Sun., from 10-5. If you would like to watch Johnny inoculating logs with Shiitake mushrooms or learn about growing Wine Caps in wood chips, this will be a good weekend to come by. Please call first (423 949 5922/4598) if you are interested to check on times. You can also buy a freshly inoculated 4 ft log for $25-$35 depending on size. The logs will begin to produce in ~9 mo. and continue producing for up to 3 years. We will be closed next weekend, so be sure to come by!
Don’t forget to plan for our big event, the Trail Opening Celebration, on National Hiking Day, June 4-5!
It’s going to be another gorgeous spring weekend, so come out for a hike before those hot and dry summer days. We have lots of luscious Mother’s Day gifts, also. Might even get Johnny to make some of his fabulous fudge as a special treat.
Help support the wonderful educational programs at Sequatchie Valley Institute by shopping for mom at the gallery. Ten percent of your purchase price goes to our programs and the remainder to our hard working volunteer staff/artists! We will be open from 10 to 5 Central Time May 7-8 with new items hot off the kiln! Check out the dogwood bird feeders and dishes.
If you insist on buying from Amazon instead, that’s ok, but please shop at smile.amazon.com. Prices and items are the same and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to SVI! How’s that for a good deal! Just follow these links.
Upcoming events at SVI
June 4-5 American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day®
Trail Opening Celebration at Sequatchie Valley Institute
Hikes all day and a guided tour at 11 CT. The new GIS map of the trails will be available.
June 25-26 Food for Life
Check out our FB page, https://www.facebook.com/events/1738755169701560/permalink/1756204244623319/
Patrick will be back at the Gallery this weekend! His fabulous Kaleidoscopes and handmade glass pendants make very special gifts for the special mother in your life.
Michelle will also be at the Gallery Saturday and Sunday, painting and throwing pots. If you could like to see more of her work and hear about her techniques, this is your chance. Call her or the gallery at 949 4598/5922 to be sure she isn’t out painting or playing in the forest somewhere! You may have seen her beautiful watercolor, Spinning Patterns, at the Sequatchie County Friends of the Library Art and the Library Exhibition Reception at the City Hall Training Center in Dunlap, TN. The Exhibition will also be open this weekend during the ValleyFest in Dunlap.
Carol will be presenting her pottery, including the new work from the latest kiln firing, at the ValleyFest. Her booth will be between the Bank and the Chamber of Commerce, so look for her there! She will also have plenty of work to choose from at the Gallery, in case the rain keeps you away from the ValleyFest (hope for clear skies!). The ValleyFest begins at 9 am Saturday and lasts till 9 pm at night, Central Time. Sunday hours are from 12-5 Central Time.
Check out the Liquidambar Gallery Facebook page to see new work by Carol and Michelle.
And, don’t forget the trails are open! Our creek is now very low–the rain this weekend may bring it back. There is nothing more romantic than walking through the cathedral-like towering hemlocks beside the babbling creek along Hemlock Grove Trail.
Come out to the Sequatchie Valley Institute this weekend to celebrate Earth Day! Liquidambar Gallery will be open so you can take care of your mother’s day shopping while enjoying the great outdoors! Open 10-5 Saturday and Sunday and by appointment other days. Contact us at 423-949-5922.
Exciting news! Carol’s Spring Flowers production of art, including bird feeders, mugs, pendants, and dishes, is now in the kiln. It will be cooling off on Sunday so come out and see the new work while it is still warm! Call 4239494598 Sunday am to find out when the kiln will be cool enough to open.
In honor of Mother’s Day coming up, Michelle will be highlighting a variety of works available for sale. Some can be seen at Liquidambar Gallery. If you are interested in purchasing something, feel free to contact Michelle at MichelleKimmons.wordpress.com, where you can also see her most recent work. Michelle will be at the Gallery next Fri and Saturday while Carol is at the Valley Fest event in Dunlap, Tennessee. Come out to get the chance to meet Michelle and learn about her amazing talent.
Let’s kick offf the celebration for all you moms and fellow Earthlings out there!
Be sure to come to the Spring Wildflower Hike on April 16! We had over 50 visitors for the first fun-filled hike, so come on out! There will be a whole new set of flowers blooming. Blooming now: dogwoods, phacelia, spurred violets, lyre-leaf sage, buckeye, coral and cream, trillium,, viburnum, sweetshrub, indian pink, golden ragwort, mayapple, blue phlox, lots of fiddleheads on the christmas fern, and more in the woods. Check out the Chattanooga Times Free Press article.
We need volunteers to help with registration, beginning at 10 am Central, and also with shuttling people up to Moonshadow and with parking. This would be from 10 am to about 1:00 pm. There will be time to go on the hike at 1. We have 2 events going on at the same time, so any help will be highly appreciated. It is going to be a spectacularly beautiful day, with masses of wildflowers blooming and lots of sun.
The Gallery will be open Saturday before the hike at 1 pm and after we return, from about 4-6 pm. We will also be open on Sunday, as usual, from 10-5 pm Central Time. Take your own wildflower hike along our marked trails if you miss the Saturday hike!
Patrick will be at the Steampunk Expo and Gothic Con at the Chattanooga Choo Choo on Apr 15-17. For info: http://www.steampunkexpo.org/
It’s the most beautiful spring ever in Sequatchie Valley, so come on out and try out our trails! Patrick’s glass work and kaleidoscopes are back in the gallery this weekend, but he’ll be at another show next weekend, so better shop now! Here are some photos from our Uplands visitors this week.
Don’t forget the second Wildflower Hike on April 16! We had over 50 visitors for the first fun-filled hike, so come on out! There will be a whole new set of flowers blooming. Check out the Chattanooga Times Free Press article on the Hikes.
For info on Patrick’s show at the Choo Choo Apr 15-17: http://www.steampunkexpo.org/
The gallery and trails will be open. After 3 inches of rain, the creek is flowing over its banks and the Hemlock Grove Trail is spectacular, running along the edge of the creek. Dogwoods are in full bloom and many wildflowers have appeared in the woodland next to the gallery. So come on out and enjoy this beautiful spring before the heat of summer. I’ll post photos of the creek and trail on facebook on Saturday.
Patrick is in Atlanta at the Spring Festival on Ponce show, but he has left quite a bit of his beautiful hand made glass jewelry at the gallery. Carol is preparing for her first spring firing, which includes mugs and dishes decorated with our spring flowers!
The UTC SimCenter – Center of Excellence in Applied Computational Science and Engineering – a center for integrated research and education, is working with us to develop a map of our nature trails, including all the stops along the trail. This will be available on our IPhones, etc., soon! More about this later.
Don’t forget our second Spring Wildflower Hike April 16! We had over 60 happy hikers on the first hike, so be sure to sign up as we may have to limit numbers. See Facebook liquidambar/svi for photos of the last hike.
Spring Festival on Ponce April 2 – 3, 2016
Features fine arts and crafts, folk art, a children’s area, local food, and acoustic music in historic Olmsted Linear Park at N Ponce De Leon Ave NE. Repeats in Oct. Free.
The Gallery will be open Saturday, March 26, before the hike at 1 pm and after we return, around 4 -6 pm, when we should have a couple of bottles of mead and some cheese for recuperation!
We will also be open on Sunday, as usual, from 10-5 pm Central Time. Take your own wildflower hike along our marked trails if you miss the Saturday hike!
The greenhouse garden is growing well, despite a busy population of moles. Trees are beginning to bud, with flowers appearing by this weekend. The birds, frogs and toads are singing. Lots of toad eggs now in the fountain, with the tadpoles soon wriggling out. We’ve seen our flock of wild turkeys near the glade lately. Check out the trails while the weather is mild and the bugs are still sleeping. We’ll be busy making art at our studios and the gallery will be open. Let us know when you are coming and we’ll make a pot of coffee or herb tea!
Finding Art Well Off The Beaten Path
by Kevin Hale
August 16, 2017
Discovering the Liquidambar Gallery at the Sequatchie Valley Institute
Chattanooga and the Tennessee Valley are known for their natural beauty. Likewise, if you follow the Tennessee River around the base of Signal Mountain, through the winding turns of Suck Creek Road and the Prentice Cooper State Forest, you will find Highway 28 to Cartwright Loop, where off the beaten path you will discover a case in environmentally-conscious living and a newly opened art gallery which draws inspiration from its breathtaking surroundings.
Liquidambar Gallery at the Sequatchie Valley Institute just opened its doors under the direction of Carol Kimmons, whose family has lived on the land since 1971.
“When we moved here, the 350 acres we now own were completely untouched,” says Kimmons. The family soon cleared enough shrubbery and brush to build a rough, temporary house while they built their dream house halfway up the mountain.
Once the family moved into the new house, the old house was lost to fire. They decided to rebuild and add an extension onto their dream house to make room for their extended family, essentially constructing two houses.
Both Kimmons’ mother and her husband Johnny’s mother passed away, which left the houses available for an SVI office, art studios, and the new Liquidambar gallery.
“A visual feast of art is made here in our studios featuring ceramics, flame worked glass, metal ornaments, sculptures, kaleidoscopes, and paintings,” says Kimmons. “I take native leaves, flowers and plants and include them in the pottery I make.”
Kimmons, her son Patrick Ironwood, along with her daughter-in-law Michelle, are some of the main artists featured in the gallery. Visitors can also find special exhibits from local artists and workshops detailing technique and artistic skill development.
It’s hard to talk about Liquidambar Gallery without talking about the Sequatchie Valley Institute. The Institute gained its non-profit status in 1997. It started as a family homestead—sustainably and scientifically designed—then gradually became a learning center for both children and adults in permaculture gardening and greenhouses, natural hand-crafted construction, solar power, forest ecology, food and nutrition, and sustainable forestry.
Marked nature trails for hiking and picnicking and an Arboretum Trail with 100 identified native and domestic trees and shrubs populate the mixed mesophytic forest, from Hick’s Creek up to the sandstone bluffs of the Cumberland Plateau. All of the land is protected forever by the Land Trust for Tennessee.
“Liquidambar Gallery is a natural extension of the work of SVI,” says Kimmons. “Our hand-crafted passive solar structures, built of wood from trees killed by the southern pine beetle, are part of our sustainable forestry program. “
Kimmons was taught sustainable building and farming by her parents, who she calls Tennessee hillbillies. The whole institute is a model for sustainable living. Both Simmons and her husband teach at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Both teach biology, while she also teaches environmental science.
“Everything they teach is practical,” says former board member J. Barry Wilde. “Even down to the wine and beer making, they have a real back-to-nature approach.”
Ironwood collects glass from around the world and understands the chemical processes to generate color for his kaleidoscopes. He exhibits at both Liquidambar Gallery and his own Nature of Reaction space.
“His sculptures and jewelry are made through a process called electroforming,” says Simmons. You can also get a glimpse of his work on Instagram and Facebook under Nature of Reaction.
Even, Kimmons’ daughter-in-law Michelle, owes a little something to Liquidambar and SVI, depicting root systems and other natural objects in her watercolors and sculptures.
The gallery, surrounded by nature trails, and an arboretum are open mainly on weekends and during SVI activities and events.
So it’s natural to ask, “What does Liquidambar mean?”
Young sweetgum trees initially populated much of the property. They named their first house “Sweetgum” and also several subsequent structures “Sweetgum 2” and “Sweetgum 3”.
The earliest mention of Liquidambar is by Spanish naturalist Francisco Hernández in 1651, where he describes the species as a large tree producing a fragrant gum resembling liquid amber, hence the name Liquidambar.
This name was established as the genus name of the tree by Linnaeus in 1753, again referring to the sweet gum that oozes from the bark, now used as chewing gum by kids.
Sweetgum grows rapidly and is one of the first trees to re-colonize areas that have been cleared or burned. The gum has been used as medicine for sore throats, coughs, diarrhea, and wounds. The autumn leaves develop a variety of flaming brilliant colors, sometimes described as a conflagration.
“Truly this is a magnificent tree to represent the unique art of our gallery,” exclaims Kimmons.
by Kevin Hale
August 16, 2017