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/

Chattanooga Pulse Article on Liquidambar Gallery

  • 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

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.