Beth Meadows

historic preservation

Historic Knoxville: Wooden Cut-out Series

Beth MeadowsComment
Patrick Sullivan's paint pen and acrylic on reclaimed wood

Patrick Sullivan's paint pen and acrylic on reclaimed wood

For the past several years, I've been making artwork for the centerpieces at Knox Heritage's annual fundraiser, The Scruffy City Soiree. It's been really fun to showcase my artwork made from reclaimed wood this way since it's directly inspired by historic preservation, and Knox Heritage raises money through this event to help save historic buildings. It's a lovely marriage.

Mary Boyce Temple House

Mary Boyce Temple House

In past years, I've painted mason jars on slate and wood to display. This year, I showcased my prints of mason jars on wood but also added a new element: historic Knoxville buildings cut out of and painted on reclaimed wood.

Primed Wood Buildings

Primed Wood Buildings

I used wood from The Salvage Room. It made sense to use reclaimed wood from historic buildings, but it proved to be a bit of a challenge. With these pieces, before I even touch a paint brush, cleaning, sanding, and cutting the wood is a laborious task. And while the thickest wood used (reclaimed stair treads) looks so great, it is definitely hard to cut with a small hand-held jigsaw.

Through this process, I've learned a lot about woodworking. I've gotten tips here and there from people, but I've basically been teaching myself. I'd love to invest in some really good tools in the future for projects like this, but for now, I'm using what I have. Not using the most efficient tools can put a damper on things, but I'm sure I'm building character with the added challenge. Perhaps.

The drawing begins

The drawing begins

Once I cut the buildings, I add wood filler to those that need it and then prime the wood. My plan was to use carbon copy paper to trace the buildings on to the wood because I had to make so many in such a short time, but I had trouble getting the image to transfer so I ended up drawing several free hand. 

If you haven't gathered it by now, I came up against many unexpected obstacles while making these. I learned a valuable lesson from these buildings:  When creating anything new, I need time to hit obstacles. Lots of time. Procrastination is my enemy!

Applying paint

Applying paint

Each building uses a combination of paint pens and acrylic, so they are like little drawings and paintings in one. They are made to sit on a table, shelf, or mantel so there isn't a bracket on the back for hanging. I added information cards to the backs of them to give some current details about the buildings. I chose seven buildings to create and made two of each. They were all chosen based on their significance to historic preservation and Knox Heritage over the past year.

I painted Patrick Sullivan's (Old City), 18th Street IGA (Fort Sanders), Pryor Brown Garage (downtown), Westwood (new KH HQ), White Lily (Old City), Mary Boyce Temple House (downtown), and the McClung Warehouse (downtown).

The finished product. 18th Street IGA

The finished product. 18th Street IGA

The first set of buildings made their debut at The Scruffy City Soiree on September 27 at The Standard on Jackson Avenue. Those attending the event could purchase them at the end of the night  and partial proceeds went to Knox Heritage.

White Lily Building at The Scruffy City Soiree

White Lily Building at The Scruffy City Soiree

In the end, I wasn't able to finish all of the buildings before the event, so I'm currently creating the rest now. Ones leftover from the event are available at Nostalgia on McCalla. Feel free to contact me if you're interested in one!

The Scruffy City Soiree about to come to a close.

The Scruffy City Soiree about to come to a close.

Now Showing at Coffee & Chocolate

Beth MeadowsComment

I currently have artwork on display at Coffee & Chocolate. Below are details and photos of the work. I hope you can find the time to see it this month!

Photo by Matthew Higginbotham

Photo by Matthew Higginbotham

Models and Buildings

Drawings by Beth Meadows

at Coffee & Chocolate, December 2013

327 Union Ave SW, Knoxville, TN 37902

All work is priced upon request. Please contact beth@bethmeadows.com

Patrick Sullivan's (on black)  paint pen and acrylic on acetate, lace and fabric, recycled frame

Patrick Sullivan's (on black) paint pen and acrylic on acetate, lace and fabric, recycled frame

Artist Statement:

I have a strong interest in things that are beautifully crafted and designed to stand the test of time. I also listen to pop music and buy things that are made to be thrown away year to year.

 

My subject matter is historic Knoxville buildings and models from fashion magazines. The frames used for the models are recycled and the windows have been salvaged from historic buildings in Knoxville. 

 

As I make these drawings with previously discarded materials, I think about their original creator, the time and thought they put into what they made.  

Historic Knoxville Buildings  paint pen and acrylic on acetate, lace and fabric, framed in salvaged windows and recycled frames. Photo by Matthew Higginbotham.

Historic Knoxville Buildings paint pen and acrylic on acetate, lace and fabric, framed in salvaged windows and recycled frames. Photo by Matthew Higginbotham.

I wonder: If the flippant consumer determines the value of things, won't even the most well-designed objects be subject to the landfill?

 

I like to imagine that one day I might walk into a thrift store and see one of my paintings hanging on a wall. What one might regard as a debilitating thought has pushed me to make better work. Better work that does not become too precious to me as the maker. 


Two Models  ink, marker, and colored pencil on paper, recycled frames

Two Models ink, marker, and colored pencil on paper, recycled frames

Bio:

Beth moved from her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee to Knoxville where she graduated from the UT with a BFA in Studio Art in 2007. She currently manages The Salvage Room for the non-profit Knox Heritage, receiving and selling historic building materials. She is also the Director and an artist of 17th Street Studios, a work space for artists near downtown Knoxville.

Models in recycled frames. Photo by Matthew Higginbotham.

Models in recycled frames. Photo by Matthew Higginbotham.

Tiny Historic Buildings

Beth Meadows3 Comments

Last week I was busy making drawings for a Knox Heritage fundraiser called the Scruffy City Soiree. Last year, I painted mason jars on slate tiles for their table's centerpieces. This year, I drew historic Knoxville buildings, and they were really fun to make.

Most are about 4 x 6", drawn on two sides of a piece of acetate and layered on top of fabric. Then they are placed in vintage frames.

There is a bumper sticker I've seen that reads "Historic Preservation is the Ultimate Recycling." These drawings of historic homes and buildings are made using mostly recycled materials- the frames, acetate, and fabric are from thrift stores or have been given to me. It's one of my favorite things to do with art- take discarded items and make them something precious again. 

I hope one day I'll be able to do the same with a beautiful old building. That could be the ultimate work of art.  

At this moment, I haven't listed any of the remaining drawings from the event online to sell, but if you are interested in purchasing one, please contact me. Through the end of October, partial proceeds will benefit Knox Heritage. They will be hanging at Old City Java beginning Wednesday, October 2, but please contact me if you'd like to see them before then.

I'd also be very interested to make new ones with the building, house, and fabric of your choice, just let me know!