Beth Meadows


New Work at Bliss Home during the month of July

"Knoxville", "drawing", "exhibition announcement", "fashion", "women"BComment

Next Friday, July 5th from 6-9pm, there will be an art opening at Bliss Home in Market Square featuring work I've made this year. If you can't make it that night, my work will be up all month so please stop in another time.

For this show, I'm mixing some work I made at the beginning of this year with work I'm in the midst of making right now. The inspiration is women's fashion and current trends in design.

Here is my artist statement for the show:

My work lately has been inspired by a subscription to Vogue my sister gave me a few summers ago. Most pieces began by tearing out pages from these magazines- photographs of scenes, models, and clothing.

I enjoy looking at fashion photography for aesthetic reasons- colors and patterns, for example- but also like being aware of new trends. I admire designers' innovation and craft, and on a business level, like to see how they market their specific look.

From a consumer's standpoint, I am intrigued by how much people are willing to invest in good design. I also wonder how important an item's timelessness is to them.

My work is about good design and the market that is out there for it. It explores trends and asks what it takes for something to be considered a classic.

Bliss Home
29 Market Square
Knoxville, TN 37902
Opening July 5, 6-9pm
Show runs all month

My Mountains

"Knoxville", "hiking", "inspiration", "mountains", "outdoors", "south"BComment
Today, I feel a strong pull to be in the mountains, more severe than the usual beckoning. Work keeps me away, so I went on a walk instead, across the bridge that runs over the interstate exit by my apartment. Looking beyond the pavement, cars, and buildings, far off in the distance, I can see the Smoky Mountains. Well, not today, because it's hazy, but I imagined them there, and wondered why they were speaking so loudly today.

It's getting hotter. I walk outside and feel the symptoms of summer approaching, the constant dampness of certain areas of my clothing, the feeling of dirty hands- swollen and salty- personal attributes I have to accept for many months ahead.

Looking out from the city, I realize the mountains' allure is stronger when the seasons change.

Summer in the mountains means a cold but refreshing river and possibly a yellow tube. Lush green grass and trees. A soft path for miles upon miles.

It means other things, too. Bugs. The fear of snakes. A mixture of sunscreen and sweat in my eyes.

It's all meant to be taken in tangibly- good and bad.

It's not just any mountains that call, but the Smoky Mountains- soft, unintimidating, and welcoming from afar. Challenging and life-altering in their midst.

And there's not just any road to get me there, but the one through Townsend, past the Alcoa plant, the Drive-In in Maryville, the flea markets and antique shops scattered along the way, the boiled peanut man, the winding two-lane road through the smaller hills that opens up into that calm and peaceful valley- my favorite doorway to the Smokies.

I'm going soon, to properly welcome this looming southern summer.

Paintings for Dogwood Blossoming Season in East Tennessee

"Knoxville", "community", "mason jars", "outdoors", "painting", "salvage"BComment
This weekend is the Dogwood Arts Festival (DAF) Art Fair in Market Square. The DAF booth will feature ten of my paintings made especially for the festival (shown below). Their booth is located near the intersection of Union and Market, near the Tennessee Woman Suffrage statue.

The Art Fair will run 11-9 Friday, 10-9 Saturday, and 11-5 Sunday and will showcase 83 local and regional artists plus some good food. Hope you find time to saunter through.

White Blossoms in Clear Ball Jar on slate

White Blossom in Turquoise Ball Jar on wood

Pink Blossoms in Blue Ball Jar on slate

Pink Blossoms in Kerr Jar on wood

"Knoxville Girl" Interview for Blank Newspaper

"17th Street Studios", "Knoxville", "Nostalgia", "art business", "blog", "family", "inspiration", "knox heritage", "mountains", "music", "web", "women", "writing"B2 Comments

I was interviewed recently by Jennie Everett Caissie for Blank Newspaper. You can view the story here on their website or read it below. Such an honor to be considered a Knoxville Girl!

Knoxville Girl: Beth Meadows
Salvaging Knoxville’s Art Scene 

KG: So, Knoxville Girl, are you originally from Knoxville?

Beth: No. I am from Memphis and I came to Knoxville in 2002 to study art at UT. When I graduated in May of 2007 most people I knew were moving but I decided to stay because I love the mountains and I had really started enjoying Knoxville. I remember the first time I went to First Friday. I was in college and I borrowed a bike and rode from campus to downtown and it was an exhilarating experience. I decided to do it every month. I felt like the Knoxville arts scene was really just starting to get going and I really wanted to be a part of it.

KG: A lot of kids like to draw and paint when they are young but lose that creative spark as they get older. What made you decide to study art in college?

Beth: When I was young I drew all of the time. I didn’t really know what it meant to be a professional artist but I knew I wanted to go to art school. But I did try to change my major several times in college because it scared me too much. I think mentally I wasn’t prepared to make the kind of work I really wanted to make. I just felt I wasn’t ready yet, if that makes sense. It takes a lot to be confident in your work.

KG: What is the oldest piece of your art your parents have on display at their house?

Beth: My parents are really sweet and they bought a lot of my artwork when I was in college. I am sure they have boxes and boxes of my art from over the years. My parents do have a painting hanging up that I made in high school. My dad took a photograph of a mountain landscape that I painted.

KG: You are quite an active blogger, from writing for The Sunsphere is Not a Wigshop to your own blog WithBearHands. How did you get involved as a blogger?

Beth: I was invited to be a writer for the Sunsphere is not a Wigshop blog not too long after I graduated. It was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me. I wasn’t a big blog reader, but I loved writing and I eventually started writing way more than the other writers. There were seven other writers but I felt like I was the most active. We even won Best of Knoxville for two years. Our perspective for that blog was to pretend that we were tourists in Knoxville and that made me love Knoxville even more because I could look at it from the standpoint of what is new here, what have I not seen, and what can I go find out and share with other people. Then I started my own blog, WithBearHands, which now is a blog mostly about what I am creating right now. I really want to use my blog to promote art in Knoxville.

KG: A lot of artists have poor web presence but yours is pretty impressive. Do you have any formal training in web design?

Beth: I have a great friend named Luke who built my website in college. He is a genius. He taught me how to update it myself using code and really set me up for success. I also learned a lot from just being on etsy. The reason I started my own blog was that people on etsy have their blog and then move to Facebook. Anyone can do etsy and blogs but it just takes time.

KG: You also helped to start in the 17th Street Studios at Redeemer Church. Tell us about that.

Beth: I go to church at Redeemer Church in Fort Sanders and they weren’t using the second story of this wing of the church. Pastor Eddie Young, who does a lot with young people, said he didn’t know what to do with the space and I suggested artist studios. So in May 2010 I wrote a proposal with two other people and we submitted to the church and now we have about 13 artists working up there. It is really cool. Each artist has their own studio and there are common spaces too. Artists just apply to me, then there is an interview process, and it’s only $40 to $50 a month. But there is not any heat or air or running water on the floor. It’s kind of basic, but it is a great space to work.

KG: I started Knoxville Girl to introduce the un-sung heroes who do so much to make this community great. Do you ever do any volunteer work or donate your talents, art or time?

Beth: Recently I started in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and I just got matched so in a couple of months I will have my new Little Sister who is in sixth grade. I wanted to do it because I needed a challenge and this will definitely be a challenge! In college I did a lot of volunteer work but I mostly jumped from organization to organization. I even organized a play group at KARM. But my favorite experience was after I studied abroad I came back and decided to give rides to international students. It had been so awesome when people gave us rides over there. So I decided to do it at UT. My friend said it’d be creepy but I made flyers and put them up all over campus and I said if you are an international student I will give you a ride anywhere, just call me. I tried to organize other drivers but it ended up just being me. So I would take students to get their driver’s license or to the store and they started inviting me to parties and giving me gifts from their countries. And I still keep in touch with some of them from China and Macedonia and Romania… all over the world. I’ve never seen more appreciative people.

After college I started working for Knox Heritage as a volunteer. I was living in Maplehurst at the time and the buildings were falling apart and it just led me to Knox Heritage. They eventually hired me as their administrative assistant and then they hired me full-time to work in their salvage program, which was a dream come true because I love working with my hands and working with materials. I realized that so much of that needed to be recycled because people may not necessarily see the value in them so I started making artwork using materials from the salvage. I curate the “Salvage Show” for Knox Heritage, which has happened twice now. About 20 Knoxville artists make furniture and art out of the salvaged and donated materials and proceeds are shared by the artist and Knox Heritage.

KG: Knoxville has so much going on all of the time. What are some of your favorite things to do in Knoxville?

Beth: I’ve really started doing a lot of new things lately. The other night I went with a couple of friends to the Bearden Beer Market and we did their 5K where you run with a group of people then you drink beer afterwards. It was hard but I would love to keep doing it. I also have a friend who coordinates square dances at The Laurel Theater and it is so much fun. Of course I also still do First Fridays but right now I am in my studio a lot. Plus I love music but as an artist I am on a very limited budget so I love that Knoxville has so many amazing free art and cultural things to do. Basically, if it is free and cultural, I am there. Especially if there is beer! But really, anymore, I am up for whatever.

KG: This ought to be fun. Tell a little-known fact about you.

Beth: A little known fact about me is that I had open heart surgery in high school. But on a lighter note, I like some of Michael Bolton songs. The video for “Said I loved you... but I lied” has fire, flames and stallions, and a lady on the beach. I do like some cheesy music like that. That should be embarrassing enough.

KG: What would you like to see happen in Knoxville over the next five years?

Beth: I think the Knoxville art scene is on a good path, but we have not arrived. It needs a lot of work and the only way that will happen is if good artists can find the means to stay and work here. I stayed in Knoxville to help with that any way I can. I want to see higher standards of art and venues that display art in Knoxville and want to see more people in Knoxville buy artwork.

KG: Where can readers learn more about your art and upcoming projects?

Beth: I have a booth at the new Nostalgia on McCalla and I will have a show at Bliss Home in July, but mostly I am in my studio doing a lot of custom work so I don’t have a lot of shows planned right now. I also have a picture hanging in Bistro at the Bijou or you can also go visit Chyna Brackeen or Peggy Hambright. They have some of my art. But the very best way to visit my Facebook or blog WithBearHands or visit

KG: There are so many inspirational women in this town making a difference and changing peoples’ lives for the better. Who would you say is your “Knoxville Girl”?

Beth: Peg Hambright who owns Magpies Bakery. She is a baker and artist but she is an awesome business woman too. She does so well in communicating her product, her color-schemes, her designs, and how they sell themselves; she just does such a great job. She really inspires me.

First Friday in Knoxville

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If you are a reader of this blog who doesn't live in Knoxville, I'd like to fill you in on one of my favorite things to do here: First Friday. 

Every first Friday of the month, businesses and galleries in downtown Knoxville hold art art openings and receptions. It's the kind of area-wide event that I can go to with people or alone because I know there's lots to see, eat, and drink, and I'll always run into people I know- friends, acquaintances, artists, and former professors. I love it. 

Nostalgia on McCalla

Most of the time, places are packed, but in the colder months, crowds are more sparse, so I was grateful this past First Friday to see a lot of life and zeal.

I went to my first First Friday at Nostalgia on McCalla, where I have a booth, and was incredibly impressed. While they may not have an official artist on display there each month, their intention is to showcase the vendors all ready there... and to have a really great time.

The incredible spread at Nostalgia on McCalla

I've shown artwork for years in multiple places all over Knoxville for First Friday. Some venues have been great, others, not so much. 

I do understand how it could be easy to burn out by hosting First Friday each month. First you're dealing with artists (I know how difficult this can be because I am one and have also dealt with many). Second, you are putting on a party for hundreds of people, providing them with food and wine.

I've noticed a lot of places over time won't hold First Friday each month, or they provide less food and/or no alcohol. It's understandable, but in some ways works since I feel like the night should be about artwork and not how many meatballs and cheese cubes you can fit in your stomach.

Booth at Nostalgia on McCalla

With that said, I was amazed by the food and drink selection at Nostalgia. They came out with their boxing gloves on, and I did not hesitate to reap the benefits of the bounty of free meatballs and beverages.

Each First Friday at Nostalgia will be put on by different vendors, so hopefully that will prevent burnout. (I'm afraid whenever it's my time to host, people may be disappointed to see a huge bowl of Goldfish and boxed wine.)

Ridiculous amount of beverages to enjoy

One of my favorite stops during First Friday is the Fluorescent Gallery on Central. Here are a couple of photos from the show last Friday.

Fluorescent Gallery

The work on display was by Knoxville artists Carri Jobe, John Bissonette, and Herb Rieth. I really like their work.

I love Fluorescent because, while not all art displayed in Knoxville hits a high standard, Fluorescent is at the very least conscientious of art relevant to today. It's off the beaten path, so the downfall is that it won't teach anything to mainstream Knoxville about art, but at least those informed make the point to go there. It's a breath of fresh air here in Knoxville, Tennessee.

I'll end with this photo of my friend Austin and me at Nostalgia. They had a "photo booth" with a leprechaun. No lie, when I told him he was a little creepy, he said in an Irish accent, "I'll see you later... in your house!"

Here's to fun and bizarre First Friday memories.