The South often finds herself in the path of storms… just recently Hurricanes Florence and Michael came blowing through leaving a path of destruction- it’s heartbreaking, takes the wind out of your sails when the sun comes out and shines a bright spotlight on the damage. The first time we went to New Orleans after Katrina- we took a tour through storm ravaged parts of the city and visited a museum with an haunting installation hanging from the ceiling, made of recovered dirt streaked bottles and hand blown blue glass hands reaching down as a reminder of the many hands who reached into the flood waters and rescued survivors along with recovery of bodies and debris. After that season of terrible storms along the Gulf Coast it wasn’t unusual to see Storm Art…street vendors and fine artists who made things of beauty from parts of the wreckage, somberly beautiful reminders of terrible times, the will to survive and the determination to survive.
One, internationally acclaimed artist, Nall, who hails from Troy, Alabama created masterpieces from pieces of wood, bits of fine art gilded frames and beautiful prints collaged together in ways that evoked sad memories wrought into beauty. In 2016, while we were in Fairhope – a beautiful small town on Mobile Bay… strolling around the town we came upon an art gallery and wandered in to look around. Nall, himself was in residence- all alone with his tiny dogs.
We were enthralled by his art and his colorful eccentric personality as he spoke of his work and many other things with passion. Nall’s work was known to me- I had seen several pieces of his work hanging in the historic Grand Hotel on Point Clear nearby. I had admired it for years, never dreaming we would actually meet the man who created the Storm Art. Now, I’m absolutely no Nall, however, I was inspired to create something- anything from a storm and make my own version of Storm Art. Sure enough, inspiration struck when, a year or so ago- a small tree was uprooted by a storm, in our yard. The mud was washed away from the trunk and it was sawed off to about table height. Then the drying out process took several months.
With a small pot of silver and another of bronze glaze- I set out to make the uprooted stump into something useful and hopefully beautiful. A friend helped me find a lightweight tray to put on top- I loved this tray whether it worked or not. To tell you the truth, I wanted a thicker rim for the top and still hope to find one! While I’m not entirely satisfied now, when I do find the perfect top- this tray will be useful and beautiful. Still. In an effort to finish my tree stump project- I’ve temporarily attached the tray and the result delights me.
Nall would probably laugh out loud- oh, maybe not- he encourages budding artists with his workshops- such an incredible man. Yet, for now… my silvered tree trunk plant stand pleases me- with it’s jumbo fern…a touch of whimsy indoors which perks up the gray days and makes me have hope. Imagine. My Storm Art has become a plant stand!
I might not love the problems of storms… yet I can learn to love beauty born of trouble. Storm Art, if you will. Repurposing debris is an old art form…undertaken in the calm after a storm. Our hearts remain with those who are continuing to recover from recent storms and heartache.
Love y’all, Camellia
*You won’t want to miss seeing more art by Nall and reading more about him! You can find him at www.artistnall.com Amazing! We were inspired and honored to meet him!
*All photographs of Storm Art are obviously mine. A huge thanks to Nall, who gave me permission to take his photograph and the others in his studio- which in no way does justice to his fine art.