it's sale time

see our latest sale postcard in all it's homespun glory here (!) and check out the details of our totally fun sale. it's one day of crazy sale fun. hope to see you there!

I got lucky with this photo! I took it in chicago the summer of 2001. It was the only good thing to come out of dating that particular boyfriend!

sarah makes me smile

I don't remember how or when I met sarah cramer. I just remember being wowed by her from the very beginning of knowing her. sarah is one of those YOUNG people who you are constantly reminded how lucky you are to have in your life. the person you know who inspires you with her creativity and her hard work while she has a constant smile on her face. the positive, upbeat high energy (but not in an annoying, red bull kind of way) who makes you think, hell yeah, I CAN do more in my day! the naturally talented person who makes it all look so easy.


two years ago, one hot, sticky july morning I had sarah come to my home to document some time in my son's life. that day I was a wee bit hung over (ok, really hung over - bad mommy) and still sarah made the morning manageable despite my general discomfort around a camera and otherwise. that sealed the deal for me. you can make a hung over mother who hates cameras with an active 22 month old boy smile during a photo shoot, you're freakin' hired. for life.


fast forward to the TOTE+ART project. I knew I wanted her to participate because sarah would throw her genuine joie de vivre into making something special. sarah's art works for me because it transmits her ENTHUSIASM for her subject matter. she really celebrates her subjects in her use of color, the contextual clues she captures, and her framing. her love of people and animals shines in each print. and for TOTE+ART she's done it again. you're laughing with this little guy as he pulls on his rope. so. hard. and oops, over the edge and into the water. wait what just happened?


come see for yourself just how special sarah cramer can make the everyday.

proceeds from sarah's tote will benefit the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA

mike fitts stops me in my tracks

mike fitts was always 'that talented guy' as long as I can remember. when I first met him he was working at a local magazine as the creative type. then his paintings started to pop up in town. paintings that made you stop in your tracks because they were just so real. from across the room you'd think, did he tape that coffee cup to that canvas? oh and wait, what is that canvas? wait, it's metal! and it just continued over the years: the paintings got bigger, more amazing, and, um, more expensive that I now ask myself, why didn't I buy one way back when?


mike's work is about those simple, mundane items that we see every day. items that we take for granted until we see one of his reclaimed, scrap metal canvases with precise and intricate detailing of that spoon we used to stir our coffee this morning that has been in the cluttered drawer for how many years? oh right, that spoon! I love that spoon! why don't I think about spoon more often? he leaves out all other information about the context or environment and forces us to meditate on that to-go coffee cup. it's a great exercise in mindfulness. I'm not sure that's mike's point but it works for me. the scrap metal background only reinforces that this item is something you might easily cast out of your life. mike has a way of seeing things that I appreciate and need to be reminded of.


so it was a no brainer to ask mike to paint on a pool bag. actually it was just a little selfish. I was even brash enough to suggest what I would like to see on the side of a pool tote. note, he didn't paint what I had suggested, but I'm still hoping for next year.


in the meantime, let me present 'popsicles'. you want one, don't you?


mike fitt's 'popsicles' to benefit meals on wheels.

nancy bass rocks the tote

I asked nancy bass to participate in TOTE ART because I have always admired her work. there's a warm space in my heart for it. growing up in the country, with a cow pasture across the street from my high school and within view of all those hot and sweaty marching band practices, might have given me an appreciation of her subject matter and a natural affinity for those creatures she chooses to feature. But it's been nancy's recent color field backdrops that made me swoon.

in 2008 I purchased one of Nancy's small cow portraits at the second street gallery art auction. this sweet cow stares at me every day from her ornate gold gilt frame. nancy gives loving attention, detail and seriousness to these creatures which hardly get a second thought from most of us, unless we're trying to entertain small children during a looooong drive and then we find ourselves DESPERATE to SPOT A COW.

about a year ago I received a post card from nancy for an upcoming show and wow, did I say WOW. I think I did a little jig in my front hall as I sorted my mail. here were these little lambs, carefreely being little lambs, against these intense and precise textured stripes of color. (confession, I have a weakness for stripes as well as farm animals.) it was a one-two punch. I wrote nancy an email telling her just how much that card made my day.

fast forward to the TOTE ART project and there was no doubt that I was going to ask nancy to participate. I wanted to see how she would approach the canvas. would I love it? and yeah, I love it. it's amazing. the sweet cow is delicately placed on a field of neutral stripes, like nancy's lovingly organized the landscape and horizon into some clean and tidy stripes of color. sort of like the molecular gastronomist chef reimagining an orange into something that tastes and looks like an orange but is definitely NOT an orange. the image is modern and romantic all at the same time.

come see for yourself. in the store this week, june 13th. take her home thursday, june 16th.

nancy bass' work benefits the wildlife center of virginia


we're kicking off summer at scarpa on thursday, june 16th from 6-8 with our TOTE ART party and charitable auction. we say, bring on summer. bring on blistering hot days, sticky sunscreen, flip flops, and never-quite-dry bathing suits.

but in the midst of the typical and familiar, we thought there should be something special to weave into your summer arsenal of carryalls. something that made you smile as you flung your family's pool toys, towels, and floaties into the car at the end of a day at the pool. and TOTE ART was born.

we gave some of our favorite local artists a sturdy cotton canvas tote, perfect for your regular trips to the pool, and asked them to work their magic. the results are spectacular. we can't wait to share them with you.

see them on display at scarpa starting monday, june 13th. marvel at what an amazing artist can do with a tote and their imagination. then get your sharp pencil out and write a bid on that bid sheet knowing that your dollars, if you're lucky enough to win, will go to a deserving local charity.

the math is really simple.

1 simple tote bag + 3 amazing artists = 3 winning local charities.