Bulletin Board February/March 2016

DIAL IT UP  313 (60  x 48, oil) by Amy Fell, evokes the romance of the pay phone. Read more about the Novi artist’s works inside this section.


Deals aplenty await at Gorman’s new Three-Day Clearance Center

WHEN THE SPACE adjacent to Gorman’s Farmington Hills warehouse became available, the furniture retailer obtained it and opened Gorman’s Three-Day Clearance Center — a whole world of furnishings under one roof, at deeply discounted prices. 

“We’d been waiting for an opportunity like this since we opened the warehouse,” says company president Tom Lias. “On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, our customers can now take advantage of the best deals from our top 100 brands.” 

With everything from upholstered and leather chairs and sofas (including Power Motion and Stressless brands) to bedroom suites, dining room sets, office furniture, entertainment centers, mattresses, and one-of-a-kind pieces in this 12,000-foot, high-ceilinged, brightly lit shopping area, customers have a range of styles, items, and prices to choose from. And since the center is attached to Gorman’s warehouse, delivery is simple and quick. 

“One of our most popular and exciting product areas is our rug department,” says marketing coordinator Melissa Smith. “It’s filled with one-of-a-kind special rug purchases from many manufacturers, and sizes range from 3’x5’ to 9’x12’. There’s no wait for a rug’s delivery,” she adds. “You can take it right home. Here, we can even let customers keep the rug overnight to see how it works for them.” 

Customers at Gorman’s five store locations will also benefit from the opening of the clearance center, even if they never visit it. “Now that we can constantly be moving our fashion-forward pieces for discounting, we have more space on our showroom floors, too,” explains merchandising manager Sue Drake. “Our Novi and Lakeside stores now have room for our Intro Sofa Shops, and our Southfield store will showcase a Bernhardt Interiors boutique, while our Troy and Grand Rapids stores will continue to carry current and varied inventory, including Stickley.” gormans.com — Honey Murray


Shape Up

Form and function are important when it comes to wine glasses

A group of lucky wine lovers recently enjoyed a delightful evening with 10th-generation Riedel Crystal family member Georg Riedel, left, at The Reserve in Birmingham. Dozens of sippers joined the amicable Riedel, along with Plum Market’s Madeline Triffon (a master sommelier), for an enlightening session focused on glassware education. Riedel Crystal (established in 1756) has been producing glass in the heart of Europe for centuries. Patrons at the event sampled from various-sized glasses to determine which provides the best tasting experience. 

The bottom line? Content commands shape — meaning perfectly designed glassware enhances the aroma and the flavor of wine and similar beverages. As attendees inhaled various bouquets, swirled different textures in their mouths, guessed about flavors, and contemplated a variety of finishes, Riedel surprised them with his insights. “One glass is absolutely not ideal for all wines,” he declared. “You’ll be amazed at how a wine will display completely different characteristics in the glasses you have in front of you.” Indeed, one type of wine tasted different in each glass. The “night-cap” pour of Coca-Cola was especially intriguing, as Riedel challenged the audience to rate the effervescence of the beverage in different-shaped glasses. riedel.com — Megan Swoyer  


Coloring Panacea

IN A LOT OF SHOPS these days, you’ll find abundant displays of coloring books for adults, filled with detailed drawings of gardens, butterflies, cats, birds, animals, and traditional mandala designs.

Clarkston-based artist Richard Stocker, above left, has been ahead of the curve, creating and sharing his nature-inspired coloring pages and books since 1998 when his son, Santiago, was diagnosed at the age of 5 with leukemia and was confined to hospital cancer wards. When Santiago lost his battle with the disease, Stocker continued to visit and color with cancer patients and their families.“The first time I returned to the cancer ward with my pens and pages, I was coloring with the children and a mom asked if she could color. After spending a little time on her design, she said, ‘This is the first time in months I haven’t been focused on my worries!’ ” 

In the years since, Stocker and his partner, Cathy Shap (a teacher and writer), have been bringing communities of all kinds together through live and virtual coloring events.“Some of the groups are ‘forced communities,’ where people are confined,” Shap says. “(These) include  senior citizens; injured, sick, or traumatized patients; juvenile delinquents; and even corporate employees — people (who) need to de-stress, heal, problem-solve, and work or live together. The coloring helps people be more comfortable and more engaged, to have fun, and to find healing through using the mind, body, and designs that connect to nature. More parts of the brain light up, memory and creativity improve, and better life decisions can be made,” she says.

Stocker, whose work is shown at left, says, many people like to hang their works in homes or give it as gifts. “When we set down the pages and pens, people go for them like kids for cookies.”

Instead of cookie crumbs, the result is energy-infused, life-affirming art, and wellness. thecoloringwell.com — Honey Murray


Make the Call!

Give me a ring: old-school telephones evoke old-fashioned romance

WHEN UP-AND-COMING artist Amy Fell, of Novi, painted Should I? she really put her heart into it. “That painting (shown above, 20 x 16, oil) conveys wavering thoughts of making the call or not. “It really shares my mental process,” says the painter. “I’m always looking for signs to do what I really want to do — in that case, make the call.” The story behind the painting? When Fell was in her early 20s, she met a man with whom she was smitten. “I desperately wanted to call him. I obsessed and obsessed: Should I? I … opened endless fortune cookies until I finally found one that I interpreted as telling me to make the call. And so I did.” Adding to her phone-painting repertoire is a large work called 313 (shown on the cover of this section), depicting a black phone against a turquoise backdrop. She has also painted a vintage white princess phone. 

And then there are her fishing lures, cough drops, and other everyday objects. See them at amyfellart.com — Megan Swoyer


Detroit’s first popup ‘Culture Lab’ turns out intriguing accessories for the home

IT WAS STANDING room only — all the way out the door — when Culture Lab Detroit launched its popup shop at the Cass Corridor uber-artsy housewares boutique, Nora Detroit, in late October. After Nora emptied its shelves, in came the Green Space-themed popup, complete with local hay bales, oversized garden tools, and products made for greening Detroit.

The popup was designed by New York author, artist, event planner, and installation artist  David Stark, who calls Detroit the “new Berlin.” He, along with similarly pedigreed and internationally recognized luminaria attending the opening, collaborated with Detroit designers .

Detroit native and Birmingham resident Jane Schulak founded Culture Lab Detroit in 2013, in partnership with the Detroit Creative Corridor Center and the College for Creative Studies, as a means for perking ideas and conversations about improving the city. She has since brought many well-known experts into town, such as Alice Waters, founder of the sustainable food movement, and botanist/eco-engineer Patrick Blanc, inventor of the vertical garden, for this year’s dialog, “Greening the City: The Politics and Possibilities of Green Space.”

The Nora show achieved Schulak’s goal for the design component: jump-starting small, art-driven businesses so they can stand on their own. “We sold out of practically everything at the show,” she says, and at least two of the collaborations will continue.

The popup shop included a wide variety of products: Stark and Detroit ceramicist Victoria Ashley Shaheen created a series of pierced flower rests paired with glass cylinder vases for easy arrangements ($85 to $250); home accessories designer Kelly Behun and Cass Community Social Services’s Green Industries used recycled, dumped tires and other discarded auto parts parts to create re:TREAD macrame plant hangers ($175 to $1,200); and Italian architect Paola Navone and Andrew Ward, of Line Studio Detroit, made concrete April Planters inspired by Dabl’s African Bead Museum in Detroit (starting at $1,300). Brothers Fernando and Humberto Campana of Sao Paulo’s Estudio Campana and Todd Erickson of the College for Creative Studies, made a Detroit Vase adorned with Brazilian dolls electroplated in aluminum ($1,000), while artist/activist Sebastian Errazuriz and Samuel Arambula of TechShop Detroit created the Rock Lamp (see related story, $100). 

Until they run out, the limited-edition products are available online at noramodern.com.

Watch for news about the next Culture Lab symposium, “Walls,” later this year.
— Patty LaNoue Stearns


Home is Where the Heart is

A love for Detroit brings a writer back to her roots

WALKING DOWN EAST Canfield, heading toward Cass Avenue, the chill in the air reminded me it had been years since I happily jaunted down these streets with my sister,  a freshman at Wayne State University. I’d skip out of my junior classes at Allen Park High and ride down to Wayne with her in her turquoise ’64 Falcon Futura. 

Sometimes I’d sit in the back of her classes, where I could take in a lecture or sketch the panoply of students: hippies in fringe and ripped jeans, and preppies in Harris tweeds with suede elbow patches. On other excursions, I’d head to Gow’s Little Acre, an artsy gift shop, or the Detroit Institute of Arts, where I’d sketch visitors.

Thus began my undying love affair with Detroit, whose hard-edged streets, spectacular architecture, and the promise that something intriguing was just around the corner always held my attention. I never became an artist, but my writing career started right after high school and has lasted more than 45 years — and most of those were spent in Detroit. Then, sometime toward the end of the last century, my husband and I became discouraged with the city.  We had no streetlights. Crime was moving into our neighborhood. It was time to try something shiny and new. We moved to northern Michigan.

Beauty was the thing that drew us. And northern Michigan was all that and more. But deep in my heart, I pined away for this place. After 15 years, we realized that beauty alone can be boring, and so can seven months of snow every year. The thrill was gone, baby. 

Out on this, my first writing assignment  (see accompanying stories) after we moved back to the area, I felt lost. In 15 years, so much had changed. There were new shops, and different types of people walking up and down the streets. In an area that was forlorn when I left, the energy here could light up the town. As I walked up and down East Canfield from the parking lot, unable to find the address I was looking for, my feet began to hurt and my coat didn’t shield me from the sudden gusts of chilly evening air. I stopped a student and asked if he knew Nora, the shop where the Detroit Culture Lab was holding a popup opening.

“Sure. I’m walking that way. I’ll take you there,” he smiled. As we walked, he told me he was studying computer science at Wayne. I told him I just moved back to the area. I mentioned how cold the night had turned, and how I wore the wrong coat, and he offered me his parka until we got to my destination. In that moment, he wrapped me in the sweet warmth of Detroit. A great-big welcome home. And as I entered the Nora soiree, I joined about 300 cognoscenti who were streaming in and out, sipping Veuve Cliquot, and schmoozing with the big names of the international design world. Truly, it could only happen in Detroit. — Patty LaNoue Stearns