Rhetorical Factory Show July 2015!

All new show scheduled, opening July 10, 2015 at Rhetorical Factory!

So excited for summer!

And here’s why…. 2 months ago I had a sit down, that’s amazing, brainstorm-y idea to collaborate with one of my favorite local artists. Today I ordered 9 yards of fabric from Spoonflower for what will become the centerpieces of my July show “Getting Off the Wall” at Rhetorical Factory in West Asheville.

This locally powered shop focuses on upcycling clothes and innovative design. Bethany Adams, the designer and captain of the ship at the shop,  had an inspiring boots on the ground meeting with me yesterday. She and I have had wonderful success in the past collaborating on projects (if you’ve ever seen me in a CLicKs shirt) and I can’t wait to see what she creates with my images! The show will also include 20 original glass art tiles which I’ve been working on for most of this year.

Come see what we’ve been dreaming up. . . second Saturday, July 10, 2015.

Tangleheart Carousel – Glass Art Tile 6″x6″ with wood stand available at upcoming show July 2015 at Rhetorical Factory in West Asheville.

In Vision – New Work by C.L. Kunst

Mom had it right.

When I was born my mother named me Cynthia Lea, which is an elegant and regal sounding set of names that I am only just now beginning to embrace. Now Lea is easy. Lea means shelter. Lea is an integral part of my Grandmother’s and my oldest daughter’s first name. But that uppity sounding first bit always seemed so far out of my reach.  Originally a reference to a Greek baby name, it literally means of Cynthus, and refers to the location of the birth of the Greek Goddess Artemis and the personification of the first phase of the moon. But modern definitions are more liberal and include ideas that relate to the moon’s more ethereal qualities such as its role as a mirror and reflectors and light in dark places.

When I was growing up I remember feeling intimidated by the big ideas that went with this name. Was this really me? Did this have anything to do with who I was meant to be? I didn’t feel particularly shiny or reflective, much less somehow related to any phase of some classical Greek goddess.  Turns out the answer is yes!!! I get so excited by light! Shining it, flashing it, catching it, teaching it how to dance funny, little flickers in dark places, whatever, just bring on the light! And I don’t think this is an accident either. My birthday comes right in front of the Spring Equinox and the sweet annual return of milder temperatures and longer days. I definitely experience my own personal quickening around this time of year.

March is when the phone starts ringing for portrait sessions again and the art shows, festivals and events for the summer start getting lined up.  So far this year has already been a major hustle-bustle with a pop-up show at a Blind Pig dinner in early February and this week  where I get ready for my latest show at The Circle Asheville that opens Saturday from 3-6.  I’ll be offering a bunch of new work as well as a few old favorites in a new way. Glass!! I’ve gotten together with a local printmaker who helping me create some gorgeous glass art tiles to go along with my other prints and photo art this year. Of course Pop was invaluable and helped me out by making some really cool stands for each tile so you can plunk it in the nearest window and let the sun (or the moon) do all the work backlighting it! They also make really pretty votive shades with a tea candle put on the stand behind the tile for your bookshelf or dining table.

This new body of work represents a jumping off point for me. After making what I call Radiants  for over 10 years I realized that what I’ve really been doing was picking up little pieces of flotsam and jetsam with my camera; bits of visual ephemera that might not mean much now but someday I felt I might find the puzzle this fits into. This year is the year I realized the scope of the puzzle and began to reassemble the pieces into a picture that made sense to me. After looking outward for a very long time I’m beginning to find the worth in looking in. So that’s In Vision, new looks at old works and a re-”in vision”-ing of their purpose in my bigger image. Come see.

In Vision

Show poster at The Circle March 14 – April 10


January 11th

Here I am again,

January 11th.

Back where I began,

But not.

New year, new world

New ideas from old suggestions.

What have you got?


I’ve been collecting,

Curating all the lost little pieces.

The tiny moment glimpses.

Now the puzzle

Reveals another level.

And all the pieces line up

Waiting for their new beginning.

This is the year it all comes together.

This is the year I put myself in charge.

This is the year I choose the celebrations.

January 11th.

The day to begin again.

The Last LAAFF?!?

2014 – Is this the Last LAAFF for Lex Fest?

Hopefully not! Although is has been declared over and done and this year will be the “Last LAAFF” there will be metamorphosis to the project with a larger group of directors and organizations including the businesses along Lexington Avenue, the very source of the fest itself.  I believe LAAFF proved in the shadow of its final bow, that it is a festival Asheville wants. Even though I didn’t get to stay as long as I wanted to it was as much fun as ever! Particular favorites for me were The Water Temple, Bike Races with a Dunk Tank finish, Asian Teacher Factory and of course all of the great artists, performers and just folks that dress up and come out to LAAFF. The people watching is always par excellence and this year was no exception! Here are a few choice looks from the day. You can find more photos from LAAFF on my facebook page here.

[*And a note to the future organizers, please don't scrap a good thing because of one bad year. There's no such thing as a last LAAFF.]



Wednesday Night Blues with the 12 Bar All-Stars

My husband Cass and I have a long history of enjoying live music together, especially the blues. Before we had kids and responsibilities we were regulars at the Beale Street Blues Fest in Memphis and of course the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.  We’ve seen The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Buddy Guy at Red Rocks, Dr. John, Ray Charles (god rest his soul) and attended all sorts of little blues festivals up and down the Eastern seaboard, yeah, you could say we got around.

Asheville’s got plenty of blue skies, blue ridges, and even bluegrass but not a lot of blues. Happily, through a few strange twists of fate, Cass recently found himself with a chance to create a blues night at the Asheville Music Hall every Wednesday in May, so he’s running with it!! Come out to the Asheville Music Hall for the 12 Bar All-Stars, featuring Aaron “Woody” Wood, J.C. Lang, Marcel Anton, Chris Kew and Zach Alberto!! These guys had a lot of fun last week (check out their face book page for pics) and are fixing for more tonight! $5 cover after 9 so get there early!

Blues 12 Bar All Stars

Canie Creek Greenway Project

Canie Creek Greenway Project

Canie Creek GreenwayFriends and neighbors, I just found out a few weeks ago about a community project that is coalescing around a historic piece of property and I’m so excited!  This is an amazing opportunity to conserve a piece of  Asheville’s shrinking urban woodland areas and extend the Hominy Creek Greenway to West Asheville. A group of neighbors has already put together this excellent presentation regarding their proposal to gather community support to acquire the 32 acre tract of land, currently privately owned, leading along the creek valley from Smokey Park to Sand Hill Rd. There will be a brief summation of their presentation at the Malvern Hills Community Meeting on March 23rd with a more detailed presentation tentatively scheduled for early April.  This property, which Canie Creek twists and bends the length of, has historical significance in Asheville’s past as well as being a key location to bring nearly continuous access to the larger Asheville greenway system to residents in West Asheville.

A while back I dug into some history research for a friend which acquainted me with many of the stories and local lore surrounding the creation and growth of West Asheville in the late 1870′s through the 1930′s. While doing this research I found several references to the Sulphur Springs Hotels ( both Deaver’s & Carrier’s “The Belmont”), and an old photo  of the spring house where folks would go while staying at the hotels  to breathe the vapors and I guess drink the water as a curative (at least is wasn’t radium water).  Since I saw that photo my curiosity has been peaked to see if the spring house was still there. When I heard about the new greenway project I contacted the group for permission to visit the property and see for myself.

Buncombe County’s observation and brief history of the property references concrete ruins still existing from the Belmont Hotel that burned in 1892.  And so it is, the only standing piece left of that era,  just within earshot of the bustling whine of Smokey Park Hwy. Overgrown in ivy and crumbling in places, but still there and still leaking it’s potent drip into the basin of the floor. It was an echo of the structure I had seen in the photo but undeniably the same place.  This small spot of water, that smells faintly of eggs and rust, was a key part of the Asheville health craze which brought the likes of E. G. Carrier and G. Vanderbilt to this area in the first place. A significant piece of the puzzle to present day Asheville’s historical mystique. What would Asheville be now if these people had not sought the “curative restoration” that being here offers?

What an exciting opportunity we have as a community to step up and do the right thing and keep this property intact for the public to enjoy.  Instead of a small highway marker 1/2 a mile a way as a reminder of this time and place we can protect and maintain this green space so our community as a whole can appreciate it’s unique ‘curative’ properties and history.




Asheville Mardi Gras Parade 2014

Fun downtown at the Asheville Mardi Gras Parade!

Oh Asheville, I love to see you shake your furry, freaky, sparkly, happy selves down the middle of the street!  Gone are my February blues, chased away with bright colors like pink, purple  and orange, cheetah prints, amazing costumes and wide grins from this weekend’s parade revelers.   This year’s theme, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ seemed like a natural fit for a place like Asheville. There were every sort of beastie, creature and creative interpretation of the theme along with a lot of bead throwing and fun.  I just posted 75 photos on my Facebook Page  but here are a few of my favorites from the day:






The Indoor Pool

Today I got to wear a different photographic hat, making a property’s portrait instead of a person’s, shooting a vacation rental property for Evolve Vacation Rental Network that among other gorgeous amenities, has a heated  indoor pool room. Swoon!!! I’m already a greenhouse lover, if I could find a way to wedge a kiddie pool and a sprinkler into it I would. But this is a proper full size, you can swim in it, kids can play in it pool, and it’s in a great neighborhood so close to town!

This kind of job is both as easy and as hard as it sounds. Obviously, houses don’t smile so there’s no forced grimaces, nor can they change the light they are in or the season in which they are photographed so it’s always a challenge to find the best possible situation with even the most beautiful homes.  It’s important to look for the best with real estate photography as much as with any portrait photo shoot, but it really wasn’t a tough one to spot with this space.  The house itself is gracious, comfortable and meticulously decorated with lovely grounds, waterfall, koi pond and gated parking area. I can’t disclose the address but you can look for it in a week or two on Evolve’s Rental Network and check out all the glorious details for yourself. A definite recommendation for out of town friends who want to stay in a place that truly and uniquely captures Asheville’s flavor. . . with an indoor pool!!!

Evolve Vacation Rental

Local Flavor AVL

CLicKs joins brand new Local Flavor AVL app!

Local Flavor AVLHow many times have you seen a poster for a show you would have gone to but you didn’t know about it until it was too late? (Happened to me yesterday.) Or find out one of your favorite local stores just had a killer end of year sale and you missed it? Apparently there is now an app for that. The new Local Flavor AVL was created to keep you in the local loop with a simple, straight forward, easy to find layout your grandma could drive (assuming she has a smart phone).

From the website: “We created this for the people but selfishly we wanted this app, too. Who doesn’t want to know the latest Daily Deals and happenings in this awesome mountain town the second they unfold? With new boutiques and restaurants opening daily and our thriving musicians and artists showcasing in multiple venues and galleries we all deserve to be in the know. We are proud to announce that this information is now available in a neat little app called LocalFlavorAVL.”

The winners of Asheville’s 2013 Startup Weekend, an event which encourages entrepreneurship, business creation and new ideas, the creators of Local FLavors AVL came together and found an idea that was worthy of wheels on the ground.  As the app info and the network grow look for all your favorite local places to shop and eat, as well as fun things to do and see, and if it’s not listed yet send them a heads up so they can be included.

Local Flavor AVL  Local Flavor AVL


1.20.14 – 4square [IRL]

Foursqaure [IRL]

This is the closest I get to understanding Foursquare (the ball game, not the phone ap.).

15 minutes of spring and a teacher work day brought folks out by the dozens to the river greenway and Carrier Park on Monday.My girls taught me a new vocabulary and all about foursquare. There’s no shoe shiners, sky balls or cherry bombs, or baby bounces and then there are line call rulings that would make McEnroe blush. Oh my children! I think I know where they get it from. It took 10 whole minutes to go from ‘That’s OK Mom, we’ll teach you how”, to “Burn! That’s how it is!!” (Cass later made me apologize to the kids for behavior on deck, thanks ref.) Basically, if you’ve never played, it’s mini-golf volleyball pingpong with no net divided amongst four people, one bounce after serve which must be from King to Jester before play can advance to other partners. Oh yeah, I got this!

We had a blast playing in the sunshine for a minute surrounded by easily 200 other Ashevillians turning their noses to the sun all along the French Broad River bank for a glorious few moments before the arctic howl of January returned.





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