special to the times
As the Southern Tennessee Ladies’ Society starts their fifth year, they look back on how far they have come — membership at 200-plus, 28 scholarships and $59,500 later. Edith Nunley, who takes the realm of presidency for the next two years, has this to say about the organization, “As the club goes into our 5th year, we are established in the community and continue to grow. Our scholarships have grown and our fundraisers have been successful. I’m very optimistic about our future.”
Autumn Johnson from Nolensville, owner of Unique Arts and Antiques and Home of Driftwood Art & Studio, AujArt, was the guest speaker for the members attending the first meeting of the year. Autumn’s artistic passion goes back to when she was a child and is also a passion of her mother. For 20 years, she was a project manager for a construction firm building jails. Leaving the construction field and following her passion, she faced the competition of painting on canvas but discovered the possibilities of painting on driftwood. Her first experience was a driftwood piece picked up from Center Lake which became an eagle.
She gathers driftwood by walking the shoreline, carrying many pieces with her or stockpiling along the way. She jokes that she doesn’t need a gym membership!
The process includes cleaning with chisels and spraying for bugs, painting and sealing each project. Her first show at Bell Buckle sold out. She loves surrealism, visioning a double-headed bass, three-headed dragon or a two-headed snake.
Autumn comments, “Driftwood art is very different you can’t find anyone else in the U.S. that is doing this. My search has found two other people in the world that do this type of art. There is no piece ever alike and beats the heck out of building jails.”
She loves to create snakes; her reticulated python took 50 hours. She figured she earned $2 to $5, hence the statement, “Starving Artist”, she jokes.
You can visit her website aujart.com to see more of her fabulous driftwood pieces.
The STLS has two big fundraisers in the near future. Tuesday, Sept. 3, is the 4th Annual Preview Night of Tablescapes from 5 until 7 p.m. at the Franklin County Country Club. This event keeps growing, and there is no other event like this in the area. You are sure to enjoy viewing 15 themed, beautifully decorated dining tables created by our designing members. Admission is $5.00.
The other big event, Holiday Market, will be taking place Nov. 15 and 16 at the Franklin County Annex. If you are an artisan or vendor, please contact Sandy Laszewski at (615) 330-3811 or Leigh Butler at (615) 604-3058 for more information and booth availability.
Both events benefit the STLS Scholarship Foundation for Coffee, Franklin, Grundy, Lincoln and Moore counties.