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Anna Weatherly

Anna Weatherly and her hand-painted porcelain: “If you think I am normal – I have news for you.” Anna, who enjoys a world-wide reputation as a designer of beautiful hand-painted porcelain, rather flippantly made this statement, and we were initially somewhat surprised. However, when we visited her house outside of Washington — “a house where no one lives but porcelain” — we admired her work and her many fascinating mementos. She began sketching her adventurous and peripatetic life, and we had to agree: her story can hardly be called normal. A young woman starting out from Australia travels to Kabul. There, she discovers beautiful antique English rifles and starts shipping them back to Australia for resale. After awhile, she finds out that the Afghan shippers have begun removing the beautiful mother-of-pearl inlays from the stocks and replacing them by ugly screwed-in plates. (She calls this the end of her gun-running career.) She then travels to India, and is bowled over by the vibrant colors and beautiful materials she finds. Encouraged by her State Department husband, Anna begins designing blouses and dresses, inspired Read More

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REGINA MIELE

It is a Sunday afternoon on a cold January day. Regina Miele, artist, has stopped by my apartment for a visit to discuss her upcoming show at Gallery Plan B on 14th Street, N.W. here in Washington, D.C. Opening on February 19th, the show simply titled, “Works by Regina Miele,” will run through March 23rd. Regina arrives in a preppy turtleneck sweater, jeans and a smart pair of walking boots. Her face is as fresh as the air outside, and her cheeks are pink from the cold wind whistling outside the window. Regina is pretty, with natural good looks and an inviting smile that draws you in. I remember the first time I met Regina last spring, when we began talking about working together on a number of projects. Since then, Regina has painted all of the watercolors that appear on my website. Today, I sense she is a bit uncomfortable about her visit; uncomfortable knowing that we will be talking about Regina, her work and her show. Digby, my constant therapist, cuddles up in her lap and settles in Read More

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Gold Leaf Studios

In a back alley near Dupont Circle sits one of Washington’s most unknown ateliers: a stucco carriage house built in 1903 by Evalyn Walsh McLean, mining heiress and former owner of the Hope Diamond. It’s hidden away, tucked behind buildings so that street noise recedes, and, for a moment, you feel as if you were in the Washington of another era. “How did you find this place?” I ask Bill Adair, who uses the building as headquarters for his artisanal work, Gold Leaf Studios. “I was just wandering around back here one day and I saw a ‘For Sale’ sign…” he shrugs. “It just happened.” Such is, it would seem, Bill’s humble way of attributing all of his success – “it just happened.” – when, in fact, Mr. Adair’s hard work and devotion to quality created the reputation he enjoys today, as the premier gilder in the US. Often called forth on jobs of great historical significance, Bill has worked everywhere from the White House to Rome; today, he’s meeting us before he has to head over to the National Read More

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Nick Greer’s antiques

It’s a long drive from DC to Purcellville, VA, especially if – as we did – you take the scenic route through Middleburg, passing Jackie Kennedy’s former estate and a back lane to the Mellon compound.  Out here, everything is greener, cooler, and a bit old-fashioned: a good portion of the ride is spent on one-lane roads.  With Digby ably navigating behind the wheel, we soon arrive at the sprawling complex that comprises Nick Greer’s antiques and woodworking business.  We’re immediately greeted by a jovial Mr. Greer, three of his half-domesticated turkeys, a number of chickens, and a pair of recently-molted peacocks. “I’m very interested in bird psychology,” he tells me, pointing out which of the male turkeys is the dominant one.  After that, we head over to the chicken coop, where he shows me very pale blue eggs, which he used to sell in California to confused consumers.  When I ask what he does with so many eggs now, he shrugs.  “I have fifteen people working for me.  Someone’s always hungry.  And I bring them to parties – instead Read More