Making Southern Makers

I can't begin to describe the fun I had helping with the inaugural Southern Makers event on May 4th. I worked with Southern Accents to turn the Train Shed in Montgomery into a magical, southern, recycled piece of art! We changed several areas from blah to FANTASTIC!

We needed to feed the attendees through one point. The Train Shed has several entrances, but we needed them to come through an entrance for ticket purchase, etc. We created a tunnel of sorts for them to walk through. Brad Bell of Bell + Bragg came to the store several weeks back and he and Ryan created the perfect entrance. Brad is a designer and architect and Ryan is the master craftsman. Together they created something amazing. The city of Montgomery liked it so much...they bought it!

As soon as you walk through the tunnel, the next thing in your view was the fencing around the dumpsters. I'm sure the city thought this was more attractive than the dumpsters, but we saw another vision. We wanted to create walls that exuded color and creativity. The fencing was 8 feet tall and we wanted to cover every inch of it!

We pulled letters, patterns, shutters, doors and created a chalkboard for the itinerary from door trim. We also used fun items like a bike and a scoreboard. We didn't have any rhyme or reason; just make it fit and cover all the spaces! It was lots of fun telling them to move this door, no bring that one here, wait, I like it better the other way! (wink) They were ready for me to move on to another project!

The stage was at the opposite end of the entrance and dumpsters. They were renting a generic stage and we needed to add some architectural salvage fluff. We cut bead board and barn wood to different lengths to cover the surround of the stage and used driftwood to give it a spooky feel. We used different pieces of driftwood for the front of the stage to add some depth and give it that feeling.

 The backdrop for the bands was possibly my favorite part. These windows were a project! All the glass had to be taken out so that the wind could flow through. Then we added eye hooks to each one so that when we got to the Train Shed, they would be able to connect them with chain. I love how it creates a wall, but shows the stained glass and the wall of doors behind them.

 I love this picture. I found this piece with dowels lined up on it at a local recycling place. We placed our infamous wood block calling cards on each dowel to draw attention to the auction area. The patina on this piece is fantastic. This was used in a window making factory to organize parts. It ended up looking like it's own piece of art!

 This wall of inspiration came from the ideas of "What I want to do before I die..." boards. You see them in several cities and you can walk up and add your wish with chalk. Since our event was all about making and inspirational artists, we decided that's what our wall would be, "What inspires you..." We had to build a stand for it, but it was in a central location and it turned into a beautiful piece of art!

 This was the workshop area. The plan was to have workshops throughout the day about farming and makers from around the state of Alabama. We tried to find a workbench that we could just bring with us, but finding one this long was impossible! We put Adam to work and he created this amazing front with lots of colored reclaimed wood. Adding a few stencils, a cash register and some other creative elements, it turned out to be somewhere I would LOVE to work everyday! The windows in the background have colored glass and are arched at the top. They were the perfect backdrop for learning and being creative! Pictured is Tasia Malakasis of Belle Chèvre goat cheese and her son.

A huge thanks to Brad Bell of Bell + Bragg for all of his creativity and hard work the whole day.

The biggest thanks goes out to all these guys. They worked so hard and created this beautiful set that will be talked about for long into the future! 

I enjoyed meeting other makers from around the state of Alabama and making new friends. We are all still talking about it and having withdrawals from one another. Can't wait until next year!

Huge thanks to Tiffany Bell at Matter, Andrea Jean and Abby Basinger at Goodwin, Mills and Cawood. These girls worked very hard and pulled off an amazing event! Also, Edwin Marty of E.A.T South for his huge influence in the collaboration to make this happen!

Photo credit to Michelle Marie Photography and Southern Makers staff. For all the details and lots more photos go to Southern Makers Facebook page. Can't wait for the next event!