Yesterday, PJ and I visited the Passion Works Studio for the first time. He’s long wanted to stop by, learn more about the studio, and maybe buy something. They were having an art sale, so we decided to go.

passion flower Passion Works is a local studio that supports artistic collaboration between artists with and without developmental disabilities. They are best known for their passion flowers, pictured here. In fact, the Passion Flower is the official flower of Athens. It’s kind of amazing to see all of the passion flowers lined up throughout the studio. Not only is each flower unique, but there are different genres of passion flowers: painted ones, rust ones, and stainless steel ones, as well as large and small. We intended to buy one, but I was a little overwhelmed by the prospect of choosing one, so we ended up delaying that choice until a future visit.

Since this was a special sale, the studio was a) full of people and b) full of art. The art sale was distributed throughout the building, which was a great way to expose people like us to the full range of the studio’s activities and space. I liked that we were forced (in a good way) to move beyond the usual gift shop and into the other work spaces and conference rooms in order to see the various kinds of art that were on sale.

The NacklaceWhile we didn’t buy a flower, we did buy a painting, “The Necklace” (2003), by Carolyn Williams and Visiting Artist Mark Hackworth. This isn’t a great picture of the painting — we spent some time this morning trying to get a good picture, and this is the best of the bunch. I had to take it from a slightly side angle in order to avoid getting my own reflection in the glass. I also had to use a flash. But you can get the general idea of what it looks like.

The image is of overlapping yellow, green, and red rectangles which, by overlapping, create a purple rectangle. The green circles and lines have been exposed from underneath the purple area. There are also black lines and circles overlaying the purple patch, but they’re not as visible in this photo.

This was just one of a few paintings that I liked. We may go back next month and buy another one. This painting’s circles are typical of the passion works style (though this seems to be an earlier form of the circles that become more distinctive in more recent works). We also noticed that a lot of the paintings have cats, houses, or distinctive looking people. If we buy more, we’re especially interested in these repeated patterns and characteristic tropes. I also like the bright and vibrant color palettes that many of these paintings employ.

Carolyn Williams, the primary artist who painted the work we purchased, was the featured artist this past April. You can go to the featured artists page and scroll down to read about her and her work.

In addition to our painting, I bought a Kitty mug, which is an image that the studio is reproducing on mugs, cards, tiles, and paintings, and PJ bought a magnet.

Our motivation for buying the painting was two-fold. First, we’ve decided that we want to start buying art for our house. We recently went to a party at our colleague’s house and were incredibly jealous of her home. It’s probably about the same size and age as our house (it’s in the same neighborhood too) but she’s decorated it beautifully with lots of objects, furniture, and other art. We’ve been thinking for at least a year now that we want to start collecting local art, but neither of us had ever purchased anything before. I think we were both a little daunted by the prospect of spending more than $20 on something — everything we now have decorating our house came from Target (or the equivalent). But now that we’ve popped our art-buying cherry, so who knows what we’ll buy next! Athens has a lot of great local art to choose from; it’s going to be exciting scouting out our next purchase.

Second, Passion Works is such a positive presence in the local culture that we want to offer even just a little support for what they’re doing. Buying one painting isn’t much, but if it helps them continue their work even just a little, we’re glad that we are able to do so.