My Kind of Outing – The Torpedo Factory

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Last weekend I had a few hours to spare and decided to stop off at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia. My interest in this place was two-fold. My grandmother worked here during WWII and I had heard it had been turned into an artist’s showcase.

In fact, their website promoted, “Art in Person and in Progress – As the largest collection of working artist studios in the United States, we encourage you to experience art in person and in progress. Our goal is ignite your creative spirit by connecting you directly to our community of professional artists. Feel free to ask questions, look around and purchase original art to take home!”

There is a lot of great information on their website, too.

Sounds like a great way to spend an afternoon, right?

I found Alexandria to be a wonderful town and very accommodating to tourism. In fact they had a bus that took you from the Metro to the various hot spots near the river…free of charge. The Torpedo Factory building itself is right on the river and as you walk in the door there was not surprisingly, a great big torpedo. The first floor had a small exhibit of the original torpedo factory which I found to be a bit disappointing though its main purpose now is for the art…and that was fantastic!

Each artist and in some cases group of artist had a space for a small gallery and in the back of the gallery was a space for each artist to work on their new creations. What a fantastic idea – being able to create and promote ones creations at the same time. Every form of art was on display from textiles to photography and metal works, with three levels there was much to see.

At the end of the hall on the first floor I met Christopher Erney a mixed media artist…and a very good one at that. I particularly liked his metal work some of which can see in the slide show above. Christopher is the President elect of the Torpedo Factory Artists Association and this year a lot of expansion is planned for the area including a project he has recently started in which he is creating a mobile torpedo to be used in parades and such to help promote the factory. I really enjoyed talking with Christopher and love to see it when an artist is good enough to live off of his creativity. It wasn’t hard to find links to his work all over the web. If you click here and here you’ll get an idea of what I am talking about.

Another artist I met was Carol Talkov who creates 3D mosaics among other things. I was really impressed watching her work with stone as she hand cut each piece. There seemed to be a zen like quality about her as she worked…truly a labor of love. She was lucky enough to sublet this studio for the year. Apparently it’s not easy getting into the Torpedo Factory which is why you will see some artists sharing space with others. I found a great article about Carol here and on her website here you can read about where she studied here craft. I am so jealous!

Well having spent way more time here than I intended, I have to leave for a dinner date…but I’ll be back again – for sure!