The Buffalo Girl Art Auction…. second round of introductions!

In our last blog, we introduced you to the what, where, n’ why of the Buffalo Girl Art Auction, as well as the first couple of whos (Linda Ingraham! Jordan Alexander Thomas!) with the promise of more unveilings to follow. Well, here we be, flinging off the shroud of mystery from these next two artworks. (And if you’ve already decided you need tickets to the Dinner & Auction event– get ’em here.)



We’re pretty sure you know who Paul is. Chances are, you’ve bought one of his mesquite French-style rolling pins at Practical Art (probably under Karen’s recommendation); in fact, I’d wager that you not only have bought one for yourself, but you’ve also bought one for a friend. It turns out that, along with kitchen implements that can take a little man-handling, Paul Porter creates beautifully delicate hollow-form wood vessels– showcasing the versatility of both the material and the artist. Paul’s been with us all six years, and it’s a treat to have this opportunity to feature a piece that generally falls a little outside of our stringent ‘practical for everyday use’ guidelines. This piece falls more so within a ‘beautiful for everyday appreciation’ realm.  Paul will also be conducting a wood-turning demo for our Six Year Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, April 19th. If you wind up as the proud owner of this melon-sized vessel on the 10th, you should certainly come by on the 19th to see how tricky it is to get a carving tool inside that tiny opening!


We thought we might pair a mesquite vessel with another piece celebrating the beauty of nature. Local photographer Randy Efros served on the Contemporary Forum board with Jane, and he has remained a long-time friend of the shop. Lisa’s particularly a fan as they share a love not only of traditional darkroom black and white photography, but also of the notable photography scene here in Phoenix, supported by such hubs as the Phoenix Art Museum’s photography support organization InFocus.   Randy began his career as a Fine Arts Photographer over thirty-five years ago; his early talent brought him the attention and friendship of America’s photographic family, the Weston’s. For over thirty years he has worked closely with Edward Weston’s children and grandchildren, and has accrued, in both color and black & white, a large body of work best termed “abstract”, which has resulted in over forty-five one-man shows and 15 portfolios. He has donated this exquisitely detailed, matted, botanical print, as well as a copy of his catalogue, “Hawaii Leaves”. You folks may just have some in-house competition on this piece at the auction.

Stay tuned for the next releases, and make sure to get your tickets ahead of time! Food trucks, drinks, the auction, a celebration of the lady that brought this community together in such a magnificent way? Check, check, check, quadruple check. We’ll see you at the Buffalo Girl Dinner & Auction.



Photo Essay: A Studio Visit with Practical Art artisan Jim Rogers of Phoenix, AZ

First, it was simple square boxes crafted from beautiful, exotic woods; trimmed with other, beautiful, exotic woods. Then, there were square boxes with large blocks of abstract inlay. Then, theeennnnn, came the exquisite pencil cases whose sliding top panel featured floral vignette inlays crafted from naturally-colorful woods. The intricate detail in these were enhanced with a subtle shading achieved by slightly singeing the wood.

And just when we thought local woodworker Jim Rogers had reached a pinnacle, he gave us a view of greater heights. Imagine more complex, more lusciously-detailed botanical inlays spilling off the top, interacting with the form, and illustrating not only nature’s beauty, but man’s ability to interpret it. In fact, you don’t have to imagine anything– see it with your own eyes in this photo essay.













What a beauty; the golden tone of that satinwood really glimmers. Indeed, the whole box is a testament to careful selection and experienced craftsmanship. See this piece in person or on our web store (while it’s here!) and others in Jim’s hinged box collection.

Photo Essay: A Studio Visit with Practical Art artisan Greg Corman of Tucson, AZ

Sorry, bees, this one’s for us.


Tucson artist and landscape designer Greg Corman has gained quite a bit of popularity here in Phoenix as the architect of supremely artful ‘bee habitats‘– but never fear, he’s also interested  in helping out with the artfulness of our human homes. The new work installed at Practical Art for our December exhibition “Artifact” is a solo show of Corman’s work, and year round, we display a collection of his functional pieces: benches, key hooks, bee habitats (of course), centerpiece vessels, and items like this elegant and handsome jewelry holder made of Desert Ironwood.

photo (27)

His passion is creating sculpture, outdoor furniture, and other objects from salvaged wood and steel and found objects, which often means that his raw materials need a little (read: a lot) of help becoming the beautiful components he knows they can be. His pieces highlight the natural textures and patinas of the materials he uses, and he’s invited us all into his studio for a glimpse at the process.


corman story-03










Greg’s experience includes thirty years of horticultural and design work, mostly in desert areas of Australia, the Middle East, and the Southwestern US. Greg is recognized as a regional expert on native plants and teaches docents, master gardeners, and the public on many horticultural and design topics. He has BS and MS degrees in Agriculture from the University of Arizona and the University of Maryland, respectively.

photo (26)

If you want to see examples of the breadth and depth of his work, tonight’s “Share of the Pie: Charity Pie Night” is a nice opportunity to swing by the shop, see and feel the work in person, and, well, eat pie! We’ll be swingin’ from 7-9pm for Pie Night, and the “Artifact” exhibition will be up for the remainder of December.