New Sign!

The Chicken House now has a brand new old sign!  With weathered boards carefully chosen by Ruth Anderson for their character and natural beauty, Ray Pague hand- lettered the signs with the words ‘Fine Art & Skilled Craft’, advertising the purpose of the Chicken House Studios

“The sign turned out beautifully,” says owner Ruth Anderson. “I wanted a handmade, unique and natural sign which is in keeping with the ambience of the building.  This is what the Chicken House – a natural place where creative people can work quietly and display their items for sale.”

Reference Library Now Available

Have you ever wanted to learn how to do leatherwork? Macrame? Tie-dye or make your own paper?  We now have a resource library available to those wishing to learn a new craft or art technique.

Collected over many years, the knowledge represented in the library reflects almost every type of craft imaginable. So call Ruth at 749-9718 to arrrange a time to come visit, enjoy a cup of tea in the studio and learn a new hobby!

Spring Cleaning

We’ve been busy cleaning out the upstairs space and, with great satisfaction, bid farewell to a full dump truck load of items. Somehow, over the years, a vast and varied accumulation of “treasures” had found their way into the Chicken House and came to a final resting space in the large, open-raftered western end of the building. Items left by former renters, “temporary” storage of stuff from friends-of-friends and an inexpicable conglomeration of junk. We tried to find uses for every possible halfway-usable thing – trying to recycle as much as possible and re-purpose anything which might have one more reincarnation.

A ton of goods destined for the big trash heap in the ground

Conversations went like this:

“What do you think about that old futon? Hate to just throw it away”

“Yes, but it’s filthy,”

“Yes, but they are expensive and someone could have it cleaned and re-cover it.”

“Where did that thing even come from?”

“We could pitch it over the hillside and add to the biomass instead of adding to the landfill.”

“It would take forever to break down and in the meantime it would be hard to take it far enough into the bushes to hide it.”

“Yeah, just hate to throw it away…”

“But who would possibly want that disgusting thing – except here is another gem of a book they could read while lying on it, particularly as they rested down in the bushes over the hillside – here we have How to Become an Expert at Backgammon in Under Ten Hours. Oh! Or Principals of Sociology from 1974.”

Out goes the old couch

There were several boxes of books that had gathered dust over the years – much discussion ensued over what could possibly be done with them. Very difficult to discard Victoria Principal’s Fitness Tips from 1983 – someone could surely use that – she was particularly attractive with big hair, leotard and striped leg warmers.  And surely a hot item on Ebay would be an agronomy text book from 1967.

Sadly, but with resolution, we pitched the ancient sofa with the broken arm, the multitude of broken plastic buckets, pieces of old carpet and the numerous coathangers, broken jars, cardboard boxes, ripped magazines, old adding machines and styrofoam in various shapes and sizes.

Wait...could that rug still be usable?....

 A custom made space can now be created for an artist, weaver, beadworker, carver or perhaps a writer who needs a private, dedicated space to work.  Contact us if you are interested.


Tree Work

We have done some work on the Chicken House recently – as with any older building, there is always some project which needs to be done.  Felix Reyes and his helper, Renato, cut the stinkweed trees which had grown up on the lower hillside, obstructing the view of the mountains.

Removing the top from the dead locust

We also hired John Morgan from Tuxedo to remove the large dead locust which was next to the west side of the building and which was leaning precariously towards the roof.  Felix then used some of the larger branches to create posts to line the back driveway.

We revere trees and protect each one – particularly native species and those which have significant age or provide shade, stabilize soil or perform  other valuable functions.

John Morgan from Tuxedo, NC, with helpers, removing the dead locust tree

We also protect those trees which are simply beautiful (which they all are in some way). The Saluda Tree and Beautification Committee meets at the Chicken House regularly to discuss ways to protect Saluda’s trees.

However, we realize there are some trees which need to be removed.  Those which pose a hazard such as the dead locust leaning towards the building or any non-native species.  One of these, the stinkweed, or ailanthus altissima, is one of the most prevalent in the Saluda area. The non-native species are often invasive and can spread so extensively that they crowd out the native species which support native birds, insects and mammals.