Virginia People – Kathy Clay

October 12, 2015

If you’ve been to a production at Endstation Theatre Company, the Academy of Fine Arts, Wolfbane Productions, or Heritage High School, chances are you’ve seen a show that has Kathy Clay’s fingerprints on it.

From performing as Big Edie in Wolfbane Productions’ Grey Gardens, to choreographing Chicago at the Academy of Fine Arts, to directing See How They Run at Heritage High School, or playing Louise Seger in Endstation Theatre Company’s sold-out run of Always … Patsy Cline, Clay has starred in, choreographed, and directed some 15 live theatre productions all over Lynchburg.

Kathy Clay by LaShonda Delivuk as seen on Clutch 1

But unlike many in the theatre arts community who have called Lynchburg home for decades, Clay and her husband Dr. Lucius Clay, only relocated to Lynchburg in 2006. Clay grew up in Tenafly, New Jersey, just over the river from the Big Apple. She was raised on Broadway shows, ballet performances, and visits to museums in Manhattan. To her, world class culture was just a a part of life: “As a little kid I was spoiled in thinking that you should always expect excellence in performing arts.”

Clay remembers a specific performance she attended in middle school put on by high school students in which she realized she wanted to take part in the collaborative arts. “I remember sitting in my seat and thinking I could get up there right now and be better. That’s when I knew that this was something I always wanted to do. Not so much that I wanted to be a star on stage– I wanted, with my involvement, to make the thing better.” Clay began working in professional summer stock theatre at the age of 15.

Kathy Clay by LaShonda Delivuk as seen on Clutch 2

After a rewarding high school experience in an all girls boarding school, Clay opted to study at Hollins University in Roanoke, not far from VMI, where her father had studied. With easy access in New York to high-caliber acting training, Clay wanted to get a more well-rounded liberal arts education during her college years. Why study in southwest Virginia? “It’s a beautiful part of the world. And I had a real crush on southern writers,” Clay explained.

During the summer Clay returned to New Jersey and commuted into New York daily to work as the librarian archivist for the famed Actors Studio. The Actors Studio was founded by Elia Kazan, Cheryl Crawford, and Robert Lewis in 1947. The roots of the Actors Studio go back to the Group Theatre (1931-1941) whose work was inspired by the techniques of the great Russian actor and director Konstantin Stanislavski. Clay had numerous opportunities to do scene study with legends like Eli Wallach, Ellen Burnstyn, Martin Landau, and Lee Strasburg.

Kathy Clay by LaShonda Delivuk as seen on Clutch 3

For years Clay focused on raising her two children while continuing to train in acting, dancing and singing, and performing professionally every summer. Now that both kids are successfully “launched” adults, Clay enjoys focusing on performing, directing, traveling, and spending time with her father who recently relocated to nearby Westminster Canterbury.

Her favorite stage experience in Lynchburg is hard to determine. “Wolfbane’s Grey Gardens will always be a standout for me. I also loved directing Guys & Dolls and directing/choreographingLegally Blonde: The Musical at the Academy of Fine Arts. Working with Endstation Theatre Company four summers in a row was amazing. This summer I choreographed a production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in upstate New York, and I’m slated to direct/choreograph the musical I’ll Never Be Hungry Again! in early 2016 at Renaissance Theatre. It’s a spoof on Gone With the Wind, and I cannot wait to roll up my sleeves on that one! I also adore teaching college and high school students in town. It’s all good. It’s obviously the field I was meant to be immersed in, and I’m so grateful I’ve always got something ‘booked.’ I love being in the audience, too!”


*photos by LaShonda Delivuk as part of her Motivation Monday series*

Kathy Clay by LaShonda Delivuk as seen on Clutch 4


Estates Revisited

June 26, 2015

One of my favorite things to do is peruse estate stores and find once-loved things to add into my own home. Take a peek at a local store (with 2 locations!) that I adore to find some treasures of your own! ~Jennifer

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Selling an estate can be a daunting task, yet that is where the help of an expert can come in handy. Plus, as a shopper, finding items at a resale shop is both economical and exciting. Estates Revisited is the perfect place to sell – or find – just about anything, and with weekly estate pickups, their stock is constantly changing. “Our simple process helps people move, downsize, redecorate or settle a family estate. Anything that is in a home could be in one of our stores,” offered Estates Revisited co-owner Joanne Newcomb.

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“Estate” is a general term used for previously owned pieces, yet Newcomb describes it as “simply being loved by a family before you.” Putting vintage items to use is important. “Don’t be scared to make it your own. Eat cereal out of your grandmother’s china. Put a daffodil in that cut glass vase. Play a game of cards on a 100-year-old table. Precious things need to be loved,” she stated.

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Newcomb is not alone is this venture, which was opened in 2013 with co-owner Art Dodd. “I got started in the estate business 25 years ago when I went to work for Betty Davidson at Estate Specialists. I started out working part time, but when she opened a second location in 1997, I became its manager. Throughout this time, I also worked with Betty in the buying process, listing and buying estates in Lynchburg and the surrounding areas. When Betty retired and closed Estate Specialists in 2013, Joanne Newcomb and I decided to open our own business, Estates Revisited,” Dodd reflected. Since their opening, they moved their business from Commerce Street to its current location at 1301 Main Street in Lynchburg, and they recently opened a second store at 14521 Forest Road in Forest.

Whether you crave mid-century modern, 1800s primitives, or are looking to sell an estate visit their stores or find them on the web at

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We asked both Art and Joanne to share a little bit of their own personal reflections on their love of estate pieces.

What piqued your interest in vintage things?

·       Art – My grandparents and great-grandparents collected antique furniture of all types, primitive and formal, as well as accessory items, especially cut glass. My mother tells the story of being a child, and being in awe of all of the beautiful things in her grandparents’ parlor. It’s no surprise then that my mother inherited the “antiquing gene,” and then so did I.

·       Joanne – My family is from England. I spent a summer living with family in a very old pub (Shakespeare would drink beer under the trees in the garden). Driving country roads to walk through castles was so memorable. That is where my love of English Country Antiques grows from.

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Do you collect anything?

·       Art – books, local artwork and anything unusual

·       Joanne – butter pat dishes

What are your favorite things to get into the store?

·       Art – inlaid, handmade pieces made in Central Virginia and anything unique

·       Joanne – original artwork and midcentury refrigerator glass

What is the most unusual item you have come across?

·       Art – varied collection of taxidermy animals and a collection of antique, European paintings

·       Joanne – Gustav Stickley desk

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Top 5 Selling Items

·       Queen Sized Beds

·       Sterling Flatware Sets

·       Small Occasional Tables

·       Chests of Drawers

·       Primitive Farm Tables

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5 Things to Consider When Purchasing Estate Pieces

1.     Condition. Although if you love it, enjoy it… flaws and all.

2.     Finish. If something is 100 years old or older, do not refinish it, as it will diminish the value. If something is newer than 50 years old, most of the time it is harmless to refinish it (except for high end furniture).

3.     Stability. Chairs can be reglued easily, yet larger pieces are more difficult to fix, so be sure the piece is strong and sturdy.

4.     Fabric. Upholstered pieces can be recovered, and freshening up with new fabric usually won’t take away from the value of the piece.

5.     Style and Design. If it speaks to you, don’t pass it by as it might be gone by the time you decide. If you can’t get it out of your mind, buy it!

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Steps to Selling an Estate

·       Decide what is to be kept from the estate, for example photographs, paperwork, sentimental pieces and family heirlooms.

·       Contact Estates Revisited to make an appointment for them to view the items; there is no obligation or charge for this service.

·       Everything must be viewed and inventoried, so do not box up small items in the estate.

·       After the items are viewed, you will be contacted with an offer for the lot.

·       If you accept the offer, an appointment is scheduled for the estate to be picked up and paid for in full.

·       The items are then taken back to the shop, where they are priced and resold.

*photos by Sincerely, Liz: Photography*

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Grains of Sense – A Local Roastery

May 4, 2015

Tom Hayman is passionate about roasting coffees that, in his words, “are distinctly smooth and that are respectful to the farmer and the environment.”  In 2008, Tom started nurturing this passion when he began roasting coffee on his kitchen stovetop. What started as an experiment soon turned into sharing his passion with family and friends, and that passion gave birth to a roastery business: Grains of Sense.

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After receiving rave reviews from friends and family, Tom and his wife (and business partner) Kathryn began selling their coffee at the Staunton Farmer’s Market, which soon led to shops and restaurants in the area serving their brews. When looking for schooling options for their two sons, Tom and Kathryn relocated to Lynchburg, and started selling at the community market in 2013. When a permanent retail space in the market opened early in 2013, the Haymans decided  to take advantage of the opportunity. Grains of Sense is now open in the Lynchburg Community Market five days a week, with all roasting and production done on-site.

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Kathryn says, “[we] feel blessed to be a part of the Lynchburg Community.  In a short period of time, we have met many wonderful people who are friendly, helpful and caring…Lynchburg is a place that feels like home – which is what we hope to call Lynchburg for many years to come – home.”

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All of their coffees are Certified Fair Trade, Sustainably Grown and Certified Rain Forest Alliance. Kathryn has also developed a line of hand-blended, high quality teas that have received their own share of rave reviews. Grains of Sense also offers healthy meal options, serving local and homemade items. Next time you are at the Lynchburg Community Market, be sure to stop in and sample a little of everything – the Haymans’ passion is literally something you can taste.

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For more information visit them at the Lynchburg Community Market or online at

~ by Alisha Meador, photos by Andrea Caresse Photography

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Roanoke Artisan – Bridget Brydges

February 9, 2015

Bridget Brydges - Roanoke

Being eco-friendly is important, and many artisans are taking advantage of repurposing. One Roanoke Artisan shop – Gravy, inside of Black Dog Salvage – accomplishes just that.

Without any formal art training, wife and stay-at-home mom, Bridget Brydges started making frames from salvage wood. She began putting words on the frames, and then the ideas just blossomed from there.

“All of my pieces have words or quotes on them that are inspired by music, my sense of humor and the wood itself,” explained Bridget. “I love the whole process of what I do. From finding the wood and getting the idea to making it real with a little paper, tape and paint – it’s all so exciting. And then, knowing that people buy my work to put in their homes and look at every day – that’s the ‘gravy’ for me.”

As far as the future of Gravy, Bridget hopes to pick up sewing again (she has a great stash of vintage fabrics!) along with working on an Etsy site. Oh, and if you are wondering about the name, Bridget says, “The things I make and sell are all ‘gravy’. They’re the little extras that you don’t need, but you just want… and what’s better than that?” We agree! Visit Gravy’s booth inside of Black Dog Salvage in Roanoke or search “Gravy” on Facebook.

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As a lover of art and vintage, Jennifer Prince finds Black Dog Salvage the perfect place to while away an afternoon. Photos provided by Gravy.