How I made the acquaintance of Lynette Miller is a typical Black Mountain story. I was at the counter reading an article about Lynette in Asheville Made Magazine when a friend walked into the shop.“Wow!” I exclaimed. “I love this woman’s work. These floor cloths are incredible, and they look a bit like this one I have here in the shop that I got from Betsy Hester.”
“Really?” my friend asked. “Pretty sure Lynette made yours! Well, Lynette is a friend of mine and lives right here in Black Mountain. She’s great! Would you like to meet her? We happen to be shopping together today and I’ll just run up the street and get her.”
Sure enough she dashed out of Chifferobe and came back just a few minutes later with Lynette. I liked Lynette right away.“You should see her studio!” our mutual friend said.
“I’d love to visit your studio!” I said, and Lynette extended an open invitation to come by.
A few days later I pulled up in front of the house Lynette shares with Sherry Brown and their two Huskies and was shepherded into the front door by the dogs who talked to me as they led me inside. “Come on in! We are the watch dogs, but we will show you where all the valuables are.”
Once inside I didn’t know where to look first. The house is a welcoming treasure trove of hand-picked folk art and comfortable cottage furniture. To say it was charming would be an understatement. It was a perfect example of the Hand Made home, because most everything was handmade, and the pieces were selected not because they matched the couch upholstery, but because Sherry and Lynette couldn’t live without them.
Lynette led me downstairs to her studio, a bright sunny space with big South-facing windows. A giant work table held a floor cloth she is working on, and others were spread out on the floor. Lynette uses real leaves to make her designs and my first impression was that of being in a forest with leaves scattered everywhere. The colors were woodsy and warm and featured trim in Arts and Crafts designs. Very satisfying!
Lynette explained the process of making a floor cloth. She starts with canvas, cuts it to size and hems it, and treats it with a gesso coating. Then she starts to layer on the design. It’s a time-consuming process as the cloth has to dry thoroughly between coats and conform to the flat surface on which it sits. She is working on a floor cloth someone ordered for her dining room, and the client had sent Lynette paint samples to be sure the cloth enhances the room. Each step of the way Lynette sends photos of the progress. The problem is that colors are not always true in a photo shot from a phone. When she received the recent images, the client called Lynette in a panic because she didn’t like the border color at all! Lynette luckily still had the paint chip and took a picture of the chip sitting on the border, and the client was happy. because they were the same, even though the color looked too bright in the photo.
On the back wall of the studio is a photo study that Lynette made in grad school. She studied photography and captured the various phases of what she saw as her mundane life in a gorgeous array of images, turning that life into art. A large photograph in the dining room was created by a friend and depicts a stylized angel.
Lynette and Sherry’s home is the kind of place where a visitor feels at home immediately. On a sideboard in the kitchen sits an array of handmade ceramic mugs unified by the shade of green I love. I can picture their guests snuggling up in one of their cushy chairs cradling a hot cup of coffee in a handmade green mug and not wanting to go back home. That’s the way I felt!