Open Up Your Little Windows and Enjoy the View

Durham musicians Mark Weems and Julee Glaub named their traditional Irish and Appalachian band Little Windows after an Irish melody dating back to the 15th Century — a melody that still flows through the North Carolina Mountains to this day.

“The last verse is ‘and watch them Little Windows for the dawning of the day,’” Glaub says. “We wanted to play the role of icon, which is opening a little window into the mysteries and sacred world of traditional song. Little Window is a literal translation for an icon.

Not surprisingly, little windows to the Triangle are opening up locally and globally—physically and metaphorically. From businesses to blogs, local leaders and innovators are creating views to the good life here—and wiping them clean when smudges appear.

Carolina Closets Plus of Chapel Hill and Raleigh works to enhance customers’ views through physical windows. The company also takes pride in organizing little windows of space in customers’ homes. “Recently, we created a ‘solution for life,’ as our customer put it, when we designed shelving around a window in their small bonus room,” says Mike Hoffer, owner of Carolina Closets Plus in Chapel Hill and Raleigh. “Organizing a small unique space is like having a little window that shines light into a dark corner, making it appear much bigger. Our customers are elated when we come up with great storage solutions for their small windows of space.”

Little Windows That Move

Everywhere you go, people are peering into little windows on their mobile phones. Enterprising business leaders who don’t want their customers to miss a beat are creating mobile-friendly websites that pop up neatly within tiny mobile screens.

Kudos to Bikas Building of North Carolina LLC, which specializes in designing and constructing veterinary, medical and dental clinics, and is leading the way with its Mobile.bikasbuilding.com interface. This small-screen-friendly website offers instantaneous access to the company’s design and construction news, and owner Pete Bikas as well. You might read on your mobile screen, for example, that Bikas and his team just completed an office renovation for Maverick Partners and will soon finish two projects for Diversified Realty developers at Beaver Creek Commons in Apex.

Triangle TRACKS, a social network for local parents linking to nearly 2,000 resources for Triangle kids, offers an iPhone interface so members can keep up with the site’s latest activity when they’re on the go. This simplified iPhone version of Triangle TRACKS loads quickly and efficiently. To access it, members just add “/m” to the end of the URL, so instead of logging on to http://www.triangletracks.com, they simply type in http://www.triangletracks.com/m.
More than 40 million iPhones and iTouches are presently in use, so local businesses like Bikas Building of North Carolina LLC and Triangle TRACKS gain a competitive advantage by offering small-screen interfaces for mobile customers. Perhaps this is also why Twitter, which offers a little window of blog space with room for only 140 characters, has become so popular. The “tweeps” who use it are training themselves to “tweet” news and information using short, content-heavy microblogs—often via their mobile phone.

Little Windows of Art—and Opportunity

University Mall’s recent Scrapel Hill Art contest allowed local artists to forge little—and big—windows of art showcasing not only their creative abilities, but also the beauty of artistically arranging everyday, recycled items.

“One of our main goals was to provide our guests with an opportunity to experience the creativity of local artists,” says Ed Camp, a coordinator of the event. “We’ve been pleased to see how they have interacted with the art, and it’s always great to see them smile. We believe the experience has provided our community with an opportunity to see the amazing talent we have in the area.” You can view the winning entries, created by artists Paul and Ginger Bauer, in the photo accompanying this blog and at ScrapelHillArt.com. The Bauers’ clock creation is currently on display at Turning Point Gallery in Chapel Hill.

Speaking of Turning Point Gallery, the July artist shows there is a little window of opportunity when it comes to perfecting the glazing technique. Award-winning South Carolina potter/sculptor Bob Hasselle’s fine craftsmanship will be on display throughout July at Turning Point Gallery, beginning with an artist reception there Friday, July 10 from 6-9 p.m.

In the 1970s, Hasselle served as head of the sculpture department at the Cincinnati Art Academy, where he launched the ceramics program. His work has also been included in numerous private and public collections, such as the permanent collections of the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Huntington Museum in West Virginia.

Hasselle recently developed a unique process for pit firing. He traps vaporized chemicals and combustibles during the firing, and these settle on the pots to create unusual patterns on the burnished surfaces, resulting in one-of-a-kind creations every time. This little window of opportunity has enabled Hasselle to create signature masterpieces no one can replicate.

Vacuum Cleaner Hospital of Chapel Hill recently saw a little window of opportunity to help feed children in need who are enrolled at Ephesus Elementary’s summer school program, after receiving an email from the school’s PTA reporting that more than 70 percent of the summer school students there are on free or reduced (F&R) priced lunch. Due to changes in the F&R program, those 65 children will not be given breakfast. The school principal determined that for $500 to $600, the school could provide a small breakfast and morning snack of a cereal/granola bar, Go-gurt, a piece of fruit and a drink using already limited school funds. Vacuum Cleaner Hospital donated $100 to this cause, as well as $50 to purchase tickets for five of those children to attend the Shiner’s Circus in November.

Summerwindow2

Little windows will continue to open in the Triangle and beyond. Some offer incredible views; others lead to dark, empty alleys. Whether we choose to stick our heads through or close the shutters largely depends on how much we trust the view being offered. And that’s where good business practices and reliable information can make all the difference.

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