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Chicken Aviary: In 2009 Salomon started raising chickens, and over the years she and her husband have added on to their henhouse, creating a nesting room and a fence. They now keep 17 chickens in a variety of breeds on their Providence Forge property.
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Blue Sofa: Along with the darkroom in her basement studio, Salomon’s workspace includes work tables, flat files, office space and a cozy reading corner with bookshelves and a blue leather sofa.
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The View: Salomon’s log home overlooks a Chickahominy River marsh. She and her husband chose minimal window treatments in order to fully embrace the view of the great outdoors.
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Collage: One of her favorite gifts from her sister is a collage from the famous Czech animator Jan Švankmajer, which references Italian Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo.
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Get Pickled: “I come from a pickle-eating people,” says Salomon, whose family is Eastern European. She preserves hot peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes.
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Printed Goods: Salomon discovered screen printing at Penland School of Crafts a few years ago. She started teaching herself the process and creates home textiles and paper goods at Studio Two Three.
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24 Art Thefts: Salomon purchased artist Norman B. Colp’s “24 Art Thefts” from Sydney and Frances Lewis after eyeing pieces of the collection when visiting their art curator, Jay Barrows.
Sitting on the edge of a Chickahominy River marsh just outside Providence Forge, photographer Alyssa Salomon’s log home offers a unique perspective of the natural world. The home’s big picture windows are a lens, allowing her to view the environment around her, from birds perching on the cypress trees to her flock of chickens roosting in the aviary.
She and her radio host husband, Bill Lupoletti, purchased the log home in 2007, leaving behind Richmond’s North Side for a more serene life. After moving in, they made slight cosmetic changes to the 1990s home, swapping out light fixtures and fans, and tearing out dated white carpeting and replacing it with contemporary ceramic tile reminiscent of slate.
In their home, she and Lupoletti also tend to their work. In the basement is Salomon’s photography darkroom, enveloped in orange acrylic exterior walls. And, on the first floor, Lupoletti, a founder of WRIR and host of the radio station’s “Global A Go-Go,” produces his weekly show.
“The reason why we wanted to move out here is because I wanted a place where my soul and consciousness could expand out — in a perceptual way,” Salomon says. “I wanted to open up myself to what was around me. There is nothing better than what is going on outside.”
Currently, Salomon is working on a photography exhibition in collaboration with Anne Wright, director of environmental outreach education at the Virginia Commonwealth University Rice Rivers Center. The exhibit, “ANIMAL LAND,” will run during May and June at Candela Books + Gallery. Using digital night-vision infrared cameras set up along the James River Park System and near Salomon’s home, they have captured the watershed’s wildlife diversity — otters, raccoons and mink, to name a few. Salomon prints the images using 19th-century photographic processes.
“ANIMAL LAND” is a continuation of Salomon’s dialogue about the crossroads of society and the natural world. Last year, she exhibited “A Chicken in Every Plot” at the Valentine museum, which examined topics such as industrialization and gender roles through the simple backyard chicken. The exhibition included Salomon’s photographs of hens along with items such as vintage postcards and historic photographs.
While Salomon is active in fine arts and photography, she also produces screen-printed home textiles and paper goods through her company, Blue Skies Workroom. “It’s been delightful to make things that are immediate,” she says. “The process of making fine art is big, and long-term, and the materials I use are very precious. You move slowly through it with lots of expertise and intention, but with screen printing it’s immediate — and it can be hot pink!”