Thursday, September 27, 2012
Throughout the month of October, Signal Mountain Library is holding an exhibition titled “Pathways and Vistas” containing the works of Emma Bell Miles, an artist, poet, naturalist and former Signal Mountain resident.
Kay Gaston, author of Miles’ definitive biography, is opening the exhibit with a talk at the library Monday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. followed by a reception.
Librarian Karin Glendenning said this will be the first time these particular 18 works have been brought together. On loan from the Chattanooga History Center as well as the private collections of eight individuals, many of whom live on Signal Mountain, the works were gathered by exhibit organizer Anne Davis.
“This is a rare opportunity to see this work all together in one place by a wonderful artist who walked these same hills we walk today,” said Glendenning. “We’re so lucky to be able to have it here at the library, and we appreciate Anne for organizing it.”
An artist herself, Davis organized the exhibit because she is inspired by Miles and interested in her work, said Glendenning.
The exhibit includes works in watercolor, oil and pastel as well as ink drawings, some of which feature familiar Signal Mountain scenes such as Signal Point.
Miles lived on Walden’s Ridge near the McCoy property in tents with her husband and five children, said Glendenning. She wrote essays and articles to sell to help feed her family and was featured in many national publications such as Harper’s Bazaar.
“She was one of the earliest people to write essays about the forest and woods,” said Glendenning of Miles, who was inspired by Henry David Thoreau.
Miles finished “Our Southern Birds,” her book featuring sketches and information on the region’s feathered creatures, just before she died of tuberculosis at Hamilton County’s Pine Breeze facility in 1919. The library’s copy of the book as well as Miles’ “Spirit of the Mountain” book containing her observations on mountain life and Gaston’s biography will be available for viewing at the display.