The Rapp for April 2

‘Six Pack Revisited’ at R.H. Ballard

Remember the Six Pack Gallery? Many residents of Rappahannock County remember the excitement generated by the shows at the former gallery in Washington, and now art lovers have a chance to see their edgy art again. A “Six Pack Revisited” show will be up and running at Washington’s R.H. Ballard Gallery April 11 through May 3, with new work by Six Pack artists Janet Brome, Ann Currie, Jeanne Drevas, Pam Pittinger, Jim Ramsay, Christopher Stephens and Linda Tarry.

An opening reception is 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 11, with wine by Rappahannock Cellars and light fare.

The original Six Pack formed in 2007 when a gallery at the Packing Shed became available. The founding members were Brome, Drevas, Stephens, Tarry, Steve Kenny and Ann Georgia McCaffray. Although these artists were showing at Middle Street Gallery and other venues, they’d been looking for a space where could experiment, mount installations and display larger pieces. Also important was the fact that the folks at Cinema Paradiso, the adjacent video rental shop, would be there to take care of customers; the artists could stay in their studios and focus on making art. Installations included a room filled with pine needles suspended from the ceiling, and a life-sized jail cell, among others. Openings were well-attended. When Cinema Paradiso closed and the building was put up for sale, however, it became difficult to keep the gallery going. In 2010 the artists reluctantly left.

Six Pack lives on, but has no home. Meanwhile the artists have been showing their work individually, amassing new work, gathering to discuss art, and seeking opportunities to mount shows as a group. They are excited to be able to show new work and looking forward to seeing fellow artists, old friends and neighbors again.

For more, including a selection of Six Pack artwork, visit

Inn design, in print

The Inn at Little Washington’s chef and proprietor Patrick O’Connell announced this month the release of his first design book, “The Inn at Little Washington: A Magnificent Obsession” — a hefty, photo-filled book that tells the story of the Inn’s 36-year transformation from a rural garage to the sumptuous country-house hotel it is today.

“One will spend hours going through this book studying the small details and marveling the large picture,” writes Martha Stewart in her foreword. “And one will come to realize that the same fine honing of complex recipes to create simple, elegant, delicious meals that are served in the Inn’s dining rooms is the same fine honing of the elements of good taste that have gone into the making of one of America’s finest inns.”

The internationally acclaimed Inn opened as a single restaurant in 1978 and has expanded to include not only the original main building but what’s become a 26-acre village of cottages, guesthouses and gardens. Designed in collaboration with Joyce Conwy Evans, a London stage and set designer, the Inn has become a showcase of O’Connell life’s work. The book’s meticulous photographs are accompanied by Conway Evan’s watercolor renderings of the inn’s luxury guest rooms, stunning bathrooms, exquisite tabletop vignettes, floral arrangements and displays of art that will inspire home design enthusiasts and professional decorators alike.

‘Simple Steps to Reverse Illness’ author visits

As as part of Mountainside Physical Therapy’s day-long wellness workshop tomorrow (Friday, April 2) for those with such movement disorders as Parkinson’s disease and Muscular Dystrophy, Tara L. Gesling will be signing copies of her 2014 book, “The 180-Degree Wellness Revolution: Simple Steps to Prevent and Reverse Illness,” the positive outcome of her own wrenching true story. The signing will take place for an hour beginning at 2:45 p.m. at physical therapist Annie Williams’ center.

At age 29, Gesling, while walking to her barn, inexplicably lost balance, fell and injured her left leg — an injury that would dramatically worsen, landing her in a wheelchair in a year’s time with no firm diagnosis. Frustrated and perplexed, Gesling was ready to give up hope. Then one night she had a near-death experience: Her heart stopped. Like others who have survived a similar experience, she contends she floated upwards, hovering above her body. She says it was then she came to understand that it wasn’t her time yet and that she had unfinished work still to do.

The experience transformed Gesling into a new person emotionally, she says, and eventually physically. She became committed to getting well by ridding her body of the toxins she’d been ingesting all her life, detoxing by giving up all Western medications and replacing bad eating habits through a planned diet and nutritional changes. Indeed, some time later she had lost the 70 pounds she had gained following her fall.

Gesling started educating herself, eventually training as a health coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, studying with some of the world’s top health and wellness experts, including Deepak Chopra, a leader in the mind-body medicine field, and Walter Willett, chair of the nutrition department at Harvard.

“My education has equipped me with extensive knowledge in holistic nutrition, health coaching, and preventive health,” Gesling says. “Drawing on these skills and my knowledge of different dietary theories, I work with clients to help them make lifestyle changes that produce real and lasting results.”

During her studies, Gosling learned that “prior to the appearance of symptoms, changes take place in the body, and these changes result in symptoms.” She had been abusing her body for too long, she said, and it was, in short, rebelling — though unexplained symptoms and autoimmune diseases, not the least of which was Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, an extremely painful syndrome caused by her fall, for which there is no easy cure.

“My life would depend on my taking full responsibility for my health and well being,” Gosling said, a journey that would start during her next four and a half years enslaved by a wheelchair.

But there is a happy ending to her story. Years later, she was blessed to deliver a healthy baby girl. All of her diseases, including hypothyroidism and rheumatoid arthritis, slowly disappeared. She proved to herself that she could replace her old toxic ways and eating habits with healthier ones — essentially proving the adage “you are what you eat.”

For more information Gesling or Friday’s workshop, call MPT at 540-675-9390.

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