In conjunction with the National Arts and Crafts Conference held Friday, February 16, through Sunday, February 18, at The Omni Grove Park Inn, Grovewood Gallery will host craft demonstrations by local artists Brandy Clements of Silver River Center for Chair Caning and Pamella O’Connor of Hanji Home.
On February 16–18, Clements will demonstrate authentic cattail rush weaving, a technique that dates back to ancient Egypt and that can be found on classic Gustav Stickley chairs. She will use a chair seat designed by Brian Brace Fine Furniture for her demonstration.
“In addition to the variety of materials and patterns in woven seats, most people are surprised by the history of the craft, which spans the globe and dates back thousands of years,” says Clements. “I love telling people about the chair caners in their area as well as those in other countries that I share photos with on social media.”
Clements is a fourth-generation chair caner. She and her husband/business partner Dave Klingler have been restoring chairs for more than 12 years. They have taught dozens of classes covering techniques such as laced and pressed caning, and splint, rush and Shaker tape weaving. This year marks Silver River’s fourth anniversary as the nation’s only fully dedicated chair caning school and museum. The facility is also an official education center of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.
“Weaving a chair seat not only extends the life of the piece of furniture but also uncovers its story and reconnects people with loved ones who have passed on,” says Clements.
On February 17–18, O’Connor will demonstrate paper gathering techniques used to create texture on her signature line of hanji flower lamps. Hanji is traditional handmade paper from Korea, made from the inner bark of paper mulberry, a shrub-like tree found throughout Asia. Hanji is a very durable material that can be stretched, feathered, gathered and twisted. Its malleability makes it an ideal material for creating various handicrafts.
“Paper gathering is a technique I use to create texture on my pieces,” says O’Connor. “Since I strive to create works that reflect the natural world, I use this method to create veins on my leaves and bark or limbs on my vases.”
O’Connor was first introduced to hanji during a two-year teaching stint in South Korea. Upon returning to Asheville in 2010, she started her own business, Hanji Home. In 2012, she received the Merit Award as a first-time presenter at the Buyer’s Market of American Craft, launching her lamps onto the national scene. O’Connor will have a variety of finished hanji flower lamps on display and available to purchase during her demonstration.
Grovewood Gallery is located at 111 Grovewood Road, adjacent to the Omni Grove Park Inn, Asheville. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit grovewood.com or call 828.253.7651.