The Folk Art Center will host an exhibit called Wonderland through May 8. Wonderland will feature the works of five Southern Highland Craft Guild member artists exploring topics of imagination, play and freedom. For Lauren Faulkenberry of Firebrand Press, this theme evoked ideas of home and memory. “As I get older,” she says, “‘home’ becomes less about a geographic place and more about the people who are with me and the memories I carry around.” In her works for Wonderland, Faulkenberry used swallows to symbolize this sensation, referencing the lore about such birds always finding their way home. She printed the swallows on machine-made paper with a high cotton content, a material that is “soft and pliable, like memory,” she says. “I wanted to work in light colors that would look a bit painterly and layer in a way that is evocative of the way our memories layer over one another and fade.”
Jewelry artist Ruthie Cohen created her collection for Wonderland in just 21 days. “The theme of this exhibition gave me permission to explore working with raw, naturally colored diamonds instead of the traditional white stones used for engagement rings,” she says.
Cohen was inspired by the Wonderland theme to play with rose-cut stones in rich colors and explore contrast by placing Mobe pearls in a setting with black diamonds. “This Wonderland exhibit served to kick my skills up more than a few notches and gave me the courage to explore new directions and materials,” she says.
The Folk Art Center is located at Milepost 382 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, just north of the Highway 70 entrance in east Asheville. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Learn more at craftguild.org.