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Craft Guild Members Explore Texture in New Folk Art Center Exhibition

Valerie Berlage, artist

The Southern Highland Craft Guild presents its final focus gallery show of 2023, Creating Textures, open now and running through February 2024. The exhibition will feature glass face jugs by Michael Hatch, wooden landscapes by Valerie Berlage, jewelry by Joseph Rhodes, utilitarian pottery by Barry Rhodes and leather pieces by Joanna Warren.

“I rely on glassworking knowledge that was produced over the past 5,000 years to make my work,” says Hatch, “especially the techniques developed by Venetian glassworkers over the past several centuries. In my work, I blend this historical technical knowledge with the free-wheeling, ‘anything goes’ philosophy of the early American Studio Glass Movement to design and create objects that are unique.”

Berlage says that texture is an integral part of her aesthetic and design process. “Wood is a very tactile medium, and while each species has its own inherent texture to begin with, I often love to add another layer or two,” she says. “Dimpling the wood with a ball peen hammer, creating a rippling texture on the edge sander, leaving the linear ridges from the bandsaw, opening up the grain with a wire brush, or sanding it smooth as glass—I love adding a mix to create interest and movement in my work.”

Likewise, texture plays a major role in the design of Rhodes’ pottery pieces. “From the maker with their hands in the clay to the person holding the finished work, texture pervades the entire life cycle of the piece,” he says. “The pieces I have created for the exhibition put an increased emphasis on surface texture, going beyond what one would typically see in my work.”

The Folk Art Center is located at milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Admission is free and hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Learn more at

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