By Abbey Prevost
The Southern Highland Craft Guild’s final main gallery show of 2023 is now on display through January 17 at the Folk Art Center. The exhibition, titled Embellishments, features works by 51 guild members. A variety of craft mediums are represented in this exhibition, including fiber arts, clay sculptures and jewelry, all made with the artists’ unique take on the embellishment theme. The Folk Art Center, located at Milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
Timothy Bridges is a fiber artist whose striking work, I Can’t Stop Looking in the Mirror, is the centerpiece of the exhibit. “The ensemble in the exhibit evolved from some outfits Lucille Ball wore in I Love Lucy,” he says. “I have always liked the idea of referencing the past in today’s artistic language.” Bridges blends classic and modern elements of design in the piece. He combines different textiles such as sharkskin taffeta, denim and velvet, and pairs them with a train and bustle to achieve new forms that are rooted in traditional designs. “People should come see the exhibit—and every other exhibit they can—to enjoy viewing the creative impulses of a varied group of artists, and to spark their own imaginations,” he says. “Everyone benefits from seeing art in every form.”
Tina Curry, a long-time member of the guild, is a clay and bronze sculpture artist. Her piece, Color My World, depicts African tribesmen adorned with fabric and bone bead necklaces. For her work, Curry primarily uses her hands to sculpt, rather than tools, transforming a slab of clay into a beautiful piece of art. Her work is inspired by nature, which is reflected in her consistent use of earth tones. “I think people will see a vibrance of color and pattern,” she says. “Materials used in a way that may not normally reflect art but in this exhibition enhances the fine craft even more.”
In addition to the exhibit, the Folk Art Center will be housing the Southern Highland Craft Guild’s annual Holiday Seconds Sale on two Saturdays, December 2 and 9. The sale will feature the work of a wide variety of artists, with a selection of handcrafted gifts and home décor items discounted up to 70 percent. Visitors can expect to find items such as ceramic tableware, jewelry, handwoven apparel, blown vases and ornaments. The sale will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, with free admission.
To learn more about Southern Highland Craft Guild programs at the Folk Art Center and see a complete list of makers participating in the Holiday Seconds Sale, call 828.298.7928, or visit CraftGuild.org. Abbey Prevost is a senior at UNC Asheville and a fall intern for The Laurel.